First Ride: Kawasaki Ninja H2 & H2R

Published: 04 March 2015

The riding launch of Kawasaki's game-changing supercharged Ninja H2 and H2R is taking place at the Losail Circuit in Qatar now, and MCN's Senior Road Tester Adam Child is there to ride both bikes.

"After months of hype and build-up the H2 matches and maybe even surpasses all of it" says Adam. "It’s truly immense, and in third and fourth gear the bike just wants to take off. It’s incredible in terms of acceleration but it also stops and handles way better than you might expect.

“The traction control works really well and I have been riding with it set quite low and this has meant the bike has been several inches out of line all the way through three gears with the rear wheel spinning. In top gear it slows down a little bit but it’s still as fast as a Kawasaki ZX-10R and is pulling 180mph at the end of the straight.

“And that's just the road bike version – I’m riding the H2R in two hours!”

The eagerly awaited supercharged H2 will cost £22,000 in the UK, but boasts over 207bhp with ram air and close to 100ftlb of torque. The uniquely styled trellis framed H2 uses a supercharger that has been developed completely in-house at Kawasaki. The impeller speed of the supercharger is 9.2 times the crank speed, which means when the engine of the H2R is firing at its 14,000rpm redline, the impeller will be spinning at 130,000rpm. Incredible.

Controlling all that power is a plethora of rider aids. Three riding modes offer different power characteristics with programmable levels of traction control intervention, there’s also launch control, engine brake control, ABS braking, an electronic Öhlins steering damper, and a quickshifter.

But it doesn’t end there, incredibly the standard 200bhp+ H2 is only the appetiser. The headliner is the awe-inspiring 326bhp £41,000 H2R, which will make its riding debut under the floodlights of the unique GP track.

Check back for more first and second impressions throughout today and tomorrow, and see the full test – and more – in next week's MCN, on sale Wednesday March 11.

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