We’re a couple of weeks away from the world’s largest motorcycle brands revealing their new offerings at the EICMA show in Milan, but Big Green has thrown down the gauntlet early. They’ve just unveiled the 2020 Kawasaki Z H2—a supercharged hyper-naked with eye popping performance.
You’re looking at a power output of 147.1 kW / 200 PS (that’s around 197 hp) at 11,000 rpm, and torque of 137 Nm at 8,500 rpm. That’s all coming from a 998 cc inline-four, 16-valve supercharged motor.
Those numbers match the output of the Kawasaki H2 SX, except that the Z H2 makes its torque lower in the rev range (which makes perfect sense for a naked). So they probably share an engine, which effectively makes the Z H2 a naked H2.
The styling lands pretty close to the existing Z range though, with the same aggressive and futuristic design that’s common to Kawasaki right now. The trellis frame is all-new and specific to the Z H2, and it’s matched up to Showa suspension at both ends. The swing-arm’s a new design too, and borrows tech from the Ninja ZX-10RR.
Kawasaki have specced the Z H2 with Brembo brakes, but they’ve only given it 290 mm discs up front. With almost 200 horses on tap, we’d want every ounce of braking performance we could get. It’s no featherweight either, with a curb mass of 239 kilos.
You do get an extensive array of rider aids though. You get ABS, traction control, launch control, switchable rider modes (including a manual mode), and even a power level selector. There’s also proprietary system and a Bosch IMU, to monitor and modulate everything during cornering.
The lighting is LED and the dash is a full colour TFT unit with smartphone connectivity features. A quick-shifter comes standard, as does cruise control.
The Z H2 is coming out in three colours, all of which are variations on black or grey with different frame colours (green, black and red). There’s no word on when it’ll land in South Africa yet, or what it’ll cost.
Kawasaki are calling the Z H2 the flagship of the Z range, which has us wondering what other changes we could see in the line-up. It’s quite clear who the competition is though—the Z H2 is obviously poised to go head-to-head with the upcoming Ducati Streetfighter V4.
Sounds to us like a head-to-head test is in order.
Availability and pricing of the 2020 Kawasaki Z H2 into South Africa is yet to be confirmed, as soon as we get confirmation from Kawasaki South Africa, we will update you.