Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja F1-F3 (1995 - 1997)

Manufacturer
Category
Price
£6495
Available from
1995 to 1997
Good comfort for a sportsbike, the ZX-6R remains friskier than a contemporary CBR
Loses out to more modern steeds in performance terms and those looks are definitely from the back catalogue
Recently relegated from the cutting edge by newer, sharper sports middleweights, the Ninja 600 is a genuine allrounder with some edge

User Reviews

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zx6sid's picture
Submitted by zx6sid on Wed, 30/01/2008 - 21:05

Overall Review

Not the sharpest tool in the box. How ever 'Man Up' and it can keep up with new 600s.

Strengths

Weaknesses

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Overall Review

I'd be surprised if i couldn't keep up with someone on the latest fuel injected 6's on a twisty road it'd have the edge on accelaration but ok its brand new. one of my fav bikes. reliability an issue though.

Strengths

The front End was probs one of the most stable out of sports bikes, its up there with some of the best, not exactly Aprilia RS125 handling allover but the front end was pretty close to my mates 2001 model. very very good. i'd be inclined to swap a rear shock and wishbones and maybe swingarm off an 2002 model if it would fit and se how well that handles.

Weaknesses

THE FRAME! my ZX6R is a 1995 model on a 1996 plate, kawasaki made the aliminium beam frame and were prone to splitting in the beam and occaisionally around the headstock. for 1996 and 1997 kawasaki realised and beefed it up without sacrificing weight. the only let down really. apart from reliabilty.

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Overall Review

Before this bike I had a 2001 CBR 600 and before that a Thundercat from the same year. The 'cat was good for long journeys and the CBR was great for all but long journeys. My ZX-6 J2 is more fun than both, and equally happy in the streets of London as on the sweepies of Brecon. Once the engine climbs above some 9000 revs it really pushes you along and is very exciting. Build quality is OK but not nearly as good as the Honda, and the fuel reserve tap is a bit annoying. The J2 version is a good useable compromise between the older style comfortable sports bikes and the new ultra-aggressive ones. You can sit on it all morning and touring is definitely an option, but it can still go much faster than 99% of riders are able. I would recommend this bike to anyone who has £2k to spend and wants some thrills!

Strengths

Exciting, slightly edgy character

Weaknesses

Styling might not be your thing

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Eccie's picture
Submitted by Eccie on Thu, 27/03/2008 - 21:57

Overall Review

Would recommend as a first 600 sports bike

Strengths

Brakes, seating postion and comfort.

Weaknesses

Clunky gearchange (or just me)

Rating Breakdown
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Brakes
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Overall Review

The 1995 F1 is an under-rated classic. Easy to ride, it's an extremely competent ‘top gear’ motorcycle and bloody good fun. THE STRONG ENGINE pulls top gear from 2500rpm for town riding with the usual rush from 9000rpm to the red line. The good torque means that most of the time there is no need to fan the gear leaver to make progress. CARBURATION is fluffy at tickover but town riding is not particularly affected once the engine is warm. TRANSMISSION is smooth with virtually no backlash and the gearbox is slick with few false neutrals. Accurate clutch cable adjustment is critical for smooth changes. HANDLING is brisk but needs a firm input and really quick changes of direction need some effort but once completed it holds the chosen line tenaciously, even on poor surfaces. SUSPENSION is the usual Kawasaki offering (ie.way too firm). I have backed my fork spring compression right off and wound the mono shock preload way back. This means that on fast uneven sections I can ride quicker with much more in control than with the standard settings. These settings are for quick but sensible real world riding/personal comfort. If you're a speed freak, well you're looking at the wrong machine - try a GSXR or the 2008 ZX6R. BRAKES are very good - however the free lever travel of approx 20mm before bite, is initially worrying, though as the ride progresses the fluid heats up and expands sufficiently to take up most of the free play. No amount of tinkering will cure this as it seems to be a design issue. In a misguided attempt to effect a cure I fitted a 0.75mm spacer between the master cylinder piston and the lever. This removed most of the play and gave instant braking (until the fluid started to heat up) after which it gave permanent braking by slowly locking up the front discs. (A master cylinder refurbishment kit comprising piston and seal helps very slightly - but is a BUGGER to fit). THE RIDING POSITION is surprisingly relaxed for a machine in this sector. The body is fairly upright so placing only moderate weight on the wrists. Knees are bent slightly and probably suffer the most. Though two or three hours riding is quite possible but it's the seat that will get you off after that length of time - it's short of another 20mm of padding. BUILD QUALITY in my experience, was excellent on this model. Fairing, wheels and metal fittings have survived pretty well intact. The 'Quill' exhaust is stainless and so immaculate. All this after 33,500 miles. LOOKS and STYLING - this is an emotive area in which everyone has their opinion. My machine is Green and White, which I think, contributes to its' crisp, fresh looks. I have had several favourable comments regarding its' condition and attractiveness to the eye. Current machines painted in one colour look dull and boring to my eyes. As I said the F1 ZX6R is in danger of becoming a minor classic.

