Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE Test Ride

Rachel (my other half for anyone new) had booked herself a ride on a Z900RS, courtesy of Kawasaki’s demo day at Cobb & Jagger in Shipley (North Yorkshire, UK).

It was a gloriously sunny day so I went along for the ride, taking the Sprint GT for a spin. Time was a little short so we nipped up the motorway to avoid being late for the appointment. The M1 is never fun but the Sprint does make it bearable, although judging by the standard of driving I’d say heatstroke had set in quite early for many on the road.

I hadn’t realised it was actually a demo day until I got to Cobb & Jagger. Apparently I’d been told but…well, you know. It turned out that they had a Ninja H2 SX SE available so instead of hanging about staring at a lot of green bikes, I filled out the form, grabbed the keyless key, and set off on a bike I’ve been wanting to try for ages.

Actually, that’s not quite true. It was the naked Z H2 I wanted to try, but really that supercharged engine is the interesting bit.

After the safety briefing (no doughnuts or wheelies) and donning the fetching green tabard that made us look like some sort of frog patrol, I put the magic key in my pocket and turned the switch to fire up the ignition. Then I got the key out of my pocket, waved it in front of the TFT display in an irritated fashion, and tried again. Success! Good start.

The bike burbled into life with a quick prod of a featureless grey button. The inline four made no audible fuss, or maybe it was just strangled by that oversized, leaf-blower next to the back wheel. A quick blip of the throttle confirmed it revs easily and smoothly. I know the inline fours don’t have the ‘character’ of a big V-twin but I like the silky power delivery.

We were warned about traffic and the town roads on much or our route. They were not wrong. There was some country stuff but it was difficult to make progress. I got just a hint of what the bike would be like when allowed to stretch its legs. One sweeping B-road proved the handling to be light and agile. A couple of miles of dual carrageway, a low gear choice and some flexing of the right wrist also hinted at the ballastic capabilities of that blown engine. Things far away become things very close, very quickly. It’s clear I only experienced a fraction the bike’s abilities today. I definitely need to take one out for couple of hours without the tour guide.

Even though the ride was a bit limited, this was an opportunity to compare the H2 SX with the S1000RR and Panigale V4S I’ve already ridden. It’s a slightly unfair comparison as the Ninja is supposedly a sports-tourer. The other two definitely are not. Outside of a track I’m not sure the Kwacker really loses out for being a bit less extreme. In the real world it’s going to be just as quick, and far more versatile. They call it a ‘sports-tourer’ but to me it a sports bike, just not a supersports bike.

More power than you can shake a horse at. Comfortable but agile. and a subtle whine that tells you something, somewhere is spinning very quickly indeed. I liked it.

“What about the Z900RS”, I hear nobody cry. Rubbish, apparently. Lumpy and thoroughly disappointing. But she took the H2 out after me and now we might have to buy one.


I’m shallow. I couldn’t buy anything that looks like that, no matter how good it might be.


It’s not a looker but then have you seen the state of adventure bikes? :grin:

I agree, I think most new adventure and naked bikes look hideous. Fortunately Triumph still know how to make good looking bikes. Even adventure bikes :slightly_smiling_face:

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The H2 SX may look like something dreamt up by HR Giger but Triumph’s adventure bikes have faces only a mother could love. :smile:


That’s still devilishly handsome compared to most of the competition and Triumph have since improved upon it, moving them even further ahead :+1:


That’s like picking the least ugly option from a group of ugly people. For the record I think the GS1300 looks :poop: but… the GS still outsells all the others which to any manufacturer is all that matters

Anyway back on track… Chopsey has the H2 and has several vids on it. IIRC it does drink fuel though and to anyone thinking of getting a new high powered expensive steed check out the insurance before you do as many who’ve bought the new GS1300 have either been refused cover or have seen their premiums go through the roof. Quite a few have cancelled their order because of insurance problems and they’re typical mature riders with full NCD and a clean licence etc :cold_sweat:

I’m not close enough to a purchase to check the insurance quotes but it’s a good shout and I’m curious now.

I’ll have to disagree…


It’s always a good shout to check insurance quotes before committing to anything. Regarding quotes for the 1300 GS, I ran some through Compare the Market a while ago out of curiosity. They came back in the order of £320, compared to £220 for the Tiger 1200 and £175 for the Tiger 900. More expensive, but not outrageous.