Now With More Of Everything That Made The Previous Generation A Hit

Kawasaki gave the 2019 Ninja H2 and H2 Carbon a fairly major update ahead of MY2019 that goes far beyond any kind of token trim package treatment. The “new” category is well populated with items as minor as a new model-specific emblem up through a brand-new powerplant and electronic augmentation. Oh yeah, the supercharger that made this supersport line famous reprises its role with an efficient new design ramping up compression while it minimizes heat generation. As a result, this new pair comes with more of everything that made the previous gen a hit.

  • 2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    998 cc
  • Top Speed:
    209 (est) mph
  • Price:
    29000
  • Price:

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon Design

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
- image 814051
Those familiar with Kawasaki's history will recognize the 'river mark' badge that adorns the crest just above the headlight as proof that the factory considers this pair to be models of historical significance.

No doubt about it, this is one radical machine right out of the box. The forward fairing is vaguely aircraft-like with a cyclops headlight that rides dead center and pierces the night with an LED projector. In fact, all of the lighting is of the LED variety this year, right down to the blinkers and the tag light. Kawi integrated the front turn signals and the mirror housings in a bid to keep windage to a minimum.

Not one to miss an opportunity, the factory gave the mirror stanchions a foil-shaped cross section. The shape works with the upper cowl and spoiler to generate extra downward forces that help keep that front tire planted.

Those familiar with Kawasaki’s history will recognize the “river mark” badge that adorns the crest just above the headlight as proof that the factory considers this pair to be models of historical significance. The “Supercharged” emblem on the engine is also new and unique to this year (so far), but the real hot item in the looks department lies in the paint; not necessarily the color, but the technology behind it. Yeah, that’s right, I said “technology” in reference to paint. The clear coat is actually a composite with both hard and soft qualities that absorbs a certain amount of impact without it turning into a ding. Kawi calls it “self-repairing paint,” but in actuality, it seems more like it’s active paint that prevents the damage from occurring in the first place, like a “chemical spring.”. No matter how you parse it, it’s some pretty cool stuff, right?

A bubble screen tops off the fairing as it punches a minimal hole for the pilot to hunker into, and it’s here at the upper fairing that the Carbon sets itself apart with naked carbon-fiber weave and Candy Flat Blazed Green (“blazed green,” really guys?). Behind the screen we find the updated instrumentation featuring a new, backlit, color TFT screen that displays speed, gear, boost level and fuel economy, and acts as an interface for the electronic wizardry. An analog gauge displays rpm with a half-ring of indicator lights to finish off the critical metrics, and new for this year, you can network your smartphone with your motorcycle through the Rideology app.

As for the overall panache, the H2 has an essential nature that leaves much of the Trellis frame visible to give it an industrial look, and while I’m generally not a huge fan of the Kawi look, I have to admit that the H2 has a certain amount of intrinsic charm. Maybe it’s the solo seat that splits into three points of contact out back to keep you from sliding aft and the clipped subframe, it’s hard to pin down the exact source of the appeal, but I do know that you’d better be prepared to assume that Superman racing position wherever you go.

Clip-on bars and jockey-mount footpegs define an aggressive rider’s triangle that is great if you plan on hauling butt and throwing around some serious body English, but your wrists, shoulder and neck will be uncomfortably loaded up when you’re not hauling booty.

Oh, and speaking of speed, the brake and clutch levers rock a windtunnel-tested design that minimizes drag so the levers don’t try to actuate from all that wind pressure. No, it’s not one of those bikes that will pull double-duty as an urban commuter, not comfortably anyway.

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon Chassis

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
- image 814049
The Trellis frame is a marvel of engineering unto itself, a testament to the performance of the supercharged engine ensconced within.

The Trellis frame is a marvel of engineering unto itself. It comes with some serious buttressing, a testament to the performance of the supercharged lump ensconced within. Rake and trail measure out at 24.5 degrees and 4.1 inches, respectively, but it’s the Öhlins electronic steering damper that steals the show. It delivers variable stiffness based on speed, so the faster you go, the more kickback protection you’ll garner without it turning into a wrestling match at lower speeds.

