2009 Supersport Shootout

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2009 Supersport Shootout

Post by ganahsokmo on Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:16 pm

Everyone loves a close fight. Whether
it’s Ali and Foreman duking it out for a full 15 rounds or if it’s the
Steelers eking out a narrow victory over the Cardinals in the Superbowl,
a closely contested match-up is always fun to watch.

Which is why our annual Supersport Shootout never fails to attract
loads of eyeballs to Motorcycle.com. It’s a never-ending tussle
of one-upsmanship among the Japanese manufacturers, as models that
ruled in one year often get usurped by the latest and greatest newly
developed contenders.
The Ninja is the only
supersport from the Big Four that received a major update for ’09. Will
it be the clear standout this year?


This year continues that theme. In our ’08 comparo, we judged Honda’s
CBR600RR to be the class leader: Its combination of the category’s
strongest powerband, exemplary chassis and suspension, and Honda’s
typically high levels of fit and finish made it our favorite 600. The
double-R got some slight revisions for ’09, finally getting some modern
turnsignals in addition to revised engine tuning that held a major
surprise (keep reading…). Honda also unveiled its new Combined-ABS
system this year, but our bike wasn’t fitted with that option. You can
read about the brakes and other revisions in our 2009
Honda CBR600RR C-ABS Review.


At the other end of the spectrum is Kawasaki’s ZX-6R. The ’08 model
had some admirable traits, but good looks and a competitive powerplant
weren’t any of them. Team Green fights back this year with a fully
freshened middleweight Ninja, boasting a boosted engine and a nastier
appearance. We found out how good it is after some solo miles in our ZX-6R
street test, and it thrilled us with its hella-strong engine and
sweet handling. We said then that there was no chance of the ZX again
finishing near the back of the pack, and we confirmed it in this
street-biased shootout.

Suzuki brings to the party a GSX-R600 mechanically unchanged from the
revamped version it debuted a year ago. It finished just narrowly
behind the formidable CBR last year, and it impressed us again with its
confidence-inspiring composure, a very competitive engine and notably
improved finish quality.


Yamaha’s YZF-R6 comes into battle in a difficult position. It was our
least favorite 600 in last year’s Shootout,
mostly because of its peaky engine and racer-like riding position that
made it seem out of place on the street. But Yamaha has made some tweaks
to bump up midrange power, remapping the ECU to tweak the
electronically controlled throttle (YCC-T) for “optimal” power in each
gear.

We tore
around the streets and canyons of Southern California to determine the
winner of this street-biased shootout.


As for the Triumph Daytona 675, you’ll notice its absence here. It
received a few upgrades for this model year and would surely be
competitive in this quartet. But the Triple’s extra 76cc over the
Japanese inline-Fours always made it an oddball in this crowd. However,
its MSRP is in the same range as the real 600s, so look for the sexy
Trumpet to go head to head against the winner of this shootout next
month.


So, you’ve now met the players. Think you already know the outcome?
You might, but there are a couple of surprises beginning with the below
sidebar.


Where’d My Ponies Go?
By
Kevin Duke
It’s a rare event when Valentino Rossi doesn’t finish on a GP podium.
It’s even rarer when a sportbike doesn’t make as much power as it did
the year before, but that’s what we have here in the curious case of
missing ponies.


Case in point: the ’09 R6. In recent years the YZF’s powerband has
been biased toward the top end at the expense of middle-rpm power. It
was welcome news when Yamaha reps told us a few months ago they had made
some revisions to enhance the ’09’s midrange grunt. What they didn’t
know at the time was that its peak power has been reduced by about 3.5
hp.



<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">

<tr>
<td>Stop, hey, what’s that
sound, the sound of horsepower going down… Apologies to Buffalo
Springfield.


