2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

By Marissa Baecker

The slang term “crotch rocket” has become well understood. In fact, online at urbandictionary.com the term has been defined to mean:

A specific type of motorcycle, typically distinguished by it’s aerodynamic ‘hunched-over’ seating position and high power to weight ratio.

While this definition is correct, it is really not an all inclusive term. The average person will use the label to refer to any sport bike but sport bikes come in two separate categories: sport and the super sport. Some manufacturers even use the term R (race) or RR (race ready) when labeling the bikes.

What is the difference? While visual characteristics appear similar at the glance of a rider as they go past, a closer look will determine the category. It is all in the position of the rider.

The sport bike provides a ride that is more upright as you see by looking at a bike’s riding triangle (handlebars-foot pegs-seat). If you think in terms of a right angle, the rider on a sport bike would be between 70 and 90 degrees depending on the model. A rider of a super sport, on the other hand, would be between 50 and 60 degrees.  As the definition mentions, it is the aerodynamics and the super sport is designed to merge the rider with the bike.

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R is a supersport model and surprisingly, fits my size quite well.

This is the entry level of this series of super sports with Kawaski. When a bike is built to perfection, the only changes that are made between model years is the colour. In 2009, the ZX 6R was Candy Burnt Orange (the one you see in the photographs). In 2010, it was Passion Red and in 2011 you can still choose from Kawasaki’s staple brand colours of black and lime green.

The 6R is a race ready model – super sport class – full fairings all around. Rider placement is crouch down low over the gas tank streamlining the rider to become one with the bike. The bike provides a very exciting ride and if you aren’t used to riding this style, it is a whole lot of fun. The engine is a 599 cc liquid cooled, in line four stroke with an electric start but don’t let the cc’s fool you. This bike has plenty of power to thrill the most advanced of riders. In fact, there are many track days to give sport bike owners the next level of thrill and speed in a safe environment.

The six speed transmission is smooth, consistent and concise through the gears offering precise throttle control giving the rider confidence in operation of the bike. Designed for the track, mid-range torque provides that increase power driving out of corners. This is a bike that performs at high rpms and remains solid. Surprisingly, with only 420 lb curb weight (2010 model is 10 kg lighter than 2009), there is no shake or shimmy at higher speeds – just pure consistency.

A 17 liter fuel tank uses approximately 6.2 L/100 km meaning you can chase the sunset while trying to wipe the smile off your face (if you don’t, it will be full of bugs). A 32 inch seat height makes this model suitable for a variety of rider heights. It has a dual-seat to carry a passenger but you will find that you won’t want share.

The bike comes with a one year warranty, extended warranty is available for purchase and 2011 offers a reduced MSRP $12,299 – 2010 was $13,199.

This is the first super sport bike that I have ridden that seems to have the handlebars set in-line with the seat so that your wrists are at a comfortable angle. I didn’t experience any shoulder pain, back pain or restriction of range of motion in my wrists. This model was incredibly powerful and offers great control in the corners.