It’s The Same Supercharged Engine As In The Ninja H2, But In A Naked, Streetfighter Chassis

Kawasaki’s H2 crossed family lines from the Ninja superbikes over to the “Z” supernaked range with the 2020 Z H2 model. This brings with it the supercharged engine that made waves when it landed in the top-shelf Ninjas to make this bike the flagship of the Z range. The magic doesn’t stop there ’cause Kawi blessed it with a veritable alphabet soup of electronic features that increase safety and rideability all at once. Best of all, the Z H2 wastes not an ounce on superfluous body panels, so the 100-plus pounds of grunt converts directly into acceleration to make it even meaner than the much-vaunted Ninja line, and the price schedule keeps it within reasonable reach for the majority of riders.

  • 2020 Kawasaki Z H2
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    998 cc
  • Top Speed:
    240 mph
  • Price:
    17000
  • Price:

2020 Kawasaki Z H2 Design

2020 Kawasaki Z H2
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2020 Kawasaki Z H2
- image 869650
The sugomi style refers to the look of a predator on the hunt and ready to strike, and I'd say that's exactly what the Z H2 conveys at a glance.

It’s a Z model, so right off the bat you know the Z H2 has minimal sheet metal (plastic, whatever) in a bid to keep weight down and cleave to that naked-streetfighter look that so many prefer. The black-on-black palette serves as a backdrop for the Kawi Green accents that turn the exposed frame members into part of the overall aesthetic. More splashes of green make the rims, front fender and fuel tank pop visually though the overall panache is still rather dark and sinister with Kawasaki’s sugomi style in full effect. If you’re new to Kawasaki, the sugomi style refers to the look of a predator on the hunt and ready to strike, and I’d say that’s exactly what the Z H2 conveys at a glance.

The front fender mounts to the fork feet with sculpted uprights that double as splashguards for the swept area of the inner fork tubes in order to prevent road grit from wiping out the fork seals prematurely. A dual headlight splits the night, but I gotta’ say I think the factory missed an opportunity when it stuck the front blinkers on standoffs rather than recessing them in the fairing or integrating them with the mirrors. Oh well, there’s always next year. All around LEDs ensure that visibility remains high in both directions so you can see and be seen, and it’s impossible to overstate how much that contributes to safety on the streets.

Up top, a vented flyscreen finishes off the visage even if it really only protects the color TFT instrumentation more than the rider. That’s part of the price you pay with a naked bike, ain’t nothin’ for it. The five-gallon fuel tank rocks the typical upper flanges with a wane toward the rear to form the knee pockets, and on the right side, the asymmetrical supercharger intake port adds another visual dimension.

In profile, the flyline tumbles down to a deep swale that pulls you down into the bike, rather than leaving you perched on top, and that’s great for a feeling of being one with the machine. If you like to share the fun with a friend, there’s a stock p-pad and fold-up footpegs just for her. The taillight is recessed in the terminus of the tail, and the rest of the gear in the rear is mounted on a short mudguard with spray-control backup from the swingarm-mount hugger.

2020 Kawasaki Z H2 Chassis

2020 Kawasaki Z H2
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2020 Kawasaki Z H2
- image 869649
2020 Kawasaki Z H2
- image 869648
Kawasaki chassis technology helps you keep it dirty-side down with ABS, IMU-Enhanced Chassis Orientation Awareness, and KIBS.

High-tensile steel members make up the Trellis frame on the Z H2, and it’s plain to see that the engine serves as a stressed member that completes the structure and displaces a large chunk of the tubing in a bid to keep weight down. The steering head establishes a rake angle of 24.9 degrees with 4.1 inches of trail to land at the decidedly maneuverable end of the spectrum.

Cast, 17-inch hoops round out the rolling chassis for that typical sportbike look and handling with 120/70 and 190/55 hoops on the front and rear, respectively. Brembo supplies dual discs and M4.32 monobloc calipers to haul down the front wheel with a single-pot anchor out back, all under the watchful gaze of the Kawasaki Intelligent Braking System that doubles as an ABS with brake-sharing capabilities that deliver balanced braking efforts for an extra dollop of safety.

In the suspension, we find the first of the ride-quality adjustability with Showa’s SFF-BP stems up front that deliver the full trinity of adjustments and rocks a set of top-out springs. Out back, the gas-charged (for anti-foaming performance) Showa Uni-Trak takes care of business with the same trifecta of adjustments: preload, compression-damping, and rebound-damping tweaks.

