Friday, November 7, 2014

World's fastest motorcycle

World's fastest motorcycle unveiled: supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2 uses technology from aerospace and Formula One. On sale next year from about $30,000.

There may soon be no more need for speed. Kawasaki has just unveiled a motorcycle that is so fast even daredevils are wondering if it is too powerful.

With a design inspired by Formula One race cars and a supercharged engine that uses aerospace technology, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 is expected to blast from 0 to 100km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.

It can accelerate as quick as an F1 racing machine -- if riders can hang on to it -- because the supercharged engine has almost as much power as a Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch, but the Kawasaki Ninja H2 weighs barely one-fifth as much as a car.

The supercharger technology is so sophisticated it has been banned from international motorcycle racing since 1946, but has returned to a modern, road-going motorcycle in the search for more power from smaller engines.

The Kawasaki Ninja H2 is expected to go on sale in Australia early next year priced about $30,000 and will be available to anyone who has completed their learner and provisional periods on their motorcycle licence.

The Ninja H2 is expected to comfortably overtake the previous title holders of the world's fastest bike including the Kawasaki Ninja ZX14-R from 2012, the Ducati Diavel from 2011, the Yamaha VMAX from 2010, and the Suzuki GSXR-1000 from 2006.

The official slogan "built beyond belief" may also go down in history as the most honest in advertising; even Kawasaki admits the Ninja H2 is "not for everyone, nor is it designed to be".

When it comes to performance the Ninja H2 is "a whole new world", said Kenichi Hashiba, the managing director of Kawasaki Motors Australia.

It is so powerful Kawasaki has fitted a range of electronics that limit power to enable it to be ridden safely in wet weather or in slippery conditions, as well as a "launch control" mode to get the perfect start.

The brakes are bigger than those fitted to a Holden Commodore V8 sedan.

"The potential buyer will probably not spend too much time debating in their head whether or not to buy it," said Mr Hashiba. "They will feel the desire inside and act on those feelings."

Contrary to expectations, the motorcycle insurance industry is not up in arms over the supercharged superbike.

"There are already motorcycles on the road that can accelerate at racing car levels and many that can do more than 300km/h," said Swann Insurance research manager Robert McDonald.

"Generally most motorcycle owners only use these speed capabilities on organised track days. There are also many cars on the road currently that can do more than 300km/h."

The insurer said it was important to note the Kawasaki Ninja H2 had the latest available safety equipment, including intelligent anti-lock brakes, as standard.

"We don't anticipate higher than normal claims rates with this motorcycle compared to other high-powered sports bikes on the road," said Mr McDonald.

Very fast facts: Kawasaki Ninja H2
Engine: Supercharged 998cc in-line four-cylinder
Power: 154.5kW at 11,000rpm (210 horsepower)
Torque: 140Nm at 10,000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed
Weight: 238kg (ready to ride)
Brakes: 330mm discs (front), 250mm (rear)
0 to 100km/h: Less than 2.5 seconds (estimated)
Top speed: 299km/h (electronically limited, race track version can reach 340km/h).

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