</td></tr></table>

Case #2: the new CBR. Honda told us during the bike’s press
introduction about its enhanced midrange power. What they didn’t say is
that its top-end steam has been restricted. Our ’08 tester cranked out a
solid 105.5 hp; this new one spat out a relatively meager 97.7 hp on
the same Area P dyno.
We were shocked at what we found, and it was a little bit of a
surprise to our American OEM contacts, too. The question is: why?


One of the new additions to the CBR is an exhaust “power valve” which
has been used on several other motorcycles in the past. The idea is to
have the valve closed at lower revs to enhance low-end power, then open
up for a free-breathing run to peak rpm where maximum power is found.


But an exhaust valve can also play another role. By electrically
closing the valve at certain revs, the auditory volume of the exhaust
sound can be reduced.


That was the case with the ZX-6R for the past few years, as the ECU
of the American ZX closed the exhaust valve at about 13,000 rpm to meet
U.S. noise regulations. This cost the Ninja about 5 hp and a significant
drop-off at high rpm compared to the Euro tuning, as we found in our
“Free Horsepower” sidebar on this
page. The latest ZX is said to suffer just a 2-hp drop in peak
power compared to the Euro spec bikes.



<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">

<tr>
<td>The revised R6 shows a
bump up in power around 9000 rpm, but it suffers considerably at the top
end of its formerly screaming powerband.

</td></tr></table>


<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">

<tr>
<td>The pursuit of less
noise emissions has scraped off a significant amount of power from the
top end of the CBR’s rev range.

</td></tr></table>

Coincidentally – or not – it’s at 13K rpm when the new R6’s power
also begins to drop away from the previous version. Then, at 14K when
the old R6 was climbing to its peak, the ’09 bike is rapidly tailing
off. Yamaha reps say the only changes involve remapped YCC-T settings,
although we wonder if a reprogrammed exhaust valve is the culprit behind
this lost power.

The CBR doesn’t quite follow the above template. The newer bike
begins to fall behind around 10,000 rpm yet remains close for another
2K. But at 12,500 revs the Honda’s power production falls flat while the
’08 RR was still building up steam to its former hp peak at 14K.
Ironically, the RR’s peak power is now 97.7 hp, identical to last year’s
Ninja. Honda has stated that the CBR’s exhaust valve opens at 8000 rpm
in gears 1 and 2, and it opens at 6000 rpm in the higher gears. No
response yet whether the valve closes at high revs.


There’s still some research to be done on this subject as we probe
Honda and Yamaha for more details about the exact changes to their 2009
sportbikes and exactly why they were made. As of this moment, we are
confident the reason is to meet noise regulations. If such
considerations aren’t important to you, a swap to an aftermarket pipe
should yield full power.


So the next time someone mentions an exhaust “power valve,” you might
want to keep in mind that it can also be used as a noise valve.

