Built Beyond Belief
The Ninja H2 Carbon
The launching point for the development of the Ninja H2 Carbon was a strong desire to offer riders something they had never before experienced. Convinced that a truly extraordinary riding experience would not be found on a motorcycle that merely built on the performance of existing models, the design team committed to developing the “ultimate” motorcycle from a clean slate. The bike needed to deliver intense acceleration and an ultra-high top speed, coupled with supersport-level circuit performance. To realise this goal, help was enlisted from other companies in the Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) Group, precipitating an unprecedented level of inter-company collaboration. Features include Assist & Slipper clutch, KQS up and down shifting, numerous electronic rider aids, Ohlins Rear Shock and DLC coated inverted KYB supersport grade front forks with a Carbon top cowling for a high quality appearance.
The Ninja H2 Carbon
Development pursued two paths. The first was a closed-course model (Ninja H2R) that allowed an unadulterated pursuit of performance free of the limitations that street riding would impose. This was followed by a street model (Ninja H2), based closely on the closed-course model, that would meet all market regulations. The results were incredible, with both models offering a sensory experience surpassing anything that riders can find today.
- The Ninja H2 Carbon is powered by a supercharged engine based closely on that developed for the over 300 PS Ninja H2R.
- High output notwithstanding, the compact design is on par with power units found in supersport litre-class models.
- Proudly displays the Kawasaki River Mark on the front of the Ninja H2 Carbon.
- The key to achieving this incredible performance lies in the engine’s supercharger—a motorcycle-specific unit designed completely in-house with technology from the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company and Corporate Technology Division.
When it came to naming this model, using "Ninja" - a name synonymous with Kawasaki performance and shared with many legendary models over the years - was an obvious choice. the Ninja H2R is also named for another epoch-making model, whose 2-stroke 748.2 cm³ Triple gave it an intense acceleration that made a sensation around the world: the 750SS Mach IV, also known as the "H2".
The supercharger used in the Ninja H2 was designed by Kawasaki motorcycle engine designers with assistance from other companies within the KHI Group, namely the Gas Turbine & Machinery Company, Aerospace Company, and Corporate Technology Division. Designing the supercharger in-house allowed it to be developed to perfectly match the engine characteristics of the Ninja H2 Carbon. The highly efficient, motorcycle-specific supercharger was the key to achieving the maximum power and the intense acceleration that engineers wanted to offer.
Designed for the performance parameters of the closed-course Ninja H2R and shared with the street-going Ninja H2, the objectives for the chassis were to ensure unflappable composure at ultra-high speeds, offer cornering performance to be able to enjoy riding on a circuit, and finally to have a highly accommodating character. Ordinarily, high-speed stability can easily be achieved with a long wheelbase, but a shorter wheelbase was selected to achieve the compact overall package and sharp handling that were also desired. The frame needed not only to be stiff, but also to be able to absorb external disturbances, which, when encountered while riding at high speeds, could easily unsettle the chassis.
As speed increases, wind resistance increases exponentially. To enable high-speed operation, a combination of high power and slippery aerodynamics was needed.
Assistance from Kawasaki’s Aerospace Company was enlisted in creating the aerodynamically sculpted bodywork to ensure maximum aerodynamic efficiency.
Contributing to high-speed stability, the Ninja H2 Carbon features mirror stays with airfoil cross-sections. Their trailing edges are equipped with Gurney flaps that increase the effectiveness of the simple airfoil shape, allowing greater downforce to be generated with a smaller surface.
Despite it’s familiar In-Line Four configuration, the Ninja H2 Carbon power unit is loaded with technology developed specifically for this supercharged engine: some new, others with know-how from the Kawasaki Group. Every component of the engine was chosen to achieve a certain function. In order to accommodate the higher air pressure from the supercharger as well as ensure a high reliability with the over 300 PS output of the closed-course Ninja H2R, the whole engine was designed to be able to handle stresses 1.5x to 2x greater than on a naturally aspirated litre-class engine. In fact, aside from its camshafts, head gaskets and clutch, the engine unit is exactly the same as the unit designed for the Ninja H2R.
BOSCH IMU (INERTIAL MEASUREMENT UNIT)
The Ninja ZX-10RR compact IMU operates in 6 DOF (degrees of freedom): 5 measured + 1 calculated. Combined with Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modelling program, input from the IMU enables even more precise chassis orientation awareness, the key to bringing Kawasaki’s electronics to the next level.
The use of Bosch’s compact IMU allows an additional layer of precision to be added to the already high-level S-KTRC, KLCM and KIBS. A new cornering managment function uses KIBS and S-KTRIC to assist riders in tracing their intended line through the corner (ABS models only).
