Kawasaki Ninja H2R – Built Beyond Belief
Kawasaki made motorcycle history back in 2015 with the launch of the outstanding H2R. This all new model was developed as a demonstration of the excellence of engineering that lays within the walls of Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
The H2R is the most powerful production motorcycle ever made with a staggering 326BHP. How? – Supercharging.
The power comes from a supercharged 998cc in line four cylinder engine. The supercharger is built completely in house by Kawasaki. This is a world first in the production motorcycle world.
Being supercharged as opposed to turbo charged gives far greater control over power delivery as the power is spread across the rev range. A turbo charger offers great power increases but generally comes in at around 3,000 rpm and often has a lag in delivery. Progressive power boosting aids traction control enormously.
The trellis frame is another first for Kawasaki and is designed to be both ridged and flexible at the same time – again huge attention to detail, going as far as creating tubes that have progressively varying wall thicknesses. The frame is coupled to a single sided swing arm at the rear with KYB shock. At the front there are KYB forks and Brembo mono bloc M50 brake callipers.
The body work is an engineering master piece with the nose fairing made from the highest quality carbon fibre as are the supercharger air intakes. Additional carbon fibre winglets have been produced to aid downforce on the front wheel – absolutely essential!
The tank and the tail unit are painted in a black mirror finish chrome that finishes this bike off beautifully (almost ghostlike). All in all this is a feat of engineering that others will be hard pushed to come near.
The Kawasaki Ninja H2R is not produced for the road. it is only for use on closed circuits and as such does not come with warranty.
Why not take a look at our Accessorise My Kawasaki page where you can search for and buy genuine Kawasaki accessories for your H2R.
It is no accident that when viewed from the side, the Ninja H2R does not seem to have the aggressive forward-canted stance of most modern supersport models. While supersport bikes use their front-leaning attitude to aid in quick steering, at the speeds for which the Ninja H2R was designed, such a posture would create drag that would hinder top speed aspirations. Instead, the stance is very neutral, almost flat—think Formula 1 car—to make the body as aerodynamically sleek as possible.
ÖHLINS ELECTRONIC STEERING DAMPER
Kawasaki’s electronic steering damper was jointly developed with Öhlins, one of the most popular and respected manufacturers of steering dampers. Electronic steering damper provides just the right amount of damping based on what the bike is doing. Using input from the rear wheel speed sensor (provided via the engine ECU), the electronic steering damper’s ECU determines the vehicle’s speed as well as the degree the bike is accelerating or decelerating.
RIDING POSITION & ERGONOMICS
The riding position was designed for riding at ultra-high speed and circuit riding. To help support the rider during intense acceleration, hipsupporting pads flank the rear of the seat. The hip support is adjustable 15 mm backward to suit rider size.
Having a single-sided swingarm allows the exhaust silencer to be mounted closer to the bike centreline, ensuring a high bank angle for sporty cornering.
KAWASAKI RIVER MARK
Special permission was obtained to use the River Mark on the Ninja H2R. Usually, its use on a product is reserved for models of historical significance.
In place of mirrors, the Ninja H2R features CFRP wings mounted on the upper cowl. Designed by Kawasaki’s Aerospace company, they feature winglets to help smooth airflow near the wingtip by reducing the strength of the wingtip vortices that would otherwise cause turbulence or disturb the laminar flow needed for the wings to effectively generate downforce
KAWASAKI ORIGINAL SILVER-MIRROR PAINT
The silver-mirror paint used on the Ninja H2R was developed by Kawasaki specifically for motorcycles. Its highly reflective, glasslike metal appearance adds to the bike’s stunning design. While paint similar in appearance may be found in custom circles, this is its first use on a mass-production vehicle in either the automotive or motorcycle industries. Strict Kawasaki quality control measures ensure a long-lasting finish.
All-titanium exhaust system has a very simple design consisting of the header and collector pipes, a joint pipe, and a straightpipe megaphone-style silencer.
Using a trellis frame construction offered an elegant, lightweight solution to meeting the performance requirements for the chassis. Able to harness the massive power of the more than 300 PS engine, it has a balance of stiffness and flexibility that enables a very high level of stability while being able to handle external disturbances at ultra-high speeds. Its open design also helps effectively dissipate heat generated by the supercharged engine.
