The once-sought-after 600cc supersport segment has almost vanished from the two-wheeler market. Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda have all waved the white flag, with no updates to their 600cc offerings in half a decade. The focus word, however, is ‘almost’, as there’s one brand that’s yet to succumb to the strict emission norms. In fact, it’s going the opposite way, with a refreshed 600cc screamer in the works. Yes, the bikemaker in context is Kawasaki, and the screamer is the Ninja ZX-6R. The motorcycle received its last update in 2019, which all of us thought would be its last. But Team Green has now teased the 2024 Ninja ZX-6R, and here’s all you can expect from it.
Yes, you read that right. As confirmed by American EPA filings, the ZX-6R will keep its 636cc, inline-four engine in 2024. But it’ll undergo notable changes to meet ever-stricter emission/sound norms. The highlight here is a lower 13,000 peak power RPM, which limits the maximum output to 120 horsepower (91kW), down from the current model’s 127 ponies (95kW). This, together with a new exhaust system, will make the 6R fit for the massive European market where it’s been absent since 2019.
Is the drop in power a bummer? Yes, but let’s not forget the 6R will still make a strong case for itself against the new mid-capacity sports bikes like the 105-HP Aprilia RS 660 and the 94-HP Honda CBR650R. More importantly, it’s a small price to pay if this helps us enjoy the 600cc screamer for a few more years before the EVs take over. It’s not unusual either, since Yamaha did the same when the YZF-R6 dropped six ponies to meet Euro IV emission norms.
All this while, the underpinnings will likely remain unchanged. The necessities–upside-down forks, monoshock, 17-inch wheels, sticky rubber–are already part of the package, so there’s no ‘need’ per se. But we do hope the supersport ditches its Nissin calipers for Brembo units, just for that extra stopping power.
Though the power will go down, Kawasaki won’t skip out on the opportunity to load the 2024 ZX-6R with refreshed rider aids. Since the current generation already has traction control, two power modes, ABS, and an up-only quickshifter, Team Green will simply top off the package with an auto-blipper, dedicated ride modes, and cornering ABS. Access to all this will be easier too, courtesy of a new TFT instrument cluster. It’s expected to be the same 4.3-inch display found on the 2023 Ninja ZX-4RR, complete with smartphone connectivity (via the Rideology app) to display phone notifications on the fly. We’d also like Kawasaki’s Engine Brake Control (KEBC), but hey, even the aforementioned bits are good enough for us.
Post the above updates, all that remains are new aesthetics, and we’re happy to report Kawasaki won’t neglect this. Team Green’s subtle teaser of the Ninja reveals a sharper fascia, inspired by the 2023 Ninja ZX-10R. This will not only add a new lease of life to the supersport but will bring it in line with its elder sibling. However, not much is known about the design, so we’ll wait for the final reveal before any concrete remarks. Still, we can bet there will be an assortment of new color options for 2024–a no-brainer considering Kawasaki has added new liveries to the 6R almost every year since ‘19.
Finally, let’s talk pricing. The 2023 Ninja ZX-6R currently starts from $10,699 and goes up to $11,999. So if all the updates indeed make their way, we expect this price to increase somewhere between $700 to $1,000, which means a tentative $11,500 MSRP. This will bring it right in the ballpark of the $11,499 Aprilia RS 660, while still undercutting the $11,699 Suzuki GSX-R600 and the $12,099 Honda CBR600RR. In turn, the price will increase its distance from the $9,699 Ninja ZX-4RR, which currently seems hard to justify, priced just $1,000 less than the 6R.
Like what you see? Then, we suggest you match your timer with Kawasaki USA’s official website, so you don’t miss the full reveal on June 6, 2023. Or simply roll into TopSpeed.com as we’ll bring you all the updates right here.