This is the 636cc 2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R

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The first clear photos of the new 2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R have leaked. Not only is Kawasaki returning to a 636cc capacity, but it looks like the bike adapts the ZX-10R’s aggressive styling.

Update: now with video.

As you can see looking at these side-on shots of the old bike (above) and new bike (below), the frame, tail, swingarm and tank appear to be carry overs, with new plastics and brake calipers being the main difference. Oh, and projector headlamps too. Also, is that an ABS sticker on the front mudguard of the ’13? Fingers crossed, but we don’t spot wheelspeed rings.

Previously, an EPA document revealed that the bike will have 129bhp, making it the most powerful “600″ on the market.

  • tomwito

    The paint is still straight outta 1990. Forget helmets, why can’t bike manufactures make a solid color bike that isn’t black?

    • Ben W

      There’s always a CBR250R with your name on it!

      • tomwito

        I have a Daytona 675 solid black. And not to come off a total douche but 250s are way too slow.

        • tomwito

          as a* total douche.

        • Ben W

          I love my Z1000 and have no delusions about my fiancee’s CBR250R power output, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun to ride.

          I find it easy to overstate necessary power. My bike is far more than what I need.

          • tomwito

            I ride mostly on the highway in south Florida. Passing power is a must. Drivers here suck, it’s a proven fact. When you’re doing 80 on a wet highway and you got a redneck in a lifted F250 tailgating you. You want that extra power to get the hell away from him.

  • NewOldSchool

    Do all Kawasaki creative briefs start with;

    “Here is the exhaust canister, it is scientifically the ugliest shape we could come up with. Design the rest of the bodywork around this.”

    I dunno, I think the alien insect look is getting old. Am I the only one that thinks Kawi had it right with the 03-04 636? That tail was so clean!

    • stephen

      I had an 04. Loved the styling. Clean and flowing with very little breaks in the bodywork.

      • The Blue Rider

        Mass-market motorcycle styling is something which I’d enjoy seeing HFL’s take on, maybe with an interview or an article?

        A friend of mine had an ’08 ZX-6R and to my eye, it was much, much different than, say, a 2010. Kawasaki’s aesthetic was round and sculptural for a while there; things hardened and sharpened up across the lineup around the 09/10 model years, and have moved onwards to “insectoid”, picking up ugly-ass exhausts along the way. Frankly I loved my friend’s 08, and I like some of the shaping on later models like my own ’09 250R, the Ninja 1000, and the ZX-10R… But the recent insect look doesn’t do it for me.

        Who is responsible for the “look” of bodywork at a Big Four company? How does it change? Has anybody ever interviewed the guy in charge of body styles at, say, Kawasaki, or Honda?

        Given the editorial focus on the health of the motorcycle market in the U.S. I think there might be something to learn here. I wouldn’t be surprised if once again, the U.S. is not the real driver of the styling decisions; it’s probably going to be the richer kids in Indonesia’s custom scene who drive the Kawasaki art department’s focus. I know Suzuki sent the designer of the Hayabusa to the U.S. for their 2008 (?) model refresh, and he came away inspired to make changes based not just on what the ‘busa riders wanted, but the looks and styles of the riders themselves.

        On the other hand, with a breakout product like the CBR250R, what was Honda thinking? Here they have a chance to grab the 250 market in the U.S. as well as the rest of the world… And they come out with something that doesn’t necessarily look like a Praying Mantis on Walt’s blue meth… I’d be interested to know how these decisions are made, and who does the pencil work.

        • Wes Siler

          Some companies are proud of their designers. See:

          Others would prefer they never saw the light of day. An interview with the designer at Kawasaki will sadly never happen. We’ve requested such from every single bike maker.

          • michael uhlarik

            You have been asking the wrong people.

            The Japanese big four have the same depth of design skill arguable more) than anybody else, and chose not to highlight the individuals above the product. It is an Eastern way of thinking, and actually pretty classy.

            As far as Aprilia and the Europeans are concerned, they are proud only of the head of the design department and never feature the names or faces of the designers doing the actual work (which in Aprilia’s case means monssieurs Frison, Capella, Gonzalles, et. al.), unlike Yamaha who feature the design staff on their own website.

            When HFL wants to get serious about talking to designers, give me a call.


            • JMcMahon


              I can think of one exception to your argument, Tadao Baba and the CBR 900RR. I believe the last years of 900RR’s prior to the 929 have his signature cast into the plastics. I can’t think of any other Japanese engineer that that has highlighted as mush as Baba San. I understand that in Japanese business culture the group is of greater importance than the individual. Which makes Baba’s shining star seem all the more perplexing. Maybe you could shine some insight on this story?

