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Latest Kawasaki Ninja H2 Video: 130,000 rpm Impeller

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As we await the unveiling of the street legal version of the Ninja H2, Kawasaki has released another video stressing the incorporation of technology from another of its divisions, i.e., the aircraft division. Specifically, with reference to the design of the supercharger’s impeller.

In the meantime, Kawasaki’s test riders have reported that the track-only H2R easily exceeds 210 mph (certainly within the realm of MotoGP top speeds). Not surprising, given the roughly 300 hp available. How much power will the street legal version make? We will have to wait until EICMA on November 4.

55 Comments

  1. Geep says:

    Ricardo makes an electric driven supercharger, this is the answer IMO, once the technology matures….

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      130K rpms and 300hp sound like a pretty good answer to me. And the technology is already mature.

    • Norm G. says:

      #2 you’re starting to scare me. this is exactly the post i was about to respond to and the basic gist of my thoughts. 🙂

      was going to add, while on the surface i like the idea of “electrified induction” (i do, sounds cool don’t it?), i knew just from my understanding of natural law, there wouldn’t be free lunch, and sadly there isn’t. such a device has a huge power requirement…

      POWER IS EVERYTHING. (EECOM John W. Aaron, Apollo 13)

      which is not to say it isn’t brilliant, but it also sheds light on how equally brilliant K-heavy are by “not going there” in the first place. they kept it within the scope of ICE.

  2. Jdilpkle says:

    I’m just shifting my Buell XB motor into second at 130,000 rpm.

  3. Norm G. says:

    re: “Kawasaki’s test riders have reported that the track-only H2R easily exceeds 210 mph (certainly within the realm of MotoGP top speeds).”

    whoa, just got a text from Nicky… he’s in his Japanese hotel room ’bout to go “lights out”… admits to JEALOUSY.

    (throws back Sake glass to take the edge off)

  4. John says:

    Show me a modern CX500T or even better, some sort of while ultra light DP twin and we’ll talk. I’m trying to get the excess – less is more!

  5. Norm G. says:

    it slices, it dices, and makes mounds of julienne fries in seconds…!!! (Ron Popeil voice)

  6. Stella says:

    “How much power will the street legal version make?” – enough to make it illegal.

    • JBozZRX says:

      She-oot – my 16 year old ZRX1100 will do 85 in 2nd and likes to cruise at 75. What’s legal got to do with any bike?

      • mickey says:

        Just curious..do you cruise in second?

        • dino says:

          He probably doesn’t… but he COULD if he wanted.

          I cruise in third (leaves some acceleration room for instant wheelies when passing trucks on the highway). All you need are 3 gears!

        • @mickey – he didn’t write that he cruises in 2nd. He wrote that the bike will do 85 in 2nd and that the bike likes to cruise at 75, no gear specified.

          • mickey says:

            Yea I understood that..just wondered why he bothered to add that it likes to cruise at 75? (I bet it likes to cruise at 75 in 5th not in second. See where I was going with that?)

  7. xlayn says:

    engine check, CAD check, animation check, minute^-1 notation check, planetary gears… dammn check -> engineer pron
    I would love to see how much that chain is going to last.

  8. Donald says:

    so cool, I’m in awe. I don’t think I want one, but I’m in jaw dropping awe…

  9. richE says:

    Kawasaki, put my name on one, selling my Triumph.

  10. Mungus says:

    Someday in the near future, I hope to see this technology used to produce bikes that get 80 horsepower , 80 lb feet of torque and 100 MPG from less than 400 cc.

    • Lenz says:

      That would be nice wouldn’t it. Forced induction isn’t a magic wand for fuel efficiency / miserly fuel consumption but it does allow more fuel and air to be processed by a smaller capacity / format internal combustion engine. Sadly forced induction combustion engines won’t run on compressed air alone: more oxygen + more fuel = more power + less engine.

      Advances in minimising fuel droplet size via various means, ignition sources, digital management etc all continue to allow more of the chemical energy locked up in the fuel to be more completely utilised. Compressed hydrogen works well in IC engines. It becomes a gas very readily and burns at very high efficiency. Mazda has a strong interest in hydrogen fuel.

    • Donald says:

      Yes, I agree. I’d love to see this technology adapted to smaller displacement engines that deliver sub 380 pound bikes that are nimble, fun and fuel efficient.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I’d love to see this technology adapted to smaller displacement engines that deliver sub 380 pound bikes”

        the follow up to this is likely already 90% done internally. such is product planning, we just don’t know about it.

        once upon a time, the ninja 250 had a big brother called the NINJA 500. anybody remember that kit…? 🙂 and conveniently it would be 1/2 the displacement of this H2.

        bueller…? bueller…? anyone…?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      80hp 400cc? That is certainly possible. 100MPG? Only if you think a motorcycle shaped like a porpoise is worth having.

