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It was all but a dream a while ago and it is almost surreal that we are living that dream… nearly every day! We are talking about our Ninja H2 or #MindNinja as we like to call it. Being able to wake up to the realization that there’s a beast of epic proportions sitting right there in your garage, up for a run with the twist of a key. Man…
But you see, it is not about simply owning something that you have wanted for a long time. It needs a lot of effort to maintain that object and sustain that… feeling. So we’ve had the Ninja H2 for a while now. Does it still excite us just as much? Does it still feel like a terrifying animal that needs every ounce of your skill and concentration to tame? Lastly, what is #MindNinja? Those may be your questions that we are here to answer.
See, big motorcycles are big on performance and big on excitement but, in turn, they are big on maintenance and care as well. With motorcycles like the Ninja H2, even more so because the advanced and sophisticated technology on this motorcycle comes with a price, like everything else in this world.
So when we got ourselves the H2, we knew that the stakes were high. And like always, whenever that is the case, we bank upon Castrol POWER1. Now that Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE is out, we knew that things were about to get feisty and it was that very launch that inspired us to make our H2 the ULTIMATE Ninja H2 or… #MindNinja.
When we got our Ninja H2 here, it was (and was not) a completely novel feeling. See, we had already ridden the H2 before on multiple occasions including a 20,000 km roadtrip in Australia. So we knew what to expect. But the USP of extreme motorcycles like the Ninja H2 lies in their ability to make every ride feel like a first ride… almost. So while we were all giddy and happy and running around on our H2, we realized after a while that it was in need of some TLC.
While the performance was blistering already, we knew there was more to be had. Christmas was around the corner and Castrol had sent me a box of some very well-thought-out goodies. But the pièce de résistance was the engine oil. And that too, their new flagship, Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE. And for the H2, they sent just the right grade, 10W40.
As a fortunate happenstance, Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE was launched around the same time we got our Ninja. And since the unwavering support from Castrol had a significant part to play, we decided to create the ULTIMATE Ninja H2- the black and gold #MindNinja. So after the new livery and a healthy dose of Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE 10W40, we were ready to supercharge our rides, both, long journeys and short jaunts.
Now, we’ll try to encompass the ULTIMATE Ninja H2 experience and how it was aided by the Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE engine oil. Starting off with the engine because that is the centrepiece of the H2, there are two ways to explain it- one is the simple one laden with expletives and the second one is nerdy. We will go with the latter.
Forced induction is one of the handiest tools when it comes to ‘more power, less space’ game in ICE-powered vehicles. Why is it not mainstream on motorcycles then? Well, heat. The impellers that are responsible for shoving more oxygen in the combustion chambers are nasty little things. In the Ninja H2 for example, it easily crosses 1,00,000 rpm! That is a lot of stress and a lot of heat.
That is why forced induction units (both turbochargers and superchargers) come with an intercooler. But that would add too much bulk in case of a motorcycle and that is why it has been skipped on the H2. Then there’s the 998cc inline-4 engine which itself is no easier to cool and maintain.
You can tell how hard both of those components are working when you ride the H2. Every time you open the throttle to create a rip in the time-space continuum, the powerplant of the H2 is put under immense stress. That is why we were very interested in checking out the much-talked-about 5-in-1 formula of Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE. Did it make any difference? Yes, and it was palpable which is a big deal because, be it improvement or degradation, when it comes to motorcycles, they are mostly minute.
While the API SN and JASO MA2 certifications make Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE the flagship engine oil in the brand’s portfolio, it was the engineering that went into manufacturing the formulation that caught our attention. So let us talk about what the oil does. In essence, it improves on the 5 major aspects associated with a motorcycle’s engine and the riding experience. Now, let us elaborate.
The Ninja H2 is the world’s fastest street-legal production motorcycle and so, acceleration is one of the biggest selling points. Acceleration depends on a lot of factors. Transmission, clutch slippage, the resistance faced by the moving parts and so on. If all of those things do not work seamlessly, even the acceleration of a Ninja H2 won’t set your heart racing.
That is the first aspect that Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE works on. By optimizing the friction between the moving parts, the engine oil ensures that the engine revs freely and quickly and that in turn helps the supercharger spool up quickly and boom! What we felt when we wrung the throttle of the #MindNinja was unlike anything we have ever experienced. On that note, this is not meant to be done on public roads and for 0-100 km/h red light runs. Follow the traffic rules for the safety of yourself and that of the others.
Now, onto the second aspect- protection. We have already given you a brief of how much stress the engine is under. Here too, the optimization in friction achieved by Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE also equips it with the ability to protect the innards of the engine, especially the moving parts.
Since a lot of the heat transfer is also taken care of by the engine oil as well, the last thing you want is for your engine oil to break down because of the heat. With our extensive experience of the Castrol POWER1 range and now the Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE, we can tell that it is one of the best, if not the best, that you can get for your motorcycle.
