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Kawasaki Debuts 300 HP Closed-Course H2R; Street Legal Model Debuts Soon


Perhaps the most anticipated new model this year is the supercharged Kawasaki H2, which has finally been unveiled with the closed-course H2R. The street legal model will debut in a few days time.

With roughly 300 hp, the H2R, despite all its cutting edge technology, is encased by a beautiful steel trellis frame. The supercharger looks like a simple enough design, residing behind the cylinder bank. It is likely to come with relatively mild, standard boost, even in the H2R, so you can anticipate some more aggressive tuning by owners and after-market companies. Here is a press release from Kawasaki on the H2R:

When Kawasaki first conceived the Ninja H2R, the driving development concept was to offer the kind of acceleration no rider had experienced before.  

That a motorcycle be “Fun to Ride” is one of Kawasaki’s guiding principles.  But while there are many ways for a motorcycle to be enjoyed, it was felt that having incredible acceleration was a major factor in delivering ultimate riding exhilaration.  

Powering the Ninja H2R is a supercharged engine with a design target of 300 PS allied to a compact design on par with power units found in supersport litre-class models.  The key to achieving this incredible performance lies in the engine’s supercharger—a motorcycle-specific unit designed completely in-house with technology from other companies within the Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) Group: the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company andCorporate Technology Division.


KHI Group technology was not limited to the supercharger.  Advanced technological know-how shared from other group companies is found throughout the all-new engine and chassis design.  For example, the carbon-fibre upper and lower wings that ensure stability when riding in the ultra-high speed range were designed with assistance from Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company.  This is but one example, and this inter-group collaboration combined with the level of technology poured into this model is the reason the Kawasaki River Mark* is displayed prominently on the front of the Ninja H2R.  

When it came time to name this model, using “Ninja”—a name synonymous with Kawasaki performance and shared by many legendary models over three historic decades —was an obvious choice.  But this model is also named for another epoch-making model, whose 2-stroke 748.2 cm3 Triple gave it an intense acceleration that made it a sensation around the world: the Mach IV 750, also known as the “H2.”  For a model designed to offer “the kind of acceleration no rider has experienced before” we can think of no better name.  

Built Beyond Belief. In 2014, Kawasaki is once again ready to unleash a new sensation upon the world.  

*The Kawasaki River Mark is a long-time symbol of the KHI Group dating back to the 1870s.  As a policy, its use on products is rare and limited to models with historical significance.  But for the Ninja H2R permission to use this symbol was granted.  



Never-before-experienced Acceleration

In order to be able to offer intense acceleration and a top speed in a range that most riders never have a chance to experience, it was essential that the engine be able to produce big power.  While a large-displacement engine could easily provide a high engine output, to ensure a lightweight, compact overall package a compact engine was also desired.  Using a supercharged engine—essentially enabling a high-performance engine to be downsized—allowed both of these engine design requirements to be met: maximum power output has been targeted at 300 PS, and the engine size of the 998 cm3 In-Line Four is on par with other supersport litre-class power units. 

In-house-designed Supercharger

The supercharger used in the Ninja H2R was designed by Kawasaki motorcycle engine designers with assistance from other companies within the KHI Group, namely the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company, and the Corporate Technology Division.  Designing the supercharger in-house allowed it to be developed to perfectly match the engine characteristics of the Ninja H2R.  The highly efficient, motorcycle-specific supercharger was the key to achieving the maximum power and the intense acceleration that engineers wanted to offer. 

Chassis Design

The objectives for the Ninja H2R’s chassis were to ensure supreme stability at ultra-high speeds, offer cornering performance to be able to enjoy riding on a closed course, and finally to have a highly accommodating character.  Ordinarily, high-speed stability can easily be achieved with a long wheelbase, but a shorter wheelbase was selected to achieve the compact overall package and sharp handling that were also desired.  The frame needed not only to be stiff, but also to be able to absorb external disturbances—which, when encountered while riding in the ultra-high speed range, could easily unsettle a lesser chassis.  A new trellis frame developed using the latest analysis technology provided both the strength to harness the incredible power of the supercharged engine, and the balanced flex to ensure the stability and feedback for high-speed riding.   



