Fast, loud, thirsty and anti-social, Kawasaki’s H2 triple embraced the seventies’ spirit of excess. The 748 cc two-stroke burned briefly but intensely, lighting up the scene in 1971 before being squeezed out by the even-faster Z1 in ’73. But by then, the H2 had cemented its place in folklore.
In those pre-political correctness days, Kawasaki’s press release trumpeted: ‘The Kawasaki 750 Mach IV has 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. It’s a machine you must take seriously…’ It wasn’t just hype.
The claimed 125 mph top speed and a 12-second standing quarter-mile time tells part of the story. But it’s the maximum torque being so close to maximum power in the rev range – 57.1 lb.ft at 6500 rpm and 74 bhp at 6800 rpm – that underlines the H2’s peaky delivery. There’s precious little kick low down in the rev range, making it a very single-minded motorcycle.