Kawasaki 750 Mach IV H2 The Story
scalded dog
The Kawasaki 750 triple opitimizes, at least to me, the balls out, there's no tomorrow early seventies. The bike was about as un PC and in your face as you could get; smokey, noisey, harmful to man and beast, imagine trying to sell the same thing today, wouldn't happen. You have just got to admire the complete lunacy of this machine, no holes barred total dedication to going like stink-brilliant! It was a stick in the eye to the burgeoning environmental awareness of the time and to the nicest people on their Hondas.

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.

The styling was great and consistently well executed over the two generations the bike went through. During the first three model years the theme was "wave" stripes that started at the nose of the tank and then ended on the duck-tail.  The choice of colours was cool too, though I wasn't too keen on the purple but the gold and blue were nice. The tank was a bit of a blob but the duck-tail was classey and the stance of the bike was spot on, it looked like it was having a hard time keeping all that grunt in check, getting ready to pounce, coiled energy and all that.
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.