As speed increases, wind resistance increases exponentially.  To be able to operate in the ultra-high speed range, a combination of high power and slippery aerodynamics is needed.  With power requirements taken care of by the supercharged engine, the next step was to design bodywork that both minimised drag and ensured control when riding at ultra-high speed.  Assistance from Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company was enlisted in creating the aerodynamically sculpted bodywork to ensure maximum aerodynamic efficiency.   

Intense-Force Design & Craftsmanship

Wanting to ensure a bold design worthy of a model that carried both the “Ninja” and “H2” names, the prime styling concept chosen for the Ninja H2R was “Intense Force Design.”  As a flagship for the Kawasaki brand, it required presence, and a styling that reflected its incredible performance.  But the design is much more than cosmetic.  While it certainly looks the part, the Ninja H2R also possesses a functional beauty: each piece of its bodywork was aerodynamically sculpted to ensure stability at ultra-high speeds; the cowling design also maximises cooling performance and heat dissipation, aiding in achieving the engine’s roughly 300 PS output; and the Ram Air duct is ideally positioned to bring fresh air to the supercharger.  More than any motorcycle Kawasaki has built to date, the Ninja H2R is a showcase of craftsmanship, build quality and superb fit and finish—right down to the high-tech mirrored-finish black chrome paint specially developed for this model.


  1. Don Fraser says:

    The more I look at this, the more I like it. The way the engine is exposed with the fairing way out in front, the trellis frame. Hope some of this design is passed on to other bikes in their line, could put a serious hurt on everyone but HA/DA.

  2. Norm G. says:

    Q: Kawasaki are busy pounding at a bike that will what? … not be used by anyone except a drag racer on the Bonneville salt flats?”

    A: well healed trackday enthusiast…?

    re: “Another issue has to do with wheelies.
    re: “Unintentional “moonshots” were the norm with my bike(until I lengthened the swingarm).”

    just so we’re clear, I’M THE NORM, but there are no wheelies or long swingarms in this latest video. (there’s apparently no end to them)

    I know, I know, I’m as shocked as the rest of “youz”. it seems their target is in fact unseating the s1000…?

    but then comes the quandary of ZERO tie-in with their WSBK program. is that sykes in the video…? is that Duinkers spinning that T-handle…? is that Yoda on the laptop…? dunno.

    maybe the brochure shots will go down in Cutter once Tom’s standing in front the bike, with the T-shirt, lifting the trophy…?

  3. Norm G. says:

    uh oh, something’s up gents. the proddy version of this bike is supposedly nearly identical to this R…? this does not bode well. well yes and no.

  4. richE says:

    Nothing like the whine of a turbo/supercharger, bought kaw 750 turbo back in the day and miss the whine, a street version will be in my garage when it comes out. So many v twins making that awful noise a little whine will be pleasing to there ear when i blow by them—way to go Kawasaki

  5. larryc7777 says:

    Big Green is taking a big chance with a bike this powerful. Most riders just don’t realize how quickly distances disappear with this amount of power available. What seems like a large space between you & the traffic ahead shrinks at an alarming rate. Plus, the speed that you’re going when that distance ends is probably more than you had anticipated. I recently traded my turbocharged ZRX1200 and I can verify that my statement is accurate. And my bike had a “mere” 240HP. Another issue has to do with wheelies. Maybe that’s why they referenced H2 in the name. Unintentional “moonshots” were the norm with my bike( until I lengthened the swingarm ).
    We all know that a large number of these bikes will end up in the hands of younger, less experienced riders. I sure hope they take the time to learn the capabilities of the bike & themselves before becoming a statistic.
    Having said all that…Damn, I really want one. 🙂

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I sure hope they take the time to learn the capabilities of the bike & themselves before becoming a statistic.”

      good luck. (marko from tropoja)

      see Darwin…? not really a teacher, he’s more of a “hands on” kinda guy.

  6. Chris says:

    Anticipated release price before the stealerships get a hook on it ?

    • Norm G. says:

      they’re only “stealerships” because they have something YOU want, and aren’t inclined to just hand it over to us on our good looks.