    • dino says:

      Welcome to “No free lunch 101”

      Turbo’s and Superchargers allow smaller engines to produce more power by compressing intake air and fuel into the cylinders than it normally would. So it makes more power, but that still takes more fuel to do that. When you are using that power, you use that more fuel as well.

      So, Turbo’s can get better mileage because you have a smaller engine, using less fuel when you are NOT on the power hard, and when you are just cruising the turbos is not working hard (turbo spins with exhaust pressure). Also, when just cruising, the turbo does not load the engine much at all. But turbo’s can take a small bit of time to “switch on” with power demand, making it harder to control at times, most notably when a cycle is leaned over and sensitive to power changes.

      Superchargers make boost all the time (geared to the engine crank), which makes more power all the time, and has a constant drag on the engine requiring more power just to cruise. So mileage is not improved here, but power from a small package can be the real benefit.

      Mad Max had the right idea… Supercharger for massive predictable power, but an electric clutch to turn it off when he was just cruising around looking for fuel, or damsels in distress. Now if they could make a smooth way to engage the blower on and off, or a variable drive, maybe they could reduce boost (and drag) during cruise, but still have the power on tap when needed!

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “turbo spins with exhaust pressure”

        turbo “recovers” the heat (energy) to do useful work… from the conversion process of the chemical energy that heretofore existed in the fuel.

        for most types of supercharger (roots, screw, centrifugal, fancy electric, pick your poison) this energy is WASTED is it goes “up the flue” and gets dissipated to the environment, when it could be doing something crazy like propelling the vehicle forward…? which is why we’re all gathered here today.

        re: “turbo’s can take a small bit of time to “switch on” with power demand, making it harder to control at times”

        god bless VGT (Variable Geometry Turbines). the man who invented it sits high atop MONEY MOUNTAIN and prolly uses a Veyron for his “grocery getter”. it seems fate is not without a sense of irony.

        re: “Mad Max had the right idea”

        let’s be fair, Max was just “pizzedoff” (and rightly so). 🙂 “barry the wrench” (sporting greasy coveralls) was the one with the light bulb over his head.

        • xlayn says:

          “turbo “recovers” the heat (energy) to do useful work… from the conversion process of the chemical energy that heretofore existed in the fuel.”

          it actually make use of the power excerted by the piston on it’s way up propelling the gasses out of the chamber transformed in a flow through the exhaust to propell the turbo exhaust turbine, power that will be translated to the admission propeller that will compress air that will be fed back to the piston.

          in fact the heat the exhaust gasses contains is lost (and it could be used somehow, but we don’t, weight to power recovery thing) and it does affect adversely engine and fuel/air mixture combustion as the hotter the air, the less dense it is, therefore less mixture, less fuel, less power.

          check for example solution for turbo by red bull for F1 in which the turbo shaft puts way apart the turbo from the admission intake

          also the reason for the intercoolers

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “it actually make use of the power (exerted) by the piston on it’s way up propelling the gasses out of the chamber”

            you don’t even believe this.

            re: “in fact the heat the exhaust gasses contains is lost (and it could be used somehow, but we don’t”

            xlayn, you are going to be an American some day, now disassemble your trolling and continue…!

          • Tom K. says:

            Xlayn, listen to Norm on this, he’s spot-on. If a turbo was spun up solely by the flow of the exhaust gas, the backpressure would be so great that you may as well pound a potato into the exhaust. It is the “still-burning and expanding exhaust gas” that overwhelmingly powers the turbo, and that is why turbocharged engines are inherently more efficient (other things being equal), compared to their naturally-aspirated brethen. Turbos capture the “waste heat” that would otherwise be expelled into the atmosphere, and turn it into mechanical energy, used to flow and compress the intake air. The temperature of the exhaust of a modern diesel, under full load, is something like 1100-1200°F entering the turbo, and probably 200-300°F degrees less leaving – and although some of that heat is simply radiated off the turbo casting, most of it is converted into mechanical energy spinning the turbine in excess of 100,000 rpm, which provides boost in the 18-22 psi range (obviously, gasoline engines can’t use this much squeeze, one reason diesels are more efficient than gasoline engines). Please forgive the stated temperature numbers if they are not exact, I’m going by memory from a while back – but the principal is sound.

