The super naked class just got a little more exciting for 2020, with Kawasaki unveiling the Z H2, a supercharged super naked set to compete with the likes of the new Ducati Streetfighter V4 and Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory.
Let’s get the power and torque figures out of the way, because those are what you’re going to be looking at when it comes to a supercharged engine, right? Does it blow all the other naturally-aspirated engines out of the water? Not quite.
Kawasaki claim a power output of 197bhp, and 136Nm of torque. Both incredibly impressive, and bonkers numbers for a bike without a fairing. The Tuono V4 is undoubtedly the current king of the super naked class, and that bike produces 173bhp, and 120Nm of torque. So the Kawasaki has the Aprilia beat on paper. But Ducati claim 208bhp for the upcoming Streetfighter V4.
The new Z H2 will be powered by the same 998cc inline four cylinder engine as the H2 SX, although Kawasaki have retuned the engine for more mid-range torque. Keeping all that torque in check is a Bosch IMU, which controls a host of riding aids such as traction control, intelligent anti-lock braking, cornering management, selectable rider and power modes, anti-wheelie control, quickshifter, and cruise control. All things you’d expect on a premium model in 2019. Kawasaki offer no explanation for ‘intelligent anti-lock brakes’, though I suspect it means cornering ABS.
The new Zed weighs in at a pretty porky 239kg claimed kerb weight, which means it may struggle in the twisties against 209kg Aprilia and 173kg (claimed) Ducati. As is pretty much the norm nowadays, the Z features a TFT dash and LED lighting all round. Suspension is provided by Showa, and braking is is taken care of by Brembo. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity. Because Bluetooth.
Is it pretty?
Kawasaki have stuck with their sugomi design philosophy – first used on the 2014 Z1000 – for the supercharged Zed. Sugomi is the spirit of a predator on a hunt, ready to strike its prey. MOst people probably wouldn’t describe any naked Kawasakis since 2014 as pretty, but I’m a big fan.
They all look incredibly aggressive and unapologetic. They look mean and purposeful, and the Z H2 is no different. It looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, which is great. Motorcycles should look as exciting and exotic as they feel to ride. I especially love the one-sided air intake feeding the supercharger. Despite the futuristic design, Kawasaki seem to have paid homage to the 2003 Z1000 with the shape of the headlights. It looks great.
The Ultimate Z Test Ride
To go with the unveiling of the new model, Kawasaki have also launched the Ultimate Z Test Ride, which gives the public a chance to ride the new bike. All you have to do is register at Kawasaki’s website to be in with a chance.