Kawasaki managed to break all the barriers of astonishment when it came up with the mighty Ninja H2, what can be termed as one of the most revolutionary machine on two wheels of all the times. For starters, this is the world’s first production motorcycle (and the only one till date even after two years of its official unveiling) with a supercharged engine. And this one fact is enough to boggle many minds, in a positive manner, of course.
Even today, after one year of its official launch, the Ninja H2 remains the fastest, most powerful and most technologically advanced motorcycle Kawasaki has ever produced in its entire history. However, as a ritual of periodic update, Kawasaki has recently upgraded the Ninja H2 with a few more equipment, which promises to make the motorcycle even more technically advanced than what it used to be before. Here’s a quick overlook on what all changes does the new Ninja H2 has got.
There is no denying fact that the Kawasaki Ninja H2 has been the most futuristic motorcycle on sale today, thanks to its out-worldly design. The overall styling of the motorcycle has been purely alien, which may not to be of everyone’s taste, but it’s definitely one exemplary example of craftsmanship hard to ignore. This is the reason why Kawasaki has not changed the styling of the motorcycle even by an inch on the new Ninja H2, considering the fact that the motorcycle continues to outrun even the latest of the motorcycle with its extrovert design language. The only noticeable change to its design is the new paint work on the whole profile of the motorcycle, which now looks one shade darker than before.
The front fairing continues to be the same rakish and huge unit as before, with smooth lines flowing from the centrally-stacked projector headlamp which is assisted with two LED daytime running lights below it. The projector headlamp is flanked by an air scoop on the left side and an air vent on right side, for ram air intake. The carbon fiber fins of the H2R (on which it is based) have been replaced by practical fairing mounted rear view mirrors which come with integrated turn indicators. The fairing comes incorporated with a chin spoiler so as to facilitate downforce for maximizing high speed stability.
The main significance of this front fairing is the special ‘River Mark’ emblem, which proudly sits above the projector headlamp. The emblem is a testimony to the fact that the Ninja H2 has been designed by the motorcycling unit of Kawasaki Heavy Industry (KHI) group in conjunction with all its other units, which include gas turbine and machinery company, aerospace company, rolling stock company, precision machinery company, ship and offshore structure company and plant and infrastructure company. This coveted emblem is used in only the prestigious machines of the KHI group, and the Ninja H2 is one of them.
The entire design of the Ninja H2 has the prime focus on aerodynamics, in order to make the motorcycle one of the most proficient motorcycles in terms of performance and high-speed dynamics. This can be judged by the styling of the various body panels, including the side fairing which unlike the other Ninjas give the H2 a semi-naked look, the fuel tank, the rear cowl and the rear view mirrors - all are shaped so as to minimize the effects of forthcoming wind blasts. The color of the trellis frame on the new version has changed from the contrasting green to grey, which somewhat has toned down the oomph of the side profile. The other catchy elements of the H2’s side profile are meaty dual exhaust pipes and 10-spoke star-shaped alloy wheels. To make the Ninja H2 more practical in comparison to the track-bred H2R, Kawasaki has made the rear profile much acceptable and beautiful by giving the H2 LED tail lamps and large rear fender.
Kawasaki has made two major additions on the new Ninja H2, when it comes to equipment. Firstly, the motorcycle’s set of electronic riding aids now adds in KQS up and down quickshifter and Kawasaki Cornering Management Function (KCMF), which only help in handling this beast in an even more simpler manner than before. Secondly, the instrument console, which has been lifted off from the previous model of the motorcycle, now adds in a sensor for the bank angle as well, apart from the usual digital readouts of speedometer, odometer, trip meters, gear indicator, along with a long list of tell tale indicators which also include those of electronics, as before.
Like the overall design, Kawasaki has chosen not to fiddle with the gem of an engine which the previous Ninja H2 came fitted with. The new Ninja H2 is powered by the same inline four, liquid cooled, 16-valve, 998cc motor as before, which with the assistance of ram air induction, churns out a whopping 208 PS of power.
The intake system of this engine is complemented with the Kawasaki supercharger which helps the motorcycle to pump out superb acceleration figures. The compact side cowls and under cowl are designed for allowing the easy air flow which helps in cooling the engine effectively. The engine is paired to a six-speed transmission.
This is where another slight talked about improvement has been done on the new Ninja H2. While the new Ninja H2 employs the same 43mm fully adjustable upside-down forks at front as before, the rear now gets a new Uni-trak Ohlins TTX36 monoshok with piggyback reservoir, which only has made the overall riding dynamics even sharper than before. The dual 330mm discs at front and a single 250mm disc at the rear for the braking purposes are the same as before as well.
As expected, the new version of the Ninja H2 too comes fully loaded with electronic gizmos, the list of which includes Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-lock Braking System (KIBS), electronic steering damper, Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM) and Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), which help in taming this stupendous beast a bit easier on hands.
The Ninja H2, when launched, became the most exclusive and expensive Kawasaki motorcycle to be sold in India. However, given the fact that Kawasaki now sells even the much more premium and powerful track-only Ninja H2R in India, the Ninja H2 is not the most expensive Kawasaki motorcycle in India any more. Though, the additional equipment which the new Ninja H2 packs in has bumped up its price, which now stands at Rs. 32 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which still is not cheap or affordable by any means.
Currently, there is no other motorcycle in the Indian market, which can challenge the credentials of Ninja H2 in a head-on manner. The exclusivity of Ninja H2 of being the only supercharged motorcycle on the planet places it in an entirely different category, to which no other motorcycle belongs to. Though considering the electronic systems which it is equipped with and the power and performance it delivers, the BMW S1000RR is the closest competitor to the Ninja H2.
The flagship supersport of BMW has been redesigned substantially, featuring the same devilish asymmetric design, but with new elements. Under the fairing too, the S1000RR produces 201PS of power, and rivals the Ninja H2 in terms of overall performance, in-gear acceleration figures and top speed. The S1000RR too comes with a host of electronics which are available in the Ninja H2, and also gets a segment-first cornering ABS.
With the Ninja H2, Kawasaki did up the ante and vision of how far the limits of engineering can be pushed forward. With the new update, Kawasaki may not have completely re-jigged the package of the Ninja H2, but what it has been successful with it is the fact that the motorcycle is not lagging behind any of its peers when it comes to up-to-date technology and kit on board. While the ballistic design still continues to look as futuristic as before, the mind-boggling performance and dynamics of the motorcycle are now enhanced thanks to the additional features and electronics it now gets, though we would have liked to see a bit more comprehensive changes. Nevertheless, a true engineering marvel, the Ninja H2 continues to hold a special place in the hearts of motoring enthusiasts.