Motorcycles

Kawasaki's 200-hp H2 Ninja – the fastest accelerating motorcycle ever

The most obvious difference between the H2 and anything we've seen before is the preposterously meaty mid-range. It's forte is acceleration and everything appears focused on delivering the most breathtaking, hand-of-god acceleration ever.
The most obvious difference between the H2 and anything we've seen before is the preposterously meaty mid-range. It's forte is acceleration and everything appears focused on delivering the most breathtaking, hand-of-god acceleration ever.
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Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honored KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
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Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honored KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honored KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
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Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honored KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honored KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
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Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honored KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honored KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
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Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honored KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honoured KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
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Every decade or so, Kawasaki makes a big statement. The H2 is intended to be a very big statement and it wears the honoured KHI River Mark, a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. This is the symbol of the KHI Group, and its an indication of what we might expect when we get to throw a leg over this beast.
Using a trellis frame construction offered an elegant, lightweight solution to meeting the chassis’ performance requirements. Able to harness the massive power of the engine, it has a balance of stiffness and flexibility that enables a very high level of stability while being able to handle external disturbances at high speeds. Its open design also helps effectively dissipate heat generated by the supercharged engine. Pipe diameter, thickness and bend of each piece of the trellis frame were carefully selected to obtain the necessary stiffness for that part of the frame.
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Using a trellis frame construction offered an elegant, lightweight solution to meeting the chassis’ performance requirements. Able to harness the massive power of the engine, it has a balance of stiffness and flexibility that enables a very high level of stability while being able to handle external disturbances at high speeds. Its open design also helps effectively dissipate heat generated by the supercharged engine. Pipe diameter, thickness and bend of each piece of the trellis frame were carefully selected to obtain the necessary stiffness for that part of the frame.
To facilitate smooth, quick shifting, a dog-ring type transmission was selected. This is the kind of transmission commonly found in MotoGP or Formula 1, and was developed with feedback from the Kawasaki Racing Team. Unlike a standard motorcycle transmission in which shift forks slide the gears into position, with a dog-ring transmission the gears all stay in place. Only the dog rings move, sliding into position to engage the desired gear. A contactless-type quick shifter (a first for a Kawasaki motorcycle) is also fit standard.
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To facilitate smooth, quick shifting, a dog-ring type transmission was selected. This is the kind of transmission commonly found in MotoGP or Formula 1, and was developed with feedback from the Kawasaki Racing Team. Unlike a standard motorcycle transmission in which shift forks slide the gears into position, with a dog-ring transmission the gears all stay in place. Only the dog rings move, sliding into position to engage the desired gear. A contactless-type quick shifter (a first for a Kawasaki motorcycle) is also fit standard.
The combustion chamber design is complemented by a flat piston crown design. Its shape, inspired by the pistons used in the 18-cylinder Green Gas Engine developed by Kawasaki’s Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, also contributes to the engine’s anti-knock performance.
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The combustion chamber design is complemented by a flat piston crown design. Its shape, inspired by the pistons used in the 18-cylinder Green Gas Engine developed by Kawasaki’s Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, also contributes to the engine’s anti-knock performance.
