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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

A Trained Ear Can Tell Us A Lot About Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 – Have a Listen


The video below (which we posted earlier, and nobody paid attention) is number 2 in a series of teasers by Kawasaki for the Ninja H2 which will be unveiled at Intermot. We wrote about this yesterday. If you can’t tell the difference between Mozart and Weird Al Yankovic, don’t bother … But if you have been listening to internal combustion engines, including those with forced induction, and have a discerning ear, tell us what this sounds like? By the way, we are not so sure this isn’t a large displacement engine (a 600 would rev higher, wouldn’t it?). Sounds rather deep and throaty.


  1. Lenz says:

    Forced induction for smaller capacity / lighter bikes makes perfect sense to me. As to the relative merits of supercharging Vs turbocharging I can only suggest they each have their place. However the feasibility of utilising both forms of forced induction on a minimal format / weight sensitive platform such as a motorcycle is unlikely. The KAD32 Volvo diesel on my boat works well with both but for a bike, supercharging is the desirable tool for the job with useful boost earlier with no lag.

    The supplied audio file of the engine suggests a dyno run with a 4 cylinder format – I couldn’t hear any wastegate operation during gear changes. I honestly hope Kawasaki don’t oversell this developing promotion – the big tease cuts both ways if the finale turns out to be nothing special just dressed up in smoke and mirrors.

  2. Norm G. says:

    here’s a question lads, do you think this kit will be naked…? or tupperwared…? with the recent trend, I was assuming naked, but I just read some ironic news (out the UK of all places) and they’re anticipating fully faired. the hell you say…?

    naked in the states, faired in Europe…? the world is upside down.

  3. Howard says:

    It’s an air shifter. You only hear it upon gear shifts and it stays on as they are slamming down gears at the end.

  4. PN says:

    I suspect it’s a quick-shifter, not an automatic. Could this actually be a two-stroke? There has been a lot of research in cars, motorcycles, and powersports in the last 5-7 years.

  5. Norman Whiteside says:

    The legendary H2 is a triple 750cc naked with an attitude..This surely has slipper clutch..The supercharged 4 cyl superbike is mostly the ZX series

  6. Rich Downer says:

    750cc, cross plane crank, triple, grabber/slipper clutch……..

  7. YZEtc says:

    1,500cc in-line 4 with a supercharger.

  8. pat depp says:

    4 cyl, electric turbo

  9. J Young says:

    I think the sound on this video is irrelevant, as undoubtedly, the dustbin exhaust the bike will come with, will be promptly removed and replaced with some after market exhaust, being fitted.

  10. Artem says:

    it’not an R1. I mean normal 1000. It’s a beast in sound.

  11. Norm G. says:

    the power of this graphic compels me to post a link to Buffalo Springfield. dunno why, but it seems to fit the mood. there’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear, so stop children, what’s that sound…?

  12. Jam says:

    The chirping is the tyre fighting for grip. Seriously.

  13. Klaus says:

    Here’s another question: what do your ears tell you where the redline is at?

    To me it sounds like it’s revving to the moon!

    15,000+ rpm?

    • Dave says:

      Doesn’t sound anything close to that to me. My initial thought was that it sounded like an old CB750 or KZ with a chirp added.

      • Klaus says:

        My bike revvs to 9,000 rpm – this bike sounds like it’s revving almost twice as high.

        • Dave says:

          Mine rev to 9.5 & 10.5k (both twins) but I’ve ridden several I-4’s that all sound much higher near of the top of the rev range to me. Could be that I’m listening through laptop speakers..

  14. Steemin says:

    500cc 4. Cyl 4 stroke turbo charged

  15. azi says:

    The ’80s rang and wanted their denim jacket back

  16. Mitch Paj says:

    Ah for F#$k sake (quoting a line from the comedy series Little Britain) Manufacturers are often quoted as being “boring” and “copy cat” of other brands. So a manufacturer has the balls to build something like a new version of a (possibly) supercharged bike and they are wankers for doing so….. Wake up people and stop writing blogs to merely fill your life with some sort of meaning….

