2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R - Performance, Price, and Photos
With top-flight aerodynamics and a supercharged engine, the ballistic H2 R is far too awesome to be street legalby TJ Hinton, on LISTEN 12:22
Many of the major players offer a pure-D racetrack hypersport for the public’s consumption, and for Kawasaki, that honor falls to the freshly updated Ninja H2 R. The H2 R brings the best Kawi has to offer along with top-flight aerodynamics and a supercharged engine along with a full electronics suite making it a threat on the track right out of the box.
That’s about the only place it’s a threat though, since the H2 R is far too awesome to be street legal. As a track-only bike, it wastes not an ounce on any silly old mirrors, headlights, or turn signals. Carbon-fiber components complete the package with their own brand of lightweight strength.
2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R Performance and Capability
The crown jewel on the Ninja H2 R is the supercharged four-banger that serves as the beating heart. The lump is heavily built to withstand the incredible forces generated within. What kind of forces are we talking about?
The factory claims an output of over 200 liters per second at a velocity of 328 feet per second with a max of 2.4-times atmospheric pressure. Yeah, let that sink in for a second. It makes for a potent air-fuel charge and manages to somehow keep the compressed air cool enough to preclude the need for a heavy/clunky intercooler to draw excess heat off the charge.
The pistons are cast rather than forged and come with small voids engineered in the mold to reduce the reciprocating weight. They come partnered with balanced connecting rods and a lightweight crankshaft/flywheel to help it spool up with a quickness.
A pair of oil jets bathe the bottom of each piston crown to draw heat away from that critical area. The deep oil sump helps transfer heat to the atmosphere and keeps the pump pickup submerged to eliminate cavitation, even under hard acceleration/deceleration and cornering.
Steep over-head cams time the four-valve heads while stainless-steel intake poppets and heat-resistant Inconel alloy exhaust valves deal with the extreme heat generated by the mill. There’s quite a bit of overlap, as racebike cams are wont to have, so you can count on efficient exhaust-gas scavenging as well as an abundance of free hydrocarbons in the exhaust stream. That’s always the trade-off and should come as no surprise.
A quartet of 50 mm throttle bodies manage the induction, but a number of systems modify the signal from the twist-grip before it actually manifests itself in butterfly-valve movement. It all starts with a Bosch inertial measurement unit that reads the forces acting on the chassis. Next, a triple-mode traction control feature monitors for wheel slip and intervenes accordingly.
Engine Brake Control helps limit the backtorque in the system. It’s backed up by a slipper-type clutch for double the anti-hop protection, and a Launch Control Mode that helps you nail your holeshots. The Kawasaki Cornering Management feature bundles it all together in various combinations depending on conditions.
On the straights, wheelie control and traction control are the main contributors. As you scrub speed ahead of a turn, the engine brake control and the pitch control kick in to increase stability and safety. Once you pass the apex, the traction/wheelie control kicks back in along with a sliding control to keep you from pulling a lowsider due to an overenthusiastic and optimistic right wrist. The sliding control switches itself off as soon as you straighten up to leave only the traction/wheelie control engaged until the next turn.
That’s a lot of technical information, but I know you’re probably waiting on the bottom line, so here it is. The H2 R generates 300 horsepower and 121.5 pound-feet of torque at 12,500 rpm (shaft). That’s impressive on both horsepower and torque. That’s right sports fans, three hundred ponies, and it turned in a Ninja H2 R top speed of 209.442 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats and puts it on par with MotoGP bikes.
|Engine:||4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled, supercharged|
|Bore x Stroke:||76.0 mm x 55.0 mm|
|Maximum Torque:||121.5 lb-ft @ 12,500 rpm|
|Fuel System:||DFI® with 50 mm throttle bodies (4) with dual injection|
|Transmission:||6-speed, return, dog-ring|
|Final Drive:||Sealed chain|
The overall design of the Kawasaki Ninja H2 R is the result of a collaboration between three distinct divisions beneath Kawasaki’s umbrella: the KRT branch, aerospace engineering division, and gas-turbine group. Far from being an exercise in subtlety, the Ninja H2 R is one Kawi product that leaves observers no doubt as to its nature.
It starts out with a cut-down and cut-out front fender that doubles as a guard for the swept area of the inverted front forks and a fairing to guide the slipstream around the stems. This lowers the induced drag.
A pair of intake scoops dominate the gnarly-looking front fairing. The scoops shunt pressurized air from the entry back through a carbon-fiber duct running back to the supercharger inlet along the left side of the bike.
Carbon fiber is the material of choice for the front fairing as well as the quartet of spoilers that provide ample downforce when underway at speed. This keeps the front wheel planted and its contact patch well engaged with the tarmac.
A fighter jet-like bubblescreen rounds off the top of the fairing with Kawi’s Rivermark emblem as the only adornment on the H2 R’s visage. A pair of cheek fairings extend downward to complete the fairing and shroud the radiator while accentuating the all-up-front look.
As for instrumentation, a round analog gauge displays the revs with a color LCD screen that delivers the other pertinent metrics and a ring of LED indicator lights to wrap it up. The tach has a blackout background with illuminated orange numerals that light up as the needle passes them on its way up the range for a cool visual effect.
In addition to the usual metrics, the display includes a lean-angle indicator and a boost gauge that racers may ultimately find useful. A pair of dead-short control bars mount directly to the upper tripleclamp to pull you forward over the 4.5-gallon fuel tank into a most-aggressive posture that leaves no possibility of pushing off to find an upright riding position.
Shoulders along the top of the tank form knee pockets on both sides where the tank wanes to meet the narrow waist at the tank/seat/frame juncture. The saddle itself rests in a deep swale created by the fuel tank hump and the upswept tail that’s capped by a fairing with no p-pad. Nope, this isn’t a bike that’s built to share the fun with a friend.
