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New Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX: Massive Performance for the Sport Touring Segment Together With Good Fuel Economy

Earlier today, Kawasaki revealed the supercharged Sport Tourer it promised, and it does not disappoint. A 998cc inline four engine uses a supercharger to deliver 200 peak horsepower together with massive thrust at low and mid-range rpm levels. On top of all that performance, Kawasaki promises fuel economy better than the naturally aspirated Ninja 1000 Sport Tourer currently in its lineup.

We don’t have all of the details at this point, but the machine will include sophisticated, electronic rider aids, including an IMU and cruise control. An “SE” version will include a TFT display (pictured), adaptive cornering lights and a quick-shifter.

We will provide more details when they become available.


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77 Comments

  1. Nrhreyrp says:

    This bike will be state of the art in so many ways, the negative comments just fascinate me. How many of you have tv with Sling TV?

  2. slipjoint says:

    Time to start the rumor of a late 2018 retro naked 40th anniversary Z1R using this drivetrain.

  3. Mr.Mike says:

    I’m still waiting for a supercharged KLR-650.

  4. Gary says:

    I’m sure it’s a real thrill machine. But it appears to have monkey-humping-a-football ergonomics, which means the “touring” side of the “sport-touring” equation will likely be sorely lacking.

  5. Paul says:

    Kawasaki had over 300 engineers from many departments (aerodynamics, gas-turbine, etc.) developing the H2 and H2R. Return on capital did not come from H2 and H2R sales. The H2SX and future supercharged models begin the payback for HQ. The H2SX does not replaced the ZX14R (wheelbase too short, not a dragster), does not replace the N1K (probably double the N1K price), and does not replace the Concours 14 (no shaft drive). It is a stand-alone complimentary model to the H2 in Kawasaki’s lineup. Target market: Upper income experienced motorcyclists who don’t want the committed ergos of the H2, and are willing to pay for an exclusive experience. It reminds me of my much-loved 1993 ZX11 with scooped seat and reasonable height handlebars. It will be interesting to see if Kawasaki updates the Concours, N1K, or ZX14R in future years. EURO 4 and 5 may drive replacements/updates as much as market conditions. We can list concerns about styling, weight, etc, but what amazing times we live in for awesome motorcycles that could not have existed just a few years ago.

  6. Pauly sr says:

    I was lucky enough to ride an H2 when they came out. The engine response is impossible for me to describe, it’s a ride I will always remember, I don’t think I reved it higher than 6 grand! This new model can’t be anything but AWESOME!

  7. VForce says:

    If Honda would do the same supercharger upgrade on the VFR 800 I would actually have to break down and buy one!

  8. David M says:

    PS: I just found that it has the same size tank as the Ninja Z1000sx – 19 liters

    https://newatlas.com/kawasaki-2018-ninja-h2-sx/52095/#gallery

  9. GarryE says:

    I have a K1600s….no,….1600GTand its a blast….The h-2 will also be fun but I’m old and it must have cruise control if its going to be a “tourer”…..Kawasaki hasn’t put cruise on the Concours and I think that killed them on that very nice machine….

  10. B00bsalot says:

    I think the variable forced-air-induction is a way to work with emissions requirements. Doesn’t it seem like that is what’s happening here?

    I ride a new(ish) C14 and to me that is the sweet spot of long-range riding, even more so than the N1000.

    But the thing with all that plastic is – maintenance. Even an air filter change on a C14 is an all day job because you have to remove all that Tupperware(r) before you can get at the moving parts. A valve adjustment is well over $1,000.00 for the same reason.

    • David M says:

      The complexity (and therefore the cost) was one reason why I stayed with my FJR instead of buying a C14. I recently looked at those same costs for the ZX14 and gave it a pass for the same reason. While the FJR valve adjustment isn’t cheap, it’s about half the price of the C14 and I only have it done every 100,000 Km’s (60,000 miles). The FJR air filter replacement is about 15 minutes IIRC.