Öhlins TTX36 Rear Suspension
Bank Angle Indicator
KCMF (Kawasaki Cornering Management Function): Total Engine & Chassis Management Package
The strength of Kawasaki’s cutting-edge electronics has always been the highly sophisticated programming that, using minimal hardware, gives the ECU an accurate real-time picture of what the chassis is doing. Kawasaki’s proprietary dynamic modelling program makes skilful use of the magic formula tyre model as it examines changes in multiple parameters, enabling it to take into account changing road and tyre conditions. The addition of a Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and the latest evolution of this advanced modelling software bring the electronic management systems on the Ninja H2 to the next level— changing them from setting-type and reaction-type systems to feedback-type systems—to deliver even greater levels of riding excitement. KCMF monitors engine and chassis parameters throughout the corner—from entry, through the apex, to corner exit—modulating brake force and engine power to facilitate smooth transition from acceleration to braking and back again, and to assist riders in tracing their intended line through the corner. On the Ninja H2, KCMF oversees the following systems:
- KTRC (including traction, wheelie and sliding control) - KLCM
- KIBS (including pitching and corner braking control) - Kawasaki Engine Brake Control
To facilitate smooth, quick shifting, a dog-ring type transmission was selected. This is the kind of transmission commonly found in MotoGP or Formula 1, and was developed with feedback from the Kawasaki Racing Team.
Unlike a standard motorcycle transmission in which shift forks slide the gears into position, with a dog-ring transmission the gears all stay in place. Only the dog rings move, sliding into position to engage the desired gear.
Because the dog rings are much lighter than transmission gears, this type of transmission offers a much lighter shift effort. Shift touch is also improved, and a much shorter shift time is possible—which facilitates quick acceleration.
In the interest of keeping the engine compact and simple, a single lubrication system provides cooling oil for the engine components, supercharger and transmission.
Oil jets lubricate the supercharger chain at the contact points (two places) where the chain meets the upper and lower gears.
In addition to the two oil jets, the supercharger drive train’s lower gear has an oil passage.
Inside the engine, there are two oil jets per cylinder to ensure the hot pistons are effectively cooled.
Transmission oil jets (first use in a Kawasaki motorcycle) enable a compact transmission with high durability.
Styling and Craftmanship
Wanting to ensure a bold design worthy of a model that carried both the “Ninja” and “H2” names, the prime styling concept chosen for the Ninja H2 was “Intense Force Design.” As a flagship for the Kawasaki brand, it required presence, and a styling that reflected its incredible performance.But the design is much more than cosmetic. While its edged styling certainly looks the part, the Ninja H2 also possesses a functional beauty: each piece of its bodywork was aerodynamically sculpted to enhance stability at high speeds; the cowling design also maximises cooling performance and heat dissipation, aiding in achieving the engine’s incredible output; and the Ram Air duct is ideally positioned to bring fresh air to the supercharger. More than any motorcycle Kawasaki has built to date, the Ninja H2 is a showcase of craftsmanship, build quality and superb fit and finish—right down to the brilliant silver-mirror paint specially developed for this model.
Although the Ninja H2 Carbon’s high performance cannot be denied, since it was not intended to be a race bike designed to turn quick lap times as efficiently as possible, it did not need the spartan accommodation found on most purpose-built supersport models. The man-machine interface enables riders to enjoy the bike’s performance with a modicum of comfort. While the riding position, ergonomics and cockpit layout were all designed first and foremost to put the rider in the best position to control this amazing machine, the impression from the rider’s perspective is one not of austerity, but rather plush quality, high-tech control, and an impeccable fit and finish.
Engine and Chassis Management Systems
KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode)
Designed to assist the rider by optimising acceleration from a stop, KLCM electronically controls engine output to prevent wheelspin and minimise wheelies when launching.
Riders can choose from three modes, each offering a progressively greater level of intrusion. Each mode allows the rider to launch from a stop with the throttle held wide open.
KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System)
Kawasaki’s supersport-style ABS is standard equipment on the Ninja H2 Carbon. This is the same base system used on the Ninja ZX-10R, with programming and settings revised to suit the performance parameters of the Ninja H2 Carbon.
High-precision brake pressure control enables the system to avoid reduced brake performance due to excessive pressure drops, allows lever feel to be maintained when KIBS is active, and ensures ABS pulses feel smooth (not heavy).
High-precision brake pressure control also offers a number of sport riding benefits:
- Rear lift suppression.
- Minimal kickback during operation.
