2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R confirmed for October launch

New 636cc Kawasaki will appear in just a few weeks’ time

2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R confirmed for October launch

SALES IN the 600cc supersports class might be through the floor but we can still hope that the emergence of a new model will breathe new life into the segment. And now we know Kawasaki will definitely have a revamped ZX-6R in 2019 (current model shown above).

The information comes courtesy of the National Highway Traffic  Safety Administration (NHTSA) in America, which has published a letter from Kawasaki with an (incomplete) list of its 2019 models including the new ZX-6R. Embarrassingly, the letter includes the line: “As the embargo lift date for these models is October 11, 2018, we request that this document not be posted on the NHTSA website until after the embargo lift date.”

It seems the NHTSA opted to ignore that request.

The October 11 date coincides with the AIM Expo show in Las Vegas, where the bike will make its US debut. We reckon it will appear a week earlier in Europe at the Intermot show in Cologne (October 3-7). 

While the Kawasaki list is missing several key models, it does show the 2019 ZX-6R. There’s little technical information but the document does confirm its 636cc capacity – the same as the current bike – and puts its power at 95kW. That’s 127.4hp.  In comparison, the last generation of ZX-6R to be sold here made 96.4kW (129.3hp).

Why the power drop? Well, in part it’s down to a new emissions system. Documents filed with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) show that the 2019 bike has a three-way catalytic converter rather than the existing bike’s oxidising catalyst. The change nearly halves the bike’s hydrocarbon, NOx and carbon monoxide emissions, which will be enough to easily ensure it gets Euro4 emissions certification in Europe.

We don’t know the extent of the changes beyond that, but our guess is that Kawasaki’s revamp will be similar to the one Yamaha carried out on the R6 a couple of years ago. That means it will get new styling, and tweaked suspension and electronics to go with the reworked, cleaner engine, while large elements like the frame and the main engine castings will probably be carried over from the previous model.

We'll be reporting directly from the Cologne show. More as we get it...