Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

2018 Kawasaki H2 SX SE - review

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX SE - review

    Hi folks,

    Now that I've got some seat time on my new H2, some of you might want to know how Ma Kawasaki's new techie flagship works in real life:

    What is it? Kawasaki insists it's not the same kind of bike as a ZX14R. This is marketing bullshit - it's an overweight, comfy, overpowered monster that handles better than it has any right to. Sound familiar?

    Why'd I buy it? Well, for years I've been convinced my next bike was going to be one of the following:

    BMW K1300S - awesome motor, great handling for the size, interesting tech, cool looks
    ZX14R - no need to explain. The best value in a motorcycle ever?
    KTM Super Duke GT - big twins rule, and this one rules them all. But in the end it just looked too much like a garden shed that fell down a hill into a metal scrap yard, and the weird Austrian lubes freaked me out
    BMW R1200RS - lovely sport-tourer with not much power but plenty of desirable features. I've always wanted a boxer twin. A dealer in Edmonton had an unbelievable deal on leftovers, but they sold their last one while I was on the phone trying to buy via long-distance
    GSXR1000 K5 - the best analog liter bike?

    So I was headed to a dealer to finish setting up the deal for a KTM Super Duke GT- had a deposit and everything - but couldn't stop thinking about a demo H2 SX SE. Just sitting on the showroom floor I liked everything about it, and I've got a major thing for Kawasaki bikes since getting my ZZR1200 nearly 8 years ago. Didn't even do a test ride, just cancelled the KTM and made a quick deal on the H2.

    What's it got?
    • Modified H2 motor with 11.2 compression ratio instead of the H2's 8.5 and diffferent pistons, but same supercharger unit
    • Bosch 6-axis inertial measurement unit (enables cornering ABS + traction control)
    • up and down quickshifter (can be defeated)
    • TFT display with multiple modes and customization options
    • cruise control
    • heated grips
    • braided lines
    • launch control
    • wheelie control
    • 3-mode power selection
    • 3-mode traction control (also turns off completely)
    • engine braking control (engine braking can be turned off)
    • slipper clutch
    • all-LED lighting
    • cornering lamps
    • integrated hard bag system

    Is it any good?

    Yes! My two favourite current bikes are the ZX14R and BMW S1000RR, and the H2 SX is easily as good or better than both of them. It's a teeny tiny bit not as quick off the line as those bikes, but in the real world there's just no difference. In terms of handling, the H2 is closer to the BMW sport bike than it is the ZX14R. The agility is astonishing, and on a track I think the H2 would vanish from a 14R in a lap or two. It's my first trellis-framed bike, and it feels kind of magical. The overall feeling of quality is more like a European exotic or Lexus sports car than standard Kawi.

    In non-sporty riding the H2 is really comfy and easy. I'm 6'2", with gangly arms and legs, and I feel like I'm sitting bolt upright like Ponch and John on CHIPS. The pegs are too high for my 50 year-old knees, so I do get some ache there after a day in the saddle. The SE model comes with a standard gel comfort seat that feels a bit odd, but is not a nut-crusher like the ZZR1200. Wind protection is similar to the ZX14R but I think the air flow is better - I get a blast of calm air over my shoulders, with no helmet turbulence. The riding position makes sense in sporty riding because it opens up the rider triangle, and the bike really responds to proper body positioning. In practical terms, paddling around a parking lot and banging U-turns is much much easier than any other heavy bike I've ridden.

    Kawasaki gave the H2 SX a smallish 19 litre tank, stating that the supercharged motor gets good enough mileage that it doesn't need 22 or 23 litres like the 14R, Super Duke GT, or ZZR1200. This is absolutely true when slabbing, and it does get really great mileage (like in the 50s imperial / high 40s US). However, if you twist the throttle it drinks like a blown Hemi Cuda.

    You can panic stop from outrageous speeds with one finger on the lever.

    What's interesting?

    Most H2 SX bikes are showing around 171RWHP on the dyno, With only a flash, and nothing else, this jumps to 210RWHP. If you go another stage or two with Brock's, it's 240RWHP. I find that scary.