An underslung LED taillight provides the only illumination on the H2 R with a swingarm-mount hugger to complete the rear fling control. Mirror Coated Matte Spark Black is the finish of choice, and it comes with Kawi’s “self-repairing” paint that can effectively heal itself after receiving certain types of scratches.
Just a glance is enough to convey the serious nature of this machine. I would reiterate that the H2 R is strictly a closed-circuit or road-course bike and not street legal anywhere.
|Overall Length:||81.5 in|
|Overall Width:||33.5 in|
|Overall Height:||45.7 in|
|Ground Clearance:||5.1 in|
|Seat Height:||32.7 in|
|Curb Weight:||476.3 lb|
|Fuel Capacity:||4.5 gal|
The frame on the Ninja H2 R is rigid enough to handle the powerful engine while remaining supple enough to deliver race-style handling. It starts out with variable-thickness steel tubing on the Ninja H2 R, and each member precisely sized for strength and flexion before joining up to form the Trellis-style structure.
The steering head sets a rake angle of 25.1 degrees with 4.3 inches of trail to fall out at the nimble end of the spectrum. Plus, it rocks a dynamic Öhlins steering damper that combats kickback and electronically adjusts itself according to speed so it’ll automatically keep itself in that sweet spot for you.
Forged and pressed aluminum plate forms the single-side swingarm with a Uni-Trak linkage and Öhlins TTX36 gas shock to tame it. The monoshock rocks the full trinity of adjustments and comes with a top-out spring to complete the package.
Up front, inverted 43 mm Kayaba AOS-II forks take care of business with the same trio of adjustments as the rear shock. Air and oil kept segregated within the stems deliver a soft initial stroke that firms up considerably toward the bottom with a DLC coating to keep internal friction low. Suspension travel measures 4.7 inches up front and 5.3 inches out back.
New for this year, Brembo Stylema anchors up front rock four 30 mm pistons in an opposed configuration. They bite massive 330 mm discs to deliver the goods. Out back, a twin-pot Brembo caliper clamps a 250 mm disc with Kawasaki’s Intelligent Anti-lock Brake System that delivers rider-friendly feedback and minimal pulse-back feel.
Cast-aluminum wheels mount Bridgestone VO1 racing slicks made strictly for track riding and must be properly warmed up pre-race to maximize traction. Do not ride these hoops cold, but if you’re paying this much for a track-only bike, you know that already.
|Frame:||Trellis, high-tensile steel, with swingarm mounting plate|
|Front Suspension / Wheel Travel:||43 mm inverted fork with adjustable rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability, and top-out springs/4.7 in|
|Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel:||Uni-Trak®, Öhlins TTX36 gas charged shock with piggyback reservoir, 22-way compression and rebound damping and adjustability, and hand-turn spring preload adjustability and top-out spring/5.3 in|
|Front Tire:||120/70 ZR17 Bridgestone V01F slick|
|Rear Tire:||190/65 ZR17 Bridgestone V01R slick|
|Front Brakes:||Dual radial-mount, opposed 4-piston Brembo Stylema® calipers, dual semi-floating 330 mm discs, KIBS ABS|
|Rear Brakes:||Opposed 2-piston calipers, single 250 mm disc, KIBS ABS|
2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R Price
It comes as no surprise that this kind of power comes at a premium. The 2022 Ninja H2 R costs $56,500 in the U.S. market. At $56.5k, the sticker shock acts as a firewall, ’cause most of us have absolutely no business even sitting on this thing in the parking lot.
Electronic Rider Aids
- Kawasaki Cornering Management Function (KCMF)
- Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC)
- Kawasaki Launch Control Mode (KLCM)
- Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS)
- Kawasaki Engine Brake Control
- Kawasaki Quick Shifter (KQS) (upshift & downshift)
- Öhlins Electronic Steering Damper
|Color:||Mirror Coated Matte Spark Black|
Kawi was the first supercharged bike on the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s without peer. Honda’s racebike division produced the RC213V more-or-less for public consumption, and it manages to land in the same ballpark as the H2 R.
A set of wind tunnel-tested body panels close off all the innards to give the RC213V more of a superbike look, and less of a hyper-naked finish like the H2 R brings to the table. Öhlins products support and dampen the Repsol ride and Brembo hauls it down with ABS protection.
Unlike the H2 R, the Red Rider comes with street-legal components. If closed-circuit work is your thing, a race kit strips the superfluous equipment and plugs the holes while also boosting performance.
What kind of performance do you ask? Well, Honda measures in with 215 horsepower (with kit) and 87 pound-feet of torque. It falls a little short of the 300/121.5 from the Kawi yet still claims a top speed in the neighborhood of 225 mph which is actually superior in spite of that power deficit.
Honda comes off looking way prouder with a $184,000 sticker on its RC213V. The price puts it out of reach of most, and is hard to justify paying against the delightfulness the H2 R brings to the table. Considering what you get for the price, the H2 R looks like a sweet deal against the Honda.
“Wow. Just frikkin’ wow. All I can say is that you’ve got to have a set of big brass ones to do this machine justice, possibly even a touch of crazy to boot, ’cause this bike really puts the “fast” in “stupidfast.” I’m talking bigly fast over here. Of course, it is a proper race bike, but Kawi has two civilian models that are almost as badass as the “R” version even though you’ll never do either of the less-noble bikes justice on public roads, not legally/safely anyway.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Me? What? What do you want me to say about the Ninja H2 R? It’s way too stupidfast for me. I do believe it set a production-bike world record for zero-to-248 mph in 26 seconds. I can’t even wrap my head around that. You know, going fast isn’t nearly as scary as having to slow down once you reach those kinds of speeds. Folks that can ride this bike with aplomb have my respect.”