DAY 2: ON THE ROAD
Obviously you can’t use all this power and speed on the road, otherwise you’ll be spending a few years as her Majesty’s guest in a small cell, so do they make any sense at all as road bikes? The H2 may be littered with rider aids, but there’s no taking away from the fact if you want to attack a back road the H2 is a handful, it’s like trying to control a drunken, aggressive mate outside a nightclub.
Unleash the supercharger a few times and you’ll quickly see the digital speedo reading three figures, presuming you have time to refocus your eyes from being pinned to the horizon.
The throttle response is on the aggressive side, you end up shortshifting to calm things down, but once the supercharger gets up to speed everything gets a little frenetic. This means you end up entering corners way too quickly. Trying to ride a H2 fast on an unfamiliar road is a pastime best reserved for the brave, or stupid.
Trundle around below 6000rpm and the H2 turns into a docile sleeping dragon, the throttle response isn’t too aggressive, and despite the fact you’re only tickling the throttle at 50% or less it’s already more than quick enough for the road. But let the needle climb past 6000rpm and the boost gauge illuminates on the dash, and you’ve suddenly kicked the dragon in the balls while squirting lemon juice in its eyes.
There’s no doubt that the ZZR is easier to ride on the road, despite its size and bulk. The throttle response is close to perfect, especially when comparing it to the H2. You don’t need to dance all over the gearbox as there’s so much torque on tap at all times, just roll on and enjoy the seamless drive. The ZZR has over 20ftlb more torque available than the H2, and it all arrives dramatically lower in the rev range. On unfamiliar roads the mighty ZZR is your friend, wafting you between turns with Bentley-like surges of drive, without ever feeling like it will take off on its own, propelling you through the nearest hedge. It’s this tidal surge of delivery that means there’s no real reason to be intimidated by the surfeit of power, and there’s always the rider modes, traction control and ABS to back you up.
The ZZR also edges ahead in the comfort stakes, and is head and shoulders above the H2. The ZZR is the bike equivalent of a lovely battered leather sofa, while the H2 is one of those chrome and black leather bar stools that you can never quite perch on without feeling like you might slide off if you let your concentration slip. The H2 also has a serious drink problem, the fuel light illuminating at the 100-mile mark, or even less at fast motorway speeds, whereas the ZZR’S 22-litre tank will last over 150 miles at the same pace, if ridden gingerly you can coax 200 miles between fuel stops on the ZZR. The H2 wins the filtering competition around the M25 but in every other aspect of road riding it was an out and out win for the ZZR and it’s the only one you can scare a pillion on, too. But no matter how uncompromising the H2 is on the road it’s still the bike we always wanted to be on.