    This bike builds speed like nothing you can imagine. When you wind up a 14R or S1000RR, poo comes out and your arms start to come off at the socket; you know what's happening to you right away. But with the H2 SX, it's so smooth and quiet that you just kind of appear in the next county very suddenly.

    The non-electronic KYB suspension is incredible. The 2019 H2 SX SE + has electronic suspension, but who cares?

    This is the first bike I've ever ridden that feels completely immune to wind - I honestly have not felt the bike move in the wind at all in nearly 3,000kms. My own torso is the only thing that bothers this bike in wind. This is a revelation after countless oh-shit moments in wind on the ZZR1200.

    It has a lean angle indicator that records your maximum. The very long peg feelers touch around 47/48 degrees. It's annoying knowing you've gotten more angle on one side than the other, and it turns into a dangerous game with one's self.

    What sucks?

    Holy shit Kawasaki, what were you thinking with that toolkit? It's 3 rusty allen keys and a crappy wrench. Honestly, I want to throw it through Kawasaki headquarters' window. Even worse, they don't give you a tool for adjusting the chain on the single-sided swingarm. They want 50 year-old sport-touring enthusiasts to visit the dealer every time their chain needs adjusting. What an effing joke. You can order it from Kawasaki for some insulting stupid price, and it's a pressed aluminum piece of junk. Luckily the Ducati 749 tool fits perfectly, so I bought a nice anodized one.

    The seat gets very very very hot in warm weather. It's a furnace.

    It is so bloody expensive that in the afterlife my practical side will still be giving my emotional side a ton of shit for making this purchase.

    The stock Bridgestone S21 Hypersport tires are terrifying in the kinds of conditions I constantly ride in. I've had more front tucks and rear slides in one day in rain than I care to think about. If you live in a rain-free place and don't ride anywhere that's not warm, they're totally fine. I'm putting Michelin PR5s on as soon as I can.

    The bike attracts crowds of riders/non-riders/Hardly riders. Everyone has an opinion they want to share, whether you seem interested or not.

    The paint is achingly beautiful, with tons of metal flake, and it glows in sunshine. It also scratches if you look at it sideways. That endangered butterfly walking across your tank needs squashing because it's leaving footprints in the paint.

    Kawasaki-branded Nissin brakes are embarrassing when the 14R SE got Brembo M50s and the 2019 SE+ model gets Brembo Stylemas.

    Verdict

    If you have the means, just get one.

    bk3nyxfi769z.jpgIMG_20190818_135304.jpgIMG_20190819_133035.jpg
    Last edited by YYCZED; 09-17-2019, 02:42 PM.

  • #2
    Good write up and a great review after putting a few thousand miles (or 10,000 kms Cdn ) on that achingly beautiful piece of motorcycle art. I only wish I could have stayed with you for a few thousand more kms without my 14 acting up on me again.

    I think we only got to do a couple of fly by’s while we were headed south on hiway 22. When you flew by me all I heard was a jet engine like whoosh. Lots of bite but not much bark in that bad boy. It’s definitely a real gentleman’s express. I’m sure you were loving the cruise control after a few long days in the saddle. That’s one feature I think should come standard on all sport-touring bikes.
    Last edited by NotDeadYet; 09-15-2019, 01:09 PM.


    "I tried being reasonable, I didn't like it!"

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice write up. Awesome bike.

      Just try not to think to much about that supercharger spinning up to 130,000 rpm's right under your nut sack!
      Our ability to distribute interesting information is out pacing our ability to create it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for your feedback. Just may be my next bike. You are a bad influence
        My ol' ZZR1200 pics:
        http://zzrbikes.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=156883

        Comment


        • #5
          Great write up Gareth.

          My local dealer has a leftover on their floor they were trying to sell me.

          However, they wanted to give me shit for my BMW in trade and wanted the moon for their bike.

          Also, it appears that the riding position is more upright? More like a standard?

          If so, that wouldn't work for me either.

          I do LOVE the color as well as the supercharged engine.

          Maybe one day I'll at least take one for a demo ride just to experience that engine.

          Glad to hear that you and yours is getting along.

          Be safe.
          I have neither the time,or the inclination, to explain myself to a man, who rises and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner, in which I provide it. I'd rather you just say 'thank you' and go on your way.

