After numerous photo leaks of the latest supercharged hero of the Kawasaki line, Team Green has officially pulled the covers off the new 2020 Z H2.
Kawasaki is forging fresh territory here with the Z H2, with the bike taking the supercharged powertrain from the H2 and plonking it in a naked chassis. Kawasaki even goes on to say that the new King of the Z family has "performance that can be enjoyed across the rev range combined with superb fuel efficiency, this innovative new model offers high levels of handling and comfort, plus the latest equipment – all suitable features for the new Z Series flagship."
The obvious place to start when describing the new Z H2 is, of course, the supercharged four-cylinder engine. While it does come with more power than you can shake a stick at (200hp/147kW at 11,000rpm and 137Nm at 8500rpm to be precise) Kawasaki has made it clear that this isn't a bike that only a handful of riders will be able to tame.
With the brand's modern development philosophy calling for a machine that enables a wider range of riders to understand the pleasure of riding a motorcycle, the engine was designed with this idea firmly in mind. As a result, the Z H2’s supercharged engine achieves the rather contradictory goals of plenty of power as well as easy-to-manage power delivery.
That means that this isn't a bike for analogue riders who baulk at idea of rider aids, because Kawasaki you can't have 200hp at your fingertips and achieve an easy to ride bike.
Starting off the electronic aids, Kawasaki has given riders of the new Z H2 the option of three rider modes in simple Full Power, Middle Power and Low Power flavours. Full power is as advertised, with all 200hp available via the electronic throttle, Middle offers 75%, while Low offers 50% of the bike's full output - which it should be noted is still 100hp.
In addition to this, the Z H2 also features the normative Sport, Road, Rain and Rider modes we have come to expect which link not only the Power Modes but also the sophisticated KTRC traction control system which is aided by a 6 axis Bosch IMU.
The IMU also links in with the KIBS braking system allowing for precise control of the brakes even while mid-corner.
Kawasaki also has included cruise control from the factory for the Z H2, activated from the left handlebar, which is surely going to be highly used by the riders with enough coin to throw down on the new top-tier Z.
In the more fun side of the rider aid equation, however, Kawasaki have really given the new Zed some toys to liven things up a bit. For winning off the line at traffic lights, Kawasaki has incorporated Kawasaki Launch Control Mode as well as a quickshifter for the 6-speed gearbox.
With the clutch lever pulled in and the KLCM system activated, the engine speed is limited to 6,250rpm – even with the throttle held open. Once the clutch lever is released to engage the clutch, engine speed is allowed to increase, but power is regulated to minimise wheelspin and help keep the front wheel on the ground. The system then disengages automatically at 150 km/h or when the rider shifts into 3rd gear.
Kawasaki notes that this mode should "only be used under closed-course conditions; do not use KLCM during everyday riding", but we're willing to bet most owners will likely ignore this.
Rounding off the electronics is a TFT dash just like that found in the 2020 Ninja 650. As such, the dash not only brings to the Zed family for the first time a crystal clear TFT display but also the option for riders to link their smartphone to their bike via the Kawasaki's riding app,
"RIDEOLOGY THE APP".
Kawasaki NZ spokesperson, Alarn Young, says that the Z H2 is yet to be confirmed for our market at this early stage.
It's unclear whether these will be brought in to NZ yet, he told On Throttle.
"If they do, they'll likely in very limited numbers arriving early 2020 with pricing to be confirmed."
Regardless of whether or not we see the new Z H2 on our roads, Kawasaki has thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the motorcycling world in regards to production forced induction motorcycles. While we have heard rumours of other bikes in development from elsewhere in Japan, Kawasaki is firmly establishing itself as the masters of boosted bikes.