Kawasaki has taken the wraps off its new, supercharged streetfighter – the Z H2. Based on the Kawasaki H2 supercharged superbike, the Z H2 ushers in a new era of supercharged street-nakeds for the Japanese manufacturer. And it certainly looks like it belongs to Kawasaki’s H2 family.
The Kawasaki Z H2 features a sharp and aggressive design, which is apparent by the mean-looking LED headlamp with two prominent fangs underneath; a floating fly screen completes the streetfighter look. The side profile reveals the large, sculpted fuel tank with long tank extensions that accentuate the super sharp design of the Z H2.
The bespoke trellis frame is exposed and painted in the typical H2 family green shade and this little effect does manage to add some contrast to the black and grey body colour. The tail section is neatly executed, with an integrated Z-pattern LED tail-lamp that’s a signature of the Kawasaki Z motorcycles. At this point, you must have noticed the long duct on the left side of the motorcycle that originates next to the headlamp and runs all the way towards the engine. That’s the supercharger inlet.
Now to the biggest highlight of the Z H2 and that’s the new 998cc, inline-four supercharged engine. This motor produces 200hp at 11,000rpm and 137Nm of torque at 8,500, which are in the same ballpark as most litre-class superbikes. While the engine architecture is similar to the Ninja H2 superbike’s motor, the engine in the Z is tuned for better low- and mid-range grunt; it is paired to a 6-speed gearbox with a new up-down quickshifter.
That said, manufacturers have been pushing the street-naked motorcycle performance envelope further. MV Agusta did that with the Brutale 1000 Serie Oro, its flagship naked with a four-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine that develops 212hp.Ducati is also expected to launch a 200+hp Streetfighter V4 in a few hours from now, after teasing the motorcycle about a week ago.
While the horsepower wars continue, all that firepower is of no use if one can’t send it to the rear wheel effectively. Helping the Kawasaki Z H2 do just that is a new suite of IMU assisted electronics. There are four ride modes – Road, Rain, Sport and Rider – the last of which allows one to customise settings. In addition, there are three power modes – Full (200hp), Mid (148hp) and Low (98hp) – which should come in handy while riding over surfaces with reduced traction; for instance, a rain soaked road. In addition, there are other rider aids such as Kawasaki Launch Control, Traction Control and Cruise control.
The Z H2 is also the first Kawasaki street motorcycle to get a full-TFT display with a standard Bluetooth connection module to pair your smartphone. Once connected via the Kawasaki Rideology App, one can view the bike’s GPS information, such as route travelled, total distance, lean angle, and more.
The dash is quite informative as well, displaying the range to empty, current/average fuel consumption, outside temperature, coolant temperature, clock, Economical Riding Indicator, IMU indicator, KIBS indicator, boost pressure and boost temperature, in addition to the usual speed, engine rpm and trip information.
As expected by a top-spec street-naked, the Kawasaki Z H2 has also been optimised to make it an easy-to-ride, everyday motorcycle, with the required sharpness in its handling. The steel-trellis frame is lightweight, while the 24.9 degree rake should result in a sharp-steering, flickable motorcycle. Unlike the single-side swingarm on the Kawasaki Ninja H2, the Z H2 gets a new double-sided swingarm that’s attached directly to the rear of the engine. Suspension duties are carried out by a fully-adjustable Showa Separate Function Big Piston Fork at the front and a Showa Uni Track, monoshock at the rear. Hauling the bike down from the serious speeds that it’s capable of are two radially-mounted Brembo M4.32 calipers, biting down on dual 290mm discs and a two-pot Nissin caliper at the rear and 226mm disc. The braking system is linked to Kawasaki’s Intelligent Anti-lock Braking system or KIBS, which, along with the IMU, offers rear-wheel lift mitigation while braking hard.
The new Kawasaki Z H2 is expected to go on sale in international markets soon and we expect the bike to make it to India sometime next year.