Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ridden: 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 636

Just recently I found myself locked in conversation with non-bikers. You know, the type that get overly excited about watching a movie or baking a cake. Half way through the conversation I had already drifted off. I was picturing myself jumping into a small continental crack and hitting the earths burning core until I heard the word Ninja. Somehow the conversation switched to bikes, and although this person had no concept of a motorcycle, or even a bicycle for that matter, she knew of the Ninja. Impressed. 

The lime green colours found on Kawasaki Ninja’s today have turned the Ninja into an instantly recognizable machine. Non-bikers and bikers alike can spot you coming from a mile away and the name Ninja itself has almost created a sub brand amongst those not familiar with biking.

Today, the Kawasaki Ninja is a formidable machine, in the superbike, and now Supersport classes with the introduction of the 636.

The 636 has been around before. It was last manufactured in 2006. This new 2013 model features an array of electronic gizmos making it the most technologically advanced supersport on the market. Although I might of forgotten about the MV Agusta F3, which is also a Laptop with an engine.

The name 636 is derived from the uprated engine capacity which, as you might of guessed, is 636cc’s. This is up from the standard ZX6R’s capacity of 599cc. As a result there is more torque and improved get-up-and-go.

I’ve always said that Suzuki’s GSX-R750 is an excellent choice of machine as some might find the step from 600’s to 1000’s is a bike one. So the slightly increased capacity of the 636 does provide (lighter) riders with increased performance.


Although we could go on for days with the new additions found on the 636, here are the important ones.

·         KTRC

This is Kawasaki’s traction control system, of which there are 3 settings or you can turn the system off all together. Kawasaki’s traction control system is excellent however one will struggle to push the 636 to the point where it is activated due to the large amount of grip already present. Does a Supersport require traction control? Well maybe if you hit an oil spill or an ice patch, or if your name is Kenan Sofuoglu.

·         Selectable power modes

Output at low- rpm is the same in both modes, but “Low” mode limits engine output to approximately 80% and gives a milder throttle response.

·         F.C.C Slipper clutch with assist.

Essentially the engineers at Kawasaki have improved the clutch so it has a lighter action making it easier for the rider.   

·         Showa Big Piston – Separate Function Fork (SSF)

The BP –SFF features springs on both sides, with dedicated preload adjustability in the left tube and dedicated damping pistons and adjustability in the right tube. The BP-SFF design offers much easier adjustability, by locating all adjusters in the caps at the top of the two fork tubes: preload on the left, compression and rebound damping on the right.

All these additions have made the 636 a formidable middleweight machine. The 636 is really easy to ride and one can have a tremendous amount of fun on-board the 636.

Criticisms of the 636 include the aggressive riding position which puts a lot of strain on your hands. Stomp grips will be a prerequisite for owners of the 636. Also there is a snappy throttle response which unsettles the bike mid corner at low speeds. So for town riding it is recommended to leave the bike in the L power mode.

Another problem with the 636 comes in the form of Honda’s ever popular CBR600RR which has just been released. Expect to see a shootout between these two models soon.

Thanks KMSA.


·         Huge styling improvement from the previous squint ZX6R
·         Electronic gizmos makes geeks and weekend warriors smile from ear to ear
·         Increased capacity helps with torque and power increase
·         Easy to ride


·         Expected price
·         Aggressive riding position
·         Snappy power delivery in H power mode (mid corner at low speed) 

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