Sporty – 2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R 636 Test Drive: a Karrement Super Supersport! – Technical update on the 2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R 636

2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R 636 review: a super Karrement Supersport !

Sporty - 2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R 636 Test Drive: a Karrement Super Supersport! - Technical update on the 2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R 636

Take a Kawasaki ZX-6R and increase its displacement to 636 cc to boost its mid-range. Add state-of-the-art electronics and softer suspensions: you get the 2013 ZX-6R 636, a Supersport that you can use every day.. Track and road test.

Technical update on the 2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R 636


The liquid-cooled in-line 4-cylinder comes directly from the current 599 cc ZX-6R, released in 2009. It cubs an additional 37 cc thanks to a stroke that goes from 42.5 mm to 45.1 mm, while the bore remains at 67 mm. To contain the bulk of the block, Akashi engineers shortened its connecting rods by 1.5 mm.

In terms of performance, it goes from 128 hp on the 599 cc to 131 hp on the 636, or even 137 hp at 13,500 rpm thanks to the benefits of the forced air intake. The torque, an essential value in the availability of an engine, for its part goes from 66.7 Nm at 11,800 rpm to 71 Nm at 11,500 rpm, only a small newton-meter less than the vigorous 3-leg of the Triumph Daytona.

The Greens announce that they have granted other improvements in favor of the couple: the compression ratio drops (from 13.3 to 12.9: 1), the intake ducts are longer and widened near the injection bodies and the longer valve opening time.

In addition, the pistons are now covered with molybdenum to reduce friction and facilitate break-in, the connecting rods are reinforced and the volume of the air box goes from 4530 to 5090 cc, which explains the larger tank. Finally, the injection has been refined, while a tube now connects the four exhaust elbows, always with the aim of strengthening the torque at mid-speed.

Small bonus for everyday life: the first report of the gearbox – extractable cassette type – has been shortened. This makes daily journeys easier, as a shorter first puller eliminates the need to frequently use the clutch at low speed. Speaking of the clutch, the ZX-6R 636 adopts a highly efficient FCC anti-slipping device, identical in design to that recently discovered on the Ninja 300..

When the rear wheel starts to lock, a cam moves the hub (lighter than 600 gr, because now in aluminum and no longer in steel) and the clutch pressure plate in order to reduce the pressure exerted on the disks. The presence of spring cups also reduces the effort on the left lever by 20%.

Cycle part

Strictly similar to the current ZX-6R, the perimeter frame of the 2013 Ninja simply adopts a more closed caster angle (24 ° vs. 23.5 °). By the way, the profile of the joints of the steering column has been redesigned to reduce friction and Bridgestone S20s are now mounted on the wheels 120 mm wide at the front and 180 at the rear..

The Green also adopts new Showa suspensions: at the front, the large piston fork (BP) is renewed, but it now adopts a technology allowing to separate the damping functions. Concretely, the preload adjustment is vested in the left tube, while the rebound and compression adjust to the right.

Not only does this feature facilitate adjustment sessions, but it would save 220 g on the weight of the fork. Wanted more comfortable, the new Zak ‘also sees the springs of said fork lengthen from 190 to 215 mm and their setting become more flexible. The rear element, of the Uni Trak type, adopts a longer spring (215 mm against 190) and 7.5% more flexible than before. It remains fully adjustable.

Already an excellent braking machine, the ZX-6R releases new Nissin monobloc calipers that are lighter (- 45 g each), as well as larger discs at the front (+10 mm). Between this inflation and the presence – optional – of Kawasaki ABS which also eliminates the lifting of the rear wheel, the ZX-6R 636 2013 is equipped with top braking.

At the rear, the single 220mm disc is clamped by a single piston caliper taken from the ZX-10R. Unlike the 599 cc ZX-6R (which continues its career alongside the 636), there is no Ohlins steering damper fitted as standard on the ZX-6R "636".

Asked about it by MNC, the Japanese believe that the 2013 Ninja can do without it – despite its more "closed" steering – because of the superior stability it gets from its softer suspensions. And indeed handlebars in hand, the absence of this equipment is never regrettable, on the road as on the track.

Electronics and piloting aids

As on the ZX-10R, the ZX-6R 636 has an optional ABS developed with Bosch called KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System) which weighs only two kilograms. It also offers two choices of maps on the handlebars (Low power with 80% of the power and Full Power with 100% of the watts) and is fitted with a KTRC anti-skating (Kawasaki Traction Control) disconnectable and configurable in three positions.

Very sophisticated, the ABS monitors the pressure subjected to the calipers, compares the speed of rotation of the wheels thanks to the toothed crowns and refines its analysis via the data provided by the electronic engine control unit..

This KIBS thus takes into account the opening of the throttle, the request of the clutch and the gear engaged, which allows it to make the difference between a "normal" braking with downshifting or an emergency braking "standing on the brakes. ". Very effective on the ZX-10R that it has been using since last year, this non-combined ABS has two more or less crippling faults: it cannot be disconnected and its price is "salty" (1000 €)…

As for the KTRC anti-slip, it also works thanks to the sensors placed on the wheels, as well as with the data transmitted by the ECU. Without gyroscopes as on the RSV4 or S1000RR, this device checks each information every 5 milliseconds and acts on the ignition advance if necessary. In the event of a too sudden escape, it can also intervene on the injection to reduce the arrival of power.

Configurable from "1" to "3" (position "1" being the least intrusive) and disconnectable, this KTRC is adjusted via a control placed on the left stalk. As with the choice of maps, navigation between each mode can be done while driving with the throttle slightly open.

For the anecdote, it was MNC who taught the engineers on site that it was possible to adjust the level of traction control or to choose its mapping without completely cutting the throttle, while they were convinced that this was not possible !

On the other hand, it is necessary to be in neutral to disengage it ("off" position). By default, the KTRC is activated at start-up in the same position as when the engine was switched off (memory function), or in mode "1" if the system has been deactivated..

Thanks to all this on-board electronics, the ZX-6R 636 becomes the most sophisticated motorcycle in its class, just ahead of the MV Agusta F3. And especially far ahead of a "simple" Honda CBR600RR! Even though this was the first – and so far the only – supersport motorcycle to offer ABS.

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