Kawasaki Ninja H2 – By Trevor Hedge

Kawasaki have finally pulled the wraps of one of the most anticipated new street bike models to ever come out of Japan, the 2015 Kawasaki Ninja H2.

Unlike the 310 horsepower at 14,000rpm track only Kawasaki Ninja H2R, the road going Ninja H2 boasts a much lower, yet still considerable 200 horsepower at 11,000rpm.

While that 200 horsepower figures is also equalled by other newcomers such as Yamaha’s YZF-R1 and Ducati’s 1299 Panigale, the supercharged Kawasaki makes its power with much fewer RPM ,and with a lot more torque than the equal capacity Yamaha, and almost matches the 300cc larger Panigale for torque with 140.4Nm at 10,000rpm to the Ducati’s 144Nm at 8750rpm.  Thus essentially what the supercharger has allowed Kawasaki to do is give four-cylinder smoothness matched with the grunt of a much larger capacity v-twin.

In road trim however the Ninja H2 is listed as tipping the scales at a ready to ride 238kg compared to the 190kg of the Ducati 1299 Panigale and the 199kg of the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1. While some may scoff at the Ninja H2 at mention of that mass it is highly likely that the Kawasaki will prove the much more enjoyable bike away from the confines of the racetrack, where it is more than about just the numbers.

Kawasaki have always made machines with huge power and torque, such as the current ZX14, the H2 is just about doing something different. And after the recent years of bland coming from Japan huge kudos have to go Team Green for actually doing something different, and different the Ninja H2 most certainly is.

Kawasaki Ninja H2
Kawasaki Ninja H2
2015 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Technical Specifications
2015 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Technical Specifications
The new instrumentation design combines a full digital LCD screen with an analogue-style tachometer. LCD screen uses a black/white reverse display (white characters on a black background), contributing to the high-quality image. In addition to the digital speedometer and gear position indicator, display functions include: odometer, dual trip meters, current mileage, average mileage, fuel consumption, coolant temperature, boost indicator, boost (intake air chamber) temperature, stopwatch (lap timer), clock and the Economical Riding Indicator. Tachometer design uses an actual needle, but the black dial “face” looks blank until the engine speed increases. Backlit rpm numbers light up to chase the tachometer needle as it moves around the dial. Compact new handle switch design allows all instrument functions to be controlled from the handles.
The new instrumentation design combines a full digital LCD screen with an analogue-style tachometer. LCD screen uses a black/white reverse display (white characters on a black background), contributing to the high-quality image. In addition to the digital speedometer and gear position indicator, display functions include: odometer, dual trip meters, current mileage, average mileage, fuel consumption, coolant temperature, boost indicator, boost (intake air chamber) temperature, stopwatch (lap timer), clock and the Economical Riding Indicator. Tachometer design uses an actual needle, but the black dial “face” looks blank until the engine speed increases. Backlit rpm numbers light up to chase the tachometer needle as it moves around the dial. Compact new handle switch design allows all instrument functions to be controlled from the handles.

Aftermarket potential giving dedicated fettlers wet dreams in anticipation of getting their hands on a Ninja H2

While the street version is some 110hp down on the track only H2R, the engines are essentially the same, bar the camshafts, head gaskets and clutch, so for those game to wave goodbye to their warranty I am sure the boost can easily be wicked up towards that 300 horsepower figure via some aftermarket tuning… Particularly as Kawasaki state that ‘the whole engine was designed to be able to handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated litre sports bike engine’.

This is the beauty of factory forced induction for aftermarket tuners, the engines are built to take boost with low-tension piston rings and lower compression ratios. Factories set boost levels at overly safe pressures and it is often as simple as a software tweak to then allow the computer to say yes, where the factory said no…

At this stage it is unclear as to whether the street oriented H2 has the injector capacity to maintain the higher boost levels of the track only H2R.  Larger injectors and possibly also a larger fuel pump may be needed to safely maintain higher boost pressures for those that want to go the whole hog, while intercooler installation on a motorcycle will always prove difficult.

