2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R | Preview

2012 Kawasaki Motorcycle

It all began back in 1985 with the introduction of the ZX600-A1. The midweight sportbike was an immediate success, both on the road and the race track.

Over the years, Kawasaki continued to develop the prowess of this middleweight supersport machine, with the latest edition being the 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.

The 2012 edition is a carry-over model, with only new color options available. But carry-over doesn't mean out of performance standards.

The Ninja ZX-6R features everything needed for on- and off-track domination - a 599cc engine, twin spar aluminum frame and advanced Showa suspension.

That DNA begins with a 16-valve, DOHC inline-four engine that's everything a top-shelf middleweight powerplant should be: supremely powerful, smooth, and blessed with hammer-like reliability.

It all begins with the 16-valve, DOHC 599cc engine features a 13.3:1 compression ratio. The motor. Most of the performance derives from combustion efficiency.

Kawasaki says: "Cylindrical guides in the top of the airbox guide the fuel charge into the intake funnels directly to reduce buffeting and improve cylinder filling. Advanced cylinder head porting slams the air/fuel charge into and out of the combustion chamber post-haste, while high-current secondaries in the ignition coils provide hot, consistent spark at all rpm for maximum combustion impact.

"The engine's mid-range performance also benefits from double-bore velocity stacks with inlets at two different heights, special-profile pistons with low piston-ring tension for reduced friction, and advanced cam chain guides for the highest degree of cam-chain stabilization."

And though the ZX-6R's engine features top performance at all rpms, it's all regulated smoothly due to DFI that features four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles and two injectors per throttle body. The bike all features a cassette-type 6-speed transmission, which allows for easy gear changes at the track, and a high-tech slipper clutch.

The chassis is created for all-out performance, too, from the twin-spar aluminum frame, Showa Big Piston front fork, a gas-charged shock that features dual-range (high- and low-speed) stepless compression damping, 25-way adjustable rebound damping and fully adjustable spring preload mated to a bottom-link Uni-Trak system.

Add optimal braking and bodywork, along with ergonomics fine-tuned to enhance feedback from bike to rider rather than vice-versa, and the 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R is ready for any style needed, whether on the street or the race track.

Following are highlights, specs, color options and MSRP for the 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.2012

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Highlights:


  • Camshafts are made of chrome-moly steel
  • Lightweight magnesium engine covers are standard
  • Lightweight top injector mounting plate
  • Lightweight transmission gears and gear dogs
  • Lightweight oil pump and starter gears
  • Inlet pressure pulse monitor does away with cam angle sensor, further contributing to lightness
  • Cassette-type transmission makes it easy to quickly swap gear ratios, reducing set-up time at the track
  • Double-bore velocity stacks feature inlets at two different heights for increased performance in both the mid and high-rpm ranges
  • Cam and tappet nitriding enables high-load cam profiles for maximum performance
  • Crown-finished pistons
  • Molybdenum-coated piston skirts for reduced friction and engine break-in
  • Low-tension piston rings reduce mechanical losses
  • Advanced cam chain guides stabilize chain motion and further reduce mechanical losses
  • Exhaust collector layout contributes to superb low
  • and mid-range performance while maintaining high-rpm performance
  • Cylindrical guides in the top of the air cleaner box ensure accurately sprayed fuel mist from the secondary injectors into the intake funnels, improving combustion efficiency
  • Long throttle bodies between oval sub-throttles and round main throttles yield a smooth intake transition for reduced inlet turbulence and increased efficiency
  • Advanced cylinder porting delivers excellent cylinder filling and scavenging
  • High-current secondary coil circuitry for optimum combustion efficiency