Combustion chamber design eliminates the squish area. Small engines use the squish to generate turbulence that helps promote more thorough fuel-air mixing. However, for a large high-output engine, preventing engine knock was a more important factor: best performance was obtained with a controlled combustion. The combustion chamber is formed by machining; precise control of the chamber volume also helps prevent engine knock.Compared to a naturally aspirated liter-bike, the compression ratio is relatively low at 8.5:1—but ideal when combined with the high-pressure air used in the supercharged engine.
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Combustion chamber design eliminates the squish area. Small engines use the squish to generate turbulence that helps promote more thorough fuel-air mixing. However, for a large high-output engine, preventing engine knock was a more important factor: best performance was obtained with a controlled combustion. The combustion chamber is formed by machining; precise control of the chamber volume also helps prevent engine knock.Compared to a naturally aspirated liter-bike, the compression ratio is relatively low at 8.5:1—but ideal when combined with the high-pressure air used in the supercharged engine.
The supercharger is driven by a planetary gear train, which runs off the crankshaft. Designing the gear train using technology from Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company resulted in a very compact unit, with minimal power loss. The gear train increases the impeller speed to 9.2x the crank speed (via a 1.15x step gear and 8x planetary gear). This means that at maximum engine speed (approximately 14,000 min-1), the impeller shaft is spinning at almost 130,000 min-1. Mounted in a thrust bearing structure, the impeller shaft floats on a film of oil.
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The supercharger is driven by a planetary gear train, which runs off the crankshaft. Designing the gear train using technology from Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company resulted in a very compact unit, with minimal power loss. The gear train increases the impeller speed to 9.2x the crank speed (via a 1.15x step gear and 8x planetary gear). This means that at maximum engine speed (approximately 14,000 min-1), the impeller shaft is spinning at almost 130,000 min-1. Mounted in a thrust bearing structure, the impeller shaft floats on a film of oil.
The impeller is formed from a forged aluminum block using a 5-axis CNC machining center to ensure high precision and high durability. φ69 mm in diameter, it features 6 blades at the tip, expanding to 12 blades at the base. Grooves etched into the blade surfaces help direct the airflow. The impeller’s pumping capacity is over 200 liters/second (at atmospheric pressure), with intake air reaching speeds of up to 100 m/s. After passing through the supercharger, air pressure is increased to as much as 2.4 times atmospheric pressure.
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The impeller is formed from a forged aluminum block using a 5-axis CNC machining center to ensure high precision and high durability. φ69 mm in diameter, it features 6 blades at the tip, expanding to 12 blades at the base. Grooves etched into the blade surfaces help direct the airflow. The impeller’s pumping capacity is over 200 liters/second (at atmospheric pressure), with intake air reaching speeds of up to 100 m/s. After passing through the supercharger, air pressure is increased to as much as 2.4 times atmospheric pressure.
The star-pattern 5-spoke wheel design was selected based on analysis and testing to determine the optimum rigidity balance for high speed performance. The analysis technology used in their development comes from World Superbike. Knurling on the inside of the rear wheel rim helps prevent the tire from slipping on the wheel due to the massive torque generated by the engine. The Ninja H2 is equipped with a massive 200 mm rear tire.
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The star-pattern 5-spoke wheel design was selected based on analysis and testing to determine the optimum rigidity balance for high speed performance. The analysis technology used in their development comes from World Superbike. Knurling on the inside of the rear wheel rim helps prevent the tire from slipping on the wheel due to the massive torque generated by the engine. The Ninja H2 is equipped with a massive 200 mm rear tire.
The Ninja H2 features Kawasaki’s first single-sided swingarm. Having a single-sided swingarm allows the exhaust silencer to be mounted closer to the bike centerline, ensuring a high bank angle for sporty cornering. The Swingarm Mounting Plate, an innovative new chassis mechanism, bolts to the back of the engine. The swingarm pivot shaft goes through this plate, essentially allowing the swingarm to be mounted directly to the engine. Thanks to the Swingarm Mounting Plate, the frame does not need to use cross members for stability, contributing to the frame’s light weight.
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The Ninja H2 features Kawasaki’s first single-sided swingarm. Having a single-sided swingarm allows the exhaust silencer to be mounted closer to the bike centerline, ensuring a high bank angle for sporty cornering. The Swingarm Mounting Plate, an innovative new chassis mechanism, bolts to the back of the engine. The swingarm pivot shaft goes through this plate, essentially allowing the swingarm to be mounted directly to the engine. Thanks to the Swingarm Mounting Plate, the frame does not need to use cross members for stability, contributing to the frame’s light weight.