Specifications

ModelCBR600RRZX-6R
Engine599cc l/c DOHC
inline-4, 16-vlv
6-spd
599cc l/c DOHC
inline-4, 16-vlv
6-spd
Bore & Stroke67mm x 42.5mm67mm x 42.5mm
Compression Ratio12.2:113.3:1
Fuel System40mm Dual Stage Fuel Injection 38mm Keihin FI, twin injectors
FrameTwin-spar alum w/HESDTwin-spar alum w/Ohlins damper
Rake23.5 degrees24.0 degrees
Trail98mm103mm
Wheelbase53.9 inches55.1 inches
Claimed Wet Weight410 lbs421 lbs
Seat Height32.3 inches32.1 inches
Front Suspension41mm USD HMAS, 3-way adjust41mm USD Showa BPF, 3-way adjust
Rear SuspensionUnit Pro-Link, 3-way adjustBottom-Link Uni-Trak, 4-way adjust
Front Brake4-piston radial-monoblock, 310mm discs Radial-monoblock 4-piston/4-pad, 300mm discs
TiresDunlop Qualifiers Bridgestone BT016
Fuel Capacity4.8 gal4.5 gal
Measured R/W HP97.7 @ 12,500 rpm107.7 @ 14,100 rpm
Measured R/W TRQ41.9 @ 11,700 rpm42.9 @ 12,000 rpm
MSRP$9,799 start $9,799
ModelGSX-RR6
Engine599cc DOHC Four, 16 vlv; S-DMS; 6-spd599cc Four; 16 vlv; 6spd
Bore & Stroke67mm x 42.5mm67mm x 42.5mm
Compression Ratio12.8:113.1:1
Fuel System40mm Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV)41mm Mikuni YCC-I and YCC-T w/2-injectors per
FrameTwin-spar w/ elec-controlled steering damperTwin-spar (Deltabox)
Rake23.8 degrees24.0 degrees
Trail96mm97mm
Wheelbase55.1 inches54.3 inches
Claimed Wet Weight432 lbs414 lbs
Seat Height31.9 inches33.5 inches
Front SuspensionUSD 41mm Showa 3-way adjustUSD 41mm; 4-way adjust
Rear SuspensionShowa 46mm, 3-way adjust4-way adjustable
Front BrakeTokico radial 4-piston w/ 310mmRadial 4-piston w/310mm
TiresBridgestone BT-016Dunlop Qualifiers
Fuel Capacity4.5 gals4.6 gals
Measured R/W HP102.7 @ 13,400 rpm100.0 @ 13,400 rpm
Measured R/W TRQ43.2 @ 11,500 rpm41.0 @ 10,900 rpm
MSRP$10,399$9,990 (Raven - black)
Engine
Despite just one of these four bikes being significantly revised for
2009, we’ve got a considerable shuffling of powerbands this year, as
we’ve seen in the above sidebar. However, there is one clear leader in
this quartet.
Kawasaki made several modifications to the engine in this updated
Ninja, and they’ve paid off in a big way. The ZX leads or is close to
leading the pack at most every point in the rev range. At least as
impressive is the lofty peak number of 107.7 hp, which is a chunky 5
ponies more than the next-best GSX-R, and it’s a full 10 hp more than
the neutered CBR.



We didn’t need a dyno
chart to confirm the ZX’s superior powerplant, but here’s the graphic
proof. The CBR had our favorite engine last year, but new tuning has
clipped its top-end power..


The Ninja’s motor makes
us want to stand up and applaud. Well, one thing at a time.

Even the bike with the
softest midrange power is able to pull antics like this without
breathing hard. Note how Pete made sure the Yamaha logo lined up with
the horizon.

Last’s
year’s ZX stood out for its tepid engine; this year it provides
class-leading power that is clearly evident on the street. It is able to
idle away from a stop without any throttle input, and it does easy
second-gear wheelies that the others can’t. Transient throttle response
is very smooth. In a category as tightly contested as this, the Ninja’s
surplus of power throughout its rev range makes it a step ahead of the
others.


Last year the CBR finished ahead of the Gixxer this category on the
merits of its class-leading midrange poke. With the snipping of the
Honda’s top-end power, the GSX-R’s motor was judged to be superior this
time around. The Suzuki has best-in-class power in the 5000-6800-rpm
range, and it clearly beats the CBR and R6 once above 11,000 rpm.


Like the ZX, the Suzi also offers seamless throttle response, and its
clutch is superbly easy to modulate. It offers a thrilling duet of
intake and exhaust sounds, with a prominent intake whoop sounding
especially nasty as the revs climb through the midrange. Its only street
shortcoming is a slight buzz at cruising speeds that can blur the
restricted view from the mirrors. The adjustable ECU mapping of Suzuki’s
Drive Mode Selector was deemed as extraneous for a 600.
Despite the CBR’s ranking demotion in this category, its engine
remains very appealing, especially in street conditions. It’s
particularly strong around 9000 rpm, pumping out more power than its
rivals at that point. Although the CBR offers exemplary manners, it has
two small but noticeable bugaboos. Going into a corner, an aggressive
rider will notice the bike’s lack of a slipper clutch (the only one of
the group without one). And during corner exits, the CBR sometimes
responds a bit abruptly upon re-application of the throttle.
Surprisingly rough engine vibes can put hands to sleep during highway
stints

