Photography By: Kevin Wing and Adam Campbell
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the first appearance of Kawasaki’s 636cc ZX-6R. Back then it was not only a great streetbike, but it was also a Supersport contender when the AMA had both the 600 and 750cc Supersport (also known as the Suzuki GSX-R750 class) classes so it made perfect sense to have a pumped-up 600 to compete on a more level playing field with the 750s.
At the original ZX-6R 636 press launch there was a lot of talk and questions – most of which were along the lines of: Why you would take a perfectly good 600 and make a 636 out of it? Well at least then you could race the 636 in an AMA National and Kawasaki did – with great success.
Now it’s a different story. So this time around I found myself asking the same question. Sure you can show up at most any club race and find several classes for the 636, but there is no National or for that matter international race meeting that has a class suitable for such a bike. Furthermore when Kawasaki first introduced the 636 the industry as a whole was well flush and you could afford to stray off the beaten path and explore new concepts and design models. These last several years though have been tough for the motorcycle industry with most manufacturers running a tight ship and stretching out previous model runs to keep costs in check.
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