By pure chance, I’d managed to blag a ride on Kawasaki’s new ZH2 Supernaked at a recent Kawasaki demo day. The group ride was going smoothly through some tasty twisties of rural Worcestershire. The only slight fly in the ointment was that we were under strict instructions not to overtake anyone else. With a bike like the ZH2, this was a little frustrating…
Nevertheless, there had been a few opportunities to give the bike some beans as gaps opened up in traffic. The break came when I got separated at the junction of an A-road while the bikes in front got away.
Opening the throttle wide was to be rewarded with a tsunami of unrelenting power that had my adrenaline glands on overdrive and a grin that spilled out the side of my lid!
This was just the start of it. Going up the box at at higher revs using the excellent quick-shifter, I was on the crest of that power wave with the anti-wheelie working hard to keep the front down. It was still allowing the thrill of the front lifting as the power tried to batter the electronics into submission. The lack of fairing increased the raw and visceral sensation.
All too quickly, the madness was over as I caught up with the rest of the group and had to calm my jets. The brakes are excellent, as is the auto-blipper downshift at higher revs. It is lumpy lower down the rev range. Compared to the system on my 2018 BMW S1R it is not as smooth The ‘chirp’ of the supercharger when off the throttle is intoxicating, a sound I would never get bored of. Especially as you can do impressions to bemused friends when back at the pub…
The demo route was on roads I’ve ridden many times. Accordingly, I was able to test the handling. It was impressive, at 239kg wet weight the bike is not light; once on the move though this weight really does vanish. Cornering was precise & planted with quick turn-in due to the short wheelbase and fork rake angle. The Showa suspension worked well. My only issue was that the settings were very hard & the seat like a plank. I really felt this on the rural bumps. Of course it is fully adjustable & a good setup works wonders. Again however, it was inferior to my S1R semi active system. No doubt next year’s bike will come with the option of the same semi active unit as the H2SXSE+.
The instrumentation is comprehensive on the full colour TFT dash; with trinkets such as lean angle display as well as the more usual information.
I really enjoyed riding this bike – it is a beast! Looks can be subjective, but I’m a fan of the Japanese ‘mangaesque’ style. If you’re in the market for a new supernaked, I would certainly recommend the ZH2.
Finally, thank you to Completely Motor Bikes of Worcester for organising & allowing me on the demo ride. Big thanks also to my friend Jamie Crawford who provided photos of his own ZH2 for this review.
Review and road test by Geoff P. for BikeMeet – all image and content rights reserved by the author. If you’d like to publish a motorcycle or bike accessory review on here, get in touch via the contact page.