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow, great write up Bro!

            Sounds like an outstanding machine- I am envious.

            I think there is a good chance that the Buell pegs that I put on the ZX14 will work on your bike- they lower the pegs 3/4 inch.

            Looking forward to riding with you- next year, unfortunately...


            G
            "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

            Comment


            • #7
              Couple more thoughts...

              What is under the seat that could cause it to get so abnormally hot?

              Also, nice description of the acceleration effect on a ZX14R...

              And, I love your description of the big KTM's appearance. Honest, if that damn bike looked as good as my ZX14R I would be riding one today, no question about it. It's like they had a contest to see who could design the ugliest motorcycle.

              G
              "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

              Comment


              • #8
                I have not ridden an H2 SX... I rode my 2016 H2 stock for the first year. Then that bug of knowing how much power it can really have crept up. The power mods really have not taken away from the overall fun of riding the bike. Nothing makes power like these engines. Its not just the high HP numbers. It starts making power like crazy at 4k RPM. and by the time your north of 12k RPM its feels like an SR71. I am going to put my E85 Tune on this weekend... The mods have made aspects of the bike more raw.. but I love every minute of it. I did many of the mods myself.. but it does take a few $$ to get these bikes to their full potential, you can find many good deals out there with many of the mods already done. i have done many 400-500 mile days on mine. its not super comfy but I find it fun still for even the H2 to be a ST bike.
                Last edited by jmenon; 09-16-2019, 04:12 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Love it!......enjoy buddy looking forward to seeing it in person(next year 2west20).....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JeffS View Post
                    Love it!......enjoy buddy looking forward to seeing it in person(next year 2west20).....
                    Ah yes. Perspiring minds are starting to wonder when and where this "2west20" thing might be...
                    "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NotDeadYet View Post
                      Good write up and a great review after putting a few thousand miles (or 10,000 kms Cdn ) on that achingly beautiful piece of motorcycle art. I only wish I could have stayed with you for a few thousand more kms without my 14 acting up on me again.

                      I think we only got to do a couple of fly by’s while we were headed south on hiway 22. When you flew by me all I heard was a jet engine like whoosh. Lots of bite but not much bark in that bad boy. It’s definitely a real gentleman’s express. I’m sure you were loving the cruise control after a few long days in the saddle. That’s one feature I think should come standard on all sport-touring bikes.
                      How's your recovery going? Too bad about that ride, but maybe it's a good thing you didn't end up stuck in the heart of darkness like I did coming back from BC!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by piken View Post
                        Nice write up. Awesome bike.

                        Just try not to think to much about that supercharger spinning up to 130,000 rpm's right under your nut sack!
                        It's a thrill like sitting next to the propellers on an older plane

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Greg, I haven't identified exactly the source of heat, but I'm assuming it's supercharger related. On my Zed it was the frame that got hot like that, so I never really noticed unless it was 90F+

                          I could get lowered pegs but then I'd lose some of that sweet and surprisingly good ground clearance...
                          Last edited by YYCZED; 09-17-2019, 11:02 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jmenon View Post
                            I have not ridden an H2 SX... I rode my 2016 H2 stock for the first year. Then that bug of knowing how much power it can really have crept up. The power mods really have not taken away from the overall fun of riding the bike. Nothing makes power like these engines. Its not just the high HP numbers. It starts making power like crazy at 4k RPM. and by the time your north of 12k RPM its feels like an SR71. I am going to put my E85 Tune on this weekend... The mods have made aspects of the bike more raw.. but I love every minute of it. I did many of the mods myself.. but it does take a few $$ to get these bikes to their full potential, you can find many good deals out there with many of the mods already done. i have done many 400-500 mile days on mine. its not super comfy but I find it fun still for even the H2 to be a ST bike.
                            I'm resisting the urge to farkle, but the 210WHP from ECU flash will just be too tempting!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              go with the woolich tuning interface. I had a lot of bad luck with Brocks. Some of their parts are great. but not for ECU tuning. Brocks requires a piggy back PCV and you cannot control timing... Woolich is a true ECU flash and you can control anything you want. Cooling fan temp kick on.. Top speed removal, and way more.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X