On the road, the H2 SX falls a little short. Yes, the fully-adjustable suspension is impressive, its ride quality is excellent, you’re never jolted out of the seat and the front doesn’t dive for cover when you apply the brakes. For the majority of the time the H2 SX performs as you’re expect a 260kg sports tourer to behave. .
However, I never felt fully confident with the feel from the front end feel. I don’t know if it was the cold road conditions, the Bridgestone BTS21 rubber, or something about the bike’s geometry but the front end always felt slightly vague and as a result I never had the confidence to throw the H2 SX on its ear. No, it’s not meant to be a sports bike but I’d I still prefer more feedback. On road, the H2 SX is certainly more touring than sports. It will be interesting to see how it performs in the UK on known road surfaces
The handling questions that arose on the road weren’t an issue on track. With heat in the Bridgestone rubber, and the suspension tweaked for the track, the lack of front end feel wasn’t significant. On long, sweeping corners the H2 SX was unfazed and predictable. Ground clearance was impressive, as was the rear end grip. While the electronics do a remarkable job of dealing with so much power and make the power accessible. Yes, the H2 SX is certainly more tourer than sports, it doesn’t have the agility of the Z1000SX, but for a big comfortable bike it wasn’t fazed when asked to perform outside its design window on track.
The H2 SX has the same 998cc capacity as the H2 and the crankcases are the same, otherwise it’s an entirely new engine. Kawasaki refer to the H2 SX as the second generation of its supercharged engines, after the H2/H2R and have striven to create what it calls a ‘balanced supercharger’. In other words, while with the H2 the primary goal was total performance, with this H2 SX Kawasaki is trying to balance performance and economy. As a result, the new engine has been designed to offer more low to mid-range power than the H2 while Kawasaki is also claiming similar mpg figures for the H2 SX to that of its already frugal Versys 1000.
The supercharger’s impeller and intake system is new. Although the impeller is the same size, the shape and angle of the blades have changed. The intake chamber has been revised, as have the intake funnel lengths. Throttle valves are smaller, from 50mm to 40mm and cam profiles now have a shorter intake and exhaust duration. Kawasaki has also revised intake and exhaust ports.
The compression ratio has been significantly increased with new pistons. The higher compression significantly increases fuel efficiency.
The exhaust is all new, too, with smaller diameter header pipes and a shorter, more compact silencer and as a result is 2kg lighter than the H2 item. The end result is: 207bhp with ram-air, improved low to mid-range power and 25% more fuel efficiency. And it still chirps.
The H2 SX is loosely based on the proven supercharged H2 and H2R. The supercharged engine has been de-tuned, therefore isn’t highly stressed and we’ve not heard any stories about the H2 or H2R. Kawasaki’s level of finish is very high.
The base model shares the same engine, chassis and rider aids and is 4kg lighter. However, you don’t receive the new TFT clocks or the extras. If you want TFT clocks, cornering headlights, launch control, quick-shifter with auto blipper, centre stand, heated grips and a larger screen then you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets for the SE model.
Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
There are three switchable power modes, Full, Medium and Low, with the latter two reducing power to 75% and 50% respectively. The traction control system has three settings and is fully integrated into cornering ABS system. There’s a quickshifter/auto-blipper which negates the need for the clutch during gearshifts and there’s even launch control.
That said, the suspension isn’t semi-active or electronically adjustable, as some were hoping, although both ends are fully-adjustable and there’s an easy-access remote pre-load knob at the rear.
The H2 SX’s cornering headlights are also a first for Kawasaki. Via a Bosch management system, three lights per side illuminate in relation to lean angle.
Clocks and switchgear are also bespoke and based around another Kawasaki first – a central, full colour, TFT dash. You can change the background colour and layout, while cruise control comes standard, as do heated grips on the SE model.