However, I am sure there are already people reading this coming up with their own cunning plans on how to get around any limitations… The Kawasaki Ninja H2 with its factory forced induction is the kind of thing those that love to customise and fettle their motorcycles have been dreaming of for years. No just slapping on an automotive turbo and having to reinvent the wheel, here Kawasaki have produced somewhat of a blank canvas for the serious nutters to really sink their teeth into. I can’t wait to see what they come up with…

In order to accommodate the higher air pressure from the supercharger as well as ensure a high reliability with the over 300 PS output of the closed-course Ninja H2R, the whole engine was designed to be able to handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated litre-class engine. In fact, aside from its camshafts, head gaskets and clutch, the engine unit is exactly the same as the unit designed for the Ninja H2R.
In order to accommodate the higher air pressure from the supercharger as well as ensure a high reliability with the over 300 PS output of the closed-course Ninja H2R, the whole engine was designed to be able to handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated litre-class engine. In fact, aside from its camshafts, head gaskets and clutch, the engine unit is exactly the same as the unit designed for the Ninja H2R.
One of the greatest benefits of designing the supercharger in-house and tailoring its design to match the character of the Ninja H2 engine was that engineers were able to achieve high-efficiency operation over a wide range of conditions— something that would not have been possible by simply dropping in or trying to adapt an aftermarket automotive supercharger.
One of the greatest benefits of designing the supercharger in-house and tailoring its design to match the character of the Ninja H2 engine was that engineers were able to achieve high-efficiency operation over a wide range of conditions— something that would not have been possible by simply dropping in or trying to adapt an aftermarket automotive supercharger.
Gear train increases the impeller speed to 9.2x the crank speed (1.15x step gear x 8x planetary gear). This means that at maximum engine speed (approximately 14,000 min-1), the impeller shaft is spinning at almost 130,000 min-1.
Gear train increases the impeller speed to 9.2x the crank speed (1.15x step gear x 8x planetary gear). This means that at maximum engine speed (approximately 14,000rpm, the impeller shaft is spinning at almost 130,000rpm.
Pistons are cast pieces—cast pistons offer better strength than forged pistons for the very high temperatures generated by the high-performance engine. A unique casting process (similar to forging process) sees unnecessary material removed and hollows created to achieve the ideal thickness. This enables a light weight on par with forged pistons.
Pistons are cast pieces—cast pistons offer better strength than forged pistons for the very high temperatures generated by the high-performance engine. A unique casting process (similar to forging process) sees unnecessary material removed and hollows created to achieve the ideal thickness. This enables a light weight on par with forged pistons.
The combustion chamber design is complemented by a flat piston crown design. Its shape, inspired by the pistons used in the Green Gas Engine developed by Kawasaki’s Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, also contributes to the engine’s anti-knock performance. * While the intake valves are stainless steel, the exhaust valves needed to be able to handle the supercharged engine’s high-temperature exhaust gases. They are formed from two materials, friction-welded at the centre: inconel—an extremely heat-resistant alloy—is used for the head and lower half of the stem; heatresistant steel is used for the upper half. The stems are tapered, varying in diameter from ø4.5-5 mm.
The combustion chamber design is complemented by a flat piston crown design. Its shape, inspired by the pistons used in the Green Gas Engine developed by Kawasaki’s Gas Turbine Company, also contributes to the engine’s anti-knock performance. Intake valves are stainless steel, the exhaust valves needed to be able to handle the supercharged engine’s high-temperature exhaust gases. They are formed from two materials, friction-welded at the centre: inconel—an extremely heat-resistant alloy—is used for the head and lower half of the stem; heat resistant steel is used for the upper half. The stems are tapered, varying in diameter from 4.5-5 mm.