Moving on, we have the third aspect which is smooth riding. Those who know us know that we are less sprinters and more marathon runners. We love to travel and that involves covering a whole lot of distance. So we can tell how important a smoother engine is because a harsher engine and jerky response causes one to get tired really quickly.
Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE helps in this regard as well. In addition to optimizing the friction, it also facilitates seamless transitions when the clutch is engaged or disengaged. This results in an overall smoother ride whether you are getting on the power or rolling off it and is even more apparent in stop-and-go traffic where a lot of clutch modulation is required.
When it comes to vehicles, heat is one of the biggest enemies. During the design of a motorcycle, a lot of research goes into heat management not only for the comfort of the rider but also for the longevity and lasting performance of the motorcycle itself. Now, cooling solutions such as liquid cooling take care of heat management but there are quite a few components that are deprived of active cooling.
So, as the engine oil flows, it also takes care of the important task of driving the heat away from the components that do not have the luxury of active cooling. If not taken care of, this residual heat can gradually build up and then… well, thermal expansion and more damage. As mentioned earlier, the supercharger on the H2 does not come with an intercooler and yet, we never faced any issues in terms of heat dissipation which is a testament to Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE’s prowess in justifying the improvement on the fourth front- cooling.
In the beginning, there were quite a few questions that we believe one might have. “Does it still excite us just as much?” Does it still feel like a terrifying animal that needs every ounce of your skill and concentration to tame?” These bring us to the fifth aspect- enduring performance.
A new motorcycle may have the ability to keep you engaged but as time goes on, it deteriorates. With the combination of the factors mentioned above, Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE is equipped to prevent that from happening. As a result, it helps your motorcycle to keep up the level of performance and provide you with enduring performance over the course of a service interval and in individual rides. Perhaps that is why we were able to enjoy the #MindNinja on our rides as it battled traffic, bad roads, and while roaring along highways.
With all that, we can ascertain that Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE is a very capable engine oil ready to not only provide you with exciting performance but stellar protection for your motorcycle’s engine as well. Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE is available in a wide range of grades so if you have an internal-combustion engine plonked between two wheels, there’s one for you and chances are, your motorcycle will thank you for it. You can buy Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE here.
While we continue to enjoy the #MindNinja to the fullest, we also wanted to further solidify the efficacy of the performance gains on offer with Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE. And so, we had a couple of more riders, that quite a few of you know, to try it and what follows are their thoughts about it.
Finally, it happened! I have finally ridden the Ninja H2. To say that it is mindblowing is an understatement. I have ridden my fair share of motorcycles and while every motorcycle is a different being, they are all powered by naturally-aspirated engines. So the Ninja H2 is truly a special motorcycle. An already blistering 998cc inline-4 engine dialled to 11 with a supercharger? How could it not be!?
Now talking about the experience of riding the Ninja H2, it is unlike any other motorcycle that you can ride. And add to that the performance gains achieved by Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE flowing through its veins, and you have on your hands something that redefines hyperbikes.
Being an inline-4, the engine has a better inherent balance and therefore, the refinement and smoothness. In the lower revs, it feels like an ordinary superbike but as soon as the boost begins to build up, it just goes… like… really goes! The acceleration is brutal and the thing just keeps going and going and going. It is like sitting on a gold mine of nothing but pure thrust.
Coming to the technical aspect, inline-4s tend to be peaky but the supercharger adds a whole lot of grunt to the midrange. Now as the revs climb up, the inline-4 keeps getting stronger and stronger. But there’s something else going on as well. See as the revs rise, the impeller of the supercharger also goes faster… in multiples of the engine speed. That is what Kawasaki was talking about when they made a big deal out of the Planetary Gear or Planetary drive.
The end result is a fiery top end that can easily chew up and spit out tyres in a matter of minutes. Then there’s the sound. It is pure magic. The howl of the supercharger sucking in momentous amounts of air and shoving in in the combustion chamber combined with the smooth growl of the inline-4, it is simply fantastic. Then there are the chirps. As soon as you let go of the throttle, the excess boost is spat out and that is the reason behind the famed chirp.
Riding the Ninja H2 was like having my eyes opened in the sense that when electric seems like the future, we still have things like these on hand. But the extremity of the Ninja H2’s engine reminds me of the importance of having it run smoothly and efficiently. Something that is greatly supported by the Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE engine oil that powers this Ninja H2, or #MindNinja as they like to call it over at xBhp.
Since I like tinkering around with motorcycles, I can say that I am somewhat aware of what goes on in the engine of the Ninja H2 and it is not pretty in terms of the stress on the innards of the engine. That is why I am also of the opinion that Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE with its 5-in-1 formula is a great match for the Ninja H2.
Among the 5 aspects that the Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE improves upon, acceleration is the first one. Acceleration is also one of the bigger reasons why the Ninja H2 has already become a cult motorcycle. The optimization of friction achieved by Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE between the moving parts of the engine helps greatly in this regard.
