Two years have passed since we had our socks forcibly removed by the bonkers Ninja H2, Kawasaki’s game-changing supercharged litre-beater. But while it was sent to wow us, the long game was always about the introduction of production supercharged engines. And this is the first more mass-market destined model to emerge from the project.
Still boasting the Ninja H2 moniker, the key letters here are actually SX – denoting its touring intent. While it would be logical to assume that Kawasaki have simply bolted a rear subframe to their nuts Ninja, the changes are actually far more extensive.
The chassis is new, the engine is new, and the riding experience will be, too. The substantially reworked engine also boasts a new flavour of supercharger to smooth out the power delivery, and soften the H2’s dramatic punch. It’s also there to allow the 998cc inline-four to muster 207bhp peak power and 101.3lbft, while achieving much-improved emissions, and the same sort of fuel economy you’d expect from the less well-endowed Versys 1000. Not only is it frugal, but it allows the SX to run a relatively small 19-litre fuel tank, while still going the distance.
The H2 SX SE gets cornering lights, and the top-spec dash, which combines an analogue tacho with a multi-function TFT Colour dash (the stocker gets LCD). There are two selectable display modes (Touring or Sport) to allow riders to prioritise what they see on screen.
There’s also electronic cruise control, and KCMF (Kawasaki Cornering Management Function), which uses an IMU to monitor engine and chassis performance throughout the corner, modulating brake force and engine power to get the best transition from acceleration to braking and back again. There’s also traction control, a bi-directional quickshifter, launch control, and engine braking control.
One surprise is the lack of electronic suspension. Nonetheless, it is fully adjustable at both ends and there’s a remote rear preload adjuster, too. There’s plenty of competition in the fast touring market, whether any of them can compete with the SX will be one of 2018’s most interesting questions.
Ninja H2 SX
The new SX comes in two flavours, the full-fat SX SE, and the base specification SX. The differences aren’t dramatic, and without confirmed prices to judge the gap, it’s hard to say whether the SE if worth the extra wonga. The most obvious visual clue to which model is which is the colour schemes.
The SE comes in garish Ninja colours, while the stock SX is black only. Other visual clues include a lower screen, and a slab of plastic where the SE gets progressive cornering lights. From the cockpit, you’ll also notice a lower spec LCD screen sits alongside the analogue tacho. Underneath the fairings, you get exactly the same balanced supercharged engine, chassis, and 19 litre fuel tank – delivering the same touring range. The SX weighs 4kg less than the SE, but you’re unlikely to notice that with 207bhp to play with.
See all the hot new 2018 bikes at Motorcycle Live this November 18-26.
Have a browse for your next bike on MCN Bikes ForSale website or use the MCN's Bikes For Sale App.