The KYB fully adjustable mono-shock rear suspension offers superb stability. The top of the rear shock mounts to the Swingarm Mounting Plate. The bottom of the rear shock is mounted via revised Uni-Trak linkage that offers excellent feedback regarding the rear tire’s grip condition to the rider. The new linkage, situated below the swingarm, also mounts to the Swingarm Mounting Plate.
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The KYB fully adjustable mono-shock rear suspension offers superb stability. The top of the rear shock mounts to the Swingarm Mounting Plate. The bottom of the rear shock is mounted via revised Uni-Trak linkage that offers excellent feedback regarding the rear tire’s grip condition to the rider. The new linkage, situated below the swingarm, also mounts to the Swingarm Mounting Plate.
The supercharger used in the Ninja H2 was designed by Kawasaki motorcycle engine designers with assistance from other companies within the KHI Group, namely the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company, and Corporate Technology Division. Designing the supercharger in-house allowed it to be developed to perfectly match the engine characteristics of the Ninja H2. The highly efficient, motorcycle-specific supercharger was the key to achieving the maximum power and the intense acceleration that engineers wanted to offer.
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The supercharger used in the Ninja H2 was designed by Kawasaki motorcycle engine designers with assistance from other companies within the KHI Group, namely the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company, and Corporate Technology Division. Designing the supercharger in-house allowed it to be developed to perfectly match the engine characteristics of the Ninja H2. The highly efficient, motorcycle-specific supercharger was the key to achieving the maximum power and the intense acceleration that engineers wanted to offer.
Air supplied to the supercharger enters via a single Ram Air intake in the left side of the upper cowl. The total frontal area is approximately 6,500 mm2, about 3x the area of the supercharger entrance. The Ram Air duct was designed to route fresh air to the supercharger in as straight a line as possible. Its shape was derived to match the impeller characteristics, further contributing to the engine’s high output. For optimum efficiency for the 200 PS engine, the air cleaner is positioned directly before the supercharger.
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Air supplied to the supercharger enters via a single Ram Air intake in the left side of the upper cowl. The total frontal area is approximately 6,500 mm2, about 3x the area of the supercharger entrance. The Ram Air duct was designed to route fresh air to the supercharger in as straight a line as possible. Its shape was derived to match the impeller characteristics, further contributing to the engine’s high output. For optimum efficiency for the 200 PS engine, the air cleaner is positioned directly before the supercharger.
Just as the V8 engine became the blank canvas for generations of hot-rod builders, this engine may well become the blank canvas for today's software engineers and ECU hackers, the artists of the twenty-first century. In order to accommodate the 300+ horsepower output of the Ninja H2R, the whole engine has been designed to be handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated liter-class engine. Kawasaki has confirmed that the only differences between this motor and the 300+ horsepower H2R are the camshafts, head gasket, clutch and ... software.
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Just as the V8 engine became the blank canvas for generations of hot-rod builders, this engine may well become the blank canvas for today's software engineers and ECU hackers, the artists of the twenty-first century. In order to accommodate the 300+ horsepower output of the Ninja H2R, the whole engine has been designed to be handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated liter-class engine. Kawasaki has confirmed that the only differences between this motor and the 300+ horsepower H2R are the camshafts, head gasket, clutch and ... software.
Using a supercharged engine enabled engine design requirements for big power in a lightweight, compact package to be met. Aside from minor differences in the engine unit, and intake and exhaust systems tailored for street use to ensure noise and emissions standards are met, the 200 PS supercharged engine of the Ninja H2 is essentially the same as the over 300 PS engine of the closed-course Ninja H2R, delivering an intense acceleration unlike anything you can experience on a naturally aspirated bike.
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Using a supercharged engine enabled engine design requirements for big power in a lightweight, compact package to be met. Aside from minor differences in the engine unit, and intake and exhaust systems tailored for street use to ensure noise and emissions standards are met, the 200 PS supercharged engine of the Ninja H2 is essentially the same as the over 300 PS engine of the closed-course Ninja H2R, delivering an intense acceleration unlike anything you can experience on a naturally aspirated bike.
