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17 February 2017
There was a sharp collective intake of breath as bikers today caught sight of one of the rarest and most desirable of modern superbikes at the London Motorcycle Show.
Kawasaki’s stunning 310bhp H2R hogged the limelight from the off as it took centre stage on the Principal Insurance stand. That’s hardly surprising as it’s thought there’s only one H2R to be found in the UK and just 11 of these mighty and magnificent machines dotted across the whole of Europe. It’s hardly surprisingly then that we regard our success in getting this already legendary track bike to Excel as something of a coup. That’s probably understatement. Mr Trump would probably call it a bigly coup.
Not for nothing has this 200mph “hypersports” machine been dubbed “the most extreme production bike on Earth.” On its launch in 2015 MCN couldn’t and, in fact, didn’t contain its excitement. It’s reviewer purred that it was “nothing short of epic” declaring it “ the ultimate top trump card; the fastest, most powerful production bike ever, and it works. Beautifully.” Quite.
Not only does it look the proverbial bees knees – though that is apparently contentious – but this supercharged Ninja is packed full of neat technological trickery and manufacturing wizardry. Indeed its developers embraced not simply the abundant expertise of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Motorcycle & Engine Division but that of the multi-national conglomerate’s other divisions.
So, that extraordinary power comes not so much from the engine – its spec not being too dissimilar to the road-legal H2R – but a hyper-efficient centrifugal supercharger. At its heart lies a solid aluminium impeller, engineered from a single block of the ductile metal. This can reach speeds of up to 130,000 rpm and squeeze some 200 litres of air into the four cylinders of 998cc inline engine every second. Because it’s so astonishingly efficient it generates minimal heat, removing the need for a weighty, space-gobbling intercooler.
The dog ring transmission, armed with a Brembo-blessed hydraulic clutch, is of the kind you’ll find effortlessly engaging the gears on Moto-GP circuits and was indeed informed by Kawasaki Racing Team. The electronics also come courtesy of KRT’s WorldSBK exploits, with a quickshifter and enhanced traction control new to a production Ninja.
Now you’ve seen one, you want one right? Well good luck with that. Whilst the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer launched the machine with a relatively modest price tag of £41,000 (we did say relatively) if you wanted to pick one up now then you’re probably into lottery jackpot territory.
Never mind, console yourself with the fact that even if you found yourself gold-side of the rainbow, you’d rarely get to ride this utterly beguiling beaut. Well, not unless you’ve got a race track in the back garden.
Of course whilst the H2R is quite clearly a show-stopper, there are other enticements to visit the Principal stand. These include Des Hooper’s Legend and Foundry Motorcycles’ Pipeline, two very different, very beautiful custom creations which featured in our show preview.
Members of our ever-friendly motorcycle insurance team will also be on hand for a chat and, of course, visitors can claim their free goody bag featuring the glorious Principal Insurance 2017 calendar.
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