THE LIGHTS

Is the Ninja H2 SX SE the new boss at the traf­fic lights? RIDE’S drag de­mon drops the clutch at Santa Pod to find out...

RiDE (UK) - - New Bikes - Words Bruce Dunn Pic­tures Si­mon Lee

IT’S BED­FORD­SHIRE, BUT this even­ing Santa Pod could be Cal­i­for­nia. Bathed in sun­shine, the H2 SX SE’S green paint stands out as it cuts through hot hatches and drag bikes in the Pod’s pad­dock. We’re here for a run-what-you-brung; the quar­ter-mile strip has had a mil­lion-pound makeover over the win­ter so the drag-racing world is keen to try it.

Sign-on, queue up, flat out. There’s lit­tle prep for the SE; let tyres down a bit to give a big­ger foot­print, then turn off the trac­tion con­trol, check the quick­shifter is on and we’re ready to go. The SE is the only road bike here. I’m not sur­prised when my op­po­nent is a men­ac­ing ZX-10R drag­ster. At the start line I do the oblig­a­tory burnout for a few sec­onds; it’s easy to over­heat the tyre and lose grip. Then it’s time to go — as soon as the lights flicker green, I fire the su­per­charged Kawasaki at the hori­zon.

The Ninja needs more skill to launch than a nor­mally as­pi­rated ZZR1400. Giv­ing the su­per­charger the revs to get into the power­band means hold­ing it at 7000rpm then bal­anc­ing clutch slip — the ZZR drives off the line on a whiff of throt­tle. The H2 SX’S 200bhp mo­tor is a bit peaky, so the chal­lenge is get­ting away with max­i­mum ac­cel­er­a­tion and min­i­mal wheelie, slip­ping the clutch and trim­ming the throt­tle. For­tu­nately I make a clean get­away. I flick into sec­ond and dive un­der the screen. Hun­kered down, throt­tle pinned, my left toe nudges the gear lever — the Kawasaki’s quick­shifter is one of the best, let­ting me ex­ploit the ac­cel­er­a­tion po­ten­tial.

The H2 SX crosses the line in 10.3 sec­onds at 142 mph and I’m im­pressed. This is a street bike made for tour­ing and it’s just done a 10-sec­ond quar­ter at its first go. And my com­peti­tor on the ZX-10R drag­ster? Beaten by a guy on a bike with pan­niers...

One of the first to take to Santa Pod’s brand-new strip Prepa­ra­tion in­volved slightly re­duced tyre pres­sure for in­creased foot­print H2 SX has launch con­trol… but Bruce doesn’t need it to win

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