Niall's Spin: Kawasaki ZX-6R (1995 - 2005)

Niall gives his verdict on a decades worth of Kawasaki ZX-6Rs

Niall's Spin: Kawasaki ZX-6R (1995 - 2005)
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Click to view: Kawasaki ZX-6R owners reviews, specs and image galleries.

KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2005-'06)

The sensible pick of the modern ZX-6RS. The model became incredibly track focussed for 2003/04 and took a few steps back towards reality for this version. Suspension's more pliant which makes it faster and more comfortable on anything other than a perfect, smooth track.

The engine's still the 'cheating but who cares' 636cc and it's a stunner. It's got enough low down power to be useable but wind it up and it's a missile on nitrous. Problems are pretty few but look out for signs of neglect, crash damage and theft. And don't pay OTT dealer prices - old stock of this model left showrooms for around the £5,500 mark.

It's quite a physically substantial bike too.

Variants: Under-seat exhaust distinguishes it from the previous model.
Walk away: If there's any major problem - bikes this new should be near mint.
Also consider: 2005 Suzuki GX-R600, 2005 Yamaha YZF-R6

KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2003-04)

Like a seemingly-dead crocodile, Kawasaki came to life with an evil snap of its jaws in late 2002. The result was this. The tiny, track-focused 636cc engined ZX-6R was nothing like its large road-orientated predecessor. And it's superb, incredibly fast with race-quality handling. As a road bike it's flawed, cramped, snatchy and running on overly-harsh suspension.

But when a 600's this much fun, who cares. Faults are few and problems are more likely due to crash damage, theft or neglect. Over-hard suspension may be due to a lack of nitrogen in the rear shock, a common problem on many bikes. Specialists can sort it for £20. Kawasaki soon started softening later bikes, but this was a head-banger's high point and we love it for that.

Variants: Angry-insect headlights.
Walk away: if it's a thrashed, crashed track mongrel
Also consider: 2003 Honda CBR600RR, 2003 Yamaha YZF-R6

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