The R6’s’s revised ECU mapping has unfortunately turned last year’s
screamer into a bit of a moaner. Yamaha says the revised YCC-T settings
are supposed to optimize power output in each gear “to achieve a smooth
and linear power delivery.” Indeed, the R6 seems to pull quite well
through the midrange, thrusting harder during the 8000-11,000-rpm zone,
and it proves to be exceptionally smooth. But when the motor runs out of
breath at 13K rpm, you might wish you were on the ’08 version.


Handling (Chassis, suspension,
etc)

There is a considerable amount of ubiquity in the chassis of these
middleweights, but there are also some significant differences.

All four hang their engines from a twin-spar aluminum main frame,
common fare in this class. The R6 spices things up a bit with a subframe
constructed from magnesium while the others retain aluminum subframes.

There’s little to
complain about when it comes to the GXR-R600’s handling performance.

Showa’s Big Piston Fork
gives the new-for-2009 ZX-6R excellent comfort and control

With the most
aggressive steering geometry tempered by the best in-class steering
damper, the ‘09 CBR600RR retains it position at the top of the handling
heap by way of light and very responsive steering, as well as being
remarkably stable.
The chassis game shows some separation with the Honda taking honors
for most aggressive geometry. The CBR’s 53.9-inch wheelbase is shortest
in the bunch by upwards of an inch; only the R6’s 54.3 inches comes
close. Honda also boasts the steepest rake - by 0.3 degree over the
Gixxer - at 23.5 degrees, but its trail figure is 2mm longer than the
Suzuki's shortest 96mm.
The CBR has some handling and ride quality competition this year from
the ZX-6R. With shortened trail, 1-degree shallower rake angle and the
new Showa Big Piston Fork, the Ninja cuts a sharper line this time
’round. On top of those changes, the Green Machine received numerous
updates to its frame to increase steering response as well as stability
and feedback. Finally, a claimed weight loss of 22 pounds, 2 of which
are from a new, lighter exhaust that’s mounted below the bike instead of
being under tail, enhances the Ninja’s newfound agility.
Keeping the Honda’s sprightly steering numbers in check is
undoubtedly still the most advanced steering damper around, the HESD.
The Suzuki has an electronically controlled steering damper, but it uses
less parameters to it direct it. As part of its 2009 upgrade package,
the Kaw comes with an adjustable Öhlins damper, although its resistance
can’t really be dialed to anything other than “light.” The R6 again
remains without a steering damper of any type.

The double-R and Ninja are pretty evenly matched in front suspension,
both offering a supple, forgiving ride without sacrificing excellent
feedback. One added advantage with the Kawi’s BPF is that both
compression and rebound damping are conveniently located at the top of
each fork leg. Concerning rear suspension performance, the consensus on
the Ninja’s shock was that it seemed a tad over-sprung, at times causing
an unsettled ride over rough pavement.

Though some might call it a bit soft, we prefer to call the Suzuki’s
ride quality very forgiving. Indeed, the Gixxer Sixxer soaks up road
imperfections with aplomb, yet it doesn’t feel like the chassis is
incapable of handling spirited riding. Kevin said that jumping on the
Gixxer was easiest, as he could ride it “quickly and confidently.” And
Mark referred to the Suzuki as “an old friend” in terms of its welcoming
and user-friendly handling.

The R6’s 41mm inverted fork is very similar to GSX-R’s sticks and
thus offers similar ride quality. Its steering geometry is ever so
slightly more relaxed than the Suzuki’s, but the Yami’s wheelbase is
nearly an inch shorter. Since neither bike received chassis changes this
year, the Yamaha retained its position as the least responsive of the
four. Really, though, could any of these bikes be called anything other
than highly-responsive? Not! Hopefully this gives you an idea of the
thin slices of near-perfection that separate this pack.

