Kawasaki’s new Z H2 could be a supercharged supernaked missile with nearly 200bhp and over 100ftlb of torque on tap.
At the heart of this armwrenching weapon is the H2 SX’s super-smooth 998cc motor, although it’s been retuned for the Z to give more mid-range thrust, making its whopping 101ftlb of torque at just 8500rpm (1000 less revs the H2 SX requires).
There’s a stack of IMU controlled electronics to stop the Euro5-friendly engine tying everything in knots including three riding modes, lean-sensitive traction control, ABS… oh and launch control, just in case that Porsche is giving you a bit of bother at the traffic lights!
There’s also a quickshifter and cruise control as Kawasaki leave no stone unturned in their bid to be king of the super naked segment… although Ducati’s all new V4 Streetfighter may have a say in the final battle for supremacy at the traffic lights.
The new Z also weighs a significant 17kg less than its H2 SX brother (239kg claimed kerb weight against 256kg for the SX) with much of that saving coming from the obvious lack of bodywork.
A new exhaust design now houses a larger catalyst while Kawasaki claims new, longer manifold tubes improve low-down power. These modifications, as well as a smaller exhaust end-can, have also helped with the Zed’s diet.
The steel trellis frame looks similar to the H2 SX’s but has been redesigned to accommodate a shorter (by 35mm) wheelbase and a double-sided swingarm.
Brakes are slightly lower-spec Brembos, with relatively affordable Showa suspension front and rear also showing signs of the beancounters getting involved.
Fuel capacity stays at 19 litres, and there are no signs the supercharged motor is any more frugal.
As well as the now almost obligatory TFT LCD clocks, the Z H2 comes with Bluetooth connectivity that links to an app on the rider’s phone to store all sorts of information, much of which can be accessed on the screen.
Riding modes can be set remotely through the app, too. Although the styling remains undoubtedly Z, with its front end grimace, this super naked bears much more resemblance technically to its H2 SX brother.
One key bit of information MCN has not yet been able to uncover is potentially the most important – its price.
With the base model H2 SX costing £15,599 and Yamaha’s MT-10 SP weighing in at £14,299, Kawasaki must be keen to price the Z H2 around the £13k mark.
With the outgoing Z1000 at just £10,499 a serious price hike is on the cards, but if the 2020 super naked is too much, many may just opt for the accomplished H2 SX with its full fairing and distance-destroying luxury instead.
'New Z H2 will have its work cut out' - Michael Neeves, Chief Road Tester
'On paper, the new Z H2 looks wild. Nearly 200 horses on a sit-up-and-beg naked? Yes please. But it’ll have its work cut out to beat the supernaked king, Aprilia’s Tuono V4 1100 Factory – an intoxicating mixture of 173bhp wrapped in one of the best chassis ever built. The Kawa’s 239kg wet weight points to it being more a gloves-off, straight line beast… and I hope there’ll be a button to turn the anti-wheelie off.'
Kawasaki Z H2 highlights
- 197bhp supercharged engine
- 101ftlb at 8500rpm
- 239kg claimed kerb weight
- Double-sided swingarm
- Short wheelbase
Kawasaki offer 'Ultimate Z test ride' for incoming Z H2
First published 11/10/19
Kawasaki have announced they are offering 'The ultimate Z test ride' as part of the unveil of their incoming Z H2 supernaked.
Speaking in a press release, the Japanese manufacturer said: "October 23 will be a landmark day in the history of the Kawasaki Z family. Everything preceding will be consigned to the past and a new, dramatic Z will herald an eagerly anticipated dawn in the hard fought supernaked category.
Sign-up to the competition is currently open on Kawasaki's website, with further details set to be revealed alongside the bike, on Wednesday.
Leaked pictures reveal naked Kawasaki Z H2
First published 11/10/19
Pictures have emerged in several places online showing Kawasaki’s supercharged naked Z H2 being uncrated ahead of its official reveal on Wednesday, October 23.
Although the images don’t reveal the entire machine, the new bike appears to be based on the existing faired H2 hyperbike, rather than the current naked Z1000; equipped with a deep red trellis frame like the H2, rather than the Zed’s aluminium twin tube layout.
Arriving in 2015, the H2 stole the headlines with its radical rethink on the sportsbike recipe. Producing a claimed 210bhp at its inception, no other sportsbike was able to accelerate like it. Since then, the bike has received better tyres, suspension and brakes and for 2019, enjoyed a claimed power boost to an eye-watering 228bhp.
Although no power figures are currently available, Kawasaki’s marketing hype suggests that this new bike will follow in the H2’s footsteps and produce close to 200bhp, rather than the existing Z1000’s modest 140.1bhp. This theory is further strengthened by the large front wings, located just above the LED indicators, equipped for additional downforce.
That said, the bike could just as equally be tuned for more mid-range, rather than a savage top-end rush, with the naked stance making speeds above 150mph unbearable for prolonged periods.