A pair of massive 330 mm Brembo semi-floating discs with a thickness of t5.5 mm deliver superb braking force. Grooves running down the center of the outer edge of the discs increase their surface area for greater heat dissipation. Dual radial-mount Brembo cast aluminum monobloc calipers grip the front discs. The highly rigid opposed 4-piston calipers contribute to the superb braking force. Brembo radial-pump master cylinder and reservoir receive extra attention before being shipped to Kawasaki. Each part is examined and adjusted to eliminate any ineffective (idle) stroke.
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A pair of massive 330 mm Brembo semi-floating discs with a thickness of t5.5 mm deliver superb braking force. Grooves running down the center of the outer edge of the discs increase their surface area for greater heat dissipation. Dual radial-mount Brembo cast aluminum monobloc calipers grip the front discs. The highly rigid opposed 4-piston calipers contribute to the superb braking force. Brembo radial-pump master cylinder and reservoir receive extra attention before being shipped to Kawasaki. Each part is examined and adjusted to eliminate any ineffective (idle) stroke.
The electronic steering damper was jointly developed with Öhlins, and provides damping appropriate for the exact circumstance. Mechanical steering dampers are fixed at one setting which must cover all riding conditions and speeds. By changing the damping electronically according to vehicle speed and acceleration, the damping does not interfere with the bike’s intrinsic lightweight handling, yet provides enhanced stability at speed.
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The electronic steering damper was jointly developed with Öhlins, and provides damping appropriate for the exact circumstance. Mechanical steering dampers are fixed at one setting which must cover all riding conditions and speeds. By changing the damping electronically according to vehicle speed and acceleration, the damping does not interfere with the bike’s intrinsic lightweight handling, yet provides enhanced stability at speed.
Based on the Air-Oil Separate cartridge fork developed for motocross racing, KYB’s AOS-II racing suspension makes its asphalt debut. Designed for low friction, the 43 mm front fork offers smooth initial action followed by strong damping at the end of the stroke. As the suspension works, a large 32 mm free-floating piston at the bottom of the oil-damping cartridge pumps oil up to a sealed area between the inner and outer tubes. This provides a friction-reducing film on which the tubes can slide against each other, resulting in extremely smooth action.
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Based on the Air-Oil Separate cartridge fork developed for motocross racing, KYB’s AOS-II racing suspension makes its asphalt debut. Designed for low friction, the 43 mm front fork offers smooth initial action followed by strong damping at the end of the stroke. As the suspension works, a large 32 mm free-floating piston at the bottom of the oil-damping cartridge pumps oil up to a sealed area between the inner and outer tubes. This provides a friction-reducing film on which the tubes can slide against each other, resulting in extremely smooth action.
Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
The H2's aerodynamic mirror stays were designed by Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company using the latest CFD analysis technology.
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The H2's aerodynamic mirror stays were designed by Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company using the latest CFD analysis technology.
The River Mark is a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag with a stylized version of the character “river”—the first character in the name Kawasaki—which he flew from the ships he owned. The emblem came to be called the “River Mark” and was adopted as the symbol of the KHI Group, expressing the company’s technology, originality and innovation.
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The River Mark is a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag with a stylized version of the character “river”—the first character in the name Kawasaki—which he flew from the ships he owned. The emblem came to be called the “River Mark” and was adopted as the symbol of the KHI Group, expressing the company’s technology, originality and innovation.
Once upon a time, we'd have said the H2 had clearly spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel. These days, it has consumed inordinate computing power undergoing CFD analysis.
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Once upon a time, we'd have said the H2 had clearly spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel. These days, it has consumed inordinate computing power undergoing CFD analysis.
To help support the rider during intense acceleration, hip-supporting pads flank the rear of the seat. The hip support is adjustable 15 mm backward to suit rider size.