Unlike a standard motorcycle transmission in which shift forks slide the gears into position, with a dog-ring transmission the gears all stay in place. Only the dog rings move, sliding into position to engage the desired gear.  * Because the dog rings are much lighter than transmission gears, this type of transmission offers a much lighter shift effort. Shift touch is also improved, and a much shorter shift time is possible—which facilitates quick acceleration
Unlike a standard motorcycle transmission in which shift forks slide the gears into position, with a dog-ring transmission the gears all stay in place. Only the dog rings move, sliding into position to engage the desired gear. Because the dog rings are much lighter than transmission gears, this type of transmission offers a much lighter shift effort. Shift touch is also improved, and a much shorter shift time is possible—which facilitates quick acceleration
Brembo parts are used for both the clutch lever’s radial-pump master cylinder, and the clutch release mechanism. They receive extra attention from Brembo before being shipped to Kawasaki. Each part is examined and adjusted to eliminate any ineffective (idle) stroke, resulting in superb controllability. Back-torque limiter contributes to good stability by helping to prevent wheel hop when downshifting. The back-torque limiter is also adjustable.
Brembo parts are used for both the clutch lever’s radial-pump master cylinder, and the clutch release mechanism. They receive extra attention from Brembo before being shipped to Kawasaki. Each part is examined and adjusted to eliminate any ineffective (idle) stroke, resulting in superb controllability. Back-torque limiter contributes to good stability by helping to prevent wheel hop when downshifting. The back-torque limiter is also adjustable.
Air supplied to the supercharger enters via a single Ram Air intake in the left side of the upper cowl. The total frontal area is approximately 6,500 mm2, about 3x the area of the supercharger entrance.  Ram Air duct was designed to take the fresh air to the supercharger in as straight a line as possible. Its shape was derived to match the impeller characteristics, further contributing to the engine’s high output.  For optimum efficiency for the 200 PS engine, the air cleaner is positioned directly before the supercharger.
Air supplied to the supercharger enters via a single Ram Air intake in the left side of the upper cowl. The total frontal area is approximately 6,500 mm2, about 3x the area of the supercharger entrance. Ram Air duct was designed to take the fresh air to the supercharger in as straight a line as possible. Its shape was derived to match the impeller characteristics, further contributing to the engine’s high output. For optimum efficiency for the 200 PS engine, the air cleaner is positioned directly before the supercharger.
Inside the intake chamber, newly developed Kawasaki technology contributes to the engine’s high performance. The top injectors spray fuel onto stainless steel nets positioned over the intake funnels (patent pending). This has an ordering effect, creating a more uniform fuel-air mixture as the fuel is sucked into the intake funnel. The net also promotes fuel misting, which helps to cool the intake air and increases filling efficiency.   Six litre airbag is made of aluminium, this offers two advantages: 1) aluminium offers excellent surface heat dissipation, helping to keep the intake air cool; 2) the rigid structure helps to ensure airtight performance with the supercharged air pressure.
Inside the intake chamber, newly developed Kawasaki technology contributes to the engine’s high performance. The top injectors spray fuel onto stainless steel nets positioned over the intake funnels (patent pending). This has an ordering effect, creating a more uniform fuel-air mixture as the fuel is sucked into the intake funnel. The net also promotes fuel misting, which helps to cool the intake air and increases filling efficiency. Six litre airbag is made of aluminium, this offers two advantages: 1) aluminium offers excellent surface heat dissipation, helping to keep the intake air cool; 2) the rigid structure helps to ensure airtight performance with the supercharged air pressure.
