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Kawasaki Takes the Wraps Off 2020 Z H2 Supercharged Naked

Kawasaki introduced the new, production 998cc supercharged Z H2 earlier today. Catapulting to the upper regions of the naked, performance category, the new Z model makes roughly 200 horsepower at the crank together with a massive, claimed 101 foot/pounds of peak torque at just 8,500 rpm. Kawasaki worked hard to provide greater mid-range engine performance from its supercharged motor. The Z H2 will also feature fully-adjustable suspension and radial mount four-piston Brembo front brake calipers.

Details from Kawasaki in the United States are scarce (we have their full press release below), but the Z H2 will carry a U.S. MSRP of $17,000 when it becomes available. The most detailed specifications we are aware of currently reside on the Kawasaki UK web site you can find here. Here is the U.S. press release from Kawasaki:

Kawasaki’s legacy of creating motorcycles that have unrivaled performance, excitement, and Sugomi™ styling continues with an all-new flagship model of the Kawasaki Z line of naked motorcycles, the 2020 Z H2. With the arrival of the hypernaked Z H2 and its powerful, balanced supercharged engine, the second chapter of Kawasaki’s Z history is about to begin and marks the beginning of a new era. 

Featuring a powerful and balanced supercharged engine, performance can be enjoyed across its entire rev range while still offering superb fuel efficiency. The innovative new Z H2 offers refined naked styling, a high level of handling and comfort, plus the latest technology worthy of the new Z series flagship model. 

The Z H2 was developed to deliver the power you desire on-demand, a chassis that delivers superb maneuverability while harnessing the engine’s incredible power, comfort that enables you to ride for long distances, and a host of advanced features designed for maximum functionality. The Kawasaki Z H2 is a truly unique motorcycle and offers a glimpse of the future.

Highlights of the 2020 Z H2

  • Powerful 998cc Balanced Supercharged Engine
  • Effortless Dog-Ring Transmission
  • Specially Designed, Lightweight Trellis Frame
  • High-Performance Showa Suspension Components
  • Brembo® Monobloc Brake Calipers
  • Aggressive Sugomi™ Styling and Minimalist Bodywork
  • LED Lighting
  • All-Digital TFT Color Instrumentation
  • Smartphone Connectivity via RIDEOLOGY THE APP
  • State-of-the-Art Electronics (IMU Electronics Package, Integrated Riding Modes, Power Mode, KTRC, KCMF, KIBS, KLCM, KQS, Electronic Cruise Control, Assist & Slipper Clutch)

The 2020 Kawasaki Z H2 will be available in Metallic Spark Black/ Metallic Graphite Gray/ Mirror Coated Spark Black at an MSRP of $17,000.

More detailed information will be available shortly on this exciting new model that will make its debut in the U.S. at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, CA on November 22nd – 24th, 2019.


See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram

72 Comments

  1. Lincoln says:

    It’s a H2 with a handle bar. It’s not a naked if the front fairing is fixed. If it had clip ons it would just be an underpowered H2.

  2. Barry says:

    I sell Kawasaki. Bad Ass bike. I hope I don’t have to take one. Doesn’t fit in our market. Does it matter the brand?? Euro or Japanese. I see naked bikes sitting on dealer floors. Non currents. Waiting for rebates. We could probably sell one but then that’s it. Maybe a tire and oil every year or so. Give me a KLR with the Z650 engine, inverted forks and decent shock, 18/21 wheels, keep it priced right and look decent we will sell 20. And then tons of accessories and parts as that’s what dual sport/adventure riders do. Doesn’t need much engineering time. Most of the parts are allready on the shelf. I really hope it’s in the next batch of bikes to be released.

    • Ralph W. says:

      “Give me a KLR with the Z650 engine”

      Agree. I’ve often thought the KLR with a twin instead of a single would be the ideal adventure bike.

      “keep it priced right” – No rider aides. A bike like that doesn’t need them.

  3. Peter D says:

    Who keeps hitting these bikes with the ugly stick? Enough of the transformer styling already.

  4. RyYYZ says:

    I never really cared too much for the looks of the H2, and I can’t say it’s improved any by being made a naked bike. The contrasting tube frame makes it look busy, and I’m just not onboard with that fairing thing (frame mounted? Isn’t this suppose to be a “naked” bike?) at all.

  5. Kermit says:

    I like some of the more modern looking bikes coming out but this style of machine does not appeal to me in the least. The sway back horse look is not becoming. The new Ducati, same way. In some cases the Italians have lost the “Italian design” direction. The supercharger thing Kawasaki has going on reminds me of the early ’80’s turbo phase, except Kawasaki is the only one playing as of now. Wonder if anyone else will jump in. But the big K is bringing back a bike that hits the right buttons for me, the W800. Thought about getting an RE 650 Intercepter, but not now. The W800 is classic style that never goes out of style. Chalk up one sale Kawasaki. I’ll be getting one.

  6. Tank says:

    Does a supercharged engine run hotter?