- Accounting for back-torque
Electronic Rider Support
Complementing the Ninja H2’s incredible engine and chassis performance, advanced electronics work behind the scenes to provide rider support. Depending on rider preference, many of the systems may be turned off. And while the high-performance engine was designed to be accommodating even without the benefit of electronic assistance, when electing to fully experience the Ninja H2 Carbons’s intense acceleration or high-speed potential, these systems are available to provide an extra degree of rider reassurance. The advanced, high-tech design of the instrumentation conveys the image of piloting a jet fighter aircraft. Handle control switches put all mode selection and display options at the rider’s fingertips.
The instrumentation design combines a full digital LCD screen with an analogue-style tachometer. LCD screen uses a black/white reverse display (white characters on a black background), contributing to the high-quality image. In addition to the digital speedometer and gear position indicator, display functions include: odometer, dual trip meters, current mileage, average mileage, fuel consumption, coolant temperature, bank-angle Indicator, boost indicator, boost (intake air chamber) temperature, stopwatch (lap timer), clock and the Economical Riding Indicator. Tachometer design uses an actual needle, but the black dial “face” looks blank until the engine speed increases. Backlit rpm numbers light up to chase the tachometer needle as it moves around the dial. Compact handle switch design allows all instrument functions to be controlled from the handles.
KQS (Kawasaki Quick Shifter)
The Ninja H2 was the first Kawasaki motorcycle to be fit standard with a quick shifter. Complementing the engine’s strong power and the dog-ring transmission, a contactless-type quick shifter enables quick upshifts and downshifts for seamless acceleration.
Kawasaki Silver-mirror Paint
Original Design Wheels
Cast aluminium wheels were designed specifically for the Ninja H2. Star-pattern 5-spoke wheel design was selected based on analysis and testing to determine the optimum rigidity balance for high-speed performance. The analysis technology used in their development comes from World Superbike.
To ensure sufficient tyre durability when riding at high speed, high-performance tyres must be used. A massive 200 section rear tyre transmits the Ninja H2 Carbon’s power to the tarmac. The Ninja H2 Carbon is able to use high-performance street tyres.
Given the Ninja H2’s high-speed potential, the brakes chosen were the best available for a mass-production model. Special tuning then ensured that all play was removed from the system, so that when the brakes were called for they would respond immediately.
A pair of massive 330 mm diameter Brembo semi-floating discs with a thickness of 5.5 mm deliver superb braking force. Grooves running down the centre of the outer edge of the discs increase their surface area for greater heat dissipation.
Dual radial-mount Brembo cast aluminium monobloc calipers grip the front discs. The highly rigid opposed 4-piston calipers with 30 mm diameter pistons contribute to the Ninja H2 Carbon’s superb braking force, as well as a high-quality image.
Brembo radial-pump master cylinder and reservoir receive extra attention before being shipped to Kawasaki. Each part is examined and adjusted to eliminate any ineffective (idle) stroke.
A large 250 mm diameter disc generates strong braking force at the rear.
KYB AOS-II racing suspension makes its debut on an on-road bike.
Based on the Air-Oil Separate cartridge fork developed for motocross racing, this is the industry’s first use of this high-performance racing suspension on an on-road motorcycle.
Designed for low friction, the ø43 mm front fork offers superb action: smooth initial action is followed by strong damping at the end of the stroke.
As the suspension works, a large ø32 mm free-floating piston at the bottom of the oil-damping cartridge pumps oil up to a sealed area between the inner and outer tubes. The oil in this area provides a friction-reducing film on which the tubes can slide against each other, resulting in extremely smooth action.
The Ninja H2 is equipped with all the lights needed for street-legal operation. With the exception of the bulb illuminating the license plate, all lighting equipment on the Ninja H2 is of the LED type. Bright, compact LED headlamp positioned low, at the front of the upper cowl, contributes to the “Intense Force” design. Design of the LED front position lamps brings to mind the sharp fangs of a predator.
Assist & Slipper Clutch: Lighter Lever Operation
The Kawasaki River Mark
High Precision Production
Unlike a standard mass-production model, the high-precision production of the Ninja H2 Carbon requires greater hands-on participation by skilled Kawasaki craftsmen. Each step, from metalworking, treatment, welding, painting to assembly, fine-tuning and inspection is carefully attended to in order to create a product of superior quality. Within Kawasaki’s Akashi Factory, production takes place in an area dedicated exclusively to the Ninja H2 Carbon.
Ninja H2 Carbon Bottom Line
- The 2018 Ninja H2 Carbon is a road registerable mass production model.
- The Ninja H2 Carbon is Sold and Serviced by a limited number of specially appointed and trained Kawasaki Ninja H2, Ninja H2 SX SE and Ninja H2R Dealers.