2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R (636), Ninja 300, ZX-14 ABS Unveiled

Cycle News Staff | September 13, 2012

Kawasaki announced today the re-introduction of the 636 version of the Ninja ZX-6R, a pumped up Ninja 300 (which replaces the previous Ninja 250R), and new Ninja ZX-14R ABS. Here are some of the highlights:

The new 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.

The new 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.

Pretty much everything about the ZX-6R (a.k.a. Ninja ZX636) is new and will be offered with and without ABS (ZX-6R and ZX-6R ABS models). The 636cc motor is completely revamped. It features a longer stroke, new selectable engine power modes, three-mode KTRC traction control, new pistons, revised 12.9:1 compression ratio, upgraded transmission and a new F.C.C. clutch with Assist and Slipper Functions.

It also gets new and larger disc brakes. The front brake has new radial-mount Monobloc Brakes with Nissin calipers, which Kawasaki says are lighter, better distributes heat and significantly improves control and yields a firmer feel at the lever.

The Ninja ZX-6R ABS model features Kawasaki’s new Supersport-grade KIBS ABS system. The ABS system adds 4.4 pounds compared to the non-ABS models.

A new suspension graces the ’13 ZX-6R. Up front is a new Showa Big Piston – Separate Function Fork (BP-SFF). This fork features springs on both sides, with dedicated preload adjustability in the left tube and dedicated damping pistons and adjustability in the right tube. Kawasaki claims that the forks are lighter and offer smoother action during the initial part of the stroke and contributes to improved feel during heavy braking.

In the back, the Uni-Trak suspension features a single shock that has a 25mm longer spring and features a softer rate than the previous model to enhance ride comfort. The shock also rides on a new suspension linkage for a higher leverage ratio.

The ZX-6R’s twin-spar aluminum frame isn’t radically changed. Kawasaki says its been “revised” and has a new steeper 23.5-degree rake angle for quicker steering.

And its all wrapped with all-new bodywork.

The new Ninja 300…

The new Ninja 300…

The Ninja 250R gets more displacement for 2013 and a new name – Ninja 300. It’s powered by a larger 296cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin motor, which Kawasaki claims offers “significantly” more performance than the previous 250. Kawasaki also says that the new engine has nearly 50 percent of its parts upgraded from the Ninja 250R.

Some of the engine upgrades include new intake ports that taper from 1mm wider at the throttle body to .5mm wider at the valve seat, new 23.6mm intake valves that are 1mm larger than last year, a new cam chain that offers reduced friction, a revised 10.6:1 compression ratio that allows the use of regular gasoline and lowers operating temperatures, and new lighter pistons that feature a hard anodized coating for reduced friction.

It also has a new easy-to-access cartridge-type spin-on oil filter that helps simplify maintenance.

The six-speed transmission has been beefed up in key areas to help cope with the extra torque from the new 296cc engine. It also gets the new F.C.C clutch with Assist and Slipper functions.

The 300 features a new frame that uses new high-tensile steel main tubes that are 150 percent more rigid than the tubes in last year’s model. Revised tube shapes and additional gusseting also help provide better longitudinal stiffness. To counterbalance the more rigid frame, there are new rubber front engine mounts. Plus, suspension has softer spring rates.

The 300 also has updated ZX-10R-inspired bodywork. New 10-spoke wheels also give it a new look, and the rear rim is now a half-inch wider, which accepts 140-section tires. The rear tire is also 10mm wider. New IRC RX-01R tires were developed in conjunction with Kawasaki specifically for the Ninja 300.

The 2013 Ninja ZX-14R ABS.

The 2013 Ninja ZX-14R ABS.

The R-designated Ninja ZX-14R, which made its debut last year as an almost entirely new motorcycle, will now be offered with ABS as an option.

Prices have yet been announced.