THE Kawasaki Ninja has been a household name among motorcycle enthusiasts for its quality and performance for more than 30 years. The Japanese bike maker hasn’t disappointed with the 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R ABS KRT Edition either.
Keeping last year’s ZX-6R formula and simply improving on it, new model continues the tradition as a more street focused sports 600cc bike, despite its 636cc capacity. The ergonomics on the ZX-6R make it a breeze to ride around in traffic too.
With a host of custom settings, it can be turned into a razor sharp competitor on the track as well. The in-line four cylinder, four-stroke engine produces an impressive 94kW and 61.7Nm of torque with a 16,000rpm rev range.
Wet, the ZX-6R weighs a reasonable 195kg. Power was plentiful on the ZX-6R; the smooth delivery and balanced torque curve made commuting seamless while still having plenty on tap for the occasional throttle twist.
But the Ninja has a secret. Power and KTRC modes. Changing to full power mode and switching KTRS from 0 to 1 completely awakens the ZX-6R. Gone is the sleepy commuter bike and in its place, an angry sports bike ready to scream through the rev range.
KTRC is an important inclusion, and four modes can be chosen from the settings. While the ZX-6R isn’t a power wheelie monster, the ability to sedate the bike during adverse weather conditions is a welcome addition.
The Kawasaki also includes two selectable power modes, Full Power; which is a tonne of fun, but light to light, we found ourselves enjoying the more laid-back Low Power acceleration response during our morning commute.
All controls are well positioned for ease of use. The Kawasaki ZX-6R is an altogether great riding experience; the powerful engine, light package, fantastic seat and riding ergonomics convinced us to even take the ZX-6R on longer trips.
It’s a feat we would usually not consider on a sports bike. Torque is plentiful too, right through the rev range. The slipper clutch allows for easy acceleration from a standstill and the introduction of Kawasaki’s new quick shift system made light work of gear changes.
The symphony from the tail pipe on the KRT Edition is nothing short of amazing. Below 6,000rpm it’s timid, and a joy to commute with. Take it up a notch and by the time you’ve made it past 10,000rpm, you’d mistake it for a jet fighter overtaking you on the freeway.
Something about the complete sound profile resonated so blissfully with our ears and at no point did we find it over the top. The factory customisable Showa suspension felt great out of the box, and is slightly softer than that offered by some of its competitors.
That one difference ensured a much less fatiguing trip, and yet, despite the added comfort, the ZX-6R still feels as sharp as a tack on twisty roads. The low centre of gravity helps, and it feels like you’re riding on rails. It’s a truly confidence inspiring ride.
Braking on the Kawasaki is a somewhat strange experience though. The front brake is well positioned and performs great, but the amount of travel in the rear brake is unexpected, needing more pressure than we first thought. It takes some getting used to.
The ABS (KIBS) system is well balanced though, and not at all intrusive. Aesthetically, the 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R KRT Edition is a beautiful bike, with aggressive lines, LED lighting, and an ergonomic yet sporty stance.
It’s the perfect balance of a street bike and something that can be right at home on the track. The centrepiece of the modern Ninja has always been the ram air intake, which puts in overtime here, producing masses of induction noise at the top of the powerband.
The ZX-6R KRT Edition comes in Lime Green, Ebony, and Pearl Blizzard White. Its comfort and custom settings make it a great ride. Don’t let that fool you though, lurking beneath is a pure sports bike that’s more than capable of holding its own.
If you’re after a sports bike that doesn’t insist on you booking in fortnightly chiropractor meetings, you should definitely put this rocket on your list. It’s priced from $16,633 ride away and comes with a 24 month unlimited kilometre warranty.
Our test bike was provided by Kawasaki Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Kawasaki ZX-6R KRT Edition, contact your local Kawasaki dealer.