New Bikes

New Kawasaki ZX-6R for 2013?

Rumour-mill cranks up again

WITH the existing Kawasaki ZX-6R in its fourth year speculation is starting to build that there's a new model on its way and scheduled for release later this year.

French magazine Moto Revue has created a ZX-10R-alike computer-generated image which, while clearly little more than a finger-in-the-breeze guess at the style of a new ZX-6R, probably isn't a totally unrealistic stab at what Kawasaki might be thinking. The last couple of generations of ZX-6R have borne a close resemblance to the bigger bike and traditionally have been preceded the ZX-10R by a year. Since it's now been nearly two years since the current ZX-10R appeared, it's easy to see the argument that a ZX-6R is overdue.

On the flip side, however, we have the generally dire market for supersports 600 machines at the moment, not only in the UK but throughout Europe and America, too. Honda hasn't updated its CBR600RR since a few tiny tweaks and the addition of an ABS option back in 2009, and most of the bike has been unchanged since 2007. Yamaha's R6 hasn't been touched since 2008. Only Suzuki has recently updated its 600cc challenger, with a new GSX-R600 in 2011. The truth is that the existing ZX-6R is still younger than most of its key rivals.

While Kawasaki's motorcycle arm is smaller than its Japanese competitors, and as such the ZX-6R represents a bigger slice of its business than, for instance, the CBR600RR does of Honda's, it might still be a gamble to spend heavily on developing a new model if sales performance isn't strong enough to guarantee recouping the investment.

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