The yummygoodness continues with a set of 43 mm, inverted KYB front forks that rock the full trinity of adjustments plus a set of top-out springs, and out back, the Öhlins TTX36 piggyback shock has rebound- and compression-damping features as well as spring preload, so you can dial in the ride quality just where you want it.

Model-specific, 17-inch, cast-aluminum rims keep unsprung weight down and lessen the gyroscopic forces generated by the wheels at speed. ZR-rated hoops round out the rolling chassis with a 120/70 up front opposite a 200/55. Also new for this year are the Brembo Stylema calipers with four opposed pistons set in a radial mount that bite dual 330 mm discs up front, followed by a twin-piston anchor and 250 mm disc out back. Both ends run under the vigilant protection of Kawasaki’s proprietary ABS feature — the KIBS — that reads data from the inertial-measurement unit to deliver corner-sensitive intervention.

Frame: Trellis, high-tensile steel, with swingarm mounting plate
Rake/Trail: 24.5°/4.1 in
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 43mm 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
Rear Tire: 200/55 ZR17
Front Brakes: Dual radial-mount, opposed 4-piston Brembo Stylema® calipers, dual semi-floating 330mm discs, KIBS ABS
Rear Brakes: Opposed 2-piston calipers, single 250mm disc, KIBS ABS

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon Drivetrain

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
- image 814054
Kawi designed this new engine around the supercharger that sets it apart from the rest of the field, turning in a top speed over 200 mph.

Kawi designed this new engine around the supercharger that sets it apart from the rest of the field, so let’s start there. The forged-aluminum impeller turns at 9.2-times crankshaft speed to produce a maximum of around 38 pounds of boost, but the system is designed to run cool enough that a heavy intercooler is unnecessary. Needless to say, this does wonders for the volumetric efficiency, and it shows up in the 104.9 pound-feet of torque that maxes out at 11,000 rpm. Horsepower is rumored to top out with 197 ponies at the wheel around 16,000 rpm to turn in a top speed around 209 mph. That’s right, it’s like that. I told you it wasn’t a wannabe-racer’s daily commuter.

Dual over-head cams time the 16-valve head with dual direct fuel injection to deliver the juice. Bore and stroke measure in at 76 mm and 55 mm, respectively, and the compression ration, well, is irrelevant because it’s so widely variable. Power flows through a slipper clutch to the six-speed, constant-mesh transmixxer. Rather than sliding big, heavy gear clusters along the main/counter shafts to shift gears, this tranny leaves the gears engaged with their partners and shifts only a lightweight dog-ring device for a lighter and faster shift action. Plus, it comes with the Kawasaki Quick-Shift feature that works both up and down the range.

The wizardry is strong with this one. The H2 brothers include lean-sensitive traction control, launch control, engine brake control and the Kawi Cornering Management Function in the electronics suites. Naturally, these systems are no substitute for skill, but they may help keep you alive while you acquire said skill.

Engine: 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled, supercharged
Displacement: 998 cc
Bore x Stroke: 76.0 mm x 55.0 mm
Compression Ratio: N/A
Maximum Torque: 104.9 lb-ft @ 11,000 rpm
Fuel System: DFI® (4) with dual injection
Ignition: Digital
Transmission: 6-speed, return, dog-ring
Final Drive: Sealed chain

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon Pricing

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
- image 814047
MSRP is definitely up in the 'Noob Firewall' range starting at $29k.

Kawasaki looks to get a $29,000 starting price on the base Ninja H2 in Mirror Coated Spark Black. The Carbon is understandably a bit prouder at $32,500 with naked carbon at the upper front fairing and green highlights. That puts both models in the price range normally unreachable by beginning riders, thank goodness.

