A couple weeks ago, I blogged about the new mechanized two wheeled marvel coming down the line from Kawasaki. Last week, I saw where they are actually at the point of taking orders. Here, you can pre-order an H2 or the monstrous H2R here. The first thing that jumps out at me on both bikes is the MSRP. Holy Buckets!!
I shared these two links with a number of my co-workers here at J&P Cycles, and asked for some input and feedback. Understand, a number of those polled are Harley enthusiasts, some Metric specialists, and some general motorcycle enthusiasts.
I think I laid out my own drooling thoughts previously, so below are what others are thinking.
Steve Franta, a 17 year veteran of J&P Cycles’ tech staff had the unique statement “Go FAST, splat.” Then added, “it looks impressive, long intake tract, supercharged with wings on the fairing. I’d kill myself for sure!” Steve has ridden a FLHT style Dresser as long as I’ve known him (15 years) and probably even longer than that.
Lowell Anderson, our merchandising director, comes to us with a background in dirt and off road riding. He had this to say, “I think Kawasaki is testing the waters here to see if there is a market for this type of motorcycle. The H2R is simply a collector’s bike that celebrities and professional sports athletes will buy just to say they have one. I doubt you will see many of these on the track. (Which is sad, it’s an engineering marvel).” Hopefully, his comments will not predict the future.
Next to offer an opinion, Kyle Taylor, a tech chatter at J&P. Kyle rides what he terms as a 78′ kz1000 that’s dragged out (I don’t quite know what that means). His initial response was “Whoa, crazy looking exhaust on that thing.” He followed with “it’s definitely worth the money if you can handle the power.”
Next to weigh-in is Workforce Specialist Mark Hampton, “I ride a 2003 Kawasaki Z1000. I think these new models are totally intense. The H2R is completely done or you – eliminating the ugly license plate holder and shorty exhaust. Anyone who has a sport or sport touring bike – these modifications are the first few things we do. I don’t know about the price tag though. I think the H2R is for those balls to the wall, all out, let’s go race guys. The H2 is more production minded, but we are all going to try to make it look like the H2R. Either way there’s no doubt in my mind that either way you go these bikes will blow your mind. Just looking at everything about them already does. Can’t wait for my test ride!”
Angi Kearney, marketing coordinator and the young lady who oversees the J&P blog had this to say, “For that price is a coffin included?” Kinda ominous, don’t you think?
Eric Gill, who is a J&P Harley Tech chatter states, “They are rather sharp, and have a Transformer-type look (early in the transforming process). With that much capability where do you go to unleash it’s full potential with some modicum of safety and responsibility?” A very interesting point Eric!
Patrick Garvin, the face of J&P in our videos, and the company burn out king offers these comments, “Having owned ZX10R’s, Busas, ZX14, ZX12R in a variety of nitrous and turbo configurations, it’s exciting for me to see factories pushing the envelope with forced induction. I especially like to see the latest and greatest in technology being trickled down from race application to the streets.”
There is always a stick in the mud who says “how much is too much?” My answer is – there is never enough. If you’re a motorhead you understand – no matter if you have a hot rod Shovelhead or an intercooled turbo Busa, you’re always scratching for another HP or two.
Many will make the argument that these motorcycles should not be made available to the general public. To them I say – last time I checked this was America. I am a huge believer in personal freedoms and I have the right to own and operate completely insane vehicles. The fact of the matter is that 99 percent of the off-the-shelf 600cc sportbikes are far beyond the riding ability of most riders on the road. And it’s not just sportbike riders who get in over their head, I see MANY people on Harleys who haven’t spent enough time developing their skills on their bikes. I am definitely guilty of riding like a madman, I like to go fast in places I shouldn’t, slide the back end, ride wheelies and do burnouts, and I have news for you – it doesn’t matter if I’m on a $50,000 Superbike or a mini-bike in the backyard, I like to “hoon” everything. After all that’s what motorcycles are all about, having fun. Even if that fun bends the traffic laws, I hope the other manufacturers follow suit and this starts a horsepower war!
Anthony Todd, blogger and senior process improvement manager said, “Kawasaki is only producing a limited supply on the H2R’s. Even the H2 is expensive, but $50,000 for the H2R is crazy. Give me a Hayabusa and a turbo and I can get you that for $15,000. That’s using a bolt-on kit pushing 12 pounds of boost”. That’s a pretty bold statement, but from my experience, entirely possible.
Workforce Manager Jason Cushman had these comments, which I think are pretty insightful. “You’re not going to find a bigger sportbike nut than me. I am a licensed CCS road racer and a lifelong fan of the Kawasaki Ninja. My first bike was a Kawasaki Ninja so the name is near and dear to my heart. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the H2R. Is it cool? Yeah it’s cool. Is it fast? Yeah it’s fast. If I had $50,000 to drop on a new bike would I get one? Not in a million years. In my opinion sportbikes should be built for a purpose and most of them are. Most of them are designed to be road racing machines or in the case of the Hyabusa or the ZX-14R they are designed with drag racing in mind. They add lights and mirrors so people can ride them on the street. If I bought an H2R what am I supposed to do with it?
“Superchargers are banned in all major road racing organizations, so I can’t go racing with it, not that I would want to. Three hundred horsepower is way too much for road racing. You can’t use that power at full lean angle, or half lean angle for that matter. Sure it’s got traction control, but that doesn’t make it idiot-proof. MotoGP riders have the most sophisticated electronics in the world, but they can still high side themselves to the moon if they’re not careful. The H2R has a shorter wheelbase and higher center of gravity than the ZX-14R, so it would seem this bike wasn’t designed for drag racing either.
“What am I getting for my hard earned money? A $50,000 dyno queen? If I had this kind of money to spend on a motorcycle I would buy a Ducati Panigale SuperLeggera. Ducati hit the nail on the head with the SuperLeggera and also back in 2006 with the Desmosedici RR. These are two high end sportbikes built for a single purpose – to be the best road racing machine you can buy off the showroom floor. Ducati hit the ball out of the park with those two bikes. I am convinced the only reason Kawasaki designed this bike was to use it as a publicity tool. I wish Kawasaki would have used that money to build something useful, such as a race-ready version of the ZX-10R complete with race bodywork, top shelf suspension components, race exhaust and the like. But hey – who am I to criticize their judgment? They built this thing to be a publicity tool and everybody is talking about it! I’m sure as far as Kawasaki is concerned this bike has already served its purpose even though they have yet to deliver a single unit to a customer.” Jason’s comments are pretty scalding!
We thought you might be interested in the buzz Kawasaki created here at J&P by these outstanding engineering examples. Now it’s your turn – tell us how you feel about these. We’d love to hear what you think!