Frame: Trellis, high tensile steel
Front Suspension: Showa SFF-BP Fork with Adjustable Compression and Rebound Damping, Spring Preload Adjustability
Rear Suspension: New Uni-Trak®, Showa Gas-Charged Shock with Adjustable Compression and Rebound Damping, Preload Adjustability
Rake/Trail: 24.9°/4.1 in
Front Brakes: Dual Disc w/Radial-mount M4.32 Calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 250 mm petal-style disc with single-piston caliper, ABS
Front Tire: 120/70-17
Rear Tire: 190/55-17

2020 Kawasaki Z H2 Drivetrain

2020 Kawasaki Z H2
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2020 Kawasaki Z H2
- image 869631
2020 Kawasaki Z H2
- image 869632
The real star of the show is the supercharged monster that serves as the beating heart of the beast.

The real star of the show is the supercharged monster that serves as the beating heart of the Z H2. It’s a liquid-cooled four-banger that runs with 76 mm bores and a 55 mm stroke that gives it a total displacement of 998 cc and a sizzlin’ hot 11.2-to-1 compression ratio. Sound familiar? It’s the same supercharged engine as in the Ninja H2.

While the static compression ratio is pretty high, that doesn’t tell the whole story as the volumetric efficiency of the engine increases with the revolutions to push the overall compression through the roof at the redline with 101 pound-feet of torque on tap. As for said efficiency, the factory is mum on the actual figures but it’s a fact that superchargers can drive the VE up to 700-percent of the naturally-aspirated values, even higher than the performance turbo-chargers turn in.

Dual over-head cams time the 16-valve head (four poppets per cylinder) with a quartet of 36 mm Keihin throttle bodies to manage the induction and ensure plenty of flow through the combustion chambers. It’s here that we find the rest of the electronic fandanglery with Kawasaki’s Launch Control, Riding Modes, and Cornering Management Function along with a Launch Control Mode that’ll help you nail the holeshots and a Quick Shifter for blistering acceleration.

Power flows through a slip-and-assist clutch and easy-shifting, six-speed dog-ring transmission, and at red line in top gear you can expect something in the neighborhood of 240 mph to place the Z H2 squarely in the stupidfast category.

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: 11.2:1
Maximum Torque: 101.0 lb-ft
Fuel System: DFI® with 36 mm Keihin throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
Transmission: 6-speed dog-ring, return shift
Final Drive: Sealed chain

2020 Kawasaki Z H2 Pricing

2020 Kawasaki Z H2
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2020 Kawasaki Z H2
- image 869633
2020 Kawasaki Z H2
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MSRP is $17k, which puts it within reach of a lot of folks that may not have the skills to handle it.

Frequently, the price tag will act as a firewall of sorts to keep inexperienced/young riders in check, but not so with Kawi’s 2020 Z H2. It rolls in Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Graphite Gray/Mirror Coated Spark Black for $17,000 to make this an awful lot of bike for the buck.

Engine Management Technology: Assist & Slipper Clutch, Electronic Cruise Control, Electronic Throttle Valves, KCMF (Kawasaki Cornering Management Function), KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode), KQS (Kawasaki Quick Shifter), KTRC (Kawasaki TRaction Control) (1-mode), Power Modes, Smartphone Connectivity, Sound Tuning, Supercharged Engine
Chassis Management Technology: ABS (Anti-lock Brake System), IMU-Enhanced Chassis Orientation Awareness, KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System)
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
Colors: Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Graphite Gray/Mirror Coated Spark Black
Price: $17,000

2020 Kawasaki Z H2 Competitors

2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
- image 768589
2018 - 2019 Yamaha MT-10
- image 758219
2020 Kawasaki Z H2
- image 869655
2017 - 2020 Ducati Monster 1200 / 1200 S
- image 832355
If you break it down by the dollar, the Z H2 is a whole lot more bike for the buck.

Kawasaki has literally the only game in town as far as supercharged production engines are concerned, and it may possibly have the baddest naked streetfighter on the planet as well, so instead of focusing on a single machine in my head-to-head, I’ll instead fire a broadside.