  11. David M says:

    Given that MPG x capacity = Range, having better fuel economy than the Ninja 1000 is nice but that doesn’t tell us much without providing details on tank size. Fuel range is ( for me ) a key metric for a touring bike. I would be prepared to sacrifice some fuel economy for a larger, but still practical, tank as long as the net result is better range.

  12. Jorge says:

    The motorcycle Gods have answered my prayers. I’ll start making room in the garage right now.

  13. Vrooom says:

    Still, I have to wonder, is it fast enough for me? Snort. We need a test of this thing!

  14. edbob says:

    I’m just a bit miffed that it’s only an H2 with hard bags. Nothing groundbreaking here. Was hoping for a Versys-like KTM killer. Thanks for nuthin’!

  15. Delmartian says:

    For many years now one of my bikes has always been a Sport Tourer, including a 1984 Honda VF1000F, a 2005 BMW K1200S, and my current 2012 BMW K1300S HP. I was really bummed that BMW never released the long-rumored K1400S, but worse yet, they discontinued the K13S last year. The K1600S is a monster, way too large for my needs. What to do. Aha ! This new Kawi will definitely be on my radar when it comes time to replace my K1300S-HP in a couple years. Smart move Kawasaki.

  16. bmbktmracer says:

    Can you imagine being a passenger on the back of this thing? This motorcycle will surely ruin a few marriages.

  17. Grover says:

    Plenty of used Hyabusas and ZX-11’s around that can literally scare the cr@p out of you for 1/10 of the cost of this machine. But if you HAVE to have the fastest, most outrageous Sport Touring rig out there, there is no other bike to consider than the H2 SX.

  18. Stuki says:

    Looks more like a replacement for the 14 than the 1000. In Europe, the 14 is a sports tourer. Not, as here, a dragster. But even in Europe, it doesn’t have well integrated hardbags. And Kawi won’t do a mechanical cruise control on neither the 14 nor the Connie.

  19. Max says:

    200 HP eh? I’d love to see some ridden without electronics. Bumper cars would be less likely to crash.
    The good thing is, those people spending a gazillion will be well protected by the engineers governing the power output to around 60 hp whenever the road bends. And they can still feel manly by citing data from the spec sheets to their friends.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      You’re exactly right, although I suppose there are stretches of roads in Texas, Montana, and Wyoming where the e-nanny would let the 200HP sing briefly. In California, the CHP and mountain roads make a bike like this as useful as chicken poo on a pump handle.

      • Sean says:

        Yes, I live out west. I’ve ridden all around E. WA, E. OR, ID, MT, WY, UT, NV, CO, NM, AZ. This bike will love it out in the wilds…

        Buying this bike to commute to work on I5 in the valley…big waste.

    • wsg says:

      the royal enfield article (that is clearly more your speed) is a few rows down. you must have missed it.

  20. j_cott says:

    This is what a sport tourer should be! Well done Kawi!

    My VTR1000 was a great ST bike. Anything more for “creature comforts” isn’t a sport tourer. It’s a tourer. All those negative comments below about ergos, heaters, blah blah blah are what makes ’em fat pigs and kills the “sport”.

    • marloweluke says:

      +1 My 2002 Sprint RS is a great sport tourer. Haven’t really found anything to replace it yet.

      • bmbktmracer says:

        I have the 2004 version with the single-side swingarm. I have a GSXR1000 USD fork, Ohlins shock, and Staintune pipe. It’s such a wonderful motorcycle. I will keep it forever. I’ve had newer bikes and faster bikes, but this one just does everything so well. I think the 955 triple was the perfect engine for street riding.

        • Delmartian says:

          I bought a new Triumph Daytona T595 in 1997 and still ride it every other day, 20 years later. The 955cc triple is a fantastic engine, perfect combination of the grunt of a twin and the rev-ability of a four-cylinder. And NOTHING sounds as good when you get on the throttle. Like you and your Triumph, I plan to keep it forever.