  7. hh says:

    Seems like it is a kawi version of a VMax or a Diavel..so this to me is not something in the same mindset as the new duc streetfighter. You could compare them and ride them the same way but to me they are not the same statement. And why bother with a hate on for this bike if from the get go this is a no sale kind of bike for you? As for aesthetics do you expect a green rhinoceros to look like a red gazelle? It’s a kawi.

  8. Fabio Brady says:

    First no real wind protection on a 200 hp moto is silly.#2 Looks is important nowadays and this unit needs help.#3 price buy a used B King 4k and add a turbo for 5k if you want ugly but will have 300hp and no wind protection

  9. TP says:

    Good for Kawasaki I guess but I’m not interested. I ride an R3 and it’s all I need.

  10. AL says:

    I have a 2015 H2 and a 2018 H2 SX SE but I have been waiting for 5 years for a real Naked H2. However, I can’t believe they used the DETUNED H2SX engine instead of the H2 engine & their horsepower figure is less than the Ducati Streetfighter. Kawasaki usually wants to be on top of the horsepower wars.

    When the 2018 H2 SX was introduced Kawi stated it had more Low to Mid range torque than the H2. Having both that is B.S. When I get on the gas with the H2 it is scary in every gear but not so much with the H2 SX.

    I hope the Z H2 performs better than the H2 SX.

    BOTTOM LINE: IF KAWASAKI WANTS TO HAVE A REAL STREETFIGHTER, IT NEEDS TO INSTALL THE ORIGINAL H2 ENGINE INTO THE Z H2 MAYBE AS A 2ND MORE EXPENSIVE MODEL. I DON’T CARE ABOUT GAS MILEAGE BUT I DO LIKE FAST 0-60 & QUARTER MILE TIMES.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not everyone looks better naked. That’s also true of a lot of naked motorcycles I’ve seen lately.

  12. Bubba Blue says:

    I love what Kawi has been doing with sport bikes, including this one. I agree that there are a lot of nooks and crannies, which would make it harder to detail, but to me it looks great. The supercharged H2 Tourer – I can’t think of the name – is really the model I’m attracted to.

  13. Ilikefood says:

    Wow that’s ugly. The front looks like crap. Like literally, a piece of crap with chunks in it. Who designs these bikes?

    • Evan says:

      Haha, awesome. Yea I agree. People give the BMW S1000R for having an ugly front end. This thing takes it to a whole new level .

    • Ralph W. says:

      Disagree. How many times have you seen a photo of a bike and didn’t like it, but when you saw it in real life you realized it is beautiful? How many times do we have to remind people of that? And bikes from 50 years ago don’t look better than bikes with modern styling. It’s just your preference.

    • Brian says:

      Haven’t seen IRL of course, but it looks MUCH better on video, in my opinion. I don’t mind angular designs, but If I’d only seen these stills I would tend to agree with you.

  14. CrazyJoe says:

    I feel guilty. I was at one of those other sites and I saw the w800. Guilty about being on another site not w800’s. What looks better? I must be missing something even Ducati is imitating Kawasaki ugliest efforts.

    I know it’s a fake Bonneville but in a Kawasaki kind of way. I always liked their Harley imitations too. They had a Kawasaki style. The z h2 looks ok without the plastic but it could be worse, They could be calling it a Ninja.

    200hp? just my opinion but shouldn’t it weigh a ton?

    • Advrider says:

      I dig the w800 too, glad they are bringing the standard version back, the cafe wasn’t doing it for me, I’d rather start with the standard and cafe it myself. Hopefully Kawasaki will show an up to date KLR in the coming weeks, waiting in anticipation. The Z H2 is amazing tech but way too much bike for me at my age.

    • Dan says:

      I like the looks of the W800 too but I guess the question is why not just buy a real Triumph? They’re pretty reliable too these days

  15. mickey says:

    Not too keen on the green and red frames or the wierd mirrors, but holy smokes what a ride it would be if you found a long enough straight away with no cops lol

  16. Ralph W. says:

    The Kawasaki will be better on the road because of its broader power delivery. The Ducati will be better on the track because it is lighter. I guess broader power delivery is one of the advantages of supercharging. I like the Kawasaki. Not interested in the Ducati.

  17. Fred N says:

    So will the existing Z1000 now move to this newer design language for 2020 ?
    The current model transformer look is a few years old now.

    • VLJ says:

      “Existing Z1000”?

      Is that still bike being offered in other markets? Here in America, the Z900 replaced both the Z800 and Z1000, staring with the 2017 model year.

      • Fred N says:

        Yes, Here in Australia, We have the naked Z1000 and the faired Ninja 1000SX, and Canada has the naked Z1000R (with Ohlins).
        Z900 & Z900RS as well, and a better choice of colour’s more often than the US to boot.

        • My2cents says:

          Australia and Canada have had some awesome motorcycles never made available to the USA market and others in a higher state of tune. The Honda NS400R, Yamaha RZ500, Suzuki RG250 and RG500 1985 Suzuki GSXR 750, and several big bore motorcycles had 10-15 more hp.
          Today however it’s mostly cosmetic differences.

          Glad you didn’t mention the beer thing.

  18. southbound says:

    So, how do I mount the WindJammer again?

  19. bmbktmracer says:

    For those living in the high-altitude states, a blower really helps preserve power much better than a naturally-aspirated engine, which lose 4% per 1000 feet.