    • Glenngineer

      I love the 06 generation. Especially in black, probably one of the most elegant bikes ever to roll out of Japan.

    • aristurtle

      Emissions standards. The tiny exhaust cans and no separate catalytic converter used to cut it, because the US EPA didn’t update the standards for motorcycles between 1978 and 2005, and the EU was similarly neglectful. Since 2010, the EPA has implemented their “Tier II” standards, which are about six times as strict as what you might be used to, and the EU started requiring motorcycles to meet the Euro4 standard for the 2012 model year. They’re requiring bikes to meet Euro5 for 2015, the same as the cars there need to meet today.

      So the muffler is bigger, and a lot of bikes are getting separate catalytic converters, too. Take a look at the Ninja 300 brochure in the article from last week; there’s a picture there with the bottom fairing removed.

      (And really, if a little extra weight and a somewhat uglier muffler can bring NOX emissions from “don’t give a shit how much” down to <0.8 g/km, with no real impact on engine performance, that's not bad. The tech is quite a bit better than it used to be.)

      • NewOldSchool

        I have no problem with the size,as I understand it’s necessary. It’s when they cloak them in “Space Robot Bazooka Canon” garb they lose me.

    • Eben

      Why the Ugly Motorcycle Mufflers? – by Kevin Cameron.

      • richard gozinya

        Reading that, it makes electrics look even more attractive.

      • NewOldSchool

        Kevin Cameron (and more so Peter Egan) are my literary heroes.

  • Frosty_spl

    Dammit I want a lime green Kawasaki. One Color.

    • Mark D [EX500]

      Lime green on purple, ’95 all over again.

      • Jesse

        There is a green on white on purple ZX7 outside my office right now. Hot.

  • Tony

    I like it. You have to imagine it in pure track/race mode.
    What class you race this in though?

  • Patrick from Astoria


    It’s simply too much for public roads, I’m better off on a CBR250R, it’ll be the entry-level squid bike of choice, I’ve got no money, and the supersized exhaust bins have regularly started to look really stupid.

    And I will probably be up until one AM thinking about this damn thing and how I want to ride it to California and back doing triple digits as much as possible. I even like the green/black mix.

    Longings like these are diseases without cures.

  • Johndo

    Have a look at the 2013 Versys 650 (brown) and 1000 colors (orange-ish)…or the canary yellow 6R-N…If it was my company a few heads in the color department would be rolling. Now the kawa green is a classic and will always find a crowd. Personnaly I prefer black, titanium, and charcoal, (The Ninja 1000 looks awesome) but hey that’s just me.

    • The Blue Rider

      I think the “company color” should always be available. For example, I don’t understand why green isn’t available on the Versys. It was missing from some years of the Ninja 250R also. Now they aren’t the “sportiest” of models, true, and it seems like lately Kawasaki understands that, like it or not, the 250R is a brand representative product for them, hence the availability of green in the last 2-3 model years… But maybe there are idiots like me out there who just want green on their Kawasaki, even if it is an upright, long-legged 650 twin rather than a track rocket.

      I’d love to have a post-2011 model Versys in Candy Lime Green. I’m kind of sick that way. :)

  • filly-fuzz

    do they all come with stuntah fuel tanks?

    • Chris Davis

      I have to think that is the primary market for these bikes. The 636 has been the bike of choice in that crowd since it arrived and I’m sure the supply is dwindling.

  • the_doctor

    What is the upper limit of power for a 600? 129bhp seems pretty extreme.

    • zero

      There isn’t necessarily an upper limit to horsepower. There is a theoretical limit to torque produced, but as long as they keep building these to rev higher and higher, the power will climb semi-proportionally.

    • richard gozinya

      Depends on the 600. The NRV588 makes what, 165 hp?

      • zero

        That’s a rotary though. That introduces a whole other set variables that make comparison difficult.

        • Tony

          Most of the guys I ride with at the track are on R6′s an with full systems come in at around 122 hp at the rear wheel on Markbilt’s dyno. My 09 675 with full arrow system comes in at 1119 hp. TS

          • runrun

            holy shit that’s a lot! most powerful 675 ever!

  • circuitsports

    wsbk 600′s bikes are up over 170hp, the last one I saw dynoed 3 years ago made 154 at the rear wheel so there is plenty to be made.

    the styling on the kawaski is gross, better than the s1000r’s anime squint weirdness but nowhere near the cbr.

    It almost seems like every model they have created in some country that is just seeing fast and the furious for the first time.

    Dear Kawi make a classy bike and you wont have to hype the crap out of it – ask ducati.