H2: Kawasaki’s Supercharged Ninja Confirmed

Kawasaki breaks cover with teasers of the Ninja H2. FIRST LOOK at the supercharged silhouette.

CLICK PLAY to see the first image of the new H2. Yes, it's a TEASER!

CLICK PLAY to hear a sound clip of the Kawasaki Ninja H2.

Late last year at the Tokyo Motor Show Kawasaki revealed this supercharged inline-four engine that may be the powerplant for an upcoming Ninja superbike, showing that Kawasaki engineers are actively contemplating a forced-induction future. This one wasn’t unexpected. We first reported this project in fall of 2011, when leaked patent documents suggested Kawasaki was preparing just such an engine for possible use in a replacement for the ZX-14R hyperbike.

We still know little about the engine or any related bike project other than the what the Ninja H2 teasers have given us. Kawasaki has yet to provide us with engine displacement or boost specs—instead talking about Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ long history producing industrial gas turbines, and how that experience translated on a smaller scale to this “motorcycle-use” supercharger with unprecedented efficiency and the ability to withstand high heat, high pressure, and extreme vibrations. There’s no evidence of an intercooler (yet)—besides, there wouldn’t be much room to hide one on a motorcycle—but there is a description of a pre-intake fuel injection scheme to reduce intake temperature by evaporative cooling. Also interesting is a description of a two-speed supercharger drive gearbox that would allow the charger to operate at different speeds relative to the crankshaft, giving two distinct power curves.

Still, even in the absence of any firm details, the mere existence of what looks to be an engine in an advanced state of development gives us great hope that a blown, ’Busa-beating hyper Ninja is headed headed our way soon.