Road Test

Kawasaki Kawasaki Ninja H2 (2019) real world review part 1

As autumn begins to tighten its grip on the UK, Visordown thought we’d get ourselves a little run-around for those long dark nights – in the form of a Kawasaki Ninja H2

Details
Manufacturer:
Kawasaki
Category:
Sportsbikes
Price:
£ 26499
Overall
4.5
Average: 4.5 (1 vote)
Kawasaki's latest H2 is a hyper-drive for the masses

THE Kawasaki Ninja H2 – or just the H2 really, it needs no introduction – has been a piece of motorcycle folklore now since 2015. And for 2019 it’s got better looking and more powerful.

I remember the day I first heard this beastie roar into life. Like most of you, it was at the 2015 NEC motorcycle show, and videos of the 200+bhp machine spitting flames on the dyno, surrounded by crowds quickly went viral – as PR campaigns go, it’s probably one of the most effective.

Fast forward to a grey and dreary morning in High Wycombe, and I’m standing there in light rain getting the rundown on the new bike from Kawasaki’s very friendly UK PR manager. Gazing at the increasing numbers or falling leaves lining the carpark, I joke nervously about the 205hp and the slippery surface. “Oh nah, that’s wrong - this one’s got over 230hp, the old one was 205 mate…” came the reply.

Slipping the bike into rain mode – yes, I’m a wuss – I flick down my visor and chug toward the carpark exit. Now I should add, it’s not my first time with a forced-induction dancing partner. I was lucky enough to take the H2 SX SE out earlier in the year. It’s like a lower, longer and more everyday friendly version of the bike I’m now riding.

Rolling out through Bourne End and away towards the M25, everything feels nicely familiar. The TFT is new to this model but the same as SX SE, it’s lovely and clear to read and has everything you need is in easy reach. The riding position is familiar again, although the extra height of the racier H2 is immediately evident. Reach to bars is good, and the ergo’s feel nicely sporty.

So, all going well at the moment, the H2 is an easy bike to pottle around town on. The throttle response in rain mode is nicely tuned and doesn’t feel jerky when you hit speed bumps or errant dogs. To be honest, the only real clue as to what lies within is the chirping sound you get when rolling off the throttle from above 8k rpm. That and the fact it’ll devour even the longest straight in a deliciously short amount of time. And spin the back wheel in third on a cold road.

Another thing that becomes extremely evident while taking the back roads back from Bicester to Coventry, this bike turns heads. All the heads, regardless of age. White-van men covered in plaster will lean out of the cab and ask questions. Even old ladies out walking their dog shorten the lead as you approach. Actually, that’s probably a good thing as it’d prevent the lap-rat from getting hovered up by the drainpipe-sized supercharger intake.

Aiming the H2 at some of the roads that hook through Banbury and Moreton in the Marsh, the surface has now completely dried and the tyres starting to get some heat into the Bridgestone hoops. I pull over and take the bike out of rain mode, drop the traction control to the lowest setting and start to get my head down. Everything now changes.

Out of town and onto some of the fastest twisties in this part of the world, the simple and easy to ride H2 has had a change of character. And now it wants to fight. With an extra 30hp within it’s fairings, the H2 has an insane ability to hurl you at the next corner with breath-taking ability. The twist grip fitted to the handlebar feels less like a throttle and more like the controller on a nuclear powerplant that removes the control rods and starts the meltdown.

It’s a stunning feeling to be in one place in one moment, and then with a twist of the wrist and 20-seconds later be in a different county.

Scientific people don’t think they’ve crack teleportation yet, they can only send atoms and photons. What a crock of shit. Kawasaki has a teleportation device. It’s called the Ninja H2.

So, we’ve got the bike for a couple of weeks and are planning some performance testing at everyone’s favourite playground of Bruntingthorpe. Now, some may ask if we are going to put it on a Dyno, and we aren’t. The simple fact is, to make peak power, this thing needs ram-air induction like an F1 car. And there aren’t many Dynos around that can do that. Failing to get enough air into the thing and we risk lunching the engine – soz!

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2

 

Capacity cc

998cc

Bore / Stroke in

76 / 55

Output

230 hp

Torque

n / a

Type

4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled, supercharged

Clutch type

Multiplate assist and slipper clutch

Transmission

6-speed with Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) (upshift & downshift)

Length

82.1 in

Width

31.3 in

Height

44.3 in

Wheelbase

57.3 in

Seat height

32.5 in

Wet weight

524.8 lb

Fuel capacity

4.5 gal

Frame

Tubular steel Trellis frame

Suspension / Front

43mm inverted fork with rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability and top-out springs

Suspension / Rear

New Uni-Trak, Öhlins TTX36 gas-charged shock with piggyback reservoir, compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability, and top-out spring

Brakes / Front

Dual radial-mount, Brembo Stylema opposed 4-piston calipers, dual semi-floating 330mm discs, KIBS ABS

Brakes / Rear

Opposed 2-piston calipers, single 250mm disc, KIBS ABS

Tires / Front

120/70 ZR17 (58W)

Tires / Rear

200/55 ZR17 (78W)

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