The Kawasaki Z H2 SE 2021
Kawasaki brings a new top model to the Z-range: the Z H2 SE. Is this the absolute ruler of the super-naked class? I got the opportunity to test this Special Edition of Kawasaki's spectacular supercharged naked bike for two weeks. After about 900 kilometers and many sunny days I was able to get a good impression of this bike.
I still remember it very well. Kawasaki revealed the brand new model, the Z H2 in 2020. A lot has been written about it on social media by press and bikers. Some thought the new Z H2 looked beautiful, some thought it was an ugly design. I have to say, I was also a bit critical before seeing the 2021 Z H2 SE but that feeling went away very quickly when I first really saw the Z H2 SE. The first thing I thought was, 'what an incredible bike this is. ’ I hadn’t ridden it yet, but I was completely impressed by the brutal green-colored design.
The flagship of the Z-series is designed according to the SUGOMI & Minimalist design concept. The aggressive posture and asymmetrical Ram Air intake on the left are elements of the very intense and individualistic SUGOMI design. All lighting is equipped with LED. The beautiful red letters on the engine 'supercharged' also look cool! Finally, in the styling of the Z H2, the significance of the Kawasaki River Mark emblem on the headlamp hood should not be forgotten. Its use, a tribute only allowed to the most exceptional Kawasakis, confirms the Z H2 SE is a flagship model.
The 2021 Z H2 SE is equipped with an Akrapovic exhaust , specially developed for this model. In my opinion a somewhat large design, but as I saw and heard the exhaust more and more, it started to grow towards me. After a few weeks of riding the Z H2 SE I looked at the bike differently and I actually started to appreciate everything I was critical of in the beginning.
Where I was also very happy about the was readability of the TFT display with the Z900, I am now happy again. The colors are beautifully rendered and easy to read under all lighting conditions. The full-color TFT display shows extensive information. The display includes: a digital speedometer, current gear, shift indicator, odometer, dual trip meter, fuel gauge, driving distance, current/average fuel consumption, outside temperature, water temperature, clock, ECO indicator, IMU indicator, KIBS indicator, boost pressure and inlet temperature . Having a boost pressure and G force meter is really awesome. That way you get a lot of information back about that bizarre supercharged engine. Another fun gadget is the lean angle meter so you can see in how many degrees you take your corners. Nice to see progress being made!
The Z H2 SE is equipped with a Bluetooth smartphone connection. Keeping track of engine information and reading out riding data is very easy. You can even adjust the riding modes remotely with the Rideology app.
Electronic assistance systems
The Z H2 SE is equipped with a multitude of electronic assistance systems such as Power Modes, Traction Control, Cornering Management, Intelligent ABS and an IMU to provide the ABS and Traction Control with feedback on the motorcycle's stability. These systems are designed to control the power of the Supercharged engine, support the rider while collecting a large amount of information. In addition, the Electronic Cruise Control and quick shifter increase riding comfort.
In addition, there is a choice of four riding modes that connect KTRC and Power Mode. You can choose from Sport - Road - Rain - and the fully adjustable Rider mode.
I'm glad Kawasaki chose to use good tires on this bike. The Z H2 SE is fitted with Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires. These are excellent tires that go well with the Z H2 SE in my opinion. The tread pattern of the DIABLO ROSSO III is directly derived from the pattern of the well-known DIABLO Supercorsa competition tire. The Rosso III has good grip on the asphalt and the performance on wet roads did not disappoint me either. I have tested these tires extensively in a well-known bend in Alphen aan den Rijn. The end result, tires round and a happy me.
How does the 2021 Kawasaki Z H2 SE ride?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Z H2 SE impressed me from the moment I saw here in real life. I looked at her, she looked at me. We knew immediately….you know what I mean, love at first sight? Well, so this was something like that.
Now it was really time to go riding and leave Kawasaki HQ. I took a seat on the Z H2 SE, looked at all those buttons on the steer and fired up the engine. The beast came to life. What a beautiful, subtle and powerful sound this bike makes. It's not over the top, just perfectly right. The seating position was sporty but comfortable, so that was very nice. With my 1.74m and slightly too short legs I could just touch the ground with both feet.
