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Kawasaki Ninja SX SE | Bike Tests | Latest Tests

MoTY 2015 saw the first supercharged motorcycle take part in our end-of-year shootout, and while Kawasaki was applauded for returning supercharging technology to motorcycling mainstream with its H2 and H2R models, it missed out on the coveted gong.

Three years later, Kawasaki is back with another force-fed powerhouse, this time waving the sports touring flag.

Former European-based Superstock racer and AMCN test rider Gareth Jones was handed the keys to the new Ninja H2 SX SE when it was released.

“I spent a big chunk of my career aboard a ZX-10R, and the Ninja H2 SX SE has been built with the essence of the excellent handling of the firm’s flagship superbike,” he reported on his return.

Every member of the MoTY test team was itching to give the big green beast a blast during the shootout and what each discovered was a machine with the heart of a sportsbike, and the chassis and comfort levels perfect for a sports tourer. Super fast, with a great front-end feel, it seems most at home in the hands of riders with a larger stature, combining sportsbike performance with all-day comfort.

“The way the Supercharged engine produces its power makes me forget about the bike’s physical size,” said Watto. “When I rode it through the national park it was super stable; it tracks well, that’s the standout of the bike.”

Mark was another left in awe of the big green bike’s performance. “Even at full throttle, banging through the gears, the bike tracks dead straight – it’s like a missile. And the induction noise and whistle from the supercharger just adds value to the experience.”

Everyone found the impressive suite of electronics – which includes an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for lean-angle ABS and traction control – easy to use and understand, but most questioned the benefits of having a real-time lean-angle display and G-meter.

“The information is pretty irrelevant, even if you could take your eyes off the road mid-corner to see how far you are leaned over,” said Alex Penkils. “But the TFT dash it pretty flash.”

One glaring omission by Kawasaki is its failure to fit heated grips: “It’s a sports tourer and, while it does have cruise control, it really also should have heated grips, and for the price maybe even a heated seat,” added Alex. The screen offers great protection but would be better if it was adjustable.

On the scoresheets, the Kawasaki was one of the favourites in the comfort and performance criteria and scored well with the judges for technology and looks. But when it came to value for money, the votes did slip a little – new technology comes at a price.

The supercharged Ninja H2 SX SE proved to be a worthy MoTY finalist, but the test team handed in their scorecards many wondered if it had ticked enough boxes to be crowned 2018 MoTY champion.

Second opinion – Alex Penklis

A Supercharged 1000cc four-cylinder engine producing in excess of 200hp (154kw) – your brain instantly tells you this motorcycle is going to be a manic and uncontrollable ride. It’s anything but.

The inline four-cylinder supercharged engine makes its power so smoothly that it is one of the most deceptively fast motorcycles I have ridden. No matter where you are in the rev range, there seems to be the same amount of grunt on tap – it’s more like a gas turbine than an internal combustion engine.

Coupled with a long wheelbase and a modest weight of 250kg, the Kawasaki is super-stable under acceleration and maintains its track. Throughout the twisty sections, the Kawasaki’s handling is more solid than agile, a little slow on the change of direction but is confidence inspiring nonetheless. The multidirectional quickshifter offers seamless shifts.

Kawasaki has fitted many touring must-haves to the H2 SX SE such as panniers, cruise control, a centrestand, comfort seat, power socket and good wind protection. While all this adds to the touring experience, for the price of $30,940 (+ORC) I think it’s crying out for electronic suspension and heated grips. The Kawasaki is a fantastic tourer that ticks many boxes.

Check out the Full Test first ride 2018 Kawasaki H2 SX SE as appeared in AMCN Vol 68 No 03

The finalists!

One of these machines has been crowned the 2018 Motorcycle of the Year!

Benelli Leoncino         $7990 (+ORC)

Ducati Panigale V4 S  $37,490 (+ORC)

Harley-Davidson Fat Bob       $27,496 (ride away)

Honda CB1000R        $16,499 (+ORC)

Kawasaki Ninja SX SE            $30,940 (+ORC)

KTM 790 Duke            $15,495 (+ORC)

Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA        $29,300 (+ORC)

Yamaha Tracer GT     $16,990 (+ORC)

As appeared in AMCN Magazine Vol 68 No 12

Vital Stats

PRICE

$30,940 (+ORC)

FUEL

Capacity  19L

Economy  7.0L/100km

Range  271km

WEIGHT

Front 131.70kg

Rear 125.35kg

Total  257.05kg (wet)

TYRES FITTED

Bridgestone Battlax S21

TURNING CIRCLE

6000mm

PERFORMANCE

Power  154kW (claimed)

Torque 137Nm (claimed)

INSURANCE

12-month fully comprehensive

$1554.28

Estimated based on a 50-year old Sydney CBD resident who has held a motorcycle licence for longer than five years, has had zero at-fault claims and has completed an accredited riding course

Dimensions

A Seat height: 835mm

B Peg to seat: 480mm

C Peg to bar: 840mm

D Bar to seat: 660mm

The finalists!

One of these machines has been crowned the 2018 Motorcycle of the Year!

Benelli Leoncino         $7990 (+ORC)

Ducati Panigale V4 S  $37,490 (+ORC)

Harley-Davidson Fat Bob       $27,496 (ride away)

Honda CB1000R        $16,499 (+ORC)

Kawasaki Ninja SX SE            $30,940 (+ORC)

KTM 790 Duke            $15,495 (+ORC)

Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA        $29,300 (+ORC)

Yamaha Tracer GT     $16,990 (+ORC)