2014 KAWASAKI NINJA ZX-6R ABS
Continuing the Family Tradition of Dominance
What’s in a number? Only everything. Six percent may not sound like much, but it is the displacement advantage the 2014 Ninja ZX-6R ABS supersport has over the rest of the 600cc class. This performance advantage began over a decade ago with the first 636, a revolutionary machine that blew-away the competition’s 600’s and won races against factory 750’s on the track. The 2014 ZX-6R ABS continues family tradition of racetrack dominance and unmatched street cred with its physical embodiment of the family slogan: Performance Counts!
The category shattering heritage, passed down through the bike’s DNA, resides in the 16-valve, long-stroke DOHC 636cc inline-four—the beating heart—of this champion and provides the riding experience demanded of a top-shelf middleweight powerplant. Torque rich and rev happy, the supremely powerful engine easily makes the transition from the track to everyday street use, bringing its broad spectrum of performance to everyone from street riders to canyon carvers to racetrack junkies, proving that power capable of dominating on the track can also be smooth enough for everyday use.
The key is the 636cc long-stroke engine. An additional 37cc of displacement compared to competing inline-fours makes a significant impact on real world riding. 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, impressive performance is available throughout the entire powerband. Low-mid range torque is significantly stronger and the engine’s total “area under the power curve” grows substantially when compared to a mere 600cc.
Intake and exhaust port shapes are optimized to suit the displacement and help deliver increased performance and improved throttle response. The intake ports are wider near the throttle bodies and split further upstream from the intake valves. The exhaust ports are wider near the valves and taper on their way to the exhaust header. Lightweight chromoly steel intake and exhaust camshafts feature intake duration, plus intake and exhaust lift to complement the engine’s extra displacement. Meticulously crafted piston crowns increase piston strength and accommodate the valve lift. A molybdenum coating on the piston skirts fights friction and helps with engine break-in. Rigid, straight piston pins help preserve high-rpm durability. Connecting rods are built to suit the kinetic energy of the long-stroke engine.
The airbox features a large internal volume tuned for increased power and a smooth power delivery. 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 optimum air-fuel mixing and maximum combustion efficiency. Precise Digital Fuel Injection (DFI®) tuning 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.
All that power is delivered through a high-tech F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions. It allows quick, effortless downshifts when scrubbing-off speed for a corner and helps minimize rear wheel hop caused by excess back-torque. The 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 up to a 25% 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 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. The spring plate assembly offers smooth engagement and helps minimize vibration and clutch judder.
In keeping with its racing DNA, 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. Strong alloys and gear thickness provide optimum gearbox durability and help it cope with the torque produced by the 636cc engine.
The Ninja ZX-6R features the most up-to-date sportbike and racetrack technology offered by Kawasaki. Its three-mode Kawasaki TRaction Control (KTRC) system is similar to the KTRC unit found on the flagship Ninja ZX-14R, and features even more advanced programming than the S-KTRC system used on the ZX-10R superbike! And its selectable power modes offer numerous tuning options and maximum flexibility compared to its middleweight competition.
“Full” or “Low” engine power modes can be selected by a switch on the left clip-on. The 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% 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.
The KTRC traction control system on the Ninja ZX-6R combines the best elements of the S-KTRC and KTRC traction control systems on Kawasaki’s two flagship sportbikes. Three different KTRC modes are selectable via 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 Concours®14 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 fine control provided by the sub-throttles also results in a very natural feeling and smooth on/off transitions to help maintain traction even during extended operation in unfavorable conditions. This highly effective 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.
Combining the KTRC and Power Mode options, riders have a total of eight combinations from which to choose, and each system can be independently set to match rider skill/preference, riding location and surface conditions. 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”. The various modes are easily selectable from a convenient switch on the left clip-on.
For the 2014 Kawasaki ZX-6R Full Spec Sheet