Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Kawasaki Appeals to Big Burly Brits; on Two Wheels

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Kawasaki Appeals to Big Burly Brits; on Two Wheels

Article excerpt


IT'S funny how when the Press says you should do one thing, the public does exactly the opposite.

Despite pundits shouting and screaming that Honda's CBR600RR trounces the Kawasaki ZX-6R on road plus track, us Brits still bought more of the ZX-6Rs than any other super sport 600 in 2007. So what's that all about then?

Kawasaki has tried numerous tactics to beat Honda's sexy new CBR600RR on both road and track; its ZX-6R has gone from 599cc to 636cc and then back down to 599cc, changed from a sports-tourer to a razor-sharp track tool. A higher-spec homologation ZX-6RR was also built for four years then dropped before the 2007 model.

This latest model comes with an all-new look, including under seat exhausts and all the essential track-derived parts including slipper clutch and powerful radial brakes.

But it looks bulky, almost dated already; it's physically big for a class dominated by super-sleek race-replicas. And it weighs 12kg more than the Honda.

I reckon it looks odd too, almost fish-like with those funny shaped headlamps and bulbous fairing. I love how increasingly tiny the super sport 600s are becoming, but I must not forget I'm a size-10 girly and big burly men dwarf them, which is hardly conducive to a comfy ride and looks a bit ridiculous.

Clamber on board the ZX-6R and it's roomy, with its relatively big, wide seat and well-spaced footrests. But despite its size it feels mean - there's something about the Kawasaki brand that has a real bad boy (in my case girl) image about it.

This 600 appears to carry its weight high as it doesn't turn in with the eagerness of the CBR. And when it does it flops on its side, a bit like the top-heavy Aprilia RSV1000.

Once in the corners the chassis is outstanding. Excellent feel from the front gives me the confidence to power through the turns. …

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