Motorcycles

Kawasaki smashes the superbike class with 300-horsepower, supercharged Ninja H2R

Kawasaki Ninja H2R: Team Green retakes the mantle of "wildest bike on two wheels"
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: Team Green retakes the mantle of "wildest bike on two wheels"
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: Team Green retakes the mantle of "wildest bike on two wheels"
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: Team Green retakes the mantle of "wildest bike on two wheels"
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: side view
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: side view
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: bodywork and subframe removed to show carbon air tubes feeding the centrifugal supercharger
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: bodywork and subframe removed to show carbon air tubes feeding the centrifugal supercharger
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: bodywork and subframe removed to show air box
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: bodywork and subframe removed to show air box
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: top view
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: top view
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: carbon wings are quite wide
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: carbon wings are quite wide
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: face is all business
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: face is all business
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: lime green frame and tank show beautiful detailing
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: lime green frame and tank show beautiful detailing
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: seat shows a hefty backstop
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: seat shows a hefty backstop
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: front wheel with Brembo radial monobloc brakes
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: front wheel with Brembo radial monobloc brakes
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: star-shaped rear wheel hub showcases single-sided swingarm
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: star-shaped rear wheel hub showcases single-sided swingarm
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: dash appears to be completely new
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: dash appears to be completely new
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: beauty lies in the details
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: beauty lies in the details
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: carbon wings are larger than you'd expect
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: carbon wings are larger than you'd expect
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: nosecone
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: nosecone
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: wickedly green trellis frame is a break from traditional Kawasaki designs
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: wickedly green trellis frame is a break from traditional Kawasaki designs
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: the first forced induction production sportsbike in many years
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: the first forced induction production sportsbike in many years
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: engine cutaway showing supercharger
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: engine cutaway showing supercharger
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: engine cutaway showing supercharger
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Kawasaki Ninja H2R: engine cutaway showing supercharger

The Kawasaki H2 of the 1970s was a 750cc, 3-cylinder, 2-stroke widowmaker with a reputation as one of the maddest things on two wheels – so when Team Green started teasing us with the idea of a new H2 for 2015, we expected it to be pretty special. Even so, hype is so common these days and the final product is so often underwhelming that we kept our expectations in check. It turns out we needn't have bothered, because when the covers came off at Intermot Cologne today, the Ninja H2R's spec sheet was beyond our wildest dreams.

Production street motorcycles like the BMW S1000R and the Ducati Panigale have been edging their way towards 200 horsepower over the last few years. Anyone who's ridden one can attest that those kinds of power figures feel absolutely psychotic on a sub-200kg motorcycle. The 2015 Ninja H2R will beat that figure by fifty trouser-soiling percent.

Kawasaki Ninja H2R: bodywork and subframe removed to show carbon air tubes feeding the centrifugal supercharger
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: bodywork and subframe removed to show carbon air tubes feeding the centrifugal supercharger

With its supercharged, 998cc, inline four cylinder engine, the H2R will make 300 horsepower. Let that thought sink in for a minute. Marc Marquez's championship-leading MotoGP bike is some 30 horsepower shy of that figure. This, Kawasaki tells us, is not some conceptual flight of fancy, it's a production machine – and the only one from a major manufacturer to feature forced induction for many years.

It will not, however, be road legal. The H2R will be a track special, with its H2 roadgoing brother to be revealed at EICMA in November – featuring the same supercharged engine, but presumably in a different state of tune. The H2R features a high tensile steel trellis frame, painted a wicked Kwaka green, and three sets of carbon fiber wings on the fairings, presumably to help keep the front wheel planted under a ridiculous onslaught of power.

Kawasaki Ninja H2R: top view
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: top view

Care has clearly gone into the design details. This looks like a premium product that's beautifully engineered, and will likely be priced stratospherically and made in limited numbers.

Kawasaki Ninja H2R: dash appears to be completely new
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: dash appears to be completely new

Little else has been revealed at this stage – brakes are Brembo radial monoblocs as they damn well better be, swing arm is single sided, suspension is fully adjustable KYB gear and no doubt the ABS and traction control systems will be top-shelf. It almost doesn't matter. Kawasaki hasn't just fired a broadside in the horsepower war, it has planted a flag so far from its competitors that I'm not sure if they should respond at all.

Three hundred horsepower, in a feather-light superbike package without a drag-style stretched swingarm ... honestly, 180 horses is enough to melt my feeble brain. I can't even conceptualize what 300 would feel like, or how and where you could possibly reef that throttle hard enough to find out. By gum I'd like to give it a go, though.

...and I did. The roadgoing version, at least. Here, look!

Kawasaki's Wild, Supercharged Ninja H2

Source: Kawasaki

37 comments
Gary Ritts
in a good way I can only say after shaking my head a long while, "shit"
canderso
I would love to meet the probably 3 people in the world who are thinking, "finally a bike with 300 hp". This is the fastest hearse I've ever seen.
Billy600
Finally, a bike with 300hp.
Rob Smith
Finally a bike with 300hp.
Buellrider
I'm holding out for the first 500 hp motorcycle with STOL able to utilize ground effect.
Olly Killick
The boogeyman checks under his bed for this at night.
Just Cause
Finally a bike with 300hp.
Jason Pyon
Finally, a bike with 300 HP! ;)
Ozuzi
Finally a bike with 300hp. WANT I've always wondered why they don't make a blown 400cc twin or something. Modern bikes have plenty of top-end and a blower would improve the rest
Francois Heever
finally a bike with 300HP. Do want.