Skip to main content

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Japanese sports motorbike

'Fast', 'dynamic', 'exciting' ... just three of the descriptions provided by the letter 'Z', when attached to a Kawasaki motorbike. The ZX-6R - released in 2003 - deserved all of those plaudits, and more. A race-bred riot on wheels, it had a licence to thrill, on the road, too. As uncompromising as they come, the ZX-6R made 116bhp ... and that was before the ram-air system kicked in! Top speed was 160mph - impressive for a 636cc 'middleweight'. The fact that the bike weighed in at just 354lb could only assist its awesome acceleration.

The ZX-6R's chassis was well up to the task of keeping all this power in line. Among its attributes were twin radial front brake calipers - derived directly from Kawasaki's racing programme. For sure, the ZX-6R's seats were not designed for comfort! But - crouched race-style atop the plot - rider and pillion were well-placed to steer the beast. The lack of leverage from the stubby 'bars meant 'hanging off' through the corners ... an art best acquired with caution! But - with weight distribution correctly addressed - the reward was high-precision handling.

Just as a single letter says so much when it is a 'Z', so a single colour can speak volumes. Every shade in the spectrum has bedecked bikes at one time or another. But seldom has a hue had quite the impact of 'Kawasaki lime-green'. Since the '70s hey-day of the 'Green Meanies' - those evil-handling H2R racers - lime-green has adorned so many 'Kwakkers' that it is virtually a part of the marque. It suited the ZX-6R perfectly. The bike restored Kawasaki's status as sports-bike supremos. 'Zzzzz'? Nah!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Chrysler Airflow

The Chrysler Airflow was where Art met Science! The lines of its bodywork were drawn from aerodynamics - at a time when that discipline was a mere glint in a boffin's eye! Certainly, it was far from being routinely used in automotive design. Indeed, the Airflow was the first production car to feature the fledgling craft. A 'wind tunnel' was duly developed. Even today, such systems are considered arcane ... but, in the early '30s, they were tantamount to a black art! The engineering wizards overseeing the project were Carl Breer, Fred Zeder, and Owen Skelton. Breer was the catalyst ... he had been first to be smitten by the science of aerodynamics. Zeder and Skelton soon followed suit. And it did no harm at all when Orville Wright - father of aviation - was brought on board! More than 50 test cars were built. By means, then, of painstaking refinements, the Chrysler Airflow gradually took shape.But the Airflow was not just about aerodynamics. 'Weight lo…

NSU Ro80

The styling of the NSU Ro80 was ahead of its time. At first glance, masses of glass were straight out of science-fiction. Closer inspection revealed the gently rising line of its profile - giving it a low front, high back stance - which would influence automotive design for years to come. The 5-seater body was supremely aerodynamic for a saloon car - making cruising at speed a breeze. So flawless was it outwardly that it was hardly touched in ten years of production. Just the tail-lights were modified, on later versions.The Ro80's handling was equally impressive. FWD - and precision power-steering - kept it perfectly pointed. The long-travel strut suspension soaked up bumps. High-efficiency disc brakes were fitted all round. The 3-speed semi-automatic transmission swept through the gears with aplomb. Top speed was a sound 112mph.But, of course, nothing is perfect. The Ro80 was powered by a twin-rotor Wankel engine. Unfortunately - in a rush to get the car into showroom…

FN Four

In terms of breakthroughs in the history of motorcycling, there cannot be many to rival the first in-line four engine. Belgium was the birthplace of this landmark layout. FN was the much-to-be-thanked manufacturer.The FN Four first hit the highway in 1911. It produced 4bhp. That, from a 491 cc capacity. At the time, such figures described state-of-the-art technology. Top speed for the FN Four was 40mph. Not bad - for an 8-valve inlet-over-exhaust set-up. Oh, it was air-cooled.The FN Four was light - tipping the scales at 165lb dry. Not only the motor, but the chassis, too, was avant-garde. It featured an early form of telescopic forks. A new-fangled clutch - and 2-speed 'box - only added to the FN Four's slick box of tricks. Solid shaft-drive output the power. Who, then, designed this visionary vintage? You will not hear the name Paul Kelekom shouted from motorcycling's rooftops. But, you should - for it was he who fashioned the FN Four. In so doing, he ki…