KAWASAKI NINJA H2 SX SE+ (2019 - on) Review
- Supercharged engine
- Mile-munching comfort
- High spec but high price too
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£300|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE+ looks pretty pricey on first inspection. Almost twenty two thousand pounds is a serious pile of cash. Given the most desirable element of the SE+ is still the glorious, warbling, fluttering, supercharged engine, you could go for the base H2 SX and get the same astounding dynamic for £5000 less.
Festooning the blown sports-tourer with all the bells and whistles has created a bike with a unique medley of speed, quality, comfort and practicality. And, actually, if you can put £3k down on PCP then the SX SE+ is less than £2.50 a day more than a standard SX. In a world of flash motorcycles, they don’t get much flasher.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Although physically large and 262kg (almost as much as BMW’s R1250RT), the H2 SX is surprisingly tossable. Steering is accurate and it flicks into corners more easily than anticipated. Regular suspension on a base H2 SX is supple and nicely-damped, and the new semi-active on the SE+ feels similar. Constant tweaks based on wheel travel and road speed are subtle, and the ride is far more predictable than, say, Ducati’s Multistrada 1260 S. Change mode from Road to Sport and the SE+ tightens up for even more cornering exactness. The rear shock is shared with the ZX-10R SE, but now has touch-button pre-load too.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The 998cc inline four used in this model is nicer than the original blown H2. Kwak’s first boosted engine was built to make over 300bhp in the H2R then detuned for the road, but the SX engine is a specifically-designed unit. While 197bhp is still an awful lot, it’s the mid-range that’s most impressive. Teasing the throttle open in the mid-range is like being fired from a giant catapult in a sumptuous armchair. The quickshifter works cleanly, but never feels entirely natural on downshifts.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
This bike’s ‘plus’ status is fitting. The Kawasaki shows class in everything from switchgear and ignition key to self-healing paint and ride quality, and overwhelms with features and niceties. You could argue it wouldn’t matter if it came with Bakelite controls and Raleigh Grifter brakes; it’s got a supercharger, and all the flashing lights and switchable widgets in the world can’t touch the sensation and pleasure from this mechanical treat. It’s the still the star attraction. But swaddling the fabulous blown motor in quality elevates the H2 SX SE+ even higher.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Electronic suspension, heated grips, launch control and all the other not-essential-but-desirable bits and bobs mean you’ll need deep pockets for this bike. With the base-model H2 SX already over £16k and the swankier SX SE going for almost £19k, this range-topping SE+ is an eye-rubbing £21,745 on the road.
That’s a few grand more than a similar-spec Multistrada 1260 S Touring. But nothing else offers such a cocktail of usability, quality, comfort and bewildering speed.
Right then, deep breath. The H2 SX SE+ has three riding modes, lean-sensitive traction control, cornering ABS, electronic suspension, two-way quickshifter, cruise, launch control, lights that look round corners and upgraded brakes.
It’s not all about performance, as the SE+ also has a larger screen, heated grips, paint that swallows scratches and phone connectivity. Leather and suede seat, too. The only thing missing is self-cancelling indicators. The colour TFT dash is as clear and friendly as ever, and now has phone connectivity. Install the Rideology app in your phone and Bluetooth lets you view trip info, adjust dash settings or pre-select a riding mode.
Pannier deal September 2020
Until the end of September, 2020, the H2 SX and SX SE+ will come with a complimentary pannier kit worth almost £870.
|Engine type||Supercharged inline four|
|Frame type||High tensile steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||19 litres|
|Front suspension||43mm, upside-down fork, semi-active damping, manual pre-load|
|Rear suspension||Single rear shock, semi-active damping, electronic pre-load|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs with four-piston calipers|
|Rear brake||250mm single disc with twin-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||190/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||40 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£300|
|Used price||£11,700 - £18,500|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||197 bhp|
|Max torque||101 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||180 miles|
Model history & versions
Kawasaki H2R introduced in 2015. This track-only version of the supercharged machine had 310bhp (claimed) and cost a whopping £48,000.
