Wendover Utah - Kawasaki’s (very) limited-edition 147kW, 998cc electrically supercharged H2 is not a sports-bike, it’s a post-millennial muscle-bike. At 240 kilograms wet it’s heavy for a litre-class machine, and that weight is a little too high up, making its handling in tight corners a little slow.
But what it is eminently suited for, is straightlining. It’s surprisingly stable in a straight line, given its compact 1450mm wheelbase, and factory-tuned examples have been timed at more than 400km/h on closed public roads.
Because there isn’t a racetrack in the world with a straight long enough to get up that kind of speed.
Kawasaki’s factory-supported Team 38 will be back at the Bonneville Salt Flats on the border between of Utah and Nevada for Speed Week 2018 with a specially prepared H2, chasing a new world speed record - although the team won’t say in which class, or what number they’re aiming for.
The team’s first venture to the iconic Speedway, two years ago, came as a bit of a culture shock, as senior rider Shigeru Yamashita explains in the video below. In particular they weren’t ready for the lack of grip on the super-smooth surface of the salt, and the H2 didn’t set any records. Mind you, 359km/h on any road-based motorcycle is not to be sneezed at, and guarantees Yamashita a place in the 200 Club (the entry qualification is a 322km/h run).
The team’s slogan this year is "#beyondspeed". We don’t know what that means, but we are prepared to bet that the target is beyond 400km/h. Stay tuned for more from Team 38 at Bonneville Speed Week - we’re as keen as you are to find out how it goes.