In mirror-like fashion, all four motorcycles have identical tire
dimensions of 120/70 x 17 and 180/55 x 17, with the Honda and Yamaha
both wearing Dunlop’s Qualifiers while Kawasaki and Suzuki roll on
Bridgestone’s BT-016. Sport tires have come so far in recent years we
feel like we’re stating the obvious when reporting that both tires have
excellent grip, stability and feedback. Duke thinks the ’Stones are a
little bit better.


It seems the real battle for handling supremacy was largely between
last year’s champ, the CBR, and the heavily updated Ninja. “I think
Kawasaki has taken a big step this year with the ZX-6R’s peppier
handling and the Showa BPF, so I’d rate it very close with the Honda,”
exclaimed Mark. Notice he said “very close.”

Nevertheless, boiling down all of the above means the CBR still does
the best job of providing light, response steering while at the same
time instilling confidence by virtue of one helluva stable ride. Having
the lightest claimed curb weight by at least 4 pounds is a sweet bonus,
too! (For “real world” weights of these four see our 2009
Honda CBR600RR C-ABS Review).

Brakes
Before gathering together the Japanese supersport machines, we
speculated that Honda might’ve taken the lead this year in stopping
performance when it upgraded its 600 with the same or very similar
mono-block calipers as found on the CBR1000RR. Then we collected all
four motorcycles and gave the Ninja’s brake lever a squeeze… Kawasaki
hasn’t yielded an inch of ground this year!

The Ninja’s Nissin calipers grab the pair of 300mm petal-type rotors
with incredibly refined power. One pad per piston (4) helps contribute
to the sensation that the rider is directly linked to the brakes.
Honda’s brakes offer similar stopping prowess but simply lack the Kaw’s
sublime feel. Of the Ninja’s brakes, Kevin said simply that they’re
“beyond reproach.”

The Ninja’s top
performing engine is complemented wonderfully by its top performing set
of Nissin brakes. They’re unquestionably the best in this group.


The GSX-R’s brakes – though good enough for about 99% of the riders
that purchase a 600cc supersport – don’t come up to the standard of the
Kawasaki. Just about all of us thought the R6’s brakes were lacking in
sensitivity, but they eventually develop enough power to get the job
done.

Instruments/Controls
With the Ninja as the only all-new bike this year, it’s the only
machine to have updated instruments. The white-faced tach and
neighboring LCD prove to be the best overall package if for no other
reason than because it’s easy to view in detail at a 100-mph glance.
Big Red wins favor for being the only bike that offers a fuel gauge,
albeit in-lieu of a gear-position indicator that is thoughtfully
provided on the GSX-R and ZX. The Yamaha’s attractive display is narrow
and long, but its tach has a black face that makes reading it at high
speeds a bit difficult.

All the bikes offer some type of adjustable brake lever, and Suzuki
one-ups them all with practical 3-position adjustable footpegs that have
a 14mm horizontal and vertical range. One thing the Gixxer mysteriously
doesn’t offer but the others do is a built-in lap timer, although it
does have the unique-to-this-class S-DMS (Suzuki-Drive Mode Selector).
The CBR’s switchgear has a quality feel beyond its competitors,
according to Kevin.

The Suzuki and Kawasaki
match-up closely with one another for best overall instruments and
controls – and they’re the only ones with gear-position indicators. The
ZX impresses for its white-face tach and clear LCD display, while the
Gixxer, for some reason, is the only bike to provide adjustable
footpegs.


Ergos/Comfort
We often lose sight of comfort while screaming down the front
straight at 140-plus, but on the street – where most owners will ride –
small things add up.

In this category, the Gixxer takes our top award. With its adjustable
pegs in their low position and the superior protection of its
windscreen, the Suzuki is the best of the bunch for highway cruising.