  20. Buzz W says:

    How will the milk crate stay on this thing? Industrial strength bungee cords?

  21. mxman420 says:

    I just wished they’d paid more attention to the competition ie…Ducati.
    They could’ve turned the boost just so slightly to put them at that 210hp figure just to nudge Ducati out.

    • Dave says:

      The two bikes should deliver very different riding experiences. This bike is over 100lb heavier and delivers a great deal more power lower in the rev range. They’ll also sell at presumably very different prices if the Panigale V4 ($5k more) is anything to go by.

  22. Tom R says:

    So with the Ducati V4 Steetfighter available, what is the point of this much heavier supercharged Kawasaki? Why bother with all the mass and plumbing if it just bloats it up another 70-100 pounds while making similar power and torque?

    • Dirck Edge says:

      101 ft/lbs at 8,500rpm vs. 89 ft/lbs at 10,000rpm. Huge difference at street RPM levels.

      • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

        So that would make it a good challenger to the Zero SR/F, n’est pas?

      • todd says:

        People don’t quite get how this works. The Ducati has lower torque at a higher rpm. That typically means that the gearing will be lower and, at any given road speed, the engine will be already spinning at a higher rpm. Because the gearing is lower, there’s more leverage/torque advantage and it will accelerate pretty much the same as the other bike. At a quick glance, horsepower tells you this and is the only true apples to apples comparison.

  23. Neal says:

    The more I look at it, the more I like it. $17k is surprisingly reasonable. I feel like this will compete for shoppers with the Fat Bob and Diavel moreso than the Tuono or V4 Streetfight.

  24. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    I really really miss triangular side panels to hide a owners manual, work rag, and tool pouch behind.

  25. T says:

    Performance aside, that is one ugly bike!!! Makes the Suzuki B-King almost look good. I will take the Ducati thanks.

  26. VLJ says:

    “Effortless Dog-Ring Transmission”

    PETA will doubtless be all over Kawasaki about this.

    Otherwise, this bike has LED lighting, fully adjustable suspension, and radial monobloc brakes; the three things I would add to my 2019 Z900, given my ‘druthers. They’re even touting great fuel mileage. So, in terms of pure function, if not form, this looks to be nearly perfect, and I really don’t mind the looks of these Z bikes. Initially, I wasn’t a fan, but the overall aesthetic has definitely grown on me. Even parked beside my deeply beautiful CB1100 EX, my little black and green ripper still looks good to me. Purposeful. Sleek. Minimalistic. Bad ass.

    Just two worries abut this new one: weight, and fueling. How heavy will this thing be, and has Kawi fixed the wretched throttle response of the original supercharged H2 bikes? The Z900 has perfect fueling/throttle response. I wouldn’t give that up, not even for an additional seventy horsepower.

    This seems like a great bike, and a lot of bike for the money, but I can’t help but think, “Is it really worth twice the cost of a Z900?” Main reason being, I find it difficult to believe that anyone who has ridden the basic Z900 could honestly say it lacks for street-worthy power, anywhere on the tach. It’s also fairly well suspended and braked, and as long as you aren’t too tall it’s plenty comfortable. Very high degree of overall refinement, as well. All it really lacks is the modern suite of electro-gadgetry, for which many (most?) of us here celebrate its absence. The LED headlights are the only upgrade I would genuinely appreciate on most daily rides. I don’t even care about the addition of cruise control. I’d rather they gave it a good set of heated grips as standard equipment. At this price point, just give us both.

    In any case, it looks like Kawi has the nakeds covered. Baby Z; full-size, entry-level 650 Z; Z900 as the comfortable, naked sportbike for the real world; Z900RS, for fans of aesthetically-challenged “retros”; Z900 Cafe, for fans of the Disney movie ‘Cars’; Z H2 Hypernaked.

    Or, yeah, for another $13K you could just get a Livewire. (Great comment, below.) Bwaaa!

  27. Motoman says:

    Get-a-load of the size of that radiator… sheesh. Kawi sure doesn’t mess around when it comes to motors.

  28. downgoesfraser says:

    nice, very nice

  29. jimjim says:

    Wow, I’m liking that, supercharged fun right there.

  30. Shoeman says:

    With an MSRP of $17K, this is a surprisingly affordable supercharged bike, especially compared to the H2($29K), and the H2SXSE ($25K). For $8k Less, you get the same 197 peak horsepower as the H2SXSE, and significantly more midrange, torque peaking at 8500rpm on the ZH2 vs 9500rpm on the H2SXSE. Well done Kawasaki! Now, please provide a unit to Dirck for testing so we can hear the real-world abilities, nit-picks, and comfort of this bike.

  31. Gary says:

    Nice. I especially like that it doesn’t have one of those b utt ugly floating rear fenders bolted to the swingarm. Also, I’ll bet it hauls a$$.

  32. Tom says:

    In my 60’s so this bike may lure me back to riding again. Then let my granddaughter have it when she’s 14.

  33. carl says:

    Com on maaan, 200hp is old skool, waiting until the 300hp model comes out!!

  34. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    One word: dope

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