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

123115-2015-highlights-2015-kawasaki-ninja-h2r-drag

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 Motorcycle.com 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 Motorcycle.com 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!