            Think of engines being nothing more than “air pumps”, since you can only burn a given volume of fuel at the chemically-correct fuel/air ratio. You can pump in more fuel, but unless you have the oxygen necessary for combustion, you’ll just be making smoke. The last I checked, the only way to get more power from an IC engine is to either make it bigger, spin it faster, or increse the BMEP (the brake mean effective pressure, the force pushing down the pistion). The third variable is increased via higher compression ratios, more fuel/oxygen, more exotic fuels, etc.. Please forgive the dissertation, you can get me to shut up quicker by buying me a beer.

  11. tla says:

    How many years will I have to wait till there are enough binned H2’s that their superchargers will be dirt cheap at cycle salvage?

    • xlayn says:

      at the speeds it can reach… couple of months.
      the other thing is that the supercharger is inside the engine, not like replacing an Audi turbo, so for example if you damage the engine cases it’s over Jhonny.
      and you can’t take the parts like for a DIY project.

      • Snake says:

        Well, if you have to replace the turbo on your Audi it is because you’re an idiot – every car I’ve ever owned, except one, was a turbo and I *never* had to replace or work on a turbo, ever. I sold my last car, a VW turbo, with 220,000 miles to someone and it now had over 3000,000 miles on it; I taught him proper turbo care when I sold it to him and he’s not had a problem.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “superchargers will be dirt cheap”

      define “dirt cheap”. (breakers voice)

    • relic says:

      If it kills riders at the same rate as the original H2, your wait will be short.

  12. rapier says:

    How is the jack shaft driven? Gears or another chain? Doesn’t make any dif just curious. Anyway it has to be reliable and not alterable by owners. Not without a massive amount of work like a turbo where simply screwing with the wastegate can alter boost a lot. The downside is it requires what is essentially a new engine and since they have committed to the liter bike smaller displacement ones where it would make a ton more sense to me seems out of the picture for now

    • Auphliam says:

      I appears to be gear driven off the crank. At least that’s what it looks like to me.

    • joe b says:

      the video seems to explain how it works, gear driven off the primary drive gear, then chain drive to the impeller. I believe I read about it having 2 speeds, I wonder how that is accomplished, that is not shown.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I believe I read about it having 2 speeds, I wonder how that is accomplished, that is not shown.”

        it’s a planetary so by definition multiple ratios are on offer. planetary’s (multiple) are what grind away unceremoniously inside our car transmissions. can’t say i fully understand it but basically, if you brake or hold any one of the “planets”, the “suns”, or the ring (think the Saturn), the output speed (at the center) changes from the input speed. if nothing is held i believe the works turn at 1:1…? dunno.

        clever those boffins, shame the best we can think to do most times is to DEVALUE them rather than reward them.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Not without a massive amount of work like a turbo where simply screwing with the wastegate can alter boost a lot.”

      this still has a wastegate/BOV. 400hp is just sitting their with it’s arms folded, scowling at you, taunting you, asking…

      “do you wanna piece of me…? do you wanna piece of me”…?

      • xlayn says:

        little poxy, little fidling with the wastegate actuator, and he had a little piece of it, from the many the engine cough up everywhere….

  13. Lenz says:

    Bearing technology is a wonderful thing.

    I so hope this supercharger evolution becomes mainstream across the major manufacturers. The current option of producing more power basically through increases in engine capacity is an evolutionary dead-end – more engine, more weight, greater rider inputs, greater production material cost, more braking effort – the cascade of negative outcomes eventually defeats the purpose and functionality of motorcycle design.

    Kawasaki powered jet skis are a proven small format supercharged engine operating in a demanding environment – it’s not exactly new ground for Kawasaki Heavy Industries but the potential exists for a significant mainstream redirection for weight-sensitive power applications. (motorcycles, outboard boat motors etc etc)

    I like Kawasaki’s aggressive and competitive “most motorcycle on the planet” approach.

    • xlayn says:

      The bearings!! You are right, I guess it will be a similar approach to the floating in oil bearings of the turbochargers, yet still impressive

      • relic says:

        The big advantage of the gear drive over turbo is that the housing is not glowing red hot every time the engine is under load.

        • xlayn says:

          You still have to fight with friction, imagine a 5mm diammeter section for the impeler shaft, at 120k rpm those 5mm translates to 5*2*pi = approx 31mm surface has travel 3720 mts every minute or 62 mts per second (the kind of friction you’ll suffer if you all from your motorcycle at 100kph, 66mph), that’s a lot of friction, to put it in another way, put your motorcycle crankshaft without oil iddling at 1.2k (100 times less, or two orders of magnitude in base 10 of course) rpm and you’ll see it takes just a while to wreck the engine.

  14. mickey says:

    wow 130,000 rpms. That’s really spinning fast. Don’t stick your finger in the front of the fan Johnny.