The Kawasaki Ninja H2R bowed in 2014 like a nuke in a knife fight. While incredibly, dangerously, unmanageably quick motorcycles make close to 200 horsepower– this Ninja has 300. But would anyone ever be brave enough to try and top it out? Finally, yes.
Pro motorcycle racer Kenan Sofuoğlu is currently the winningest rider in the World Supersport series and as of 2016 he’s sponsored by Kawasaki. Sofuoğlu is the brave bastard who know holds the H2R speed record and one unquestionable citation of his fearlessness.
On the Osman Gazi Bridge, also known as the İzmit Bay Bridge, in his native Turkey Sofuoğlu just laid down what’s being called the highest speed ever hit on an H2R– an indicated 400 kilometers per hour, or 249 MPH in ’Murican/English.
In fact Sofuoğlu’s team says that makes the H2R the fastest production motorcycle ever. Granted, the non-street legal H2R is barely a “production bike” and its road-going brother the “regular-ass H2” only makes about 200 horsepower. But still. Somebody just took a bike to 250. On a damn bridge.
“When I asked for the motorcycle, Kawasaki said its maximum speed was 380 km/h and that their dream was to reach 400km/h,” Sofuoğlu said to WorldSBK. “The first time I rode it, I felt its huge power and speed, and I made small changes to the motorcycle - keeping its original settings - and did not modify it. I reached 390 km/h in my last trials and today I beat this and reached 400 km/h.”
Not the most poetic description of what must have been the world’s tightest ass-clench but an impressive performance nonetheless.
Sofuoğlu’s Facebook page says he made the 0-400 KPH sprint in 26 seconds.
The bridge is apparently a bit more than a mile and a half long– 8,799 feet to be precise. Which one of you nerds wants to figure out how long it would take him to cross?
In the WorldSBK post cited above, the bike is described as adjusted but not “modified.” An H2R is $50,000 straight out of the box and comes with the official warning that it “is a closed course riding use only model and is not manufactured for use on public roads, streets or highways. All usage of this vehicle should be limited to riding on a closed course.”
I’m not sure what Kawasaki’s budget for this “record attempt” was, but I did find out that the Osman Gazi Bridge has a $31(!) toll for motorcycles. Wonder they wave that when you rent the whole thing.
Sofuoğlu’s next race for Kawasaki is at Lausitzring, Germany September 16th.