Entrance to the header pipes is ovular to match the dual exhaust ports per cylinder. Partly formed by hydroforming, each header pipe tapers from an ovular to a round cross-section. The collector pipes are also hydroformed. Designed to suit the output and characteristics of the 200 PS engine, the stainless steel header pipes have a diameter of ø45 mm. For the ideal exhaust pressure, all four header pipes are connected.  The exhaust system also includes a compact under-engine pre-chamber, with a double-wall construction for high rigidity. This construction helps reduce radiating noise and exhaust noise with a small volume.
Entrance to the header pipes is ovular to match the dual exhaust ports per cylinder. Partly formed by hydroforming, each header pipe tapers from an ovular to a round cross-section. The collector pipes are also hydroformed. Designed to suit the output and characteristics of the 200 PS engine, the stainless steel header pipes have a diameter of ø45 mm. For the ideal exhaust pressure, all four header pipes are connected. The exhaust system also includes a compact under-engine pre-chamber, with a double-wall construction for high rigidity. This construction helps reduce radiating noise and exhaust noise with a small volume.
Oil jets lubricate the supercharger chain at the contact points (two places) where the chain meets the upper and lower gears.  In addition to the two oil jets, the supercharger drive train’s lower gear has an oil passage. Inside the engine, there are two oil jets per cylinder to ensure the hot pistons are effectively cooled.  Transmission oil jets (first use in a Kawasaki motorcycle) enable a compact transmission with high durability.
Oil jets lubricate the supercharger chain at the contact points (two places) where the chain meets the upper and lower gears. In addition to the two oil jets, the supercharger drive train’s lower gear has an oil passage. Inside the engine, there are two oil jets per cylinder to ensure the hot pistons are effectively cooled. Transmission oil jets (first use in a Kawasaki motorcycle) enable a compact transmission with high durability.
Development of the trellis frame made good use of the latest analysis technology and substantial test rider feedback.  Pipe diameter, thickness and bend of each piece of the trellis frame were carefully selected to obtain the necessary stiffness for that part of the frame. The trellis pieces are made primarily from high-tensile steel.  Swingarm Mounting Plate bolts to the back of the engine. The swingarm pivot shaft goes through this plate, essentially allowing the swingarm to be mounted directly to the engine. Thanks to the Swingarm Mounting Plate, the frame does not need to use cross members for stability. This contributes to the frame’s light weight.
Development of the trellis frame made good use of the latest analysis technology and substantial test rider feedback. Pipe diameter, thickness and bend of each piece of the trellis frame were carefully selected to obtain the necessary stiffness for that part of the frame. The trellis pieces are made primarily from high-tensile steel. Swingarm Mounting Plate bolts to the back of the engine. The swingarm pivot shaft goes through this plate, essentially allowing the swingarm to be mounted directly to the engine. Thanks to the Swingarm Mounting Plate, the frame does not need to use cross members for stability. This contributes to the frame’s light weight.
Having a single-sided swingarm allows the exhaust silencer to be mounted closer to the bike centreline, ensuring a high bank angle for sporty cornering. This is the first time Kawasaki have used a single sided swingers. stability. This contributes to the frame’s light weight.
Having a single-sided swingarm allows the exhaust silencer to be mounted closer to the bike centreline, ensuring a high bank angle for sporty cornering. This is the first time Kawasaki have used a single sided swingers. stability. This contributes to the frame’s light weight.

