Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Words: Alan See­ley

Kawasaki’s ZX-6R 636 is an ab­so­lute cert for star­dom

When a mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­turer re­alises that they need not be con­strained by such de­tails as ca­pac­ity when launch­ing a sports­bike, won­der­ful things can hap­pen.wit­ness the Honda Fire­blade or the Du­cati 916. Now we’re not say­ing this month’s fu­ture ob­ject of de­sire is any­thing like as sem­i­nal as those two early 1990s bea­cons of bril­liance, but it did break with the pre­vail­ing wis­dom in the 600 class tak­ing the the ZX-6R’S bores out 2mm with the 636cc A1P in 2002.

Their best move came in 2003 when they loaded it with 12.8:1 pis­tons, claimed a tasty 118bhp, and upped the game with the cy­cle parts too. As they said them­selves in their blurb: “So let ’em cry foul.you and your ad­van­tage will be long gone by then.”

For those still con­strained by the in­con­ve­nience of a ca­pac­ity limit, that is rac­ers or at least those who did play by the rules, there was the ZX-6RR which stayed be­low the 600cc cap.

The ZX-6R B1 boasted more than a big­ger mo­tor.an all-new pressed alu­minium frame car­ried 41mm usd forks and an ex­truded swingarm had its pivot point moved for­ward from the old ZX-6R to bias the weight to­wards the front.there was a new ag­gres­sion too in the Mo­togp in­spired body­work.and most Mo­togp of all were the ra­di­ally mounted four-pis­ton front calipers with in­di­vid­ual pads for each pis­ton, a pro­duc­tion bike first.

Fol­low­ing the old adage that there is in­deed no sub­sti­tute for cubes, the 636 had a use­ful boost in the midrange where the com­pe­ti­tion could some­times be found lack­ing, es­pe­cially in an era when the pur­suit of top-end power had be­come ev­ery­thing for man­u­fac­tur­ers des­per­ate to win cham­pi­onships.a close-ra­tio gear­box made it easy to keep in the power.

The Kawasaki ZX-636R is a great mid­dleweight road bike. Sure it isn’t a 600 in the strictest def­i­ni­tion but it has ev­ery­thing that made the su­per­sports class great and then just a lit­tle bit more. Like 37cc more.

Looked great, went well. Still does both. Cheap too

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