  7. Axle says:

    Just the fact that there is this discussion thread means that Kawasaki has created a stir within the motorcycling world. Whether you hate it or think it is a work of art, you have to step back and see it as probably the only Japanese ‘exotic’ bike that has ever been produced. My guess is that the mentioned street version will also be an outstanding performer hopefully in the price range of maybe the MV Agusta, S1000RR and Panigale’s of this world and thus Kawasaki will sell every one they can make.
    Thumbs up to Kawi.

  8. Gronde says:

    Kawasaki is now planning it’s next marketing scheme for the street version that will surely “change the motorcycling landscape forever”.

    • sherm says:

      Or they could be changing their advertising agency forever. The orgasm has already occurred. Now what, light up a cigarette?

      All the bragging about the contributions other “Heavy Industry” divisions have made to H2R development seems pretty flaky. Those same divisions were around when Kawasaki was trying, and failing, to win MotoGP races.

      Maybe they ought to make a charger kit that’s a bolt-on to the 300. In countries where there are different classes of licenses for different bike power levels, a novice starts out with the basic 300. Then when the rider qualifies for a higher HP level, he/she goes down to the dealer and gets the charger kit installed. Of course the dealer will have to “card” the rider to make sure the rider has qualified for the higher HP.

  9. Gronde says:

    I guess Kawasaki is now planning it’s next marketing scheme for the street version that will surely “change the motorcycling landscape forever”.

  10. Ninja9R says:

    This bike just clarifies the old statement: “While the engineers at Honda are home arranging their sock drawers, the engineers at Kawasaki are out in the garage pounding down brewskis”………………

    • mickey says:

      Or the Honda engineers are in their garages pounding out bikes that dominate MotoGP and dominate in showrooms, while the engineers at Kawasaki are busy pounding at a bike that will what? not sell,? cannot be used by anyone except a drag racer on the Bonneville salt flats? Cannot be sold by their dealers? Cannot be serviced by their dealer’s mechanics? Cannot be insured?

      • Ian says:

        As cool/odd as this bike is, wonder what the H2 NonR street legal version will be like.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “wonder what the H2 NonR street legal version will be like”

          like you’ve “Got A Tiger By The Tail”…

          only less.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Or the Honda engineers are in their garages pounding out bikes that dominate MotoGP and dominate in showrooms, while the engineers at Kawasaki are busy pounding at a bike that will what? not sell,? cannot be used by anyone except a drag racer on the Bonneville salt flats?”

        ’tis definitely a tale of two cities… err… engineering philosophies, but I have to score this match in favour of K-Heavy…

        circle gets the square.

        • mickey says:

          Only history can determine who gets the square Norm. Future changer or circus sideshow. Time will tell.

          • mickey says:

            If kn 5 years, all of the big 4 have supercharged offering for the public, I will concede that you are right.

            Hang in there!

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Only history can determine who gets the square Norm”

            too late, I’ve already made the declaration. 🙂

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “If kn 5 years, all of the big 4 have supercharged offering for the public, I will concede that you are right.”

            no no, you’re missing the point. while proliferation may result…? that’s not exactly what I’m after. it’s slightly more complex.

            as of October 1 2014, KHI has what’s known as a Durable Competitive Advantage (Warren Buffet speak). Kawasaki has a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) over ALL other brands by virtue of the fact…

            they’re the ONLY GAME IN TOWN.

            I’d like to seem them (and them alone) reap the rewards for their vision and expertise. quite frankly…? what the consumer wants (or doesn’t want) can pound sand.

            if you’re a VALUING motorcyclist, and you WANT this technology…? (though maybe not your local) you go to a Kawasaki dealer. end of.

            you don’t get to play games of running down the road to the Honda or Suzuki franchises in the never-ending search for the “bigger and better deal” and all that nonsense.

            BREAKING NEWS…!!! the bigger and better deal doesn’t exist, IT NEVER HAS. that’s really just an indicator that YOUR A$$ IS BROKE (not you persay). nature is such that, human beings don’t value things they don’t pay for.

            right then, they either come off the dime…? or they take a WALK.

            if they need company…? they’ll find the rest of the “have nots” co-miserating over on the grassy knoll. I’m sure a supercharged Kawi owner will be along shortly. hey, him (or her) might even wave and beep their horn…? you never know.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I agree it is two very different approaches to selling motorcycles, and I am the kind of guy that gets a rush from Kawasaki’s approach of shock and awe. The ONLY bike that Honda makes that I really wanted was the CB1100, and that was only until I rode it after which I wanted nothing to do with it.