Then there’s protection, our second front, which I believe is paramount in such a high power-high revving engine. The extreme heat can cause subpar engine oils to break down but Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE is par-excellence. If it can take care of an engine as crazy is this, I am sure that it’ll be more than up to the task of doing so for any motorcycle.
Now, the Ninja H2 is an extremely powerful motorcycle, and the only thing that modulates how much power is put down is the clutch. Smooth engagement and disengagement of the clutch are important and so is the transition between opening and closing the throttle. And with Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE, you get just that and that is why even an intimidating motorcycle like the H2 is a breeze to ride even in traffic.
Next up we have heat management, our fourth aspect. While liquid-cooling is a pretty nifty tech, it does not take care of all the components of the engine. That is something taken care of by the engine oil and Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE is more than adept at this as I did not have any trouble with the heat no matter how much the Ninja H2 can throw at it.
Finally, we all like some sort of consistency to be maintained when riding a motorcycle. There is a known deterioration of performance in both, long rides and in between service intervals. Castrol POWER1, with its superior formulation, makes sure that the performance of your motorcycle remains consistent and you can have the best out of your motorcycle always… just like I did out of the Ninja H2.
“Oh, man!” That was my first reaction when I opened the throttle of the Ninja H2. That reaction is natural to a motorcyclist who is riding the mighty Ninja H2 for the first time. But being a motorcycle racer, I did not expect to be intimidated by this beast of a motorcycle. Surprisingly, I would say that the surge of power does take some getting used to. I won’t say I found it intimidating. But it surely commands respect.
First off, there’s the design. The Ninja H2 is perhaps one of the most radical and aggressive motorcycle designs ever. It effortlessly conveys its power and ability simply with its design. All those angular lines, sharp edges, come together to create an unmistakable silhouette that is so distinct that one can recognize this motorcycle even if one drew a few of its lines on paper. Then there’s the colour. I love the stock one but I equally like the Black-Gold of the #MindNinja as the xBhpians call it.
Next up, there’s dynamics. Kawasaki makes some fantastic handlers. I can tell not only because of their exploits in WSBK but also because I race a ZX-10R myself. But the Ninja H2 is very different and I can tell it would have been mighty difficult to set it up. Fortunately, the end result is surprisingly good.
Despite the heft and the dimensions, the Ninja H2 feels very familiar to a superbike in terms of ergonomics. I’d say they are still a tad relaxed because I am used to my own race-spec ZX-10R but they are very comparable to a stock superbike. Then, the handling. I love the geometry of the H2. It has a good balance of straight-line stability and decently quick turn-ins.
If I am being honest, it is a bit far from track-bred superbikes, and so, it may not set racetracks on fire with its corner speed. But then again it is not supposed to. Moreover, it can more than make it up with the insane amount of power and grunt it has. So yes, it is a very capable handler, but it is not a lithe racetrack machine.
Now, coming to the magnum opus- power and, in turn, engine. Yes, I know that it makes some north of 200 horses which is not a big deal nowadays. But one must not forget that this is the same mill that powers the 300-something bhp Ninja H2R capable of 400 km/h. Its roadgoing counterpart may be a bit sedate on paper but in the real world, it is just as fierce.
I love the way it accelerates and I love the fact that it took care of one of the inherent issues of an inline-4. They are very peaky and one has to stay high up in the rev-range to get the most out of it. Ninja H2 is also powered by an inline-4 but it has a “howling” trick up its sleeve. And that trick is the supercharger.
So with the Ninja H2, you get a decent low-end but a smacking midrange and top-end. The acceleration is almost terrifying as the boost begins to build up and keeps going as you rev higher and higher. Another thing that I found awesome was the sound. Inline-4s sound good but coupled with the howl caused by the supercharger sucking in and shoving massive amounts of air in the combustion chamber is simply mesmerizing. And then there’s the flutter when you let go of the throttle… it is simply amazing.
I have ridden high-capacity twins, V4s and inline-4s. While the former two are very aggressive and sometimes a little rough, the latter is just smoothness all the way. In the H2, you get that aggression because of the boost and the inherent smoothness of an inline-4 in one package and that is something fantastic.
This also brings me to talk about the engine oil. xBhp’s #MindNinja has been treated with Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE and man is it a fantastic engine oil. Riding superbikes on the road, I am aware of the heat they can generate and it can get downright bothersome. But Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE does a fantastic job of keeping the engine cool. And that is saying something because the H2’s engine comes with the added heat output from its supercharger.
I also expected the bike to be a fair bit of work when ridden in traffic but it was not. Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE facilitates a smooth ride by making on/off throttle transitions smooth. This also results in on-demand acceleration throughout the ride and there’s just a new world waiting for you whenever you twist the throttle.
Even after riding for long durations, the engine seemed relatively stress-free and that is more assurance than you need towards the fact that with Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE, the engine is well protected. I have never experienced something like the Ninja H2 ever in my life with this particular engine oil, the experience is even more mind-blowing!