Based heavily off the Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX sport touring machine released in 2018, the Z H2 is the first naked bike brought to mass production with a supercharger fitted as standard equipment. The company claims the new bike has 197 hp at 11,000 rpm and 101 ft lbs of torque from the 998 cc inline four-cylinder motor.
The advent of the supercharger means torque is produced lower in the rev range than a naturally aspirated motor, with the peak number arriving at just 8,500 rpm. This will make the Z H2 a brilliant street bike as the revs normally required to make those high power and torque numbers are not needed thanks to glorious forced induction.
The 525-pound Z H2’s chassis is typical H2 fare, with the lurid, metallic green tubular steel chassis on full display beneath a bodywork that’s more Optimus Prime than Picasso.
Kawasaki has chosen not to go for electronically adjustable/monitored suspension, instead opting for Showa’s proven Big Piston Fork (BPF) conventionally adjusted with wrenches and screwdrivers. The brakes are similarly mid-spec, with Brembo donating their M4.32 four-piston front calipers.
The Japanese giant has employed Bosch’s Inertial Measurement Unit for traction control, intelligent anti-lock braking, cornering management function, selectable rider, power modes, and anti-wheelie control, and it’s all accessed via a new TFT display.
Kawasaki’s priced the Z H2 quite competitively at $17,000, which puts it right in the ball park against machines like the $18,199 KTM 1290 Super Duke R but ahead of the Yamaha MT-10, which comes in at $12,999.
Regardless, Kawasaki will be banking on the Z H2 to bring in new riders who may have been on the fence about purchasing a high-capacity naked bike but are after something different. And with a supercharger forcing power up to almost 200 hp, something different is definitely what Kawasaki is offering.