I drove away, and to my great surprise this was actually very easy. You would think that a 200 horsepower bike would go directly into a wheely. So this Kawasaki does both. You can ride with it super dosed, quietly, touring and enjoying the environment. You can also choose to be the rebel and push this beast on its back wheel in first, second and third gear. Either way, I think Kawasaki built this bike for a much wider audience than I initially thought. But don’t understand me wrong, in my opinion the Z H2 SE is definitely not a beginner's bike!
During my first big ride I rode towards Krimpen aan den IJssel. From here I went up the Lekdijk. I wanted to test whether the prejudices are correct that the Z H2 SE would be a ‘ to heavy ’ bike. I mean, what better place to do that in the Netherlands than on a dike? It didn't take me long to get used to this bike. I quickly felt connected to the bike which gave me enough confidence to corner the bike well. And believe it or not, this was no problem at all. I never had the idea that the bike felt heavy or bulky. The steering behavior of the 240 kilogram Kawasaki is very good. Somehow this can be explained, of course. Kawasaki's Semi-Active Electronic Suspension System (KECS) adapts to road and riding conditions in real time, delivering the ideal amount of damping you want. This suspension system is fully customizable and automatically adapts to different riding modes. This system gives you both the flexibility to provide comfort in a variety of riding situations, and the firm damping to facilitate sporty driving. This in combination with the very nice Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires ensured an ultimate riding experience.
The Brembo braking system on the Z H2 SE includes Stylema monobloc calipers and a Brembo master cylinder, which work very well. I am also happy here that Kawasaki has opted for an A brand of brakes. This bike not only deserves that, but it also needs it to be able to brake the many horsepower the Z H2 SE gots. Braking from high speeds is no problem at all. The Brembo braking system ensures that the bike comes to a standstill in no time.
Then the clutch assist. The clutch assist reduces the load on the clutch spring for easier clutch lever operation, which helps when riding in busy traffic. The slipper clutch regulates the extra load during downshifts, resulting in the prevention of rear wheel locking and more balance during fast downshifts. The Z H2 SE also features an up and down quick shifter. This quick shifter did its job very well and never faltered during my two-week test.
At the end of each day's ride, I often took the highway back home. Not always exciting, but very comfortable on the Z H2 SE. Kawasaki's Cruise Control system makes it possible to maintain a desired speed with the simple push of a button. This is very relieving after a day of intensive riding and does not make cruising home on the highway annoying.
Well, I already knew the Z H2 SE had it, and just had to test it. I am of course talking about the Kawasaki Launch Control mode. Man, this is fantastic isn't it! You activate the system, put the engine in first gear, open the throttle completely, after which a wonderful sound is released and then release your clutch. I wasn't super skilled in using the launch control myself, but I still experienced it as a great experience. I also made a number of videos of this that I will share with you below this article. You can also hear the well-known 'dolphin sound' the supercharge engine produces in these videos.
The Akrapovic exhaust is euro 5 approved and has an 'E mark'. Despite the strict emission and noise requirements, the sound was great. The Akra produced a deep sound in the high revs. I think it's pretty cool this exhaust has been approved! Well done Kawasaki!
As you may have figured out, I'm a big fan of the handling of this bike. The Z H2 SE completely surprised me and even made me think as a future motorcycle. The experience and pleasure this motorcycle gives you is overwhelming!
The 2021 Kawasaki Z H2 SE is a fantastic bike. The looks of the bike have really grown on me. The bike sits and rides very good. You can easily make longer rides with it without getting tired because the sitting position is very pleasant. The Z H2 SE has several good riding modes and electronics for you to take advantage of. The Z H2 SE is a real eye-catcher. You have to see and ride the bike in real life to be able to make a neutral judgment about it. Despite the 240 kg, the bike is dynamic and agile. Cornering is no problem at all. The 200 hp and 137 nm of torque ensure that you get a nice adrenaline kick, if you actually use all this power. You can also ride the bike relaxed if you want to. The Z H2 SE is so challenging and playful! I really enjoyed this bike and was terribly sorry it had to be handed in at the Kawasaki HQ. As I mentioned before, the bike even got me thinking… and it doesn't happen quickly! I think with the Z H2 SE 2021 model, Kawasaki has managed to put down a good and unique hyper naked. Big complements to Kawasaki.