“The Suzuki is a bike I feel like I’m sitting in, not on,” Mark
observed, adding that at the other extreme he “definitely feels perched
on the R6.” Indeed, we all sensed that Yamaha infused a racer’s
influence in the R6’s ergos with things like a tight relation between
peg and seat. Additionally, the Yam’s clip-ons are lower and slightly
forward compared to the other three. Anyone with an inseam less than 32
inches will be unable to flat-foot at a stop.

Once again the Ninja mimics last year’s class-leader, the CBR, this
time with a similar rider triangle. Though both feel high in the saddle
compared to the foot-planting lowest seat height of the Gixxer (31.9
inches), they also have wider-set clip-ons that feel nearly on-plane
with their saddles. The Kawasaki and Honda rider triangles offer fairly
neutral riding positions, yet the rider need only crouch forward a
little to be in corner-attack mode.

The CBR’s rider
triangle allows a notably comfortable layout for day-to-day use yet
doesn’t sacrifice performance when the canyons or race tracks call.


Our photo shoots require frequent u-turns on two-lane roads, and it
was during these tight turns that we noticed a tight squeeze between the
bars and the upper portion of the CBR’s fairing at full steering lock.
It caught us off guard more than once while trying to maneuver at low
speeds. We didn’t note similar problems with the other bikes.


Appearance/Styling
This collection is first and foremost concerned with ultimate
performance, and though aesthetics aren’t as important as in, say, the
cruiser world, appearances still mean a lot to the supersport
demographic.

The little Gixxer’s appearance doesn’t morph dramatically from
iteration to iteration; however, we still think this is one of the most
attractive Gixxers in years. Our tester arrived in a relatively simple
color scheme that appealed to most of us, but its tribal-ish detail
accents are obviously thick decals whose edges are readily apparent.
Referring to last year’s ZX’s looks as “a bit rounded and generally
blah,” Kevin feels that the ’09 Ninja’s edgier and sharply creased new
bodywork is a major improvement.

The Yamaha continues to
lead the pack with stunning good looks and attention to detail.

This year was soft-revision year for the Honda, but designers still
managed to hone the CBR’s looks and finally update turnsignal styling.
These little styling tweaks help the Honda maintain its status near the
top for looks. But there’s something very appealing about the
razor-sharp lines and stunning orange and black color scheme of the R6.
It’s the strongest eye magnet of the bunch and has excellent finish
quality.

Odds and ends; things we liked
and didn’t like.

Most of the important features (identical displacement, bore/stroke,
twin-spar frames, wheels, tires, etc.) of each bike are virtually
indistinguishable from one another. Despite this, each maker has taken
time to include – or exclude – some handy little items that often get
overlooked if not completely neglected by sales brochures or spec
sheets.

For instance, Suzuki provides a stylish, color-matched pillion cover
for no additional cost. Covers for the other three are accessory items.
The underside of the Suzuki pillion cover also provides a helmet hook,
and the Kawasaki has a pair of hooks on the tailsection of the subframe,
accessible when the passenger seat or pillion cover is removed.

The Honda also accommodates two helmets, but only with the
passenger seat and not with the optional pillion cover. Riding an R6
means carrying your lid to the grandstands or into the store, but handy
bungee-hook loops attached to the underside of the passenger seat are a
hidden bonus.

Hidden below the Kawi’s
stylish pillion cover is not one but two helmet hooks. It’s the only
bike of the four providing this oft-unappreciated feature without
stipulation for whether the passenger saddle or cover is installed.


Rear preload changes on the Honda are accomplished with an
easy-to-alter ramped adjuster shared with the R6; the others use a more
“finicky locking-ring arrangement,” said Kevin with a little tear
running down his cheek.

Racetrack Impressions
This article concentrates mostly on street-riding conditions, and we
thought it important to break the developing news story about lowered
horsepower of half the bikes in this comparo. Keep your browser tuned to
Motorcycle.com for a follow-up article on how these 600s stack up
(hopefully not literally…) at the track.


