Kawasaki took the Tokyo Motor Show by storm when it unveiled the super-hyped Z H2. The new hypernaked becomes the company’s new naked flagship, slotting in above the Z900—which might or might not come back for 2020. The new Z’s premise is simple: take the supercharged Ninja H2 and take the fairing off. What happens when you do that? You get a really interesting power-to-weight ratio.
The Z is Kawasaki’s latest addition to the supercharged H2 lineup. At the top of the family tree is the H2R, a $55,000 sport bike first introduced in 2015 that’s caked in carbon fiber, produces a claimed 310 horsepower for a top speed of around 250 mph, and is only legal to use on a closed course. From those fire-breathing loins sprung the H2 (sport), H2 SX (sport-touring), and now the Z H2 (naked). Like making a copy of a copy, each subsequent model has been a slightly blurrier version of what came before.
It’s a Z model, so right off the bat you know the Z H2 has minimal sheet metal (plastic, whatever) in a bid to keep weight down and cleave to that naked-streetfighter look that so many prefer. The black-on-black palette serves as a backdrop for the Kawi Green accents that turn the exposed frame members into part of the overall aesthetic. More splashes of green make the rims, front fender and fuel tank pop visually though the overall panache is still rather dark and sinister with Kawasaki’s sugomi style in full effect. If you’re new to Kawasaki, the sugomi style refers to the look of a predator on the hunt and ready to strike, and I’d say that’s exactly what the Z H2 conveys at a glance.
The Z H2 comes equipped with a supercharger – a device to push more air into the engine at a higher compression ratio via a 69mm forged aluminium impeller to enhance performance and economy. It also means Kawasaki didn’t have to increase engine capacity to make the necessary torque and power figures with which it can go toe-to-toes against its rivals. An air intake duct in positioned to one side of the headlight cluster and defines the head-on asymmetrical appearance. The look isn’t to everybody’s taste but this is how Kawasaki can balance the weight of the bike and get as much fresh air to the supercharger as directly as possible.
|Engine:||Liquid-cooled, supercharged, four-stroke, four-cylinder|
|Bore x stroke:||76 x 55mm|
|Clutch:||Wet multi-disc, manual|
|Chassis:||Trellis, high-tensile steel|
|Front suspension:||Showa SFF-BP Fork with adjustable compression and rebound damping, spring preload adjustability|
|Rear suspension:||Uni-Trak, Showa gas-charged shock with adjustable compression and rebound damping, preload adjustability|
|Front wheel travel:||4.7 in.|
|Rear wheel travel:||5.3 in.|
|Front brake:||Dual semi-floating 320mm discs w/radial-mount Brembo M4.32 4-piston calipers|
|Rear brake:||260mm disc with 2-piston caliper|
|Front tire:||Pirelli Diablo Rosso III, 120/70 R17|
|Rear tire:||Pirelli Diablo Rosso III, 190/55 R17|
|Steering head angle:||65.1°|
|Seat height:||32.7 in.|
|Fuel capacity:||5.0 gal.|
|Weight (curb, claimed):||527 lbs.|
|Color:||Metallic Diablo Black/Metallic Graphite Gray/Mirror Coated Spark Black|