Milan special: Kawasaki H2

h27Straight after Honda’s shindig, it was Kawasaki’s crack at releasing some more wiz-bang for public consumption. The ‘track-only’ H2R and its supercharged howitzer was unveiled at Cologne last month and the target power output was 300bhp. Kawasaki, apparently, has exceeded those expectations with 306bhp – its slogan, ‘Built Beyond Belief’ isn’t too far fetched.

Superchargers are nothing new for Kawasaki, taking already proven technology from its Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company and Corporate Technology Division. Kawasaki has also worked on the gearbox, using know-how from its racing days. The H2 uses a dog-ring transmission to engage gears, rather then shift forks in conventional gearboxes for a slick change.

In Milan, the covers were taken off the road legal version – the H2. For noise and emission purposes, and probably to save multiple deaths as nobbers attempt to tame 300bhp, the H2 has a modest claimed power output of 197bhp but still utilises the 998cc superchargered lump, wrapped in the Ninja green trellis frame – Kawasaki opted for the trellis for better heat dissipation. Different cams and smaller exhaust headers are among the mods responsible for the H2’s detuning.

According to social media mumblings, some ask whether the H2 will actually corner, yet Kawasaki claim the geometry is close to a supersports bike – the rake and trail numbers are super-close to that of KTM’s 2008 Super Duke. KYB AOS-II ‘racing’ suspension adorns the H2. It’s KYB’s version of Showa’s Big Piston Fork that’s widely used on so many top-shelf supersports bikes, with massive 32mm pistons controlling the stroke.

Anything with a blower has to brag decent braking paraphernalia, and Kawasaki hasn’t just dumped any old aging tat on the H2. 330mm Brembo discs, Brembo Monoblocs and a pukka Brembo master cylinder should calm things down, as does the clever KTRC traction control.

Thanks to a fully electronic throttle, there’s also engine braking control options and launch control, as well as three rider modes with varying levels of power and intrusion. The H2 is also the first Kawasaki to be fitted with a quickshifter – about bloody time!

It’s a bike that divides opinion like no other. Like a bus from Tron with a tractor exhaust, she’s a big old girl, but this thing isn’t going to be competing at a circuit near you. There’s been a fair amount of negativity surrounding the pair, concerning styling, pricing and the need for 300bhp. Personally, those moaning about the latter should crawl under a stone and play chess for the rest of their lives. The H2/H2R is exactly what the motorcycle industry needed – a massive boot in the botty with a rolling showcase of mental technology.

Prices have yet to be finalised, but expect the H2R and its limited run to be around £50,000, while the H2 should be on offer for £25k.


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