Kawasaki ZX6R VS Ninja 650 [Which is Best?]

The Kawasaki ZX6R and the Ninja 650 both are middle-weight sports bikes. The Kawasaki ZX6R is more like a sporty bike this comfortable to ride, whereas the Ninja 650 is specifically made to win races.  

In this article, we’ll be discussing the detailed comparison of the Kawasaki ZX6R and the Ninja 650.

Along with their performance, pricing, rideability, and their pros and cons. Also, the problems faced by the riders.

So, let’s get into the details.

Kawasaki ZX6R VS Ninja 650

Kawasaki ZX6R vs Ninja 650

The Kawasaki ZX6R came into the year 1995 and it’s production continues till this year.

Within these years, Kawasaki has upgraded the ZXR many times to make sure the bike stays ahead of its competitors.

Whereas, the Kawasaki started the manufacturing of the Ninja 650 in the year 2006. It’s an edgy-looking bike with a low center of gravity.

Kawasaki ZX6R VS Ninja 650 Overview

Kawasaki ZX6R Kawasaki Ninja 650 
Engine636cc, liquid-cooled, 16-valve649cc, 8-valve, liquid-cooled
Top-Speed164 MPH131 MPH
Torque84 ft-lb47.2 ft-lb 
Weight425.6 lbs432 lbs
Price$17,799 to $18,799 $7,899 to $8,199
Compression Ratio12.3:110.8:1
Seat Height32.7 inch31.1 inch
Fuel Capacity4.49 Gallon3.9 Gallon
MPG55 MPG49.44 MPG

1. Engine Power and Performance

The Kawasaki ZX6R features a 649cc, four-cylinder engine which gives off a lightning-fast maximum speed of 164 mph.

This motorcycle is suitable for riding on roads, streets, or tracks. The engine gives off a massive power of 127 Hp and and a  torque of  52-foot pounds. The Kawasaki ZX6R provides firm control on the handlebars while sports running.

The Kawasaki Ninja 650 features a 649cc parallel twin engine,8-valve engine. This bike also has a liquid-cooled engine. Which keeps its temperature at the optimum levels.

The Ninja 650 has a highly responsive low- to mid-range torque of 47.2 ft-lb. It’s engine gives a smooth, and linear power delivery of 68 Hp. It’s suitable for short or mid-height riders of 5.5’ or taller.

The maximum speed the rider can attain on the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is about 131 mph. The engine is fast enough for riding on roads. Overall, It’s a great bike with a high-quality build, and features.

Along with edgy looks and robust performance. Comparatively, the Kawasaki ZX6R generates double the power and torque as compared to the Ninja 650.

Also, it’s much faster and more aggressive than the Kawasaki Ninja 650.

2. Fueling and Transmission

The fuel capacity on the Kawasaki ZX6R is 18 liters. The average fuel consumption on this bike is 39 mpg. This bike can go up to 150 miles with one full tank.

The Kawasaki Ninja 650 has a fuel tank capacity of 15 liters (4.0 gallons). It’s a fuel-efficient bike, the fuel consumption on the Ninja 650 is 21 kilometers per liter. Which is fine for a 650cc sports touring bike.

Comparing the transmission on both bikes. The Kawasaki Ninja 650 features a 6-speed, manual, return shift gear transmission. The final drive on this bike is an X-ring chain.

While the Kawasaki ZX6R features a six-speed gear transmission with a slipper clutch. Also,  a final drive of the sealed chain.

The compression ratio on the Kawasaki ZX6R is 12.8:1. While the compression ratio of the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is 10.8:1.

3. Suspension and Rideability

The Kawasaki ZX6R features a front suspension of 41mm inverted Showa fork with a travel of  4.7 inches. The rear suspension on this bike features a gas-charged shock, a piggyback reservoir, and a 5.9-inch travel.

The Kawasaki ZX6R is lightweight, which makes it easier to handle at low speeds. You can also use it as a decent commute bike for riding daily on streets or roads.

The ground clearance on this bike is 5.1 inches and the overall weight of this bike is  425.6 lbs.

The Kawasaki Ninja 650 has a front suspension of a 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork and a travel of 4.9 inches. The rear suspension of this bike is a horizontal back-link with an adjustable spring preload, and travel of 5.1 inches.

The suspension on this bike is super smooth and forgiving. Which isn’t complicated to handle on rough roads or uneven surfaces.

Also, the clutch on this bike is responsive, which starts to engage early and well. This feature is helpful for less experienced riders.

Considering the ergonomics of the Kawasaki Ninja 650. The slightly lean forward and suitable foot peg placement is preferred by riders. The seat height of 31.1 inches is comfortable to put the feet flat.

Also, to ride for longer hours. The overall weight of this bike is 368 lbs and ground clearance is  130 mm.