  17. Gronde says:

    Supercharging/turbocharging has been around since before WWII. What a job marketing has before it to try and convince us how creative they are by putting a charged engine into a bike. Do you really want the expense, complication, heat issues and servicing nightmares that this type of machine brings? My guess is if you need a bike like this you’re compensating for ah, other “limitations”.

    • DaveA says:

      Please give us some details about all of these horrific problems on a bike that nobody has ever seen or ridden. My guess is that for you to post a reply like this you’re compensating for ah, having nothing interesting to say.

      • Home Skillet says:

        The 2015 Volvos have a 4 cylinder super charged AND turbo charged 2.0L engine.
        It’s putting out 305hp.

        • Provologna says:

          Very cool. I presume this is further evolution of the twin turbo theme. Compared to one larger turbo, twin smaller turbos provide quicker spool-up at low-mid RPM with similar high RPM power.

          Possibly super and turbo charging provides absolutely highest quality and magnitude of power throughout the rev range from just off idle to beyond redline. By “quality” think absolutely no turbo lag. Your Volvo specs confirm this. 152.5 hp/liter was previously reserved for only the most highly tuned performance oriented cages such as Mitsubishi Evo and Porsche Turbo.

          Very interested to read about this motor.

          • Norm G. says:

            Re: “Very cool. I presume this is further evolution of the twin turbo theme.”

            It’s known as compound charging or compounding. It’s been done in diesel world for some time. I think Caterpillar were the first with their C series…?

            now that school is back in for the “yoots”, well ya know all those 40+ passenger, big yellow school buses you see gettin in your way and slowing up your morning and afternoon commutes…?

            Well if its sporting an International badge, and its like 2011 or newer, it HAS a straight 6 (the DT) charged by dual compound turbos (primary blows into a secondary).

            it’s as much for emissions as it is performance (their single turbo V8 is actually faster, the V8’s the same engine Ford one rebadged as Powerstroke btw), but unbeknownst, your kids ride to school in HOTROD.

          • Tom K. says:

            Detroit Diesel manufactured a very successful two-stroke diesel that was both supercharged and turbocharged, all the way into the 1990’s. I never worked on one, but remember their having a very unique sound (say…ya think?….nah).
            Anyhoo, I remember a guy telling me that in a “no start” situation, to make sure the supercharger belt was intact, I guess the belt would break on shutdown and the engine would not start without the supercharger (although it would run without it after starting due to having the turbo being able to make it breathe – unlike gasoline two-strokes, it used mechanical valves). Lots of different stuff has been tried over the years, we’ll see if Big K’s latest iteration will earn a footnote in the engine history books (or if not, in the marketing history books).

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Detroit Diesel manufactured a very successful two-stroke diesel that was both supercharged and turbocharged, all the way into the 1990โ€ฒs”

            ah that’s right. series 92. there’s some supercharged (only) ones that run regularly not too far away. actually more people than not know that sound, they just don’t realise what it is.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Supercharging/turbocharging has been around since before WWII.”

      let’s focus on this for a minute.

      re: “Do you really want the expense, complication, heat issues and servicing nightmares that this type of machine brings?”

      right then, since we just celebrated the 70 anniversary of D-Day, is their any chance that industry has learned a thing or 2 about forced induction in that amount of time…? any chance at all…?

    • Tom Shields says:

      My SeaDoo boat has a 1500 cc Rotax 3-cylinder 4-stroke with an integrated, intercooled supercharger that is good for 255 HP. It’s reliable and heat is not an issue. It’s compensating for “not having a great hole shot with a less powerful engine.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Klaus says:

        How does it sound? Anything like the bike in the video?

        • Tom Shields says:

          No, nothing like it. A triple has a really raspy sound. My other jetski (an older Kawasaki) is a 3-cylinder 2-stroke carbureted engine and it has the same characteristic triple raspiness.

          Neither of them sound anything like the sound clip above.

  18. rapier says:

    It sounds fast. It doesn’t sound particularly affordable? With the ZX14 and the 10R I’m thinking why another stupid fast bike? The company doesn’t need it and I’d guess the total sales of those don’t add up to a lot.

