In the 1970s, if there was one bike that was fast enough to give the rider all the thrills desired and was loud enough to make its presence vehemently felt, it was none other than the Japanese-made Kawasaki H2 Mach IV.
This iconic motorcycle was the fastest accelerating bike of its time and is currently, in the words of bike reviewer Robert Smith, ‘a prized motoring heirloom.’ Announced back in 1971, the H2 Mach IV was produced between 1972 and 1975 and resulted in establishing firm ground for Kawasaki in the motorcycle world for the next decades.
Kawasaki H2 Mach IV supported an all-new 748cc 3-cylinder two-stroke engine that produced an astonishing 74 horsepower, providing the bike with considerable burst and a top speed of 120mph. The initial version of the bike was equipped with single disc brakes at the front. Later models were upgraded to support the capacitor discharge ignition (CDI) technology whereas improvements in the bike’s steering damper were also made.
With the Kawasaki H2 Mach IV, it was all about the power and the thrill offered as the bike was heavily used in drag competitions—irrespective of their scales—all over the world, that would set up for an all-exciting experience that was guaranteed to last for quite a time. The bike’s brochure promised riders “the most exciting and exhilarating performance,” adding that the Mach IV was a “machine you must take seriously.” This bike was not something that was meant to be tried by a novice rider; it was more of an enraged bull that could only be controlled by the most experienced rider.
Different from its predecessor Mach III in terms of an advanced engine and improved road performance, the Mach IV could do wonders in the hands of an individual with the right set of skills. The design of the bike, however, remained a subject of debate over the years as riders complained that the bike’s frame was not capable of sustaining the powerful thrust experienced following ignition. Moreover, complaints were also made regarding losing control of the front wheel of the motorcycle while driving at rough terrains, and that due to uneven weight at the rear of the bike, the front wheel did at times went airborne under certain circumstances.
Despite the few exterior-related shortcomings, the Mach IV was greatly admired by American bikers as it did not put much of a strain on their pockets when compared with then rival models, namely the Honda CB 750, the Triumph Trident, or the Norton Commando Roadster. Kawasaki did make adjustments in the bike’s design over the years of the H2’s production, improving handling, stability, and engine performance.
Things, however, were beginning to change in the mid-1970s as new emission laws were introduced that were a little too much for the H2 to cope up with. And it wasn’t just the emissions that the H2 had to deal with, the bike’s performance in terms of fuel consumption was also a concern and all the noise it made greatly added to its misery. Production of the H2 continued till 1975. Afterwards, Kawasaki introduced 4-stroke models in the market.
The new Kawasaki is the extension of what the original bike was back in the 70s. The bike is just as scary and fast today as the original bike was back in the day.
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