Kawi's 2013 Ninja ZX-6R gets 636 engine, TC, ABS option

Publish Date: 
Sep 13, 2012

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The new 2013 Ninja ZX-6R with ABS option made its debut today in an all-out marketing blitz that started with a Ninja Takeover Event in Times Square and which will be followed up by corporate and dealer marketing messages throughout the country.

The new ZX-6R carries a 16-valve, long-stroke DOHC 636cc inline-four that's torque rich, happy to rev, supremely powerful and yet smooth enough for everyday use, Kawasaki said. Its broad-spectrum performance is ideal for everyone from stunters and street riders, to canyon carvers and racetrack junkies, the OEM noted.  

The 636cc long-stroke engine carries a 37cc displacement increase from the previous model. "Increased performance throughout the rpm range is always welcome when racing or sport riding, but increased low- and mid-range torque also significantly enhances everyday usability. Thanks to this engine’s larger displacement, performance is boosted throughout the entire powerband," the OEM stated.  Low-mid range torque is significantly stronger, officials said, and the engine’s total “area under the power curve” grows substantially when compared to the previous 600cc model.

Among the major performance upgrades, according to Kawasaki:

  • New intake and exhaust port shapes were optimized to suit the extra displacement and help deliver increased performance and improved throttle response.
  • The intake ports are wider near the throttle bodies and now split further upstream from the intake valves.
  • The exhaust ports are wider near the valves and taper on their way to the new exhaust header.
  • New lightweight chromoly steel intake and exhaust camshafts feature increased intake duration, plus increased intake and exhaust lift to compliment the new engine’s extra displacement.
  • Revised piston crowns increase piston strength and accommodate the increased valve lift.  
  • A molybdenum coating on the piston skirts fights friction and helps with engine break-in.  
  • New straight piston pins are more rigid to help preserve high-rpm durability.
  • New 1.5mm shorter connecting rods are also stronger to suit the increased kinetic energy of the longer-stroke; their stems are now 2mm thicker and the small ends feature a 1mm larger-radius to add even more strength. 
  • A new larger airbox features 12.5 percent more internal volume and contributes to both increased power and a smoother power delivery.
  • New longer single-bore intake funnels contribute to low-mid range torque and feature unique designs for the inner and outer cylinder pairs to help enhance the engine’s character.  
  • Ultra-fine atomizing injectors deliver a sub-60 micron fuel droplet size for more effective air-fuel mixing and maximum combustion efficiency.  Those new injectors are also capable of delivering a greater total volume of fuel to accommodate the demands of the larger engine. More precise Digital Fuel Injection tuning also enhances throttle response and contributes to reduced emissions. 

"The result is that 636cc engine not only delivers class-leading drive out of corners, it also offers superior flexibility and precise throttle control that pays big dividends when making mid-corner power adjustments or stringing a set of curves together on a racetrack or twisting backroad," the OEM stated.

Kawasaki issued an extensive description of the technical specifications of the new 636, so we'll include them here:

A new high-tech F.C.C. clutch (also available on the Ninja 300) with assist and slipper functions allows quick, effortless downshifts when scrubbing-off speed for a corner and helps minimize rear wheel hop caused by excess back-torque. The new F.C.C. design uses two types of cams, an assist cam and a slipper cam that were developed based on racetrack testing and rider feedback. The “assist” cam acts like a servo mechanism to pull the clutch hub and operating plate together and compress the clutch plates under load.  This allows the total clutch spring count and tension to be reduced, resulting in a 20 percent overall reduction in effort at the clutch lever. The assist cam also increases the clutch’s maximum torque capacity, to help it cope with the extra power from the new 636cc engine, without gaining any weight. Whenever back-torque is present, the clutch’s “slipper” cam reduces clamping force on the hub and operating plate to help prevent rear wheel hop on trailing-throttle and when down-shifting.  A new spring plate assembly offers smoother engagement and helps minimize vibration and clutch judder, and a new aluminum clutch hub is 600-grams lighter than the previous steel unit.

The ZX-6R also employs a cassette-type transmission to simplify gearing changes at the track, help reduce the time needed for bike setup and allow more time for riding.  A new shorter first gear, stronger alloys and revised gear thicknesses boost gearbox durability and help it cope with the extra torque produced by the new 636cc engine, Kawasaki stated.

Its three-mode Kawasaki Traction Control system is similar to the KTRC unit found on the Ninja ZX-14R, and features even more advanced programming than the S-KTRC system used on the ZX-10R superbike, the OEM noted.  New selectable power modes offer increased tuning options and more flexibility compared to its middleweight competition. (continued)