To help squeeze the bike through the stringent Euro5 regulations, the Z H2 does away with the traditional Z1000 four exit shotgun pipes in favour of one bulky end can. The supercharger technology itself could also help the bike pass, with the inclusion of the blower potentially boosting bottom-end power, fuel efficiency, range and top-end rush.
Shod with what looks like Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa III tyres, the new naked also comes equipped with a TFT dash (as previously shown in the teaser videos), as well as cruise control and multiple riding modes. This is indicated by the switchgear visible on the left hand control, which can also be found on existing models like the Versys 1000 SE sports adventure bike.
Despite the multiple modes, we would expect the new bike to feature manually-adjusted conventional suspension, with the shot of the front end appearing to show a set of Showa big piston forks.
This could then pave the way for a pricier SE version for 2021, complete with electronic springs, which has previously also been the case with the H2 SX, ZX-10R and Versys 1000.
Also visible at the front end are dual LED headlights, alongside Kawasaki’s signature supercharged logo. A small fly screen will also go some way to preventing wind buffeting at high speed. For additional practicality, it also features a roomy pillion seat.
No one from Kawasaki was available for a comment. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.
Rise of the hypernakeds
Although a 200bhp naked sounds barmy, it’s entirely possible the Z H2 will be one of four new hypernakeds set to arrive for 2020, all boasting incredible power figures.
Currently only available as a sold-out, limited-run Serie Oro edition, the incoming £39,448 (€42,990) MV Agusta Brutale 1000 boasts a claimed 212bhp, staking the title as the most powerful production naked in the world.
This is despite Ducati also teasing a new Streetfighter V4, based on the existing 1103cc Panigale V4 range, set to be revealed at the Eicma trade show in November.
As if that wasn’t enough, KTM have also revealed a teaser video this week, suggesting an updated 1290 Super Duke R is on the way, with the bike already producing 177bhp in its current guise.
Kawasaki Z H2 incoming! Third teaser released
First published 09/10/19
The 2020 Kawasaki Z H2 will be the name of the Japanese firm's new supercharged naked, set to be revealed on October 23, which is the opening day of the Tokyo Motor Show.
An accompanying third teaser video shows the bike's proportions, the launch date, name and not a lot else. However, there's also a chance to register your interest in a "competition of a lifetime", which is somehow associated with the new bike.
MCN will update this article when more information becomes available, and keep an eye out for the 2020 Kawasaki Z H2 review coming soon.
All Kawasaki H2 reviews on MCN
Kawasaki Z H2: what we know so far...
First published 01/10/19
Kawasaki have released a second teaser video (above) for their latest incoming supercharged model, revealing some of the bike’s technical specification, as well as further hinting that it could be a naked.
Lasting just 18 seconds, the video published on Monday, September 30, shows part of the machine’s seemingly snub-nosed front end, complete with two closely positioned LED headlights and Kawasaki’s distinctive supercharger logo.
From there, we see the machine’s TFT dash, with the illuminated icons around the edge of the screen suggesting the bike will receive cruise control and traction control, as well as ABS (which is already a requirement for Euro4).
Alongside the clocks, the teaser also shows what appears to be the bike’s supercharger intake protruding out below the petrol tank, with a faint silhouette of the full bike behind it.
There also seems to be no front fairing, suggesting the new bike could well be a replacement for the current Z1000, which remains largely unchanged since 2014.
The video ends by displaying the date Wednesday, October 23, meaning we could see the full bike in around three weeks’ time.
Kawasaki hints at new supercharged model in first teaser video
First published: 17/09/19
Kawasaki have released a teaser hinting at a new supercharged Zed set to arrive in the near future. Lasting just 11 seconds, the video shows a rotating impeller, before revealing the distinctive Kawasaki Zed logo, complete with the sound of an inline-four engine and supercharger whistle.
The promo also hints at the new machine coming complete with a quickshifter, with the bike changing through the gears incredibly quickly.
Although no more details are available, the clip could point to a radical new replacement and reinvention of the firm’s Z1000 naked, giving Kawasaki a route back into the burgeoning hedonistic naked sector with a bike worthy of grabbing the headlines.
Equally, it could also form the basis for a new version of the ever-popular Z1000SX sports-tourer, which has remained largely unchanged since its inception in 2010. Both are especially plausible, thanks to Euro5 emissions regs, which come into effect on January 1, 2020.
In their current state, neither comply with the incoming rules and it would be hard to maintain their current performance without big changes. It’s unlikely Kawasaki would simply ditch either model, especially the incredibly popular SX which regularly tops its class sales figures.
As with Euro4, high-revving machines will be most affected by the change, with the long valve duration and overlap (when both the exhaust and intake valves are open) needed to perform at high rpm handicapping their chances.
Currently an inherently revvy, fuel-injected inlinefour, the inclusion of a blower could see a boost to the Zed’s bottom-end power, as well as improving fuel efficiency, range and top-end rush. With Kawasaki’s lineup already including the supercharged H2, we would expect an updated Z1000SX to provide a slightly cheaper, less intimidating alternative.
Whether it’s one model or two, we’d expect a full unveil at the Milan show this November.
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