ENGINE: 599cc
POWER : 112
TORQUE : 49lb ft
FRONT TYRE: 120/65/17
REAR TYRE: 180/55/17
WEIGHT: 172kg


Kawasaki developed perhaps one of the very best sports bikes with the J series ZX6R. This motorcycle really does it all, it will tour, commute and scratch and do all of that rather very well!

Itís a physically large bike so ideal for taller riders with a reasonable riding position where you can almost sit upright. The seat is very roomy and comfortable allowing you to move around on it. Pillions are well catered for with a generous pillion pad and ideally placed grab handles either side. The foot pegs are nicely positioned to make all types of riding comfortable and the handle bars are not too low or too narrow with the controls easily finding their way to your fingertips. Itís a bike that new riders can grow into and experienced riders wonít tire of it.

The fairing protection is very good as itís quite big and the screen is taller than the ZX6Rís rivals. Fit a double bubble and itís even better. The under seat storage is acceptable for a few essentials such as a couple of multi tools, tyre gauge, repair kit and a couple of cartons of Ribena.

Whilst aesthetics vary from person to person, there is no denying the generous fairings providing a reasonably smart and imposing look topped off with the very useful and functional large dual headlamps sitting on top of the ram air scoop dominating the front end of the motorcycle.


The ZX6R J has 6 pot callipers and semi floating discs up front, perhaps a bit extreme on a 600 but, they really work exceptionally with a good feel from the lever. They further come into their own when the bike is being ridden hard ensuring you enjoy braking as much as the grunt from the engine.

The chassis out of the box seems near enough spot on providing reassuring stability and coping well with whatever the road throws at it without any nervous twitches and capable of rapid lean angles provided you can muscle it over quick enough. I personally found that simply adjusting the tyre pressures to suit my intended use with standard suspension settings delivered the good on the road come winter or sunshine.


The ZX6R J 599cc engine is an absolute stonker! Itís top end is the most brutal for its class in this era. Power from low down is smooth, strong and eager. Keep chasing it to the upper rev range and you will be awarded with the distinct Kawasaki howl with a serious top end kick that you donít expect. I saw an indicated 175mph speedo reading regularly so thatís an indication of how well it performs. I found its best to shift up at 13,500rpm leaving you 1,000rpm spare to the red-line at which point, the power will start to tail off despite the engine just wanting to continue to rev.

The gearbox is quite smooth which is a pleasure on the road and despite gears being successfully selected I occasionally found myself having to double check that it really went in! False neutrals were never an issue for me.


Reliability on the whole is very good as long as the bike has been maintained as recommended by the manufacturer. However, the only common problem seems to be that the rear shock absorber spring can easily rust so its best to fit a quality hugger. Its easy to get grime into the brake callipers so having the callipers cleaned once in a while is recommended. During the winter months in extremely cold conditions its common to experience carburettor icing despite it having carb heaters.
Some owners will love to wheelie their bikes so do check the head races for condition. Bikes that are ridden hard and/or used on race tracks may suffer from warped brake discs and a worn rear shock. The front forks are faultless but just some owners neglect to change the fork oil so itís worth ensuring that the oil has been changed or change it yourself after buying a ZX6R.
I also had a sticking gear lever linkage which initially started out as minor unreliable gear shifts and then the sticking linkage suddenly got worse which left me stuck in gear unable to shift up or down. The cure was handled under warranty at my local Kawasaki dealer and it was simply to strip and clean the gear linkage which took about 30 minutes whilst I enjoyed free cup of tea.