          Is it a knockout punch? It blows me away, but we won’t know the affect on the market until that supercharger starts filtering down to Versys 650s and Ninja 300s forcing everyone else to follow or perish.

          • jeece says:

            Honda’s CB1100 is a real yawner, for sure, and that is coming from one of the old farts that should really dig it. When a manufacturer trys to capture the vintage look, it is odd how hard it seems to be to get it right. A supercharged 650 twin, in a couple or three different styles would be sweet, as you mention. Make mine a very simple standard, but with enough stonk to pop an innocent wheelie or two.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Oh, and no offense to your beloved CB1100 mickey. To each his own! 🙂

          • mickey says:

            No offense taken Jeremy, that why they don’t build just one type of bike. Not every bike suits every person. I can tell you there is no better bike for me.

            I trust from reading your posts you are a lot younger than I, didn’t grow up with these kind of bikes. I’ve been waiting a long time for Honda to bring out another bike that didn’t look like an insect or transformer, had regular headlight, regular seat, regular looking gauges, regular fenders, regular tail light. Etc with the CB 1100 they did an exemplary job, meeting all design goals set forth by the engineers. It could have had another 10 horsepower or so, but it’s a moot point as I don’t use all it has. So happy with mine I bought two of them.

          • Tom K. says:

            Mickey, not trying to be a wise guy here – but why two? Does your
            Significant Other ride? If not, do you put equal mileage on them? Or is one mothballed for “future”? Are they the same color, so you only need one license plate and some velcro?

          • mickey says:

            Tom as soon as the 13 was announced, I bought one. It had 5 speed trans, 4 into 1 pipe, with stainless steel header, 3.9 gal tank, silver side covers, black motor, black wheels. It was a great bike…but…

            In 2014 Honda came out with a deluxe version..4.7 gallon tank, 6 speed trans, 4 into 2 with chrome head pipes, side covers painted to match the tank, a seat patterned like the old 750s, fuel computer, gear indicator, polished master cyl and brake master cyl caps, polished triple tree, polished passenger grab rails, chrome bar ends, silver motor, silver wheels…Just gorgeous. Traded in the 13 and bought the 14 dlx.

          • mickey says:

            Ph and the 14 came with SBS standard too

          • mickey says:

            Jeezalou..that’s supposed to say OH and the 14 came with ABS. Too. The other part of my reply is under moderation…again!

          • Tom K. says:

            As soon as I hit “enter”, it dawned on me that you didn’t necessarily say you owned both at the same time. When Honda announced the upgrades to the 2nd year bike, I too felt that would be the one I’d own if I were in the market (and I will definitely give that model a close look when I am, but from the specs, I initially thought the seat height was a little low, I’m long-legged). But they nailed it in the looks dept., I always thought the 750 Nighthawk was one of the best looking bikes on the showroom floor for years. These days, I’m more into roll-on snort vs peak hp, I hope to Zarathustra I’m done with 150 mph brain-farts for the rest of my career (with apologies to Joe Walsh, “My Kawasaki does 185 – I lost my license, now I can’t drive”).

      • jeece says:

        … I sure don’t see Honda dominating any showrooms in my area, and without their current rider, they would be second best in MotoGP. They don’t sell as many cruisers around here as Yamaha, and Suzuki and Kawasaki flat skin them up in the sportbike categories in this area. I used to be a Honda fan, but they define “asleep at the wheel”, lately, if you ask me. Unless you like weird scooter/automatic urban plastic motorcycle thingies. They are producing a few of those.

        • mickey says:

          Lol all you have to do is check sales figures. And without Marquez, Honda would still have the number 1 rider in MotoGP. All you have to check in that case is the standings.

          And the CB 1100 is arguably the best in it’s category…retro standards. Those that own them will be glad to tell you. Superb motorcycle.