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To help support the rider during intense acceleration, hip-supporting pads flank the rear of the seat. The hip support is adjustable 15 mm backward to suit rider size.
Kawasaki’s supersport-style ABS is standard equipment on the Ninja H2. KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System) uses high-precision brake pressure control, which enables the system to avoid reduced brake performance due to excessive pressure drops, allows lever feel to be maintained when KIBS is active, and ensures ABS pulses feel smooth (not heavy). High-precision brake pressure control also offers a number of sport riding benefits:1. Rear lift suppression2. Minimal kickback during operation3. Accounting for back-torque
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Kawasaki’s supersport-style ABS is standard equipment on the Ninja H2. KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System) uses high-precision brake pressure control, which enables the system to avoid reduced brake performance due to excessive pressure drops, allows lever feel to be maintained when KIBS is active, and ensures ABS pulses feel smooth (not heavy). High-precision brake pressure control also offers a number of sport riding benefits:1. Rear lift suppression2. Minimal kickback during operation3. Accounting for back-torque
Designed to assist the rider by optimizing acceleration from a stop, KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode) electronically controls engine output to prevent wheelspin and minimize wheelies when launching. Riders can choose from three modes, each offering a progressively greater level of intrusion. Each mode allows the rider to launch from a stop with the throttle held wide open.
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Designed to assist the rider by optimizing acceleration from a stop, KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode) electronically controls engine output to prevent wheelspin and minimize wheelies when launching. Riders can choose from three modes, each offering a progressively greater level of intrusion. Each mode allows the rider to launch from a stop with the throttle held wide open.
Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
The new KTRC (Kawasaki TRaction Control) system used on the Ninja H2 combines the best elements of Kawasaki’s earlier traction control systems. Multi-level modes, plus an independently activated Rain Mode, offer riders a greater number of settings to choose from, with each mode providing a different level of intrusion to suit riding conditions and rider preference, and all modes designed to manage output when a sudden slip occurs. The new system offers both enhanced sport riding performance and the peace of mind to negotiate slippery surfaces with confidence.
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The new KTRC (Kawasaki TRaction Control) system used on the Ninja H2 combines the best elements of Kawasaki’s earlier traction control systems. Multi-level modes, plus an independently activated Rain Mode, offer riders a greater number of settings to choose from, with each mode providing a different level of intrusion to suit riding conditions and rider preference, and all modes designed to manage output when a sudden slip occurs. The new system offers both enhanced sport riding performance and the peace of mind to negotiate slippery surfaces with confidence.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
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Kawasaki's new H2 is a new breed of road bike.
The most obvious difference between the H2 and anything we've seen before is the preposterously meaty mid-range. It's forte is acceleration and everything appears focused on delivering the most breathtaking, hand-of-god acceleration ever.
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The most obvious difference between the H2 and anything we've seen before is the preposterously meaty mid-range. It's forte is acceleration and everything appears focused on delivering the most breathtaking, hand-of-god acceleration ever.
The Kawasaki H2's family tree
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The Kawasaki H2's family tree
The Kawasaki H2's specs
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The Kawasaki H2's specs
Just as the bike from which it borrows its name foretold of the potential of large-capacity two-stroke road bikes with unprecedented performance a third of a century ago, Kawasaki is sending a message about the potential of the next generation of supercharged road bikes with the remake of the 1971 classic.
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Just as the bike from which it borrows its name foretold of the potential of large-capacity two-stroke road bikes with unprecedented performance a third of a century ago, Kawasaki is sending a message about the potential of the next generation of supercharged road bikes with the remake of the 1971 classic.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries is one very large company
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Kawasaki Heavy Industries is one very large company

