Keep it clean ma­chine

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Kawasaki Zx-6r -

Which model?

The mid-to-late-’90s was a pe­riod of in­tense com­pe­ti­tion and devel­op­ment in the Ja­panese su­per­sports sec­tor and the ZX-6R’S devel­op­ment re­flects this with changes vir­tu­ally ev­ery year, be­tween 1995 and 2002. UK model en­gine num­bers are listed here so you can be sure of what you’re look­ing at.


High-com­pres­sion, 16-valve four red­lines at a heady 14,000rpm (while the rev-lim­iter kicks in 500rpm later).this unit is gen­er­ally very strong, although some high mileage ex­am­ples can sound a lit­tle rat­tly. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are typ­i­cally fre­quent for Ja­panese mo­tor­cy­cles of the era be­ing ev­ery 4000 miles. Best to have some proof they’ve been done in the form of re­ceipts. Pop­u­lar mods in­clude Dyno­jet kits and K&N fil­ters.

Carb ic­ing

Com­mon on most carbed Kawas of the pe­riod, the symp­toms be­ing a stut­ter­ing as if there is fuel star­va­tion in cold, damp weather. Carb heaters re­duce but don’t elim­i­nate the prob­lem. Of more concern is car­bu­ret­tor in­ter­nals pre­ma­turely wear­ing lead­ing to rough run­ning.


The front brake set-up is fairly vul­ner­a­ble with both the discs prone to warp­ing. Check for a mild throb­bing through the lever when ap­plied (many were re­placed un­der war­ranty).the calipers are prone to seizure if run through win­ter and not cleaned.and the fin­ish on F-model calipers is par­tic­u­larly poor.


Although the ZX-6R’S paint fin­ish and build qual­ity is fairly good, its fas­ten­ers (nuts and bolts) can quickly look scrappy with­out reg­u­lar main­te­nance while the paint on the calipers and else­where can flake off. In­di­ca­tor rub­bers can harden and crack too.


This is one of the ZX-6R’S big­gest bug­bears if not looked af­ter prop­erly. If left ex­posed me­tal fin­ishes dull, the rear shock suf­fers from road grime and the stock steel ex­haust down­pipes will rot. Sen­si­ble preven­ta­tive mea­sures in­clude fit­ting a fender ex­ten­der and hug­ger. If it’s been garaged and pam­pered, how­ever, it should be fine.

Rear shock

Although a rea­son­able qual­ity unit with de­cent ad­justa­bil­ity, the re­mote reser­voir rear shock doesn’t en­dure very well. Road grime can af­fect the ac­tion of the link­age, grease nip­ples weren’t fit­ted un­til later mod­els and once past 15,000 miles the shock’s damp­ing goes off, ru­in­ing the ride qual­ity and ne­ces­si­tat­ing a re­build or re­place­ment.

Front sus­pen­sion

As with the rear unit, the forks can also take a ham­mer­ing from road grime, de­spite its fork guards while its overly soft ride is par­tic­u­larly ex­posed on track. Pop­u­lar mods in­clude a re-spring and re-valve for a more pro­gres­sive feel and to stop them bot­tom­ing out un­der heavy brak­ing.


Again, fairly com­mon­place on Ja­panese bikes of this era, the ZX-6R’S wheel paint is thin and prone to flak­ing if not kept clean.the wheel bear­ings are also vul­ner­a­ble. Check for any lat­eral play at both ends.


Now be­com­ing fairly rare due to its age and can be ex­pen­sive to re­place so it’s worth check­ing it closely. Look for any cracks, cover-ups, re­pairs or non-stan­dard parts. Orig­i­nal­ity and con­di­tion will hugely af­fect value and is a hint to­wards any bike’s gen­eral con­di­tion.

Last of the ana­logue clocks Candy flake clutch cover

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