Kawasaki 750 Mach IV H2 The Story
Somebody at Kawasaki had a sense of humour that's for sure. But it had a rep, only real men could tame it, you had to have them in the right place to ride the thing. The engine was schizophrenic, you could burble around town (as long as the plugs didn't foul) then yank the taps and the thing would be off like a scalded dog. There were nice touches all over the bike like the front mudguard, sized just right and cleanly mounted on the fork legs and the way the right-hand pipes splayed beside the rear wheel lightened up the backend. Coupled with no rear mudguard to speak of they gave the bike a light and clean look. From the 1974 model year the shape of the tank and the ducktail were changed, the tank became thinner and longer and ended in a pointed nose. It was an improvement but the ducktail lost its sweptback and along with it its impact as a styling element and became nothing more than a way of ending the seat. But most noticeable of all were the new tank decals, instead of the "wave" lines solid panels outlned in white were applied, it was a big change but worked equally well.
Of course it wasn't all beer and skittles, the engine could be a mechanical hand grenade if not maintained and the frame struggled to keep everything more or less aligned. Build quality wasn't up to Honda or even Kawasaki's own Z1 levels and time would definitely take its toll on the finish, living near the sea was not recommended to H2 owners. There are two qualities that define the H2 for me; the styling and the reputation. There was no mistaking the family lineage of the H2 styling, and the model worked well at any scale, whether it was the 250 or any of its larger brethren.
It was to be the final member (penultimate if you count the 400) of the triple family and continued the tradition of reasonably reliable engineering, maximum performance for the money and imaginative styling.
And even though it only lasted four years , the H2 along with the H1 and Z1 were the bikes that sealed Kawasaki's reputation as being just a little bit closer to the edge than the other makers. Today it's hard to distinguish between both the bikes produced and the public personna of any of the Japanese makers, it's almost at the point now that if you changed the badge on a Suzuki to Yamaha nobody would be any the wiser. That could never be said about the H2 or any of its brethren for sure.