Conclusion
Ranking bikes as evenly matched as this quartet is an exercise in
splitting hairs. Our last-place finisher is still a stunning machine
worthy of your love and devotion. It’s perfectly reasonable to choose
any of these sportbikes based on appearances, dealer quality or the
price you can negotiate. But it’s our job to critique motorcycles, so
although the differences are slight, we’re able to provide the following
rankings from last to best.

Yamaha YZF-R6 Specs
At
the bottom of our street-biased rankings is the Yamaha YZF-R6, but it’s
nevertheless a grin-producing machine that remains impressive. If you
want the sportiest looking 600 and are willing to tolerate racy
ergonomics, we can’t blame you if your fires are fanned by the sexy R6.
However, be prepared for relatively lethargic midrange power, a tall
seat height and the most difficult to modulate clutch that make it our
least favorite for general street riding. Yamaha’s revenge may come when
we take this group to the track.

Although the R6
couldn’t match the scores of the others, it can in no way be considered a
loser. No other 600 looks better or has a higher quality of finish


Honda CBR600RR Specs
The
Supersport class has always been the most hotly contested category in
motorcycling, and this is again evident by how last year’s winner has
slipped into third place. It retains its neutral handling that inspires
confidence in all maneuvers, and its finely tuned suspension handles all
situations with undeniable composure. And although the shape and design
of the bodywork is familiar, the RR remains one of the most handsome
bikes in the class, accentuated by its excellent fit and finish. But its
engine is no longer the standout it once was, and its lack of a slipper
clutch is an obvious omission. It runs a dead heat against the
following bike.

The king is dead! No
one could ever question the Honda CBR600RR as an excellent, well-rounded
package, but a surprising top-end power loss this year and continued
lack of a slipper-clutch meant it couldn’t remain on top


Suzuki GSX-R600 Specs
Although
the GSX-R suffers a bit for its apparent non-newness - it feels not a
whole lot changed from its 2006-07 iteration - it impresses as one of
the easiest to simply jump on and ride it quickly and confidently. The
Suzuki proves to be very compliant in all categories – suspension,
throttle pick-up, ergos, composure, steering, clutch and gearbox, and
generally friendly rider comfort. And now that it has a superior engine
to the CBR, the Gixxer Sixxer gets its due by finishing runner-up to the
bold new kid on the block. An MSRP increase to $10,399 is one of the
few marks against it.
The
GSX-R600 impressed us with its versatility and array of features. Its
motor is pretty good, too!


Kawasaki ZX-6R Specs
We’ve
now tried twice to divine the Ninja’s shortcomings (at the racetrack
press intro and on the street back home), but the ZX has proved it’s as
good as it gets in the 600cc category. Combining class-leading power
with a highly responsive and trustworthy chassis are the major elements
of the formula for middleweight class success. And although it might not
be termed as pretty, it’s definitely jumped up in the cool factor
category.
Behold,
the assassin has struck a deadly blow! A decidedly large advantage in
the engine department, class-leading brakes, and a highly-competent
chassis have ratcheted the Ninja to top spot in our 2009 Supersport
Shootout.


What’s it lack? Not much. Slightly taller bars and a higher
windshield would make it more tolerable in around-town and highway use,
but the 6R is as close to perfect as a four-cylinder middleweight
sportbike can be.

Next we get to find out if a day of hot-lapping a racetrack on sticky
Michelin Power Ones will shuffle the order. Stay tuned and pray for the
SoCal rain to stop!


Related Reading:
2009
Supersport Racetrack Shootout
2008
Supersport Shootout
2009
Honda CBR600RR C-ABS Review
2009
Kawasaki ZX-6R Review
2008
Suzuki GSX-R600 Review
2008
Yamaha R6 Review

Specs
Honda
Kawasaki
Suzuki
Yamaha

ganahsokmo

Join date : 16/01/2010
Age : 35

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