Pros: Handles great, very fast, comfortable for commuting or carving.
Cons: Minimal...fuel petcock is a bit hard to maneuver at highway speeds.
The ZX-6R is my first street bike and my second motorcycle. My only motorcycle experience consisted of my ride time on my ?98 Honda CR125 MX bike that I bought last year, so I was a beginner in terms of street bikes.
Without a doubt, my ZX-6R is my passion. When I'm not riding it, I'm thinking about riding it. I bought it new and I?ve put over 4200 miles on it in 5 months. I love this bike.
Spec-wise, I believe the bike is very similar to the 2000/2001 bikes, so I?ll spare you the technical data. The reviews of the 2000 model seem pretty accurate. Simply put, it?s a 2.8 second 0-60mph, 10.8 second in the quarter, 160mph rocket.
Here are my thoughts on the bike, from a beginner?s point of view.
I ended up with the ZX-6R due to the financing deal (0-0-0 for almost a year) and after reading all the reviews that all said pretty much the same thing: the bike has excellent brakes, a predictable and powerful motor that adapts to the street better than the other 600s, good ergonomics for both track and street, and as one editor put it, the ?incredible combination of flickability and high speed stability.? I only sat on the ZX-6R and the Honda CBR600. The Kawasaki felt better to me.
Even though I had experience on my CR, I?ll admit that I was quite apprehensive before my first ride on my new toy. I quickly learned that the bike is very easy to ride and handle. Even though the bike is a rocket, you don?t have to worry about trying to keep the front wheel on the ground. Just the same, it?s just as easy to go fast. At anything below 4000rpm, the bike feels a bit sluggish. At about 5000-6000pm, you realize the bike has a bit of grunt and good acceleration. At 8000-9000rpm, the exhaust and ram-air begin to make the bike sing that classic adrenaline- pumping sportbike howl, and the bike accelerates with authority. At anything above 9000rpm, you?d better be hanging on, because it screeeeaaaams. I often times find myself going way faster than my experience justifies simply because it is so easy to go fast. All in all, the power is incredible but manageable.
I doubt that I will ever in my lifetime be able to exploit the handling of this bike. The chassis is solid. When going through the twisties, it turns on mind control. It?s also very easy to cruise down the interstate at 70mph: it tracks well. As a side note, the bike is also fairly easy to pick up when you drop it. I didn?t believe anyone when they told me that even I would drop it, but it happens.
I typically use 2 fingers on the front brake. I don?t intentionally do stoppies, but while practicing my panic-stops, I?ve felt the rear wheel hit the ground before after I came to a complete stop. I still attempt to use both brakes, but if I get on the rear brake hard, I usually lock it up.
At 5?-6?, the heals of both my feet don?t touch the ground at the same time. I either tip-toe or lean it to one side slightly - one foot flat on the ground and the other on the peg. I think I would feel more confident if either I was about 2? taller, or the bike were 2? shorter. However, I got used to it and I don?t want to lower the bike.
Supposedly it has the best ergonomics for street riding. The riding position is very comfortable. When riding upright above 60mph, the wind hitting your chest pretty much holds you up. Below 60mph, your arms do a lot more of the work to hold your body upright. When laying on the tank (or tucking, as I?ve heard it called), the bike seems to slice through the air. When going fast enough, the combination of the fairing and the wind seem to push you closer to the tank.
The only complaints I have are probably true of any sport bike. I have noticed that after about 1.5-2 hours of continuous riding my right wrist tends to get a bit numb and I need to take a break, and one of my legs cramps up a bit as well. Everything I read says you should take a break about every hour anyway, so it?s no big deal.
I bought the bike locally. The dealer had both a green and a yellow bike on the floor, but the closest red bike was 600 miles away. After paying $90 for them to negotiate with the other dealer and to transport the red bike (I really like red), I ending up paying $7290, not including taxes. In January of 2003, I either pay off the bike or deal with a 17% interest rate.
I don?t regret my decision to purchase my ZX-6R. It handles, it stops, it?s incredibly fast, and a blast to ride. In terms of the beginner: it?s easy to handle and to learn on. The power is generous, but easy enough to control to ride conservatively. The hardest part is to not let over-confidence push you past your experience level.