To answer your question, yes, it has a supercharger. And, yes, it has the same amount of horsepower as the road-going H2 at an even 200 and 101 pound-feet of torque. Now that the big two questions are out of the way, let’s explore how Kawasaki modified the H2 for touring duty and how it fits in the expanding sport-touring space.
Yes, long distance is the H2 SX’s aim, but the object of attention is definitely on its supercharged heart. The motor is the very same as the 1,000cc Kawasaki-supercharged unit found in the H2 and H2R; however, it has been significantly revised and “tuned for torque” for the touring category.
First, the supercharger impeller was completely redesigned, as was the intake system. The pistons, cylinder head, cylinder, crankshaft, and camshafts are new, throttle bodies are new, exhaust system is new, and gear ratios were revised. Other than the gear ratios, the six-speed, dog-ring transmission is the same as the H2.
The result of these changes is an engine that Kawasaki claims is more street friendly, easier to ride, with more rewarding midrange torque and touring-friendly fuel economy, quieter intake sound, and heat management. Initial claims are the H2 SX fuel economy is on par with the Z1000SX and Versys 1000. With a larger 5-gallon fuel tank, the Ninja H2 SX offers improved interstate capabilities.
The electronics suite is a running list of Kawasaki’s best of the best: KTRC as found in the ZX-10RR, this is Kawasaki's six-axis traction control system; KIBS, its intelligent ABS; engine-braking control; electronic cruise control; three power modes (Low, Middle, Full); KQS, a two-way quickshifter; and the party piece—KLCM, a launch control mode.
The 43mm inverted fork is fully adjustable, as is the KYB monoshock. The shock does have a revised Uni-Trak linkage for more feedback when the bike is fully loaded in touring conditions. Brakes are 320mm discs, radial-mount front calipers, and a 250mm disc out back; they do not appear to be the Brembos found on the H2.
Additional changes over the H2 are specific for touring as well. The fairing retains the H2 character lines but is rounder, larger, and features a taller windscreen on the top-spec model. All the better to provide improved aerodynamics and comfort at speed. The riding position is also slightly relaxed, and the seat is new and optimized for comfort. Although a bit nerdier than the H2, these changes are vital for touring comfort.
The final big changes are the revised rear trellis frame to support a passenger, and the quick-release, twin 7-gallon accessory panniers. Weight with all of these touring changes only adds 19 pounds to the final weight of 495 pounds dry. Pricing has not been announced, but the H2 SX comes in two trims: base and SE guise.
Although the sharpest edges of the H2 have not remained for the H2 SX, its more well-rounded package and supercharged thump should make it appealing for the rider who wants bullet train thrust for their cross-country blitzes. To see how this lines up with the other mega-tourers will be an interesting review to watch.