Kawasaki H2 first introduced in 2015 and updated in 2019. It costs £26,499 and makes 206bhp (tested).
Base-model H2 SX introduced in 2018 and costs £16k while the SX SE comes in at £19k
The Touring model comes with a GPS bracket, panniers and an engine slide for an extra £454 while the Performance version costs the same but has Akrapovic silencers and a smoked screen.
The £23,199 Performance Tourer has all of the above!
Other Kawasaki Ninja H2 models
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE's final sunset
It might seem like a fair amount of riding for nine months of movement, but 9612 miles disappear with no effort whatsoever aboard the Ninja H2 SX SE. If I hadn’t been distracted by other two-wheeled temptations, it would have been a shade under 13,000 miles but one of the most interesting findings t…
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI NINJA H2 SX (2019 - on)
9 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI NINJA H2 SX (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£300|
The bike is fairly heavy but this disappears when rolling. It is no heavier than my previous Honda VFR 1200. The acceleration is amazing and takes some time to adjust to so care with the throttle is the way forward initially. I find 4th gear incredible in sports mode with grunt and torque to match. The power in this gear is most useable especially on twist’s and hill climbs. Surprisingly the bike is quite flickable through bends if you set up the corner approach correctly. I rode the bike to Portugal and the seat was comfortable enough. I covered close on 700 miles in two days from Santander to Portimão on the Algarve without any problem. The bike is very stable and capable of sustained high speed cruising and using cruise control is a cinch. I found no bad features at all on the bike apart from the horrific size of the end can which is due to Euro 5 regs. I have now replaced the end can with a Performance Engineering equivalent that not only sounds better but allow the engine to breath and gives a 4 kg weight saving. The engineering and finish on the can is superb.
This is one of the most comfortable bikes I have owned, especially in view of the ballistic speed it is capable of. The bike is best at high speed cruising on long sweepers and motorways. The cruise control is superb and a first one for me. I fitted a Powerbronze race screen which gives better wind protection at high speeds. The seating position is great and comfortable. The clip-ons are positioned high enough to take the majority of weight off your arms and wrists for sustained riding. As referred to above I covered easily 350-400 miles in one day without incidence only stopping for lunch and coffee break occasionally. It is a cracking all-round bike.
Absolutely amazing performance. You have to exercise caution on the throttle and it is worth riding in road mode for the first 600 miles (75% power). In full power mode the bike is ballistic and has enough torque to cruise in top gear in the lower speed limits. Roll-on is fantastic with instantaneous acceleration if required. Can’t fault it!
Build quality is excellent. I had to remove side and top fairings to fit a decat pipe and was amazed to see the attention to detail on the bike with respect to wiring routing and fastening. The connection between looms are very waterproof and well engineered. There was no evidence of corrosion. The bike is built to last. It was easy to replace the OEM oil filter with a K&N equivalent. Removal of the down pipes from the cylinder heads presented no problem. Again over 5 kg of weigh reduction was gained by ditching the catalyser box and cleaning out the upstream internals of the exhaust which are made of fine rhodium mesh, thus causing more restriction to the flow of exhaust gases for the cylinder head. It is worth noting that when the bike was first re-started a enormous puff of black smoke was blasted out of the exhaust system. This illustrates how restrictive the OEM exhaust is and how burnt gases are trapped in the system when the engine is shutdown. The bike has now shed 11 kgs of weight, sounds better even with baffles still in the end can, and allows the engine to breath naturally. There has now been a recent recall to exchange the rear hub needle bearing due to a suspected lube problem. Kawasaki expect the work to take 1 hour to complete FOC. The bike has never broken down, even after sustained high speed cruising.
Apart from the 1st 600 mile service which was approx. £160.00 I have not reached the £7000 mile interval. I have changed the lube oil and filter which I normally do every 3000 miles on any of the bikes I have owned. The cost is minuscule compared to the beneficial impact this gives to the engine and gearbox. My golden rule is “ keep your lube oil clean and the bike will look after itself”.
