The street-legal H2 is powered by a supercharged 998cc engine.

Milan, Italy - Recently we brought you news of Kawasaki’s track-only H2R superbike, a supercharged 998cc beast with a mind-numbing output of 224kW, making it the world’s most powerful production bike to date.

Kawasaki has now pulled the wraps off the much-awaited street-legal version, the H2 Ninja, and revealed that the inline four-cylinder engine pushes out a neutered 147kW (154kW with ram air). That’s about the same output as made by Kawasaki’s existing ZX-10 superbike, and the ZX-10 is also around 40kg lighter than the 238kg H2.

However the magic number lies in the H2’s reputed 140Nm of torque which significantly out-muscles the ZX-10’s 115Nm.

To facilitate smooth, quick shifting, the H2 uses a motorsport-derived dog-ring type transmission. Unlike a standard motorcycle gearbox 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 cog. A quick shifter (a first for a Kawasaki motorcycle) is also fitted as standard.

TRELLIS CHASSIS

Unlike the ZX-10, the H2 uses a trellis frame chassis to achieve the necessary strength and flex.

The H2 street bike lacks the carbonfibre body cladding of the track-only R version, but does come with the single-sided swingarm – a first for Kawasaki. 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.

The street bike carries over the same suite of electronics found on the H2R as well: traction control (KTRC), launch control (KLCM), engine brake control (KEBC), anti-locking brakes (KIBS), and an Öhlins eletronic steering damper.

Passengers won’t get to experience the H2 because there’s no pillion seat; there’s room for only the rider.

Yes, the H2 will be coming to South Africa early next year at an expected retail price of around R300 000, and around R450 000 for the track-only H2R.

The bike is named after the famous Kawasaki Mach IV 750 of the 1970s (also known as the H2), which was powered by an intensely accelerative two-stroke 748cc triple.