    If it’s a system/platform that can be adopted to hyperbike, standard and lightweight touring maybe it makes sense.

    Hat’s off to the tuning fork guys for striving to make more affordable real world bikes.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “It doesnโ€™t sound particularly affordable?”

      well not that it should be…? the burden is ALWAYS on us to exercise discipline and save for the things we want REGARDLESS of what they are, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

      good news, this is a very economical (dare I say cheap) approach to supercharging. the brilliance is in the fact that it’s even MORE economical if you’re already an engine manufacturer (read Big K, YAHHTZEE!) and one of your boffins DELIBERATELY decides to integrate it in to kit you already build (DOUBLE YAHTZEE!).

      once the turbine and it’s associated plumbing are done away (as is the case here) the only complex thing left is the compressor wheel, and even that’s not that complex here in “future year” 2014. the volute, the BOV, the shaft drive, the bearing, the oiling system, possible intercooler, any gears etc, are all things that could be handled by a SINGLE engineer if they were so inclined (499 need not apply).

      my call…?

      this could be done by a consortium like K-Heavy, and it wouldn’t cost YOU (John Q. “Fansumer”) any more than coming off the dime for say, the ABS version of a bike…? versus it’s non ABS counterpart.

      just the same, SYP (stack your pennies). do that…? and you’re covered either way.

      Q: Iโ€™m thinking why another stupid fast bike?

      A: so various marketing and sales departments can write ad copy that brags “We Have The Most Stupid Fast Under One Roof”.

  19. Don Fraser says:

    Chrysler developed a supercharged 2-stroke a couple decades back, wonder if that is what we are hearing. Would have to be a triple, maybe 750 cc or why tack on the H2?

  20. Provologna says:

    Sounds like Kawasaki’s marketing division is a lot better than Ducati with their lame Scrambler tease website at Facebook.

  21. Home Skillet says:

    Sounds like the hamsters spooling up their ferris wheel.

  22. Butch says:

    Supercharged triple.

    Should sell like prophylactics at a whore house . . . . . . . .

  23. ABQ says:

    Sounds electric with a shifter, or a rotary.

  24. t says:

    I’m going to go against the “Norm” – 750 or less.

  25. carl says:

    Another bike nobody will buy not because we wouldn’t like to but only ones who can afford the insurance are “old”. Biking is dying a slow death around here with very few young taking up riding because of insane insurance prices under 25.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Biking is dying a slow death around here with very few young taking up riding”

      that’s not a problem, that’s an OPPORTUNITY. (a lil’ chestnut a high ranking individual once hit ME over the head with)

      an opportunity for what…?

      an opportunity for YOU to pass on your love of riding to the next generation. therein, you mentor and educate “these minds filled with mush” on what constitute responsible behaviour. responsible behaviour not just on a motorcycle…? but also OFF.

      if not now, when…? if not you, WHO…?

      it’s everybody’s burden regardless of whether we choose to accept it.

      • carl says:

        Other than offroad it will be years before my kids will ride on the street. I’m a 3rd generation family rider but when they want $6-$8000 to insure my 20yr old on gsxr600 its called simple economics. Maybe where you live insurance is more rider friendly.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I think what they are saying is that they DON’T want to insure your 20-yo on a GSXR600. ๐Ÿ™‚

          That is a crazy amount of money.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “I think what they are saying is that they DONโ€™T want to insure your 20-yo on a GSXR600.”

            and there it is. Jay you have just been promoted in rank to #2. I shall call you…

            #2. (dr. evil voice)

            now here, put on this eye patch, this and a few other perks come with the promotion.

  26. Slob says:

    To my ears it sounds like could even be a triple, but that might just be the super/turbo charger…

  27. RRocket says:

    Definitely sounds like a blow off valve…

  28. J Wilson says:

    Now I’ve got it: It sounds like my insurance agent thinking of how he’s going to quote me a rate on this earthbound cruise missile with a straight face . . . .