Kawasaki H2 MK IV –The original H2
With all the out of control hype surrounding the release of the new supercharged Kawasaki H2R, we thought it might be time to revisit the original H2 in the shape of this 1973 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV
The H2 was a two-stroke 120-degree firing 750cc triple-cylinder produced between 1972 and 1975 and came on the back of the success of the 500cc H1 Mach III from 1969.
Back in the day the claimed 74 horsepower was huge news and the large capacity gave it a much larger spread of power than previously seen two-stroke motorcycles. It was also enough to make the H2 the fastest accelerating motorcycle in production with quarter mile times of 12-seconds seemingly par for the course. Although these days there are lesser capacity scooters that could show the H2 a clean set of heels from the lights, let alone in the bends…
Many claim the original 1972 machines were the most powerful as changes were made in 1973 to try and squeeze more range from the 17-litre fuel tank and by 1974 the official power rating was recued to 71 horsepower and a longer swingarm and improved steering damper fitted to calm the somewhat wayward ways of the spindly chassis. Fuel economy was reported to be as bad as 14 litres per 100km in many cases. And while the handling of the machine would be completely alarming to anybody remotely acquainted with any modern motorcycle, it was widely reported as a huge step forward over its H1 predecessor.
Styling wise the H2 was one of the first motorcycles to effectively shroud the rear light assembly with a much shorter rear fender than generally seen before.
Along with the oiling jets spraying on to the engines vital reciprocating parts inside to assist lubrication, there was also a hand activated chain oiling system to keep the chain lubricated while on the go. Oil was something that was also the H2′s nemesis with any form of city riding often oiling up the plugs within minutes on the early models, a trait that was somewhat cured as the machine evolved throughout its production life.
The original sales brochure claimed the purpose of the H2 was, ‘To give you the most exciting and exhilarating performance and demands the razor sharp reactions of an experienced rider as it is a machine you must take seriously.” With the amount of these machines that ended up in the bushes and the amount of riders put into hospital, that advice was obviously not taken by too many!
Kawasaki H2 MK IV Specifications
- Engine: Air-cooled, two-stroke, transverse three-cylinder,
- Engine capacity: 748 cc
- Bore x Stroke: 71 x 63 mm
- Compression Ratio: 7.3:1
- Induction: 3x 30 mm Mikuni carbs
- Starting and ignition: Kick start battery and coil
- Max Power: 74 hp (55 kW) @ 6800 rpm
- Max Torque: 7.9 kg-m @ 6500 rpm
- Transmission: 5-speed, chain drive.
- Frame: Double tubular steel cradle
- Front: Suspension: Telescopic hydraulic forks
- Rear Suspension: Dual shocks, Swing arm
- Brakes: Single disc (front) Drum brake (rear)
- Dry-Weight 205 kg
- Fuel Capacity: 17 litres