          • jeece says:

            Dude, any half smart motorcyclist knows Honda has the “biggest piece of the pie”, but having been in motorcycle sales for nearly twenty years, I can tell you, without any hesitation, that they have lost their mojo. Even blindly devoted Honda guys like you are grumbling about the complacency and lack of innovation they see from Honda in this space in time. I wont argue the point with you. Maybe I live in a vacuum, or something. You can call it my sole opinion if you like, but I bet Siochiro Honda, or however you spell it is about ready to “roll over” as we are typing. Also, and in closing, if you think the CB1100 is anything other than a snoozer, you are in some way grossly biased against Kawasaki in the first place. Their ZRX1200 is much better looking, faster, and doesn’t get confused about what it is supposed to be. Honda sure got confused when they built that bike. Something like the original CB1100f would have been well received, but they went for some kind of I don’t know what when they styled that heap. My opinion only, of course. PS. Marquez is good, aint he. He would win on a Yamaha, as Rossi says,” for sure”.

          • mickey says:

            Dude? Nobody has called me dude in at least 4 decades. But um ok…. When was the last time Kawasaki sold a new ZRX 1200? Would have loved to have a new one, that’s my style of bike. Air cooled, Inline 4 cyl liter bike, std riding position, more or less bench seat, steel frame, great motorcycle. Just can’t buy them anymore…and I still contend the CB 1100 is a great motorcycle. Owners, the guys that actually live with them day to day almost to a man love them.

  11. Gary says:

    The “Air Wolf” of motorcycles. Hope Kawasaki included that primal wolf scream when you corner it!

  12. sherm says:

    I think the new Ducati Scrambler , with its air cooled 75 hp,terrific looks, and under 9k price, is the real winner of the day. The H2R will be a quickly forgotten mechanical fantasy.

    Walk two hundred riders past the Scrambler and H2R side by side, and I’d bet that 90 percent would oogle the Scrambler more than the H2R. Just my opinion.

  13. falcodoug says:

    Will they be offering test rides in Long Beach this November?

  14. jeece says:

    You know.. after reflecting on this little period of build-up, release, and comments/scrutiny, I have got to say that I am just proud that somebody in the motorcycle industry is grabbing gears and not sitting on the sidelines with a beat down look on their face. Kudos, Kawasaki, you are no doubt gaining my admiration for boldly moving forward with something, even if its not the proverbial gamechanger, or whatever Norm would say. Sure, not everyone is going to like the styling, or the power output, or the amount of cylinders, or something about the machine, but, if you think like a youngster, this thing is pretty darn awesome. Besides, in the thirty years or so I have been a motorcyclist, there have been really no motorcycles produced that were EXACTLY what I would build if I were in charge at Honda, Kawasaki, etc.. So yeehaw, Kawasaki, go on a build something else, and then another…lately it seems you have the floor to yourself, but you are trying, and that’s cool with me. PS A 750cc supercharged motor in the ZRX guise would be the stuff if you ask me.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “even if its not the proverbial gamechanger”

      it is.

      re: “or whatever Norm would say”

      not whatever, the tag lines/buzzwords Norm’s come up come up with (and really don’t know how the KHI marketing department missed?) are…

      “TURBOSUPERCHARGER”, “TURBO-SUPERCHARGER” (all one word or hyphenated)



      these are terms you will be hearing me repeat in the coming weeks and months. as a courtesy, you are advised to up date your dictionaries/wiktionaries, spell checkers and the like. you’ll WANT to be up to speed (pun intended).

      • Norm G. says:

        ps: if you should repeat these terms elsewhere (and you will), I only ask that you credit the source. thank you.

  15. Ninja9R says:

    Back in ’73 at the tender age of 16 I took and passed my motorcycle license test on a ’72 Mach IV, Denco chambers and all. When I saw the first ad for this bike I was interested. After watching the video above I’ve got wood. My wife, bless her, understands.

    • Kagato says:

      What did the trooper have to say about your bike? I bet he wanted to take her out himself ; – )

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “After watching the video above I’ve got wood. My wife, bless her, understands.”

      she’s just wondering what you’re gonna do with that thing…? no, the OTHER thing.