“Full” or “Low” engine power modes can be selected by a switch on the left clip-on. The new power modes allow riders to adjust the engine’s power delivery to help suit road conditions or their personal preference. Full mode offers the full range of the engine’s performance potential. Low mode offers the same low-rpm power output, but begins to limit power as the rpm rises into the midrange and will only offer 80 percent of the engine’s maximum power. Low mode also delivers a softer throttle response which is handy when conditions are slippery or the rider wants to relax.
Three different KTRC traction control modes can be selected by using a switch on the left clip-on. Mode 1 offers maximum racetrack performance, mode 2 offers sporty street performance, and mode 3 is tuned to help eliminate wheelspin and reduce rider anxiety on slippery surfaces. Riders may also elect to turn the system completely off. KTRC Modes 1 and 2 both prioritize maximum forward acceleration –like the S-KTRC system on a ZX-10R superbike– by using complex analysis to predict when available traction is about to be compromised, and then intervening before slippage exceeds the optimum acceleration range. This minimizes how much power must be reduced to improve or restore rear wheel traction and helps to provide maximum forward drive. Operating parameters are monitored and confirmed 200 times per second, and the system only uses ignition timing to regulate the engine’s power output, allowing extremely quick response.
KTRC Mode 3 features similar tuning to a Concours14 ABS sport tourer’s traction control system. During normal operation, it uses the same logic and control method as Modes 1-and-2, but immediately switches to three-way intervention – using ignition timing, fuel delivery, and the intake tract’s sub-throttles – if excessive rear wheel spin is detected. This allows Mode 3 to reduce engine output all the way down to a level that will allow the rear wheel to regain grip, even on very slippery surfaces, the OEM stated.
The fine control provided by the sub-throttles also results in a "natural" feeling and smooth on/off transitions to help maintain traction even during extended operation in unfavorable conditions. The system uses minimal hardware paired with very advanced software programming that monitors various parameters and rider inputs. The only additional hardware required by the KTRC system is a set of front and rear wheel-speed sensors so it can calculate rear wheel slippage, yet the overall effects of Modes 1, 2 and 3 are easy to distinguish from each other and effectively cover a wide range of riding conditions.
Riders have eight KTRC/Power Mode combinations from which to choose, and each system can be independently set to match rider skill/preference, riding location and surface conditions. For example, the OEM said an experienced rider on dry pavement might choose “Full Power” and “KTRC Mode 1” for a trackday or club race, but in wet and/or slippery conditions, that same rider might choose “Low Power” and “KTRC Mode 3”.
An all-new Showa Big Piston-Separate Function Fork (BP-SFF) features springs on both sides, with adjustable spring preload in the left tube and adjustable Big Piston compression and rebound damping in the right tube; 0.3mm thinner fork tube walls save 220-grams per set. Smooth initial stroke action is a one BPF strength that this new fork benefits from, excellent composure under braking is another, Kawasaki noted. The large-diameter (Big) damping piston in the right fork leg is much larger than the dampers that are used in traditional “cartridge” forks with the same external dimensions. Since oil inside the fork leg acts against a much larger surface area, the damping pressure can be reduced without compromising the overall damping effectiveness. Reducing the damping pressure allows the inner fork tube to move more smoothly, which is especially noticeable during the initial part of the stroke. The result is greater composure as the fork begins to compress and a less severe change in chassis attitude as the bike’s weight shifts forward while braking, the OEM noted.
The new BP-SFF fork is tuned for use on twisty roads. This tuning still allows a high level of performance at the racetrack, with significantly better response in the city and on the highway. The BP-SFF offers much easier adjustability, with all spring preload setting and damper adjustments dedicated to separate fork legs: the spring preload adjuster is on the left fork; the compression and rebound damping adjusters are on the right fork. All adjusters are located on the upper fork caps and easily accessed from above.
The bottom-link Uni-Trak rear suspension features a new 25mm longer shock spring with a lower rate, and a revised linkage with higher lever ratios for an improved ride in the city or on the highway. Rear shock adjustability includes spring preload, 25-position rebound damping and stepless compression damping.
The lightweight twin-spar aluminum frame places the engine in the optimum position for superb handling and rider feedback. It features a new steeper 23.5-degree rake angle that helps quicken steering response, enhance maneuverability and promote clear communication from the front tire. It also uses new steering stem seals that produce less friction for easier steering inputs and noticeably improved handling at low speeds.
New one-piece “monobloc” radial-mount Nissin brake calipers are highly rigid and offer excellent heat dissipation, they are also 45-grams lighter than a comparable two-piece caliper. The new monobloc calipers are paired with new 310mm petal-type front rotors to help provide superb braking power, with great feel at the lever. A new lighter rear brake caliper from the ZX-10R superbike helps offer good fade-resistance and optimum rear brake performance and squeezes a 220mm petal-type rotor. The rear master cylinder reservoir mounts forward of the swingarm pivot, to maximize free space around the footpeg. The rear brake pedal is coaxially-mounted with the footpeg, for excellent mid-stroke braking efficiency and optimum feel, Kawasaki said.
The 2013 Ninja ZX-6R features new bodywork with a sharp design that communicates a new, more-aggressive image. New larger fairing openings provide increased airflow and enhanced heat dissipation. The new fairing lowers, rear cowl, and assorted blacked-out body panels contribute to the bike’s compact and lightweight appearance. A sleek one-piece front fender offers excellent aerodynamics. New projector beam headlights are encased in a sharp looking new housing that features integrated position lamps. New semi-flush front turn signals are built into the new bodywork, and compact rear turn signals complement the minimalist design of the tail section. A new compact LED taillight is lightweight, very bright and offers a modern high-tech appearance. A “hugger” fender above the swingarm helps to reduce aerodynamic turbulence and helps keep the undertail area clean.
The ergonomic seat-peg-bar layout places the handlebars close to the rider and at an angle that promotes a highly intuitive and comfortable riding position. The fuel tank cover is flared around its top edge to provide a large contact patch and contribute to excellent chassis feedback. A narrow lightweight aluminum rear sub-frame and seat leading edge provide a slender and effective high-performance sportbike riding position, as well as a shorter reach to the pavement.
The instrument panel gives at-a-glance information to the rider, with an analog-style tachometer that is complemented by a multi-function LCD screen. New LCD functions include KTRC, Power Mode, and Economical Riding (ECO) indicators. Additional LCD functions include a digital speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, clock, instant and average fuel consumption, coolant temperature, as well as shift indicator, traction control activity level and low-fuel warning lights. A large gear position indicator gives instant numerical gear confirmation. A new mirror design offers increased rearward visibility without increasing the overall vehicle width.
Posted by Mary Slepicka. Press images courtesy Kawasaki.