2020 Kawasaki Z H2 First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung
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After a series of teaser videos, Kawasaki has delivered its new supercharged 2020 Z H2, calling it the arrival of a new generation of Z models. Priced at $17,000, the 2020 Kawasaki Z H2 is the least expensive of all the supercharged H2 models, by a significant margin, though it is also a hefty premium over the rest of the naturally aspirated Z models.

What’s interesting is Kawasaki’s description of the Z H2 as a “next-generation” Z model. The Z H2 will be the flagship of this generation (which is why it earns the Kawasaki river mark), but we are curious about whether this refers to smaller Z models also getting a supercharger.

2020 kawasaki z h2 first look
2020 kawasaki z h2 first look
The 2020 Z H2 is powered by the 16-valve Inline-Four 998cc Balanced Supercharged Engine also employed on the Ninja H2 SX. Kawasaki USA didn’t provide any performance numbers, but the European-spec version claims a maximum output of 197.3 hp at 11000 rpm, the same as the H2 SX without ram air. Claimed maximum torque is at a similar 101 lb-ft., though it arrives 1000 rpm sooner than the H2 SX at 8500 rpm. Kawasaki says it modified the intake and exhaust characteristics as well as the fuel injection settings to provide more torque in the low- to mid-range.

Shorter final gearing and longer header pipes further to improve low and mid-range performance. The exhaust system was also updated with an eye toward Euro 5 regulations, doing without a pre-chamber to make room for a larger catalyst and a long collector section. The silencer is still quite large, but Kawasaki says it did what it could to make it smaller to help reduce weight. As expected, the six-speed dog-ring transmission is paired with an assist and slipper clutch to relieve back-torque pressure and reduce rider fatigue.

2020 kawasaki z h2 first look

The Z H2 uses a completely different trellis frame from the Ninja H2, H2 R or the H2 SX. Kawasaki says the frame design balances stiffness and flexibility to suit a variety of riding situations while also being better at dissipating heat than a typical aluminum frame. The rake angle, fork offset and wheelbase were all chosen to offer better handling at low and medium speeds.

Up front, the Z H2 uses Showa’s SFF-BP fork with adjustable preload and damping. Showa also provides the shock for the new Uni Trak rear suspension. Brembo supplies the radial-mount M4.32 monoblock front brake calipers.

2020 kawasaki z h2 first look

The electronics package makes use of a six-axis Bosch Inertial Measuring Unit to optimize its various systems. The Z H2 has four engine modes: Sport, Road, Rain, and a custom Rider mode. The traction control system offers three levels of intrusion, and can be turned off completely. Cornering ABS, cruise control, launch control and a quick shifter round out the electronics suite. A full-color TFT display provides all the necessary information for the Z H2’s various systems.

2020 kawasaki z h2 first look

Visually, the Z H2 follows the “Sugomi” design style Kawasaki uses across its naked Z line. What’s unique to the Z H2 is the asymmetric design, with the ram air intake duct running to the left of the LED headlight. Kawasaki was able to balance this intake with the fairing on the Ninja H2 models but the here, the asymmetry is left in full view.

As a naked bike, the riding position is more relaxed than on the Ninja H2 models. The handlebars are higher and closer to the seat while the footpegs are slightly lower than on the H2 SX.

Other highlights include smatphone connectivity via Kawasaki’s Rideology app, a (claimed) 527 pound curb weight, and a 32.7-inch seat height.

For the U.S., the 2020 Kawasaki Z H2 will be available in a Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Graphite Gray/Mirror Coated Spark Black color with a green trellis frame. Other markets will have the option of a Metallic Diablo Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black with black frame or a Metallic Matte Carbon Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black with a red frame.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

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  • RyYYZ RyYYZ on Oct 28, 2019

    Kawasaki's stylists really need to cut down on the amount of acid they're doing.

    • Mad4TheCrest Mad4TheCrest on Oct 29, 2019

      Yeah, who is this 'Sugomi' guy and can we go back in time and stage an intervention?

  • Eddie Eddie on Oct 29, 2019

    I really like it but for just $2000 more, Ducati street fighter V4 in that sexy red!