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After some very teasing videos and much speculation from forums and the press, Kawasaki has finally revealed the Ninja H2R: a machine it (and we) consider to be truly historically significant.

Craftily, Kawasaki has only given us details of the track bike, with the road-going H2 due to be revealed at EICMA in Milan next month. The details seem to hint that the road-bike won’t feature the special mirror-finish black chrome paint, and it’s unlikely we’ll see a carbon fibre body ready for registration in dealers.

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The 1000cc in-line four uses a supercharger designed in-house, and while firm figures are yet to be given, the designers’ target was to hit 295bhp (300PS). We assume that means it’ll make less power, but it’s still likely to be very impressive!

Probably the most surprising element of the new machine is the stunning trellis frame, designed for high-speed stability without a long wheelbase. While a lot of guesswork has surrounded the H2R, a very reliable source has quoted a price of £50,000, with just ten bikes available to UK buyers. Best start saving and get your orders in now.

The road-legal H2 will be formally announced on the 6th October, but we do expect the power output to be reduced, along with the price. The number of bikes available to buy could still be low, but as a flagship machine, set to reignite a country’s passion for motorcycling, this has to be one of the most important bike launches for years. Good work Kawasaki.

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You’ll no doubt want to know all you can about this motorcycle, so here’s the Kawasaki press release in full…

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When Kawasaki first conceived the Ninja H2R, the driving development concept was to offer the kind of acceleration no rider had experienced before.

That a motorcycle be “Fun to Ride” is one of Kawasaki’s guiding principles. But while there are many ways for a motorcycle to be enjoyed, it was felt that having incredible acceleration was a major factor in delivering ultimate riding exhilaration.

Powering the Ninja H2R is a supercharged engine with a design target of 300 PS allied to a compact design on par with power units found in supersport litre-class models. The key to achieving this incredible performance lies in the engine’s supercharger – a motorcycle-specific unit designed completely in-house with technology from other companies within the Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) Group: the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company and Corporate Technology Division.

KHI Group technology was not limited to the supercharger. Advanced technological know-how shared from other group companies is found throughout the all-new engine and chassis design. For example, the carbon-fibre upper and lower wings that ensure stability when riding in the ultra-high speed range were designed with assistance from Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company. This is but one example, and this inter-group collaboration combined with the level of technology poured into this model is the reason the Kawasaki River Mark is displayed prominently on the front of the Ninja H2R. This is a long-time symbol of the KHI Group dating back to the 1870s. As a policy, its use on products is rare and limited to models with historical significance. But for the Ninja H2R permission to use this symbol was granted.

When it came time to name this model, using “Ninja” – a name synonymous with Kawasaki performance and shared by many legendary models over three historic decades – was an obvious choice. But this model is also named for another epoch-making model, whose 2-stroke 748.2 cm3 Triple gave it an intense acceleration that made it a sensation around the world: the Mach IV 750, also known as the “H2.” For a model designed to offer “the kind of acceleration no rider has experienced before” we can think of no better name.

Built Beyond Belief. In 2014, Kawasaki is once again ready to unleash a new sensation upon the world.

 

KEY FEATURES OF THE KAWASAKI NINJA H2R

Never-before-experienced Acceleration

In order to be able to offer intense acceleration and a top speed in a range that most riders never have a chance to experience, it was essential that the engine be able to produce big power. While a large-displacement engine could easily provide a high engine output, to ensure a lightweight, compact overall package a compact engine was also desired. Using a supercharged engine – essentially enabling a high-performance engine to be downsized – allowed both of these engine design requirements to be met: maximum power output has been targeted at 300 PS, and the engine size of the 998 cm3 in-line four is on par with other supersport litre-class power units.

 

In-house-designed Supercharger

The supercharger used in the Ninja H2R was designed by Kawasaki motorcycle engine designers with assistance from other companies within the KHI Group, namely the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company, and the Corporate Technology Division. Designing the supercharger in-house allowed it to be developed to perfectly match the engine characteristics of the Ninja H2R. The highly efficient, motorcycle-specific supercharger was the key to achieving the maximum power and the intense acceleration that engineers wanted to offer.

 

Chassis Design

The objectives for the Ninja H2R’s chassis were to ensure supreme stability at ultra-high speeds, offer cornering performance to be able to enjoy riding on a closed course, and finally to have a highly accommodating character. Ordinarily, high-speed stability can easily be achieved with a long wheelbase, but a shorter wheelbase was selected to achieve the compact overall package and sharp handling that were also desired. The frame needed not only to be stiff, but also to be able to absorb external disturbances—which, when encountered while riding in the ultra-high speed range, could easily unsettle a lesser chassis. A new trellis frame developed using the latest analysis technology provided both the strength to harness the incredible power of the supercharged engine, and the balanced flex to ensure the stability and feedback for high-speed riding.

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Aerodynamics

As speed increases, wind resistance increases exponentially. To be able to operate in the ultra-high speed range, a combination of high power and slippery aerodynamics is needed. With power requirements taken care of by the supercharged engine, the next step was to design bodywork that both minimised drag and ensured control when riding at ultra-high speed. Assistance from Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company was enlisted in creating the aerodynamically sculpted bodywork to ensure maximum aerodynamic efficiency.

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Intense-Force Design & Craftsmanship

Wanting to ensure a bold design worthy of a model that carried both the “Ninja” and “H2” names, the prime styling concept chosen for the Ninja H2R was “Intense Force Design.” As a flagship for the Kawasaki brand, it required presence, and a styling that reflected its incredible performance. But the design is much more than cosmetic. While it certainly looks the part, the Ninja H2R also possesses a functional beauty: each piece of its bodywork was aerodynamically sculpted to ensure stability at ultra-high speeds; the cowling design also maximises cooling performance and heat dissipation, aiding in achieving the engine’s roughly 300 PS output; and the Ram Air duct is ideally positioned to bring fresh air to the supercharger. More than any motorcycle Kawasaki has built to date, the Ninja H2R is a showcase of craftsmanship, build quality and superb fit and finish—right down to the high-tech mirrored-finish black chrome paint specially developed for this model.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine Type: Supercharged liquid-cooled In-Line Four

Displacement: 998 cm3

Supercharger Type: Centrifugal, scroll-type

Maximum Power: Design target 300 PS

Frame Type: Trellis, high-tensile steel

Tyres: Front 120/600R17 (racing slick tyre) ;Rear 190/650R17 (racing slick tyre)

The Ninja H2R is a closed-course model; it may not be ridden on public roads.

The street model (Ninja H2) will be released at EICMA.

 

www.kawasaki.eu/en

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Tony Carter

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