With the EICMA press conferences still running, it's a bit hard to predict the star of the show, but the "most intriguing" crown already belongs to Kawasaki's H2 – the road-going version of the racetrack 300 horsepower H2R unveiled at Intermot.

Despite it's track-only H2R brother's prior fanfare, it won't have any more horsepower than the new Ducati Panigale 1299, or either of the MotoGP replicas (Honda's RC213V-S or Yamaha's R1M) but it is NOT a racetrack machine.

Just as the bike from which it borrows its name foretold of the potential of large-capacity two-stroke road bikes with unprecedented performance a third of a century ago, Kawasaki is sending a message about the potential of the next generation of supercharged road bikes with the remake of the 1971 classic.
Just as the bike from which it borrows its name foretold of the potential of large-capacity two-stroke road bikes with unprecedented performance a third of a century ago, Kawasaki is sending a message about the potential of the next generation of supercharged road bikes with the remake of the 1971 classic.

Just as the bike from which it borrows its name foretold of the potential of large-capacity two-stroke road bikes with unprecedented performance a third of a century ago, Kawasaki is sending a message about the potential of the next generation of supercharged road bikes with the remake of the 1972 classic.

Not many Kawasakis over the years have carried the Ninja name. It is reserved for "special" motorcycles, such as the second-coming of the Kawasaki 900, which appeared on the family tree back in 1984. Just as now, when Kawasaki rolled out the original Ninja to the world press at a racetrack launch at Laguna Seca that year, it shook the motorcycling world. The new H2 wears both names, plus it carries the Kawasaki "River" emblem.

The Kawasaki H2's family tree
The Kawasaki H2's family tree

The honored KHI River Mark is a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag which he flew from the ships he owned. The H2 wears the mark, and whilst it won't mean much to you yet, my guess is that very few motorcycles will carry this honor.

The River Mark is a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag with a stylized version of the character “river”—the first character in the name Kawasaki—which he flew from the ships he owned. The emblem came to be called the “River Mark” and was adopted as the symbol of the KHI Group, expressing the company’s technology, originality and innovation.
The River Mark is a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s. When founder Shozo Kawasaki was running his shipping business, he created a flag with a stylized version of the character “river”—the first character in the name Kawasaki—which he flew from the ships he owned. The emblem came to be called the “River Mark” and was adopted as the symbol of the KHI Group, expressing the company’s technology, originality and innovation.

The H2/H2R is hence a whopping technological statement from Kawasaki about its technological heritage and know-how with a raft of new technologies either purpose-created for motorcycles or adapted from other distant empires within Kawasaki Heavy Industries' (KHI) vast industrial realm.

Much of the Ninja H2’s advanced technology was developed with cooperation from other companies in the KHI Group. Kawasaki Heavy Industries is one of the world's largest companies, with assets of US$11,447,592,000.

The H2's supercharged engine was designed with know-how sourced from many arms of the company. Motorcycles only make up a small percentage of the company's turnover, but because the bikes are the most prominent consumer product to the general public, the H2 is a statement about the whole company and it augurs well for the experience we'll get when this baby hits the road. It's not a race bike but a very special new type of road bike designed to manifest the company's technological excellence into one recognizable lump.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries is one very large company
Kawasaki Heavy Industries is one very large company

The supercharger used in the Ninja H2 was designed with assistance from the KHI Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company, and Corporate Technology Division.

The impeller is formed from a forged aluminum block using a 5-axis CNC machining center to ensure high precision and high durability. With a diameter of 69 mm, it features 6 blades at the tip, expanding to 12 blades at the base. Grooves etched into the blade surfaces help direct the airflow. The impeller’s pumping capacity is over 200 liters/second, with intake air reaching speeds of up to 100 m/s. After passing through the supercharger, air pressure is increased to as much as 2.4 times atmospheric pressure.

The H2's piston crown shape was determined with experience gained from the 18-cylinder Green Gas Engine power plant, which boasts a generating capacity of 7.5 megawatts.

The H2's aerodynamic mirror stays were designed by Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company using the latest CFD analysis technology.

The specialist website created to introduce the new H2/H2R has just had the H2 section go live, and between the EICMA presentation and the technologically in-depth web site, I'm seeing a very different animal than the pure-bred racetrack bikes from Ducati, Honda and Yamaha.

