Who’s the most exciting motorcycle manufacturer in the world? It’s Kawasaki, and I wasn’t really aware of the fact until they loaned us a few supercharged motorcycles: an H2 SX SE a couple of years ago, followed up lately by an H2 Carbon sportbike, and now an Z H2 naked bike. What they all have in common is Kawi’s excellent supercharged 998 cc inline Four – an engine that made over 200 rear-wheel horsepower in the H2 Carbon without really even breaking a sweat: 205.5 hp @ 11,600 rpm. It helps that all the Rivermark-branded systems surrounding those engines are top-notch as well.
Last week, I decided the supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon is my favorite motorcycle of all time. This week, that could change with the introduction of Kawasaki’s new sit-up straight naked Special Edition Z H2. If this new Z SE doesn’t have quite the top end horsepower of the full-monte H2 (206 rear-wheel hp on the dyno), it still has plenty, and it also has many other tidbits going for it that might very well make up the difference, including the aforementioned upright naked-bike ergonomics. “A relaxed riding position has been created by a combination of an upright handlebar shape and a seat with an optimized base plate and cushion thickness,” says Kawasaki. “This design provides a high degree of freedom for riding posture and low vibration, allowing for a pleasant and comfortable ride.”