Motorcycles

OK freaks, here's your naked, supercharged Kawasaki Z H2

OK freaks, here's your naked, ...
The supercharged Kawasaki Z H2 nakedbike: approach with caution
The supercharged Kawasaki Z H2 nakedbike: approach with caution
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This rider is getting some physical rest after riding a supercharged Kawasaki. We can sympathize.
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This rider is getting some physical rest after riding a supercharged Kawasaki. We can sympathize.
One of these days, there will be an electronic auto knee-down assist feature.
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One of these days, there will be an electronic auto knee-down assist feature.
As with the H2, the Kwaka-green trellis frame is a visual highlight
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As with the H2, the Kwaka-green trellis frame is a visual highlight
197 supercharged horsepower will make the Z H2 an absolute riot on the road.
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197 supercharged horsepower will make the Z H2 an absolute riot on the road.
The motor isn't a looker, but she's got it where it counts.
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The motor isn't a looker, but she's got it where it counts.
The supercharged Kawasaki Z H2 nakedbike: approach with caution
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The supercharged Kawasaki Z H2 nakedbike: approach with caution
The motor has been retuned for additional low-end torque - but the top-end rush and horsepower figure remain.
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The motor has been retuned for additional low-end torque - but the top-end rush and horsepower figure remain.
The LED headlight mask follows the recent Z1000 bikes into Transformers land.
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The LED headlight mask follows the recent Z1000 bikes into Transformers land.
Quickshifter
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Quickshifter is standard.
Brembo ABS brakes and Showa Big Piston Forks
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Brembo ABS brakes and Showa Big Piston Forks
Full color TFT dash includes smartphone integration
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Full color TFT dash includes smartphone integration
Power curve comparison between the H2 SX and the new Z H2.
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Power curve comparison between the H2 SX and the new Z H2.

Kawasaki has finally dropped the supercharged super-naked it's been threatening to unleash for several months now. The Z H2 melds the looks of recent Kwaka nakedbikes with the 197-horsepower lunacy of the blown H2 motor, and it's not for the timid.

Unveiled today at the Tokyo Motor Show, the new Z H2 will be an absolutely wild machine to ride. I still giggle to myself, sometimes in public, thinking of what the original H2 did to time and space when I held the throttle open. The first half of the tacho was butter-smooth and manageable, and the top end was a crazed slingshot rush of lunacy.

Well, the Z H2 (terrible name, by the way), has had its motor slightly remapped from the way it appeared in the H2 SX, resulting in a good thick dollop of extra torque below about 7,000rpm, and a slight dip in power at about 8,500rpm before the slingshot action kicks in to take you to the same 197-horsepower peak just before the redline. At this point, you'll either hit the standard quickshifter for another wild race to the redline, or button off for a breather and enjoy the chittering chirp of the supercharger winding down.

197 supercharged horsepower will make the Z H2 an absolute riot on the road.
197 supercharged horsepower will make the Z H2 an absolute riot on the road.

As far as looks go, it's probably about what you'd expect, retaining the Transformer robot looks and goggle-like headlight mask of bikes like the recent Z1000, but beefs up the frame with extra lurid green trellis lines. The H2's signature mirrored grey paint job remains, offset with some lighter and darker matte grey bits, and the engine ... well, it's not pretty to look at, but that's hardly going to deter the sick puppies that want to ride this thing.

There's a full-color TFT dash, including smartphone connectivity. There's a ride-by-wire throttle and inertial management unit, enabling goodies like cruise control, traction control, multiple power modes, launch control, ABS and Kawasaki's KCMF cornering management system, which helps you keep a tight line through a corner by managing brake force, bike pitch and engine power in a lean angle sensitive fashion.

Suspension, as on the H2, is by Showa, including the top shelf Big Piston Forks and a fully adjustable shock. Brakes are big Brembo monoblocs, and you'll be glad they are. Lights are LEDs.

One of these days, there will be an electronic auto knee-down assist feature.
One of these days, there will be an electronic auto knee-down assist feature.

The Z H2 doesn't take the crown of world's most powerful production nakedbike off the MV Agusta Brutale Serie Oro and Ducati Streetfighter V4, but it pays to remember that a simple ECU flash can unlock an easy 50-odd horsepower from the H2, and with more extensive exhaust and intake work the engine's good for at least 300 horsepower in the H2R.

It also pays to remember that 200-odd horsepower is an absolute lunatic's number, and the fact that it's available on motorcycles at all – let alone street-focused nakedbikes like these – is either a sign that we're living in a golden age, or else one of the four horsemen of a coming apocalypse. Bravo either way! Watch this nutty thing, and listen to that blower tweeting harder than an American President in the video below.

2020 Kawasaki Z H2

Source: Kawasaki (Facebook)

2 comments
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Great article again, Loz. When are you tossing a leg over? Looking forward to a video review soon (as long as you keep references to its affect on your nethers to a minimum...🙄) As to calling this a "naked", it seems a bit of a stretch, doesn't it? Not too much exposed anymore on these types these days.
Paul Muad'Dib
The swing arm looks kind of like the old Yamaha Monoshock dirt bike my riding buddy had back in 78. I've often thought that a truss like structure on the swing arm could be used to make the swing arm very stiff. That might be handy on high horsepower road racing bikes to reduce flex.