Comfort for a high performance bike. Accessories have to be to ditch the OEM exhaust and cat box. They strangle the bike. I have seen no difference in mileage on a tank full by doing this, so economy is not affected. Also recommend a Powerbronze screen if you are in the region of 6 feet tall to take the weight off your wrists and prevent wind buffeting. OEM tyres are Bridgestone and ok. But I prefer Michelin road series and will change to Road 5 when ready. There are many favourite features like the quick shifter gearbox but the outstanding one is the cornering lights at night. When all the nearside road is illuminated it gives more confidence. They really work! The paintwork and finish on the overall bike are fabulous.
Buying experience: Bought from Dealer K D Motorcycles, Accrington for £17,500 but part exchanged my 2013 Honda VRF 1200. Net payment was £12,000.00 and I got dealer to fit extras which I paid for FOC, like Datatool Red, Datatag, R&D Crash bungs, etc
Annual servicing cost: £500
A great bike let down only by instrumentation - no TPM system, no illuminated switchgear and a next to useless method of calculating average MOG and range. High speed touring fuel range is poor compared with the super duke GT that I had before. Otherwise great.
Despite not having semi-active suspension the ride and handling excellent.
Awesome. Pussycat at and low speeds and revs and incredible once let off the leash.
This is a thirsty bike at autobahn (or even motorway) speeds.
No TPM system is major omission on my 20202 registered model. Should have illuminated switchgear and proper TFT programmable screen, hopefully fixed on the latest version.
Buying experience: Excellent - £2000 discount and panniers thrown in as part of Kawasaki UK offer
Version: SE Sport Touring
Annual servicing cost: £300
Superb effortless performance from a great super smooth engine. Lots of useful and worthwhile features, cruise control, excellent pannier system, side and centre stand, realistic tank range. Seat could be better padded. Lever for putting side stand down should be 25mm longer. Overall quite Expensive. Yes would certainly recommend this bike.
Great all rounder and reasonably comfortable for a pillion.
Very powerful, torque available everywhere in the range. Very smooth
Good quality throughout.
Additional equipment - Radiator guard, Daneli horn, rear hugger
Cruise control, excellent pannier system, side and centre stand. Metzler Roadtec SE 01’s work very well with the bike
Buying experience: Dealer bought. Paid just over £20,000 after a discount from the dealer
Version: H2SXSE Performance Tourer
Superb do everything brilliantly motorcycle
Brakes and handling are brilliant, solo, with a pillion and fully luggaged up.
The engine is incredible, real adrenaline inducing and addictive motor
It’s Japanese and it’s a Kawasaki, say no more!
Parts prices are fine but the labour is what costs!
It’s got everything you need on a 200bhp motorcycle and more besides
Buying experience: Brought it new from a dealer, brilliant experience.
Annual servicing cost: £120
Power very smooth but the only gripe is juddering at low revs on full power.
Very comfortable and good brakes. No issues.
Performance is excellent and very smooth power delivery. Only issue is juddering at lower revs.
Owned two, no issues in 2.5 yrs.
Bought at a bargain price £3700 less than RRP. Very good offers to be had.
Quick shifter up and down, cornering lights, colour tft display, heated grips, everything works fantastic.
Buying experience: Dealer £3700 less than RRP.
Version: SE Plus Performance Tourer
Annual servicing cost: £300
The absolute pinnacle of a hyper tourer, this machine will trickle around town, handle sweetly on sweeping A and B roads, and then rearrange your internal organs when you open the throttle hard. Although expensive, you get what you pay for... and you only live once!
This version comes with adaptive electronic suspension that you can feel adjusting to different road conditions and can be tailored to individual preference. From motorways to Dartmoor twisties, it is always composed even when pushing on a bit. The ride position and the decent sized tank allows long periods in the same, a ride up to the NEC from Devon being done with 2 stops for petrol and chips. The brakes on this are top of the range Brembo, which they need to be for a heavy bike that always wants to go faster than you realise.
