Update: The 2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R has been officially unveiled. And yes, it looks just like we said it would. Click here for information, images and analysis.
To put it nicely, the current ZX-6R is a bit disappointing. Compared to rivals like the CBR600RR, 2009 Triumph Daytona 675 and 2008 Yamaha R6 — three of the best motorcycles ever made — the Kawasaki looks bloated, is overweight and underperforming, especially in the handling department. With a new model due next year, expect Kawasaki to pull out all the stops in order to compete.
Inspiration will be drawn from the current ZX-10R, so handling should
be sharp, to say the least, while the exhaust will move down low,
GP-style. As per usual, also expect to see less weight and more power.
The bike we'd like to see would represent a return to the quasi-exotic
2003/4 ZX-6R, which had a reputation as challenging, but ultimately
incredibly fast. That model transcended the 600cc class (and not just
with its 636cc capacity) to become not just one of the most desirable
bikes of the time, but of the decade.