Kevin Duke, Editor-in-Chief
Racing For 200 mph


Accelerating a motorcycle to triple-digit speeds is simple, and getting a modern sportbike to 150 mph isn’t particularly challenging if given enough open space. But speeding to 200 mph on a production bike is nearly impossible since the manufacturer’s unofficial agreement to limit speeds to 186 mph. Achieving 200 mph in just a half mile from a standing start? Well, that stretches the bounds of what is mechanically feasible.

But that was the challenge in front of me at an airport in Oregon. I was aboard the only production bike in the world that might make it possible: Kawasaki’s H2R, the higher-performance version of the supercharged H2 I rode earlier in the year. The R version of the H2 doubles the MSRP to $50,000, vaults the claimed horsepower to around 300 at its crankshaft, replaces mirrors with a pair of wings, and disqualifies it from street-legal status.

The H2R packs enough power to breeze past 200 mph if given enough room, but the trick was to launch it hard enough to exceed the double-ton speed barrier by the 2640-foot mark. However, the H2R has so much grunt and a sportbike-like short wheelbase that getting to full throttle without flipping over backwards is exceedingly challenging.

The speedo registered 209 mph after the half-mile speed trap, but you’ll have to keep your browser tuned to to discover if the official timing system logged a 200-mph run at the trap.

The speedo registered 209 mph after the half-mile speed trap, but you’ll have to keep your browser tuned to to discover if the official timing system logged a 200-mph run at the trap.

Another challenge from the event was putting together a video without the benefit of a dedicated onsite video shooter (long story…), but our go-to video producer, Jay McNally, has been able to pull together a kick-ass video showing the challenges and the excitement of our quest to get to the double-ton. At this moment, all I’ll share is that it was one of the most exciting experiences on a motorcycle I’ve ever had. Stay tuned to MO to find out how it turned out!

  • JMDonald

    It’s been a great year. Here’s to the highlights of 2016. I think I went 120 mph once, 200 is beyond the pale.

  • Old MOron

    Well, I can’t say that I’m most jealous about any one story, but I think Evans’ pick resonates the most. That’s because for the last two years I’ve raced in the M1GP24 Hour, having been inspired by Trizzle’s original story from 2013.

    Keep on living the dream, MOrons. We’ll keep living vicariously. And in some rare instances, we may even emulate you!

  • ‘Mike Smith

    Too badabout the Aprilia. Was it totaled?

    • Not totalled, but it was the only 2016 RF in the country at the time. Aprilia USA techs had to use old non-RF parts to fix the cosmetics for our street test the following week. (It wasn’t Troy’s fault at all, he was T-boned by an overzealous civilian in turn-11, but it was way more fun to blame him for it in my little story.)

      • john burns

        too bad we didn’t total it though, since the publication that got it after us DID destroy it at a track day. Only the good die young.

      • ‘Mike Smith

        Blame away my friend. Never pass on an opportunity to bust some chops. 😉

      • TroySiahaan

        Thanks for throwing me under the bus! 😉

  • Old MOron

    Well, I know it’s a marketing tool, and I know it’s a Xmas tune, but it’s still cool.
    Happy New Year, you MOrons!

    • Kevin Duke

      Thanks for your consistent support, OlMO!

  • John B.

    I most envy Tom Roderick’s highlight montage, but for “Most Persuasive Bike Pitch,” I would choose Sean Alexander’s love at first sight experience with the Aprilia. There’s nothing like having one’s soul stirred. Make that almost nothing.

    Congratulations on a great 2015. The MO crew produces consistently great work product, and that’s an exceptional feat.

  • Max Wellian

    Ya gotta like a job that provides so many great highlights!

  • David

    Ahh, I had wondered what happened to Cernickey. Sad to hear about his legs though.

  • ken mcguire

    Oh come on, Tom. You blokes get to ride the latest and greatest… and get to swim with White sharks. Bloody hell I need a new job.

  • kenneth_moore

    I agree with Old Moron: the “24 Hueres de Grom” is the one I’d pick. The similar events in my life, where a close group of pals are pushing themselves and the equipment to the limit are my best memories, even though they were actually miserable at the time. Like a 36 hour sail to the Bahamas in a Northeaster that left every other boat, and even some ships, sitting in port. We broke the boat, I broke my arm, we hated each other halfway through, but none of us would trade the experience for the world.