The Ninja nameplate has typically been synonymous with top-tier performance, and this Kawasaki Ninja H2R superbike was definitely the star of this year’s Intermot motorcycle show in Germany. Crouched inside of the green, tubular steel trellis frame is a 998cc inline-four engine that has been supercharged to the tune of 300 horsepower.
The new Ninja is not a street-legal machine but rather a showpiece for Kawasaki. A first for Kawasaki is the single-sided swingarm holding the rear wheel in place. The carbon-fiber work on the cowl was designed with assistance from the company’s aerospace arm, while engineering of the centrifugal supercharger was aided by minds in the personal watercraft division. Cycle World reports that patent filings revealed on the web show that the supercharger is driven through a two-stage transmission, to keep power delivery somewhat sane. Massive dual-disc front brakes look almost aircraft-grade.
We are going to presume Kawasaki will tone it down and sell the street version as the H2, but “toned-down” is clearly relative. However this is the future of high-performance motorcycling.
A recent video indicates that the company might be pursuing a two-pronged effort labeled Track and Street. The Track version looks pretty much like what we saw at Intermot, but the Street has a stacked exhaust, different front fairing and room for a rear license plate. More information about these should be coming at the EICMA motorcycle show in November.
It sounds like the H2R could be the new benchmark in the sportbike world.