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
Special Features: Rideology the App Smartphone Connectivity, all-LED lighting, Highly Durable Paint, TFT Instrumentation
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Color: Mirror Coated Spark Black, Carbon: Mirror Coated Matte Spark Black/Candy Flat Blazed Green
Price: $29,000, Carbon: $32,500

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon Competitors

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
- image 814059
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Kawi enjoys a bit of a monopoly on blown literbike mills.

Bikes with some sort of blower are a fairly rare thing. Right now, the H2 line has the newest game in town, but recent patent applications paint a picture of a burgeoning subgenre that is on the verge of a population explosion, relatively speaking. Suzuki seems to be in the 11th hour on development of not one, but two turbocharged units. It teased us with the Recursion and XE7 concepts at the Tokyo show, and it seems like one or both of those are about production ready. The bad news is, so far, it looks like it’s going to be a mid-size mill in the 600 cc range, so that places it much further down the foodchain with only around 74 pounds o’ grunt.

Red Riders, rejoice! Honda is getting back into the compressor game according to a 2017 patent application for a bike engine with a blower, but details are still sketchy and I’m not going to engage in idle speculation so we’ll kick this to the “wait and see” file. Sure, I could grab one of the ram-air induction models, but that’s child’s play compared to the pressure the H2 brings to the table, so for the time being, Kawi enjoys a bit of a monopoly on blown literbike mills.

He Said

“Right on. If this is the sort of thing you’re into, then you’re gonna’ dig it. For me, it is uncomfortable, and way too powerful to ever be able to drive it to its potential outside a slat flat or closed circuit. Not that most of us mere mortals have the chops to handle such a machine anyway, even with all the fandanglery. Make no mistake, this here is a stupid-fast bike of the first order, and you’d better respect it.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Suzuki teased us with the Recursion at the 2013 Tokyo show and kept the interest going with a look at the engine at the 2015 show. Maybe it’ll see the light of day again this year, but if it doesn’t, how long can Suzuki keep our interest? Like the Yamaha Ténéré 700, how long will interest hold before folks just say ’Whatever’ and move on to something else? That aside, the H2 and H2 Carbon are not for the faint-of-heart, and I question what’s really the point to having all that power if you’re just riding on public streets. Riding a fast bike slow isn’t nearly as much fun as riding a slow bike balls-to-the-walls, at least if you want to keep your motorcycle license, that is. It’s an awesome bike, I’ll give you that.”

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled, supercharged
Displacement: 998 cc
Bore x Stroke: 76.0 mm x 55.0 mm
Compression Ratio: N/A
Maximum Torque: 104.9 lb-ft @ 11,000 rpm
Fuel System: DFI® (4) with dual injection
Ignition: Digital
Transmission: 6-speed, return, dog-ring
Final Drive: Sealed chain
Chassis:
Frame: Trellis, high-tensile steel, with swingarm mounting plate
Rake/Trail: 24.5°/4.1 in
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 43mm 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
Rear Tire: 200/55 ZR17
Front Brakes: Dual radial-mount, opposed 4-piston Brembo Stylema® calipers, dual semi-floating 330mm discs, KIBS ABS
Rear Brakes: Opposed 2-piston calipers, single 250mm disc, KIBS ABS
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 82.1 in
Overall Width: 30.3 in
Overall Height: 44.3 in
Ground Clearance: 5.1 in
Seat Height: 32.5 in
Curb Weight: 524.8 lb
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
Wheelbase: 57.3 in
Top Speed: 209 mph (est)
Details:
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
Special Features: Rideology the App Smartphone Connectivity, all-LED lighting, Highly Durable Paint, TFT Instrumentation
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Color: Mirror Coated Spark Black, Carbon: Mirror Coated Matte Spark Black/Candy Flat Blazed Green
Price: $29,000, Carbon: $32,500

Further Reading

Yamaha Ténéré 700

2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700
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See our look at the Yamaha Ténéré 700.

Kawasaki

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Read more Kawasaki news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: kawasaki.com, suzuki.com, yamaha-motor.com

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