4. Convenience and Features

The Kawasaki ZX6R has front brakes of 310mm petal discs Nissin 4-piston. Along with monobloc calipers, and ABS. The rear brakes have single 220mm petal discs. Along with a single-piston caliper and ABS.

The Kawasaki ZX6R has a few other technical features. It includes the assist slipper clutch, dual throttle valves, and the Kawasaki traction control. The seat height is 32.7 inches.

Ninja 650 has a front brake of 30 mm dual disc brakes and 2 piston calipers with ABS. The rear brakes have 220 mm single disc single piston Nissan caliper with ABS.

The handlebar gives a firm hand grip and an electric starter It also has an underbelly exhaust, which is more safer for the rider.

The seat height on this bike is 31.1 inches, so the rider can comfortably put his foot flat on the ground while stopping.

The handlebar on this bike is quite high. Which gives a more comfortable and relaxed feel. Also, the riding position on this bike isn’t aggressive at all.

5. Pricing and Maintenance

The price of the Kawasaki ZX6R ranges from $10,699 USD for the non-ABS models to $11,999 USD for the ABS models.

 While the Price range of the Kawasaki Ninja 650 starts from $7,999 to $8,199. There’s a clear difference in the affordability between both bikes.

The annual service of the Kawasaki Ninja 650 includes the oil change, along with changing the spark plug and air filter. While the yearly maintenance cost of the Kawasaki ZX6R can cost anywhere between $100-$200

You’ll also need to change the coolant and brake fluid every one or two years.

The overall maintenance cost of the Ninja 650 can be around $10,000 for the oil change, filter change, coolant liquid change, or tire change.

Maintainance is also an ongoing expense that you’ll be considering. The annual servicing of the bike or upgrading any worn-out part adds up to the price of these bikes.

6. Pros and Cons Of Kawasaki ZX6R vs. Kawasaki Ninja 650

Pros of Kawasaki ZX6R

  • It features a suitable seat height, that’s also comfortable for long-hour rides.
  • The braking and suspension are highly efficient and great for cornering.
  • The engine gives off a smooth and linear power and torque delivery.
  • This bike is suitable and comfortable to ride and for daily commuting
  • It features an adjustable clutch and brake levers
  • It’s a lighter bike that’s easier to control
  • It has traction control and an ABS system

Cons of Kawasaki ZX6R

  • This bike isn’t suitable for beginner riders
  • The bike shutters at lower RPMS

Pros of Kawasaki Ninja 650

  • It provides smooth handling, with a great suspension and braking system
  • This bike features outstanding and edgy looks, with detailed bodywork
  • The seat height is suitable for 5’4 and 5’5 riders or taller riders
  • It gives off a smoother engine power and throttle response
  • It’s easier to ride and can be used as a daily commute bike
  • It provides more traction and stability during sharp corners. 
  • This bike can go up to highway speeds of 131 mph
  • This bike is an absolutely great exchange for it’s price

Cons of Kawasaki Ninja 650

  • It doesn’t have a comfortable seat
  • The handlebar vibrates at higher RPM
  • The engine can stall due to the backfiring problem

7. Problems with Kawasaki ZX6R and Ninja650

Apart from the outstanding performance, these bikes can encounter some problems. Which are commonly addressed by the riders.

Some of the issues with the Kawasaki ZX6R include valve cover gasket leakage, idle cable rusting, and braking problems.

Also read: Kawasaki ZX12R Common Problems

Also, sometimes the heat from the engine becomes unbearable for the rider’s feet and legs. According to one rider, sometimes the brakes feel spongy and lack power.  This bike also has gear shifting problems such as clutch slippage, gears failing to engage, and upshifting, and downshifting problems.

Another problem with the Kawasaki ZX6R is unusual noises from the engine. The ticking and clicking noises from the engine indicate a possible major problem that lies inside the engine.

A few common issues of the Kawasaki Ninja 650 includes starting, and stalling issue, engine overheating, gear problem, and battery power problem.

The backfiring is also one of the issues with the Kawasaki Ninja 650 bikes, this commonly happens due to lean or rich air/fuel mixture.

Ensuring proper maintenance is important to avoid any of the mentioned issues. Upgrade the oil, coolant liquids, and gas.  Also, make sure to clean the carburetor.

Kawasaki ZX6R & Ninja 650 User Reviews

“I have just had the first service done so will be exploring the performance a little more now. I am not a huge fan of the new gearing so far, although this might change as I start to use the motorcycle’s full potential.” Source: motorcyclenews.com

“Overall a great bike. I’m an experienced rider with sports bikes but wanted something different for visiting friends 100 miles away and back road fun to keep mileage down on my other bikes.” Source: motorcyclenews.com

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