Strengths

Torque. Handling. Road holding. Riding position. Owner satisfaction.

Weaknesses

Brake lever travel. Hard suspension. Seized fork compression rebound adjusters.

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Submitted by Kevin Saunders on Wed, 30/07/2008 - 18:08

Overall Review

I think my ZX636R B1H ninja is an awesome bike. I hope that with a proper suspension set up that i will get to appreciate my full potential as i'm no james toseland..

Strengths

Very strong engine, big difference than my old G1 ninja.. brakes are awesome. In my opinion styling is the best of the lot. handling is very sharp, very quick at turning into corners and holds the line well.

Weaknesses

Only weakness is the suspension, very firm at the back end and has had me out the seat more than once, front end shakes its head when under hard exceleration and at fast speeds..

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Overall Review

I bought an F3 in 1997 and it was one of the best bikes I had ever ridden... took the dealer bike out and was smitten after test riding the other 600cc Sportsbikes at the time. Move on 15 years and I found another one in Silver with only 40000km's on the clock and a full gearbox rebuild along with a few other mods by the name of K&N and Akrapovic... moved it 15 miles to my storage to clean it and fix it up and I forgot what fun that engine was... cannot wait for Summer to get here so I can take it into the mountains...

Strengths

Engine outstanding even today there is something about the growl once you get it on the boil...

Weaknesses

For me there where none

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Aki's picture
Submitted by Aki on Fri, 10/01/2014 - 15:38

Overall Review

I had one of these after someone stole my ZXR400 in 97 and chopped it in for a J1 in 2000. It was a great bike from what I recall, stable, steady and the first bike I got my knee down on I think lol

Strengths

Comfortable Steady handling Fairly quick Induction noise

Weaknesses

None really that I can recall

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Submitted by Cranny on Sun, 28/02/2016 - 21:30

Overall Review

I currently own the F3 model of this bike and all i can say is its never skipped a beat, before this bike i had a 2002 SV650s which often struggled to start in the cold weather but with the ninja a little bit of choke and she fires up! The bike is incredibly comfortable for longer rides since the bars are high up for sportsbike standards and after testing several modern sportsbikes i can honestly say this handles just as well in the corners although the suspension may need tweaking to achieve this however it causes no concerns for general commuting. The power delivery is nice and smooth until you hit that 10k mark and then the beast is unleashed pulling hard all the way to the 14k redline and there is nothing more addictive than hearing that RAM air intake sing as you open the throttle. This is my third bike and ive loved every minute of riding it so i recommend it to everyone who is after a reliable, cheap and cheerful ride!

Strengths

- Incredibly Reliable - Very comfortable and more upright than the average sportbike - Ram Air sound is like no other - Very tamable power use so the bike is very forgiving

Weaknesses

- Brakes could do with more initial bite - suspension is on the soft side - exhaust headers have a tendency to rust - gearbox is on the clunky side

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