          • Dave says:

            “And NOTHING sounds as good when you get on the throttle.”

            May I direct your attention to the V4’s in the 5th-gen Honda VFR 800, Yamaha V-max and even the cross-plane Yamaha R1’s? They sound like a demons dunked in holy water beneath you when revved.

      • Kagato says:

        Sprint scared the bejeebers out of me when I rode one on Triumphs group test rides. I’m used to 500cc bikes ; – )

  21. wsg says:

    surprised, but not really, with all of the negative comments.

    what i see here is the first viable replacement to what I always refer to as “the best bike i ever had” which was a 99 cbr1100xx.

    i dont see it as a sport tourer. its a comfortable street bike. good for anything. let me quantify… good for my definition of anything. others Will (obviously) differ

    • Sean says:

      Agreed. One of the best bikes I ever owned was an 800 VFR. But when I toured fully loaded on it I wished for more torque/power. Other than that, I loved that bike. This looks like the same package as a VFR (one of the most beloved sport-tourers ever), but it has power to spare and tech up the wazoo. So I don’t get the negativity either. And like you said, it resembles a modern Blackbird, another beloved bike.

      • wsg says:

        clearly we are of like mind here.

        the blackbird…ugh… loved it. absolute cruise missle. dead stable at speed. i rode it like a touring bike. like a sport bike. around town for errands. it was decent for a passenger too. it really was the perfect bike. and then an old man ran a red light in front of me. then it was debris
        couldnt replace it with a new black one in 2003 +/- so I moved on.

        today I ride a 2015 diavel… it is similar in its ability to be good at many things (as well as look cool and be fun)… but whenever I’m approaching an on ramp to the interstate – ahhh memories of the xx.. nothing compared.

      • warprints says:

        Loved my VFR800 and have been really enjoying my N1K. If the price is right, this new Kawi could become my new go-to bike.

  22. Provologna says:

    The only comment I can think of not already covered above: the diagonal lines on the fairing side panels remind me of Suzuki’s RF900 sport tour. My affection for such design feature is unchanged, and not positive. Another feature common to both bikes is a more aggressive riding position for this genre.

  23. Tom R says:

    Sport bike ergos and sport bike optics, and 200 freaking horsepower. Sport touring? What an imposter.

    Kawasaki had me intrigued with the supercharged sport touring rig concept, but the execution is another Ninja variant with optional bolt-on side cases.

    Hopefully this is the “scream-it-from-the-mountain-tops” alpha model to get everyone’s attention, with something like an 800cc supercharged version of two-cylinder Versys on the way. 115-125hp, sit up ergos, belt drive, 5-gallon tank, and 50+ mpg. Basically, my current dream bike (and I suspect many others’).

  24. Sean says:

    According to a video from someone at the show, here are the approximate prices converted from Euros…SX version: ~$22,000, SX SE version: ~$27,000

  25. Grover says:

    The answer to the question nobody asked.

  26. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Folks, Kawi is going where the $ is in order to eventually democratize supercharging goodness for the rest of us in a smaller package….

    • Tom R says:

      I hope you are correct, and this makes sense. Kawasaki can’t possibly sell enough of just these monsters to even pay for their development, let alone be profitable.

  27. Brinskee says:

    Unnecessary plastic parts everywhere, from the headlight through the “fairing” just a total eyesore. I get the “sport” designation, but this thing lacks any grace or beauty whatsoever. No thanks, even with that breathtaking power output.

  28. redbirds says:

    No doubt a great bike dressed like a groupie at a Star Trek convention and ergonomics that will not work for most people. Too bad as I have had many Kawasakis and they have all been outstanding rides. Best thing is you don’t see how ugly it is when you ride it.

