Classic Motorcycles – Kawasaki 750H2
The Kawasaki 750H2 was introduced at a time when environmental concerns generally were becoming more mainstream. Since Honda had stolen a march on the whole motorcycling world in 1968 by the introduction of the first recognised “super bike”, the CXB750, just beating Kawasaki who had their own new 750 in the pipeline, Kawasaki had started to push the boundaries of motorcycle design.
Creating a new class as they did, the 900cc class with the introduction in 1974 of the Z1, Kawasaki had comprehensively gained their revenge on Honda with a new machine that trounced the CB750 in every department.
However, the 750 class was far from dead, and continues to be competitive today. In 1973, Kawasaki released the 750H2. The styling was very similar to that of the Z1, but this time with three exhausts not four, given that this was a triple cylinder machine. Unlike the Z1, the H2 was a two stroke machine that smoked heavily and guzzled fuel at a rate of 20 miles per gallon! It was once described by the editor of Bike magazine, then Mark Williams as “the nastiest, meanest motorcycle ever to wrench the wrist muscles of the know-it-all biker.”
What made it particularly interesting was the fact that both peak power and peak torque arrived within 300rpm of each other, peak torque arriving this means is that when riding at low speed the bike sounds a bit burbling, and feels gutless. However, a small turn of the wrist and the bike takes off like lightening and all but pulls your arms off.
This is difficult enough, but you then had to consider the fact that this machine only had a single 295mm disc brake on the front and a 200mm drum on the rear, so hazards had to be anticipated earlier than usual.
Even Kawasaki’s own press release said of the moderately detuned H2B that it had “only one purpose in life; to give you the most exciting and exhilarating performance. It’s so quick, it demands the razor sharp reactions of an experienced rider.” The H2 was put aside in 1975, but remains a formidable machine, even by today’s standards.