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KAWASAKI NINJA H2 (2019-on) Review

Published: 27 June 2019

Updated: 27 June 2019

Kawasaki’s claim of more power might not show up on our dyno, but it hardly matters

Kawasaki Ninja H2 action riding shot

Kawasaki’s claim of more power might not show up on our dyno, but it hardly matters

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Launched in 2015, Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 was like something from outer space, with alien looks, a cartoon exhaust, chirping supercharger and the kind of straight-line performance that blew the doors of any superbike it came up against. We loved how it stuck two fingers up at the establishment and awarded it MCN’s 2015 Bike of the Year.

Updated in 2017 with revised mapping and an Öhlins rear shock, Kawasaki aims to breathe new life into the 2019 model with more power, beefier brakes, grippier tyres, an uprated colour dash and ‘self-healing’ paint.

Kawasaki’s claim of more power might not show up on our dyno, but it hardly matters with an engine already overflowing with supersonic levels of addictive power and grunt.

The unrivalled savagery in which the H2 accelerates never gets old, but its supercharged power delivery is still deliciously smooth and thanks to its excellent electronics, accessible, too. Low rpm throttle response is still too sensitive and the seat is as uncomfortable as hell after a few hours, but improved braking power, extra grip and a classier dash transforms the H2 from expensive drag racer into a well-rounded and impressively refined sportsbike.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Bridgestone’s latest RS11 fast road/trackday rubber replace the old RS10s, which would struggle to harness all that supercharged power, especially in the cold and damp (praise the lord for the H2’s well-judged traction control).

The new tyres offer more grip and confidence, especially at the front, which, added to the powerful new brakes and the Öhlins upgrade of a few years ago, gives the Kawasaki more poise and a lighter feeling in the corners, despite still weighing a hefty 238kg. The H2 used to be a one-trick, straight-line pony, but now it’s finally a well-rounded sportsbike in its own right.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 cornering

Whether it was down to the pad choice, discs or ABS control, braking power was always an infuriating H2 weak point (as it is on the 2015 generation ZX-10R) and if you ever needed to stop in a hurry you’d need to grab a big fistful of front, a big dose of rear and downshift like a maniac – supercharger chirping in protest. But now the H2 has brakes to match its formidable engine. New Stylema Brembos, first seen on the ’18 Panigale V4 (Ducati had exclusive use of them for a year) bulge with power and create a more connected, enjoyable ride.

Engine 5 out of 5

With its new H2 SX-derived air filter, air box, spark plugs and ECU, claimed power is up 30.6bhp and produces a measured 206bhp on our dyno…exactly the same as the previous model, with 4ftlb less torque. We asked Kawasaki to explain, but they won’t comment on independent dyno tests. Does this matter? No, because the H2 has never lacked in the trouser department and the way it surges smoothly forward in a cocoon of strange calm, as it manically hoovers up the horizon in any gear, at any rpm, still defies belief. Anti-wheelie perfectly controls an eager front wheel, but low speed fuelling is still snatchy and we saw just 38mpg during our test.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Despite its supercharger and monstrous power the H2 enjoys typical bombproof reliability.  

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

It isn’t cheap, but fit, finish and cycle parts ooze the kind of luxury you’d expect from a machine of this price.

Insurance group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

It’s out with the LCD and in with the crisp new light-sensitive colour TFT display. Speedo digits still climb at a stratospheric pace under hard acceleration, but the new dash gives the H2’s cockpit a fresh new look.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 instrument panel

There are two main layouts to choose from featuring a smorgasbord of information from the regular speed/gear position/trips to readings taken from the Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit, including lean angle and G-force. You can also sync your phone, via Bluetooth to use Kawasaki’s Rideology app, which lets you track your ride via GPS, view received calls/mail and check bike settings.

Colours are a carbon copy of the original 2015 H2, so the Öhlins shock, new Brembos and ‘Super Charged’ engine logo are the easiest way to identify the 2019 version. Paint is now ‘self-healing’ - think of it as a paintjob that hasn’t quite cured, with the idea that light scratches (but not heavy stone chips, or worse) will seal back up again, like some kind of two-wheeled terminator.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2019
Year discontinued -
New price £26,499
Used price £15,500 to £26,500
Warranty term Two years (four year optional)
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 206.74 bhp
Max torque 94.66 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 146 miles
Specification
Engine size 998cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four, supercharged
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 238kg
Front suspension Showa 43mm forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single Öhlins TX36 shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 330mm front discs with four-piston Brembo Stylema monobloc radial calipers, cornering ABS
Rear brake 250mm rear disc with twin-piston caliper, cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 200/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

  • 2015: Kawasaki launches its supercharged Ninja H2 – the quickest accelerating, superbike-crushing road bike MCN has ever tested.
  • 2017: Updated with a fully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 rear shock and mapping tweaks.
  • 2019: More claimed power, new Stylema Brembos, TFT colour dash, RS11 Bridgestones, self-healing paint, a new ‘Super Charged’ engine logo and LED number plate lights.

Other versions

  • Ninja H2R – Track-only, 306bhp nutter version with slicks and ear-bleeding straight-through titanium race pipe.
  • Ninja H2 Carbon – As H2 with H2R-inspired carbon fibre upper fairing and different colours

Owners' Reviews

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Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 action riding shot
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 cornering shot front-on
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 side profile static
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 side profile cornering action shot
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 tail
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 front brake assembly
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 instrument cluster
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 engine
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