Kawi’s longtime domestic foe, Honda, brings its CB1000R to the table with a similar naked-sportbike layout and a low $12,999 sticker, but that comes with a big trade off in both capability and electronics. The naturally-aspirated Honda puts out a paltry 76 pound-feet of torque and is plain vanilla as far as higher electronics go to leave the Z H2 in a very strong position, relatively speaking.

Yamaha does a little bit better with its naked MT-10. It has variable power delivery via a D-Mode feature along with traction control and ABS, though it still falls well short of the fandanglery on the Z H2. The MT-10’s 998 cc mill cranks out 81.86 pound-feet of torque and tops out at 152 mph, so in spite of its advantages over the Honda, the Z H2 is gonna leave it sucking hind tit all day long.

From Europe’s Boot comes the Ducati Monster 1200 S, and it lands closest to the mark with 91 pound-feet of torque from its naturally-aspirated engine, and since it’s a Ducati, you can count on a robust electronics suite to match that of the Kawi. Ducati comes off looking a bit proud with its $17,595 sticker, and while that’s not a very big margin, if you break it down by the dollar, the Z H2 is a whole lot more bike for the buck.

He Said

“On the one hand, this is an impressive piece of engineering that Kawi’s engineers should be proud of, but on the other hand, who in the hell is ever going to do it justice outside of a closed-circuit track? I mean, I get the testosterone boost and bragging rights that come with the payment book, but on public roads this thing is a thoroughbred that’s permanently tied to a hotwalker. I imagine the frustration would be palpable as you ride it and try not to get a little jiggy with it, but maybe that’s just me.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “So we have the supercharged engine from the Ninja H2 in a naked chassis. It sounds like a wet dream for folks who like to go stupidfast. The styling is decidedly in the “Z” family, as you might expect, but for something as special as the Z H2, I might like to see something a bit more angry and aggressive, like a “Z” that’s really pissed off. Being in the naked lineup, I wasn’t expecting it to weigh more than the Ninja H2, but here we are. It’s a scary-awesome bike and at this price-point, there isn’t much to keep it out of the hands of the unskilled masses.”

2020 Kawasaki Z H2 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: 11.2:1
Maximum Torque: 101.0 lb-ft
Fuel System: DFI® with 36 mm Keihin throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
Transmission: 6-speed dog-ring, return shift
Final Drive: Sealed chain
Chassis:
Frame: Trellis, high tensile steel
Front Suspension: Showa SFF-BP Fork with Adjustable Compression and Rebound Damping, Spring Preload Adjustability
Rear Suspension: New Uni-Trak®, Showa Gas-Charged Shock with Adjustable Compression and Rebound Damping, Preload Adjustability
Rake/Trail: 24.9°/4.1 in
Front Brakes: Dual Disc w/Radial-mount M4.32 Calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 250 mm petal-style disc with single-piston caliper, ABS
Front Tire: 120/70-17
Rear Tire: 190/55-17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 82.1 in
Overall Width: 31.9 in
Overall Height: 44.5 in
Ground Clearance: 5.5 in
Seat Height: 32.7 in
Curb Weight: 527.0 lb
Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gal
Wheelbase: 57.3 in
Top Speed: 240 mph (est)
Details:
Engine Management Technology: Assist & Slipper Clutch, Electronic Cruise Control, Electronic Throttle Valves, KCMF (Kawasaki Cornering Management Function), KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode), KQS (Kawasaki Quick Shifter), KTRC (Kawasaki TRaction Control) (1-mode), Power Modes, Smartphone Connectivity, Sound Tuning, Supercharged Engine
Chassis Management Technology: ABS (Anti-lock Brake System), IMU-Enhanced Chassis Orientation Awareness, KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System)
Warranty: 12 Month Limited Warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
Colors: Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Graphite Gray/Mirror Coated Spark Black
Price: $17,000

Further Reading

Yamaha MT-10

2018 - 2019 Yamaha MT-10
- image 799901

See our review of the Yamaha MT-10.

Honda CB1000R

2018 - 2019 Honda CB1000R Neo-Sports Café
- image 768583

See our review of the Honda CB1000R.

Ducati Monster 1200 / 1200 S

2017 - 2020 Ducati Monster 1200 / 1200 S
- image 832356

See our review of the Ducati Monster 1200 / 1200 S.

Kawasaki Z900

2017 - 2019 Kawasaki Z900
- image 815522

See our review of the Kawasaki Z900.

Kawasaki

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 795478

Read more Kawasaki news.

TJ Hinton
About the author

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

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