Kawasaki has unveiled their track-only H2R superbike, with a street version supposedly following soon, to be unveiled at EICMA.
Teased by a relentless and somewhat off-putting promotional campaign, this bike was hyped to be Kawasaki’s entry into a brave new world of high-horsepower insanity, just like the original two-stroke H2 triple from the 1970s.
Now that the bike’s been unveiled at Intermot, did Team Green deliver? It seems they might have.
Because a track bike doesn’t have to focus as much on things like emissions tomfoolery, Kawasaki was able to get this supercharged 998 cc motor to crank out 300 hp (or just under 300 hp, depending which report you trust).
We don’t have any technical specs on the supercharger; we know it’s a scroll-type, centrifugal unit. You can find out more about how those work here and here. This is supposed to be the most efficient supercharger design available, which is key to making forced induction technology work on a motorcycle. Previous turbocharged bikes of the 1980s ended up being rejected by consumers after buyers decided the added power wasn’t worth the added complexity.
The bike has a steel tube trellis frame that’s designed to be compact, yet stable at high speed. This isn’t another bike in the tradition of the ZX-14, stretched out for stability and happiest when used at the drag strip.
The bodywork seems to mostly consist of carbon-fibre; supposedly, Kawasaki’s engineers spent a lot of time optimizing the fairings for airflow at their wind tunnel test facility. When you start factoring in components like superchargers and a litre-sized motor making 300 hp, your airflow design becomes even more important than usual – you’ve got to deliver air to fuel all that horsepower, while keeping the motor cool. There’s a lot of interwebz speculation that there’s no lower fairing for this bike (we haven’t seen photos of one) because the exhaust requires massive amounts of airflow for cooling.
The H2R rolls on Bridgestone V01s, with a 120/600R17 in front, and a 190/650R17 in rear.
Kawasaki claims this machine will give “The kind of acceleration no rider has experienced before.” The question is, where will it be raced? It’d be silly to build a track-only bike that can’t be flogged in its native environment, but this bike doesn’t meet FIM rules; you won’t see one in World Superbike next year. Maybe we’ll see it in national superbike racing next year, though.
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