Brother the ZZR1400, but which bike is the best on the strip, street and circuit? THE TESTS Day One Flat-out speed datalogged testing at Bruntingthor pe Proving Ground Day Two A full day’s road riding everywhere from high streets to motorways A full day o
Just a few years ago the ZZR1400 was the fastest production motorcycle in the world, narrowly pipping Suzuki’s Hayabusa – itself a previous claimant – to the mantle. But then Kawasaki pulled a trump card on its own champion, the Ninja H2 moving the game on into a whole new gladiatorial arena. Nobody can argue that the ZZR isn’t fast, it drives so hard from low down in the rev range, and then it just keeps on going like a jumbo jet straining for take-off. It feels ballistic, and travelling at 180mph is not to be taken lightly, especially when it only takes 22.69 seconds to get there from a standstill. But by comparison the H2 is a Euro Fighter, propelling you into oblivion like the ultimate jet fighter.
The need for speed
The H2 is frighteningly fast in a straight line – it’s by far the quickest-accelerating production bike MCN has ever tested. It’s hard to put into words how shocking it feels to unleash an H2 for the first time. While the ZZR is aweinspiringly quick, it only takes the supercharged H2 a mere 14.33 seconds to get to 180mph, and it’ll reach 150mph from a standstill in under 10 seconds. Just to help you visualise what that acceleration means on the ground, the H2 takes just over 350 metres to reach 150mph from a standstill. It’ll be tanking on at 180mph – or three miles a minute – after just 708 meters. There are very few times when that sort of poke won’t feel like too much.
In comparison it takes the ZZR1400 a full 1300 metres to reach 180mph – not far off twice the distance – and that was the quickest-accelerating production bike on the planet before the H2 arrived. That’s the speed of progress.
These figures only tell half the story though. Accelerating hard on the H2 is a violent affair, and with the TC deactivated it’s almost impossible to balance the throttle and power delivery between wheelspin and wheelies. The H2 will spin a cold rear tyre at 100mph in third gear, and even fourth if pro-