Kawasaki


7th Pictures

Kawasaki

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MOTORRAD was able to try out the new Kawasaki Z H2 in Las Vegas.

Kawasaki

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When accelerating fully, the front wheel wants to climb into the sky even in third gear. This pressure is impressive.

Kawasaki

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Let’s be honest: the Z H2 doesn’t even want to be a race bike. Rather a very potent naked bike designed for sport and touring.

Kawasaki

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The distance between the comfortable bench and the footrests is suitable even for tall people.

Kawasaki

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The fork works without a breakaway torque, small bumps are effectively kept away from the driver. The rear damper – also from Showa and fully adjustable – doesn’t do that quite so well.

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As on the racetrack, on the streets of Nevada, a Bosch IMU as the electronic brain of the driver assistance systems ensures that ABS and TC always work as close as possible to the optimum.

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The Z H2 flies around the triangular course with good straight-line stability. Completely gaga, but unfortunately also pretty awesome, this compressor nude!

Kawasaki Z H2 in the driving report

Naked and huge

Kawasaki and supercharger, that stands for pure engine power. After the speed bike H2 and the sports tourer H2 SX, the first naked bike from Kawasaki with a supercharged, 200 hp drive – the Z H2. What do so many horses do with a naked bike? Motorrad tried it around Las Vegas.

Yes, this performance specification. 200 horsepower. In a naked bike with a wide handlebar. That sounds like sheer madness on paper. Of course, some other power nakeds are now mobilizing a similar elemental force in the H2 models from Kawasaki, however, it develops differently, because the directly driven compressor always provides plenty of air for combustion in the 998 cubic engine. So the four-cylinder, which is not that low compressed at 11.2 to 1 despite charging, only has to turn at 11,000 turns to reach its performance peak of 200 hp. The also impressive 137 Nm are already available at 8,500 revolutions.

By and large, Kawasaki has used the engine base of the H2 SX for the new Z H2, the ratio of the individual gears is completely the same. Only with the secondary transmission has the naked bike with 46 teeth been given a chainring two teeth larger than the sports tourer, so the sprint and pulling power have been sharpened again.

First contact on the racetrack

Is that a good idea or just gaga for a motorcycle with high handlebars and an upright seating position without too much load on the front wheel? The bikes at the presentation in Las Vegas are already running, it’s time to find out exactly that.


Kawasaki

For the first contact, Kawasaki chose the “Outside Race Course”, a 3.9 kilometer long race track right next to the Las Vegas Speedway Oval. Even when rolling in, it is noticeable how tame and vibration-free the engine hangs on the gas at low speeds. This remains the same in all riding modes, of which there are four – Sport, Road, Rain and Rider – as well as in the two power modes full and low. The easy-to-read TFT cockpit already reports the appropriate cooling water temperature and time to increase the speed. The Inline-Four is not used by Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, but his temperament changes significantly. When accelerating fully, the front wheel wants to climb into the sky even in third gear. This pressure is impressive. However, when the speed range is fully squeezed out, the engine now reacts noticeably more nervously to gas commands, at least in the lower gears. Especially when the gears are stepped down by blipper before a bend without having to grip the clutch lever, the motor is supposed to brake for the right cornering speed, and the wastegate chirps out the excess pressure, it jerks slightly when opening the 40 mm throttle valve again.

More a sporty tourer than a racer

Then it’s better to go up a gear through the curves. That brings less agitation in the throttle response without really being slower. In addition, the compressor motor builds up more than enough pressure even at medium speeds. And let’s be honest: the Z H2 doesn’t even want to be a race bike. Rather a very potent naked bike designed for sport and touring. The sitting position supports the latter aspect effectively. The distance between the comfortable bench and the footrests is suitable even for tall people. In addition, the handlebars mounted in forehead of the spars of the Showa Big Piston fork stretch high and far back. All in all, this makes for a very casual, comfortable seating arrangement.

Rumpeläcker, which they named street in the USA and which were on the program after the race track, are also easily mastered. This is also due to the fact that the fully adjustable Showa fork of the bikes works without a breakaway torque at the press presentation, effectively keeping small bumps away from the rider. The rear damper – also from Showa and fully adjustable – doesn’t do that quite so well.

Stable chassis

As on the racetrack, on the streets of Nevada, a Bosch IMU as the electronic brain of the driver assistance systems ensures that ABS and TC always work as close as possible to the optimum. With traction control, the Z H2 pilot can still determine himself in rider mode in which level from one to three he would like to be on the road. It is also possible to completely deactivate the TC. This does not apply to the ABS, there is no setting option. Thanks to 6-axis sensors, both systems work depending on the incline.


Kawasaki

While the combination of the Nissin radial pump and Brembo radial tongs could not be used on the country road lap, the stoppers in the two hardest braking zones of the racetrack, which were peppered with waves, already came to the fore once or twice. It felt like the ABS stepped in very early, reduced the braking power and irritated with quite long control intervals, which meant that the turn-in point was missed. A later test with the Z H2 will have to clarify whether this also occurs when surfing country roads or is only due to the test on the racetrack. Positive about it: Despite anchoring at the limit, the compressor-naked lay stable on the track, the rear wheel always stayed down.

Weight well concealed

Whereby the Z H2 cut a good figure on the track and on the country road. Although, according to Kawasaki, it weighs 239 kilograms when fully fueled, it bends casually into corners on its Pirelli Rosso 3 in special specifications, is balanced and handy. On the racetrack, the supercharged Kawa can’t completely hide its weight – it pushes a little outward in very tight bends, needs commitment so that the radius fits – but that’s far less noticeable on the country road.

All of these properties are now of secondary importance anyway. Now it’s all about full loading, about courage, daring: the Las Vergas Speedway Oval is on the program. Its steep curves stretch towards the sky with a road incline of 20 degrees. Here, where otherwise Nascars fight for trophies, the compressor of the Z H2 can once again pump a lot of air into the engine. The Z H2 flies around the triangular course with good straight-line stability. Completely gaga, but unfortunately also pretty awesome, this compressor nude!

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