BIG SOFTY


BIG SOFTY

What's It All About?

The Kawasaki ZX-6R 636 has continued to mature over the years by making it a better handling bike than its predecessors. If you take that to mean it's gone a little soft in its old age then the 2013 model should put you straight in that department. Whereas the 2009 ZX-6R was crushingly quick but never less than a handful, this latest version lets you feel more in control but don't let that fool you. The latest ZX-6R 636 still has a considerable bite.

What Does It Cost?

With a sticker price of £8,999 for the basic ZX-6R 636 and £9,999 for the version with ABS, Kawasaki aren't taking too many chances. They have pitched the ZX-6R midway between its four rivals The Honda's CBR600RR and Suzuki GSX-R600 are marginally cheaper whereas the Yamaha YZF-R6 and the Triumph Daytona 675 are slightly more expensive but still below the £10,000 mark.

How Does It Handle?

The detailing of the ZX-6R 636 may not be every ones cup of tea but Kawasaki has done a fine job in its restyling. The instruments follow this trend being modern, sharp and a bit angular. The black faced tachometer is new as it the traction control information. Kawasaki models will always suffer from the view that they may be quick but they can't handle themselves. However, the manufacturer has been making great strides over recent versions of this machine and the ZX-6R 636 is now ready to compete with the best in this class. The latest ZX-6R 636 certainly is part of this revolution having a modern chassis that can now rival Honda's CBR. This results in stable yet agile handling but still retains that rip-snorting acceleration so beloved of previous the Kawasaki genre. The ZX-6R 636 now has softer suspension and a classy traction control system. It's still a fairly edgy thing but increased front end bite, less nervous steering, a revised chassis and a throttle that's been remapped to allow the rider to apply power more smoothly as he or she exits a corner. It is also one of the most comfortable 600s to ride fast. If you don't like the styling it certainly won't make your shortlist, but other that that there is very little to criticise about the ZX-6R 636 in the way it now handles. The ZX-6R 636 also offers an uprated version of Kawasaki's race ABS which makes stopping quickly a drama free experience.

Verdict

Having been seen as a specialist's choice for many years, the latest Kawasaki ZX-6R with its 636cc engine has now moved itself firmly up the pecking order to be compared equally with the likes of Honda's CBR600 RR and Suzuki's GSX-R600. This is no mean feat and Kawasaki is to be congratulated on this considerable achievement. The ZX-6R 636 is now a class act and worthy of consideration. FACTS AT A GLANCE BIKE: Kawasaki ZX-6R 636 2013 PRICE: £8,999 on the road (£9,999 with ABS) ENGINE: 636cc 16v liquid-cooled, dohc, in-line four-cylinder, four-stroke WEIGHT: 192kg SEAT HEIGHT: 830mm POWER: 130bhp TANK SIZE: 17 litres 8th November 2012

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