  29. ze says:

    WOW, would love to test this one …

  30. Bill says:

    I’ve said for a long time a mid-sized twin with a supercharger would be an awesome bike. Not too heavy, plenty of power, and no turbo lag. Even a small single with a supercharger could be a lot of fun.

  31. VLJ says:

    Judging by the cost of the standard H2 compared to a Ninja 1000, I don’t see any way for this thing to replace the N1K.

    Besides, Kawasaki already offers a 2018 Ninja 1000, so this new H2 sport-tourer would be in addition to the N1K, not a replacement.

    As for the bike itself, those low, forward-mounted bars, extremely high HP, and massive heft peg this model as Kawi’s answer to the VFR1200, Hayabusa, or their own ZX-12R/ZX-14R. It’s far too pricey, bloated, and aggressive to compete in the N1K, Versys 1000, GSX-F1000, Tracer-09 class of semi-affordable, upright seating-position sport-tourers.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Judging by the cost of the standard H2 compared to a Ninja 1000, I don’t see any way for this thing to replace the N1K.”

      +1.

      re: “Besides, Kawasaki already offers a 2018 Ninja 1000, so this new H2 sport-tourer would be in addition to the N1K, not a replacement.”

      +2.

  32. Norm G. says:

    oh okay, the N1000 class of sport-touring, not the Connie/Goldie class of sport-touring.

  33. PN says:

    Nice job! Not that I need 200 hp though.

  34. skortch says:

    At first I didn’t get this bike at all. Why would a sport-tourer have 200hp and such committed ergos? Are you really going to take a passenger on your forays above 180 mph? Seems like a supercharged 800 with merely ~170 hp would been more logical.

    However, once I saw the bike as a (slightly) more relaxed H2 then it made some sense. A hyper sport tourer that allows Kawasaki to make some money back on their supercharger investments. Way more than I would personally want but if there are buyers out there, more power to them.

    The thing I don’t get at all is why this would replace the recently updated Ninja 1000 sport tourer. There is a yawning gulf between the H2 SX specs and the Ninja. The latter has around 125 rwhp, 515 lbs (530 with bags), and relatively relaxed but sporty handling and ergos. Pretty ideal for a large group of sport tourer buyers. Does Kawi really expect them to want to take the huge leap up to this new monster?

  35. mxman420 says:

    Um….I likey! Sign me up please.

  36. Dave says:

    Wow!!!!!! Sign me up. Kawasaki has done us a great favor.
    First order of business, gonna need a back rest for the Missus.
    Thank you Kawasaki

  37. fast2win says:

    Fumble. Too aggressive.

  38. Bob says:

    I’d like to see a nekkid version.

  39. dt 175 says:

    jonny rea and his bitch (every rider in the world other than marquez/rossi/davies) could ride around the great lakes in a day on this thing…

  40. Neal says:

    I must be getting old… I look at that beast and my first thoughts are about how expensive it must be to insure…

    • Bob K says:

      Not just you. At 50 and a clean record, my Ninja 1000 is expensive to insure too if you want comp/collision. It’s all about the bodywork and that Ninja name.

  41. Dino says:

    Was that supposed to be Short touring, or sport touring? Looks to be a pretty aggressive position for any long haul days. I know it can be done by some, but first factory option should be bar risers. Styling looks a bit aggressive also, but might not be too bad (all black, you just can’t tell).
    If they de-tune the motor for fuel economy (easily overcome by the supercharger) that could be a sweet deal! and imagine the sound of the whine when you get on it (cue Mad Max music)!

  42. TC says:

    I’ll keep my 2003 Honda Blackbird.. at 1/10 the cost to purchase.

  43. beasty says:

    I can’t imagine touring in that riding position.

  44. sliphorn says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of motorcycle! I like it!

  45. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Badass!!! Much more than I was expecting! Well done, Kawi! ummm, how much does it weigh?

  46. HokieColt says:

    Wow! What an awesome looking bike! Probably will be too expensive for me but I’m sure it will be a blast to ride.

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