The most obvious differences are the preposterously meaty mid-range and additional weight. The H2 delivers 140.4 Nm at 10,000 rpm but with the supercharger kicking in early, that mid-range is going to be much stronger for much longer than its Japanese cousins from Yamaha and Honda, and broader than the Ducati 1299's similar peak torque figure (the 1285 cc Panigale S shades it for maximum output with 144.6 Nm at 8,750 rpm).

The Kawasaki H2 has a curb weight of 238 kg. While this would be noticeable riding at ten-tenths on a flat smooth racetrack, it's not going to make much difference in the real world of cars, potholes and innocent bystanders where riding on the limit will get you dead or incarcerated. Slightly more weight will also make for a road bike that's less nervous and although it will be very fast, it's forte is acceleration and everything appears focused on delivering the most breathtaking, hand-of-god acceleration ever.

Kawasaki has always made excellent sports roadbikes, but the H2 promises a new level of excellence. Perhaps the most interesting aspect as far as I'm concerned personally, is what the engine represents.

The supercharged engine is not something new to Kawasaki. It has been building supercharged engines for a very long time, but it's the more recent implementations in the company's Jet Skis that are the most relevant. The big forced-induction jet ski motors are close to bulletproof and endure far greater abuse than it's possible to dish out to a motorcycle. You can't hold a motorcycle flat out for ten minutes at a time anywhere, but with jet skis, you can, and do, and 60 mph on water is quite some thrill. Check the image gallery and you'll see the detail that has gone into building this engineering masterpiece. Every small detail has been considered. This is a very robust powerplant, and when the hackers get inside this one, who knows what sort of horsepower mischief might be achieved.

Just as the V8 engine became the blank canvas for generations of hot-rod builders, this engine may well become the blank canvas for today's software engineers and ECU hackers, the artists of the twenty-first century. In order to accommodate the 300+ horsepower output of the Ninja H2R, the whole engine has been designed to be handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated liter-class engine. Kawasaki has confirmed that the only differences between this motor and the 300+ horsepower H2R are the camshafts, head gasket, clutch and ... software.
Just as the V8 engine became the blank canvas for generations of hot-rod builders, this engine may well become the blank canvas for today's software engineers and ECU hackers, the artists of the twenty-first century. In order to accommodate the 300+ horsepower output of the Ninja H2R, the whole engine has been designed to be handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated liter-class engine. Kawasaki has confirmed that the only differences between this motor and the 300+ horsepower H2R are the camshafts, head gasket, clutch and ... software.

There are many other highlights we'd love to cover in more detail, but in the interests of brevity, we'll publish now and update later.

One that does warrant mention before we close though, is the paint.

Kawasaki has always been Team Green, but this might be in for some changes in the coming years because the finish on the H2 and H2R is different and very, very practical.

If you're a klutz or regularly throw your bike down the road ("guilty, yer honor" as is our company treasure Loz Blain), you probably belong to the ratbike customization school. If you care what your bike looks like, you want it to look pristine at all times. The new Kawasaki paint scheme is made for the second category of riders.

Developed specifically for motorcycles, its metallic, mirror-like appearance may look similar in images to expensive custom jobs, but this is its first use on a mass-production vehicle in the automotive or motorcycle industries. The glass-like surface is created in the same way as a mirror with a chemical reaction between a solution of silver ions and a reducing agent which forms a layer of pure silver. It does not use aluminum flakes to generate a sparkling effect – it presents as a uniform metallic surface, quite similar to the finish on parts of McLaren's Formula One cars.

Once upon a time, we'd have said the H2 had clearly spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel. These days, it has consumed inordinate computing power undergoing CFD analysis.
Once upon a time, we'd have said the H2 had clearly spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel. These days, it has consumed inordinate computing power undergoing CFD analysis.

Nor is it done by robots. Each layer of paint is applied by a human and there are twice the number of clear coats – two on most, four on those with decals) so the finish continues to present impeccably after considerable use.

The promo video for the Kawasaki H2 Ninja is below.