KQS (KAWASAKI QUICK SHIFTER)
The Ninja H2R is the first Kawasaki motorcycle to be fit standard with a quick shifter. Complementing the engine’s strong power and the dog-ring transmission, a contactless-type quick shifter enables quick upshifts for seamless acceleration.
A pair of massive ø330 mm Brembo semi-floating discs with a thickness of t5.5 mm deliver superb braking force.
Grooves running down the centre of the outer edge of the discs increase their surface area for greater heat dissipation.
Dual radial-mount Brembo cast aluminium monobloc calipers grip the front discs. The highly rigid opposed 4-piston calipers with ø30 mm pistons contribute to the Ninja H2R’s superb braking force, as well as a high-quality image.
The supercharger used in the Ninja H2R was designed by Kawasaki motorcycle engine designers with assistance from other companies within the KHI Group, namely the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company, and Corporate Technology Division. Designing the supercharger in-house allowed it to be developed to perfectly match the engine characteristics of the Ninja H2R. The highly efficient, motorcycle-specific supercharger was the key to achieving the maximum power and the intense acceleration that engineers wanted to offer.
POWER UNIT DESIGNED TO WITHSTAND 300 PS OUTPUT
Despite it’s familiar In-Line Four configuration, the Ninja H2R power unit is loaded with technology developed specifically for this supercharged engine: some new, others with know-how from the Kawasaki Group. Every component of the engine was chosen to achieve a certain function. In order to accommodate the higher air pressure from the supercharger as well as ensure a high reliability with the over 300 PS output, the whole engine was designed to be able to handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated litreclass engine.
To facilitate smooth, quick shifting, a dog-ring type transmission was selected. This is the kind of transmission commonly found in MotoGP or Formula 1, and was developed with feedback from the Kawasaki Racing Team.
In the interest of keeping the engine compact and simple, a single lubrication system provides cooling oil for the engine components, supercharger and transmission.
RAM AIR INTAKE
Air supplied to the supercharger enters via dual Ram Air intakes in the upper cowl. Their total frontal area is approximately 13,000 mm2—illustrating just how much air is needed to achieve the over 300 PS output.
Ram Air duct was designed to take the fresh air to the supercharger in as straight a line as possible. Its shape was derived to match the impeller characteristics, further contributing to the engine’s high output.The duct is constructed of highly rigid, lightweight CFRP (carbon-fibre reinforced polymer) to ensure the optimised shape is maintained.
A number of considerations were given to the cylinder head design to ensure the cooling performance needed for the supercharged engine. The large coolant passageways result in the ideal cooling for the combustion chamber.
HYDRAULIC CLUTCH & BACK-TORQUE LIMITER
Brembo parts are used for both the clutch lever’s radial-pump master cylinder, and the clutch release mechanism. They receive extra attention from Brembo before being shipped to Kawasaki. Each part is examined and adjusted to eliminate any ineffective (idle) stroke, resulting in superb controllability.
ELECTRONIC THROTTLE VALVES
Kawasaki’s fully electronic throttle actuation system enables the ECU to control the volume of both the fuel (via fuel injectors) and the air (via throttle valves) delivered to the engine. Ideal fuel injection and throttle valve position results in smooth, natural engine response and the ideal engine output. The system also makes a significant contribution to reduced emissions
Kawasaki’s high-quality original paint has a highly reflective, glasslike metal appearance. Its debut on the 2015 Ninja H2 and Ninja H2R marked its first use on a mass-production vehicle in either the automotive or motorcycle industries.
In the shade the paint has the appearance of its base coat colour, but once in the sunlight its highly reflective surface takes on the appearance of the surrounding scenery. The stark difference in the way the paint appears in the light and the shade emphasises the sculpted shape of the bodywork on which it is applied.
The highly reflective surface is created by inducing a silver mirror reaction (a chemical reaction between a solution of silver ions and a reducing agent) that forms a layer of pure silver (Ag). This Ag layer is what creates the paint’s glasslike metal appearance. Compared to candy paints, which use aluminium flakes to generate a sparkling effect, the Ag layer appears as a uniform metallic surface.
In the shade the Ag layer is translucent, allowing the base coat colour to show through. This gives the paint a deep, three-dimensional quality.
While the multiple layers of paint on typical mass-production models are done by robot painters, for this silver-mirror paint each layer – from primer to clear coat – is carefully finished by the hands of Kawasaki craftsmen to ensure a flawless, lustrous surface.
