Kawasaki’s Z H2 SE Swings From the SkyArmani Moffatt
As if Kawasaki’s supernaked Z H2 wasn’t already special enough, the 2021 SE variant goes to town in an genuine effort to relieve you of a hefty chunk of your cash.
Still (at time of writing) the only blown or supercharged naked on the market, that fact alone doubtless contributed a significant portion to a buying decision that ended up with a Z H2 in whomever’s garage. The unreal tidal wave of torque, that relentless pull at the top end and, of course, those giggle inducing chirps and whistles from the supercharger is the USP draw on top of a superb package.
The SE now brings further refinement to the Z H2’s repertoire, most significantly in the form of Showa’s electronic ‘Skyhook’ suspension. A match and more for all other electronic suzzie systems out there in terms of performance and poise, it could push an already near perfect roadster up and over the pinnacle.
Make no mistake, the Z is built primarily to rule the road with perhaps the odd foray on a track for larks. It is not a sports naked in the same vein as, say, an Aprilia Tuono. Instead they’ve made it as good as it possibly can be on the highways and, as it goes, when it comes to road only excellence the Z H2 was already at the top of the pile even before it was fitted with new, flashy electronic wizardry.
Which comes at a cost of course, a significant increase over the stock machine no less, at £18,349. Indeed, that Showa suspension isn’t cheap, but then neither are the Brembo Stylema brake calipers. Both additions are absolutely top drawer however, somewhat justifying the extra outlay. There was nothing wrong with the M4 32 calipers the stock machine wears, but the Stylema calipers in feel, progression and ultimate stopping power are remarkable, to say the least.
And if you want to spend a bit more, the ‘Performance’ edition wants £19,449 of your hard earned before it grants you access to its box of tricks. For that you get an official Akrapovic slip-on can, a fly-screen and not a lot else more. The fly-screen does work pretty well, mind you, and the Akra’ serves up a deep, resonate but entirely inoffensive soundtrack perk over the otherwise fairly quiet stocker.
But of course, the Z is already stuffed with awesomeness from the off, like its full electronics suite, multiple rider modes, up and down quick-shifter, slick FTF colour dash and a dedicated app for smartphone connectivity. And it’s got that blower which, unless they’ve also taken the plunge into the land of H too, precisely none of your other biking mates will have. That’s pure, unadulterated and delicious biking ego gravy on tap. Add that to tested power of around 180bhp at the wheel and this is some machine, no matter which version you care to choose.
The best piece of advice? Go test ride one if you’re in the market for a super naked. Even if it didn’t float your boat, or the looks perhaps weren’t your thing, the experience certainly should be!
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