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What do you exactly do when someone offers you to ride one of the most breathtaking motorcycles on the planet? It depends on what kind of person you are! This well could be taken as the new personality type test, especially for the petrol heads, and finally Dr. Freud could be given a backseat! I’ll tell you what I did – just managed to stop myself from acting like a neurotic and snatching the key from the owner and gulped all the saliva that I was drooling and in the most nonchalant way possible swung my leg over the Kawasaki Ninja H2 and thumbed the starter. Revved it a little and heard the supercharger flutter through the sweet inline four sound that we are used to.
This was it. One of the most hyped motorcycles in recent times was now under me, right here in Delhi! The marketing, drama and buzz that was created around the launch of this bike, banked primarily on the social media and seeding videos, sound of the bike and image teasers. I tell you – it was worth it!
I first saw its demonic version, the H2R at INTERMOT 2014, and then finally the road legal angelic H2 at the EICMA later in 2014. The strange logo on the front intrigued the whole world, but now of course we know it to be the Kawasaki River Logo, the historic emblem of the Kawasaki Heavy Industries. This means that it’s one of the very rare times other divisions of KHI have any input in one of its smallest divisions – motorcycles.
The year 2015 looks like there is a renewed interest from the JapFours in building something extra ordinary, in this case building something beyond belief, or that’s how Kawasaki puts it. Suddenly the whole spectrum is alive again: the low capacity yet very important 250 CC segment, the middle weight 300-650 CC and the superbikes for the Japanese manufacturers.
Coming back to the main subject at hand, the H2 looks astonishing, and the finish of the bike is beyond anything I have seen – right from the immaculately laser-cut frame tubes in the green trellis frame down to the last nut and bolt. The major contributor to the aura of the bike is the paint job that almost has a mirror finish, thanks to a layer of actual silver(!) over the base black coat. The intense looking headlight assembly also contributes to the overall futuristic and bold styling. It is not a typical Kawasaki design. This might be the only Ninja as well which doesn’t come in the trademark green, and I think even they know it Batman and Darth Vader like black.
The bike itself is not as compact as the modern superbikes that are meant to be track tools, nor is it as big as a supertourer like the Hayabusa or ZX14. It sits somewhere in between and it definitely looks bigger than it is thanks to the generous use of bodywork.
And of course the biggest thing that makes the H2 unique is that there is no other supercharged production bike in the market.
Riding the H2 on Delhi roads is not exactly what you would term as ‘reviewing’ such a motorcycle or even getting the right impression. But let me tell you, we all know it’s bloody fast and it’s got host of technology stuffed into it. It is a landmark motorcycle and no matter what flowery language I put down to say this, this bikes needs no reviews, it needs to be bought (if you have the money) and ridden.
There is a lot of tech inside the bike too, along with the engine which has been developed from ground up to accommodate the supercharger without an intercooler to keep things cool. To achieve this, Kawasaki took help from its aerospace division, much like you probably take help from your colleague to put together that presentation – “Hey, guys, can you leave designing the planes, jets and whatever useless stuff and work on something actually exciting that can be used on planet Earth?” ”Yea, sure” どうも有難う(thanks!).
That was it. This is how big Kawasaki’s prowess is. Motorcycles are but a hobby for them. Delving into how they managed to keep things cool despite adding the supercharger without an intercooler actually makes riding the bike more interesting, especially in a hot country like India. From using a heat dissipating superalloy named Inconel to using 35% more oil (4.9 litres) than standard litre-class bikes to get rid of that heat, it’s an engineering marvel in itself.
I pushed the bike while being a gentleman and remembering not to drop it or let any elephant, cow, dog, man, cycle, plane, tree, etcetera objects which so widely populate the Indian roads crash into it.
Fifty odd kilometres later I came down the bike, carefully swinging my legs over the rear cowl unit as not to scratch it and handed the keys back over to the humble owner. We needed something exciting and affordable like this to stir things up, I am not sure for how long I have to wait for another landmark moment like this, but I hope it’s soon, both for the motorcycling industry and as a motorcyclist.
While the 200 odd horsepower seemed enough for the H2, I cannot even begin to imagine what the H2 R will be like with an additional 125 horse power and 15 odd kgs off it.