Source: Kawasaki

2015 Ninja H2 Promotion Video

23 comments
Louis Richards
this is sick!!! its a race bike with a liscense plate !!! no biker needs 200 hp!!!! its just a killing machine, and i cant wait for the suvivors of the dead bikers to sue kawasaki out of busniss.
David Elderkin
would this still be faster then the 200hp lightening motorcycle?
Embur
@Louis Richards. Sigh.... cool new bike hits the market, and here come the fun police. Again. Louis, you're right, no one NEEDS a 200hp bike, or comfortable shoes, or high speed internet, or a cold beer, or... But some of us like these things. I really like a cold beer, and I know that too much would be bad for me. But i'm smart enough to know when i've had enough. And I'm fairly sure that most of the lucky few that can afford a bike like this, will know that too much is bad for them, and when they've had enough. As for "the suvivors of the dead bikers to sue kawasaki out of busniss." Best of luck with that one. First of all, manufacturers are rarely held accountable for users doing dumb things with their products. (If you smack your thumb with a hammer, it's not the hammers fault) And secondly, if you had actually read the entire article you may have noticed this sentence. "Kawasaki Heavy Industries is one of the world's largest companies, with assets of US$11,447,592,000." Feel free to have a crack at suing them, go on, I dare ya. And as for "its just a killing machine", I beg to differ. A "killing machine" is a device specifically designed to kill. This bike on the other hand, like almost any motorcycle, is actually designed to make the rider feel very much alive.
Jeremy Hofecker
WRONG!!! The MTT Y2K will eat this thing when it comes to speed and acceleration. Nice try.. But a bike that has been out for over 13 YEARS still holds the title. Try again!
Sven Ollino
I am sceptical that this accelerates harder than a Lightning. Lightning has almost 228nm (168ft-lb), 224,5kg (495lbs), 200hp.
Chris Bedford
Plus vote @Embur! Back in the seventies when I read "Cycle" magazine, they used to talk a lot about the "Dept of womb-to-tomb Nirvana" (21st century translation: Fun police). Obviously nothing's changed; here we still have the Mother Grundies who believe it's their responsibility to ensure everyone lives their lives wrapped in cotton. Yeah, good luck with that too.
Hugh Lokey
While the author mentions the original H2 he fails to mention its little brother the 500cc H1. When it was introduced the H1 was the fastest accelerating motorcycle available to the public and I owned the very first one sold in SE Asia. It was a fantastic machine in a straight line but in high speed turns it was like riding a door hinge - the front and rear wobbled in different directions and was scary as hell!. I used it, and two others, both on the street and the race track. We finally were able to tame it somewhat by replacing the swing arm bushings but like most two strokes it had a power band that below 3500 RPM was very weak but when the tach needle went past 3500 you had better hang on! Cruising at 149KPH you could shift down a gear and send the front wheel skyward and keep it there well past 160KPH! On paved race tracks nothing could beat it but forget it when it came to dirt road courses. Dealers in the US would often refuse to sell one to novice riders and that made a lot of sense. The H2 came along and just offered more of the same. The new H2 should be popular with the extended swing arm gang that only go fast in a straight line but on the road they will be spanked bad by the new Ducati 1299.
Captain Danger
@Louis Richards I get the slight sense that you do not approve. Perhaps you could be a bit more clear and use a few more exclamation marks to get you point across. To paraphrase @Embur I may not need to have a 200 hp motorcycle but I sure wouldn't mind one. The problem with this article is that it reads a lot like a press release. It sounds like the bike is out but no one has ridden it and there are no numbers. I would be curious to know how much quicker it is than a ZX-14R I hope Loz Blain gets an opportunity to do an in depth review. I always enjoy his articles.
Reg Charie
Some 0 to 60 and 0 to 100 times would have been great.
Ken O'Neill
"Some 0 to 60 and 0 to 100 times would have been great." - The one piece of info that I clicked on the article for and they leave it out. Infuriating.
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