The beating heart of this machine, it is simply phenomenal. Smooth linear power with almost perfect fuelling, except at low revs and speed less than 20mph when slightly snatchy, this engine redefines what can be achieved in a bike and makes everything else feel disappointing. It accelerates so quickly at any speed that very few other bikes will be able to keep up. It’s even reasonably economical, but again you don’t buy this bike for high mpg figures! I tested the same engine in the Z H2 and is also brilliant in that machine, but that’sa different review.
This is a top of the range Kawasaki and is put together with appropriate high quality parts and attention to detail, from the self healing paint to the Brembo Stylemas; nothing has failed and I don’t expect it will.
I bought a service plan that averages out over 3 years to about this, but that doesn’t include all the tyres you will need! Then again, you don’t buy a bike like this and expect cheap servicing, but the costs are favourable when compared to other litre bikes... and they don’t have a supercharger!
Think of a toy, this bike has it. However, does it need them all? You could probably do without some, like perhaps the launch control, the ride log or the ability to change all the settings on your phone, but they just add to the overall experience of this ultimate hyper tourer. I’ve used the launch control twice on a quiet public road just to see what it’s like; ridiculously quick and brilliant electronics to keep everything pointing in the right direction. Also, you need to roll off after only a couple of seconds to stay legal, so not that useful on a daily basis! The Bridgestone S21s fitted as standard went off by 3K miles but did work well after they warmed up. Pirelli Angel GTs seem to be the choice of the forums so they are getting fitted next. One thing to change if you can is the standard, unattractive exhaust. However, if you get the Performance upgrade, a beautiful Akrapovic will be fitted for you.
Buying experience: Bought privately from the main dealer in Exeter, the experience could not be faulted. Bridge know what bikers want and need, and deliver extremely well. Their staff are universally knowledgable and friendly, and they cater for all tastes in bikes. An outstanding offer they do is a lifetime warranty on all new bikes purchased from them providing they service your bike; for a complex supercharged machine, this makes a lot of sense.
Version: H2 SXSE performance tourer
Annual servicing cost: £300
The engine is silky smooth, it has awesome performance and brilliant at two up touring. We did 3000 miles in Northern Spain over a three week period, it’s an awesome piece of Japanese engineering.
Superb all round and the brakes are superb too
The engine is a masterpiece, incredibly quick when you want it to be and will tootle along in towns and cities if needed. Gearbox is sublime and the quick shifter blipper has just got better the more miles you do.
Service times/mileage are now 7600 or yearly.
All the electronics are brilliant, but I’ve got to say, the Launch Control, although totally mad on a road going bike, it’s an absolute blast!
Buying experience: I purchased the bike from OnYerBike in Westcott. I had a two hour demo on one before I decided to have one. Several weeks later my bike was PDI’d, registered and ready for me to pick up. As it was raining that day I rang them to arrange that it was delivered to me. Nothing was too much trouble...
Annual servicing cost: £400
could do with better lights especially High Beam
seems well made and has had no problems
Buying experience: Good Buying Experience from Branson's Yeovil
Annual servicing cost: £190
Best bike I've owned. Had Hayabusas, Blackbird, FJR1300s before but this is better than all of these, for me. Good points:- Staggering acceleration, even with luggage. Looks Engine and exhaust noise, deep rumbling at tick over, intake roar & chirpy supercharger Very smooth Bad:- Insurance costs 2,500 miles out of rear tyre (OE) Bluetooth stopped working - entire instrument panel needs replacing - £1,600
I can manage about 1.5 - 2 hours before I need to stop. Very comfortable riding position for someone 5' 8"
Smoooooooth and scary Accelerates in a way that you imagine a very powerful electric bike would (but sounds way better) Rain mode takes the edge off when conditions are slippery
No issues, other than Bluetooth Great quality
Not had a full service yet MPG is about 38-40
Everything you need, with a few extras that you don't. Heated grips, cruise control are welcome for me. OE tyres are bad. Swapping to Michelin Road 5s next week. Other owners I've met have done the same. I've just fitted a top-box and you can still fit the panniers (even though Kawasaki don't support this)
Buying experience: Dealer bought on PCP £22,000 for the Performance Tourer version