 

Based on the Air-Oil Separate cartridge fork developed for motocross racing, this is the industry’s first use of this high-performance racing suspension on an on-road motorcycle.  Designed for low friction, the ø43 mm front fork offers superb action: smooth initial action is followed by strong damping at the end of the stroke.  As the suspension works, a large ø32 mm free-floating piston at the bottom of the oil-damping cartridge pumps oil up to a sealed area between the inner and outer tubes. The oil in this area provides a friction-reducing film on which the tubes can slide against each other, resulting in extremely smooth action.
Based on the Air-Oil Separate cartridge fork developed for motocross racing, this is the industry’s first use of this high-performance racing suspension on an on-road motorcycle. Designed for low friction, the ø43 mm front fork offers superb action: smooth initial action is followed by strong damping at the end of the stroke. As the suspension works, a large ø32 mm free-floating piston at the bottom of the oil-damping cartridge pumps oil up to a sealed area between the inner and outer tubes. The oil in this area provides a friction-reducing film on which the tubes can slide against each other, resulting in extremely smooth action.
The bottom of the rear shock is mounted via revised Uni-Trak linkage that offers excellent feedback regarding the rear tyre’s grip condition to the rider. The new linkage, situated below the swingarm also mounts to the Swingarm Mounting Plate.
The bottom of the rear shock is mounted via revised Uni-Trak linkage that offers excellent feedback regarding the rear tyre’s grip condition to the rider. The new linkage, situated below the swingarm also mounts to the Swingarm Mounting Plate.
A pair of massive ø330 mm Brembo semi-floating discs with a thickness of  t5.5 mm deliver superb braking force.  Grooves running down the centre of the outer edge of the discs increase their surface area for greater heat dissipation.  Dual radial-mount Brembo cast aluminium monobloc calipers grip the front discs. The highly rigid opposed 4-piston calipers with ø30 mm pistons contribute to the Ninja H2’s superb braking force, as well as a high-quality image.  Brembo radial-pump master cylinder and reservoir receive extra attention before being shipped to Kawasaki. Each part is examined and adjusted to eliminate any ineffective (idle) stroke.  A large ø250 mm disc generates strong braking force at the rear.
A pair of massive ø330 mm Brembo semi-floating discs with a thickness of t5.5 mm deliver superb braking force. Grooves running down the centre of the outer edge of the discs increase their surface area for greater heat dissipation. Dual radial-mount Brembo cast aluminium monobloc calipers grip the front discs. The highly rigid opposed 4-piston calipers with ø30 mm pistons contribute to the Ninja H2’s superb braking force, as well as a high-quality image. Brembo radial-pump master cylinder and reservoir receive extra attention before being shipped to Kawasaki. Each part is examined and adjusted to eliminate any ineffective (idle) stroke. A large ø250 mm disc generates strong braking force at the rear.
Aerodynamically shaped upper cowl uses lips and lines to help direct airflow over its surface.  Upper cowl positions the Ram Air intake in the most efficient position.  Compact side cowls and under cowls were designed to assist with heat dissipation.  The rear cowl has an extremely compact three-piece design. The centre portion is taller, creating an aerodynamic form that helps smooth airflow as it passes the rider. Wind is also able to pass between the centre and side pieces, reducing air resistance.
Aerodynamically shaped upper cowl uses lips and lines to help direct airflow over its surface. Upper cowl positions the Ram Air intake in the most efficient position. Compact side cowls and under cowls were designed to assist with heat dissipation. The rear cowl has an extremely compact three-piece design. The centre portion is taller, creating an aerodynamic form that helps smooth airflow as it passes the rider. Wind is also able to pass between the centre and side pieces, reducing air resistance.
Kawasaki’s electronic steering damper was jointly developed with Öhlins, one of the most popular and respected manufacturers of steering dampers.  Electronic steering damper provides just the right amount of damping based on what the bike is doing. Using input from the rear wheel speed sensor (provided via the engine ECU), the electronic steering damper’s ECU determines the vehicle’s speed as well as the degree the bike is accelerating or decelerating
Kawasaki’s electronic steering damper was jointly developed with Öhlins, one of the most popular and respected manufacturers of steering dampers. Electronic steering damper provides just the right amount of damping based on what the bike is doing. Using input from the rear wheel speed sensor (provided via the engine ECU), the electronic steering damper’s ECU determines the vehicle’s speed as well as the degree the bike is accelerating or decelerating
Kawasaki’s supersport-style ABS is standard equipment on the Ninja H2. This is the same base system used on the Ninja ZX-10R, with programming and settings revised to suit the performance parameters of the Ninja H2.
Kawasaki’s supersport-style ABS is standard equipment on the Ninja H2. This is the same base system used on the Ninja ZX-10R, with programming and settings revised to suit the performance parameters of the Ninja H2.
The Ninja H2 is the first Kawasaki motorcycle to be fit standard with a quick shifter
The Ninja H2 is the first Kawasaki motorcycle to be fit standard with a quick shifter
The Ninja H2 is equipped with all the lights needed for street-legal operation. With the exception of the bulb illuminating the license plate, all lighting equipment on the Ninja H2 is of the LED type
The Ninja H2 is equipped with all the lights needed for street-legal operation. With the exception of the bulb illuminating the license plate, all lighting equipment on the Ninja H2 is LED