It's funny how the press says one thing but the public does another. Despite shouting and screaming in every groups test that Honda's CBR600RR trounces the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R on road plus track, in most countries where the both models are available, motorcyclists still bought more of the Ninja ZX-6R than any other supersport 600cc last year. So what's that all about then?
Until last week I didn't have an answer, I was not even aware of this statistics. The 600cc supersport class is my all-time favorite and I can tell all of the models apart if I were riding blindfolded; I know them that well. Apart from the latest Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, this is maybe because Kawasaki is so ordinary at our place - shock, horror - I've never managed to get excited of riding the 2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
And so I found some excuse to borrow a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R for the weekend, driving how with 12,000rpm on the tacho, the 600cc Ninja jumps out of the first turn and streaks down the road, taking in two more gears up to the next turn.Kawasaki make much of the ZX-6R's over-run capabilities, meaning that you can hold on to a gear longer than normal without sacrificing speed. And speed is of the essence now as the Ninja flier in an instant to 16,000rpm, beyond the gear's flash and into a euphoric range of revs.
A little voice tell me me slow down boy, so down two, and there's a little-left before a big right turn, which I decide to take with a moderated speed. They say the first impression, is the most important impression. With the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, I would say that the bike is really something, the ZX-6R is excellently balanced, the chassis engineers played with the engine's placement and they got it exactly right, and the result is that the transition from brakes to turning to power is seamless.
The latest Ninja ZX-6R comes with an all-new look, including underseat exhaust and all the essential track-derived parts including slipper clutch and powerful radial brakes. This radial-mounted front brakes are out of this world, with so much progression, feel and power - one finger braking is enough to slow this Ninja monster down from 260km/h to 100km/h in no time, and you can trail the brake deep to the apex. The slipper clutch works better then on most other 600's, while the Honda CBR600RR doesn't even get one.
What I can consider negative of Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, on corner exits the front end tends to get light, but this also adds to the excitement! The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R doesn't appear to launch itself out of the corners with the similar to the Yamaha R6 and Honda CBR600RR.
All I can say is that this best-selling 599cc Ninja is set to dominate the 600cc supersport class. The big question is, are we going to see the 2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R on the Thai roads, the answer is probably not, Kawasaki is suppose to work hard on a 2009 version which will be introduced within a few months. The main difference can be found in the overall styling and fairing, of course the Kawasaki engineers will have some engineering surprises for 2009 600cc Ninja.