  • Twin spar aluminum frame is both lightweight and rigid, and places the engine in the optimum position for superb handling and rider feedback
  • The sub-frame is a two-piece aluminum die-casting consisting of a front and rear section
  • The lightweight sub-frame is very narrow for a compact and slim rear end
  • Intake resonator box and supports for the instrument panel and mirrors are unitized with the ram air duct, contributing to weight savings and increased rigidity
  • Frame stiffness around the swingarm pivot and the rear engine mounts optimizes front-rear rigidity balance
  • Engine is rotated forward around the output shaft for steeper intake angle and excellent CG
  • Exhaust layout with a short side muffler keeps the weight low
  • Exhaust pre-chamber further contributes to mass centralization


  • Seat-peg-bar relationship places handlebars close to the rider; bars are angled for a highly intuitive and comfortable riding position
  • Fuel tank is flared around its top, similar to the ZX-10R, providing a large contact patch for excellent rider feedback
  • Slim-waisted fuel tank makes it easy for the rider to grip the tank with their knees, or to hang off in turns
  • Sculpted seat allows the rider to shift their body far back on the rear seat step, helping to reduce rider fatigue
  • Steep rake angle for quick steering response and enhanced communication from the front tire
  • Rear brake master cylinder reservoir forward of the swingarm mount frees up space around the footpeg for simplicity and weight savings
  • Narrow rear sub-frame makes it easy to reach the ground
  • Front of seat is narrow and low for a slim riding position and a short reach to the pavement


  • ZX-6R features Showa's Big Piston Front fork (BPF) design for fantastic wheel and chassis control
  • The BPF eliminates many of the internal components used in a cartridge-type fork, simplifying construction and resulting in lighter overall fork weight
  • The large diameter of the BPF's internal piston allows a reduction in damping pressure for better feedback and smoother action


  • Radial calipers and 300mm petal-type discs up front offer superb braking power and control
  • 220mm rear petal-type disc
  • Rear brake lever is mounted coaxially with the footpeg for excellent mid-stroke braking efficiency and optimum feel

Ohlins Steering Damper:

  • A race-quality adjustable Öhlins steering damper with relief valve and twin-tube design is fitted as standard equipment

Additional Highlights:

  • Highly evolved fairing offers great wind protection and minimizes cross-wind effects
  • Position lamps are integral to the projector beam headlights
  • One-piece fender offers excellent aerodynamics
  • Inner fender above the swingarm helps to reduce turbulence and keeps the undertail clean
  • Front brake hose routing with a three-way joint at the lower triple clamp facilitates bleeding air from the brake lines
  • Instrument panel gives the rider plenty of information at a glance

2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Specs:

  • Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
  • Displacement: 599 cc
  • Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 42.5mm
  • Compression Ratio: 13.3:1
  • Fuel System: DFI with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles, two injectors per throttle body
  • Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
  • Transmission: 6-Speed
  • Final Drive: X-Ring Chain
  • Rake/Trail: 24 deg / 4.1 in.
  • Frame type: Aluminum perimeter
  • Front Tire Size: 120/70-ZR17
  • Rear Tire Size: 180/55-ZR17
  • Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
  • Front Suspension / wheel travel: 41 mm inverted Showa Big Piston fork with top-out springs, stepless compression and rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in.
  • Rear Suspension / wheel travel: Bottom-link Uni-Trak with gas-charged shock, top-out spring and pillow ball upper mount, dual-range (high-/low-speed) stepless compression damping, 25-way adjustable rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload / 5.3 in.
  • Front Brakes: Dual 300mm petal rotors with dual radial-mounted, four-piston, four-pad calipers
  • Rear Brakes: Single 220mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal.
  • Seat Height: 32.1 in.
  • Curb Weight: 421.2 lbs.
  • Overall Length: 82.3 in.
  • Overall Width: 28.0 in.
  • Overall Height: 43.9 in.
  • Warranty: 12 months
  • Good Times Protection Plan: 12, 24, 36 or 48 months

2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Color Options/MSRP:

  • Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black / $10,299
  • Passion Red/Metallic Spark Black / $10,299
  • Metallic Spark Black/Flat Ebony / $10,299



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