Kawasaki developed KIBS to take into account the particular handling characteristics of supersport motorcycles, ensuring highly efficient braking with minimal intrusion during hard sport riding. It is the first mass-production brake system to link the ABS ECU (Electronic Control Unit) and engine ECU.
In addition front and rear wheel speed, KIBS monitors front brake caliper hydraulic pressure, throttle position, engine speed, clutch actuation and gear position. This diverse information is analysed to determine the ideal front brake hydraulic pressure. Through precise control, the large drops in hydraulic pressure seen on standard ABS systems can be avoided. Additionally, the tendency on supersport models for the rear wheel to lift under heavy braking can be suppressed and rear brake controllability can be maintained when downshifting.
Drawing on the know-how and technology possessed by the KHI Group, Kawasaki’s supercharged engine delivers high engine output while maintaining a compact design. The key to achieving this incredible performance lies in the engine’s supercharger – a motorcycle-specific unit designed completely in-house with technology from Kawasaki’s Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company and Corporate Technology Division.
One of the greatest benefits of designing the supercharger in-house and tailoring its design to match the engine’s characteristics was that engineers were able to achieve high-efficiency operation over a wide range of conditions – something that would not have been possible by simply dropping in or trying to adapt an aftermarket automotive supercharger.
The importance of high efficiency in a supercharger is that, as the air is compressed, power-robbing heat gain is minimal. And while many superchargers are able to offer high-efficiency operation in a very limited range of conditions, Kawasaki’s supercharger offers high efficiency over a wide range of pressure ratios and flow rates – meaning over a wide range of engine speeds and vehicle speeds. This wide range of efficient operation (similar to having a wide power band) easily translates to strong acceleration. The supercharger’s high efficiency and minimal heat gain also meant that an intercooler was unnecessary, greatly saving weight and space, and enabling the engine’s compact design.
KAWASAKI ENGINE BRAKE CONTROL
The Kawasaki Engine Brake Control system allows riders to select the amount of engine braking they prefer. When the system is activated, the engine braking effect is reduced, providing less interference when riding on the circuit.
ELECTRONIC THROTTLE VALVES
Kawasaki’s fully electronic throttle actuation system enables the ECU to control the volume of both the fuel (via fuel injectors) and the air (via throttle valves) delivered to the engine. Ideal fuel injection and throttle valve position results in smooth, natural engine response and the ideal engine output. The system also makes a significant contribution to reduced emissions.
Electronic throttle valves also enable more precise control of electronic engine management systems like S-KTRC and KTRC, and allow the implementation of electronic systems like KLCM, Kawasaki Engine Brake Control, and Cruise Control.
DUAL THROTTLE VALVES
Late-model sport bikes often use large-bore throttle bodies to generate high levels of power. However, with large diameter throttles, when a rider suddenly opens the throttle, the unrestricted torque response is anything but gentle and often more than the rider can handle. Dual throttle valve technology was designed to tame engine response while contributing to performance.
On fuel-injected models, throttle bodies generally have only one throttle valve per cylinder. On models with dual throttle valves, there are two throttle valves per cylinder: in addition to the main valves, which are physically linked to the throttle grip and controlled by the rider, a second set of valves, opened and closed by the ECU, precisely regulates intake airflow to ensure a natural, linear response. With the air passing through the throttle bodies becoming smoother, combustion efficiency in improved and power is increased.
Like other Kawasaki engine management technology, Dual Throttle Valves were designed with the philosophy of “following the rider’s intention, while providing natural-feeling support.” They are featured on many Kawasaki models.
ECONOMICAL RIDING INDICATOR
Using high-precision electronic control for engine management, Kawasaki models can achieve a high level of fuel efficiency.
However, fuel consumption is greatly affected by throttle use, gear selection, and other elements under the rider’s control. The Economical Riding Indicator is a function that indicates when current riding conditions are consuming a low amount of fuel. The system continuously monitors fuel consumption, regardless of vehicle speed, engine speed, throttle position and other riding conditions. When fuel consumption is low for a given speed (i.e. fuel efficiency is high), an “ECO” mark appears on the instrument panel’s LCD screen. By riding so that the “ECO” mark remains on, fuel consumption can be reduced.
While effective vehicle speed and engine speed may vary by model, paying attention to conditions that cause the “ECO” mark to appear can help riders improve their fuel efficiency – a handy way to increase cruising range. Further, keeping fuel consumption low also helps minimise negative impact on the environment.