Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Kawasaki Mach IV

Wed, June 1st, 2011

1972–75 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV
Despite its reputation as a rocketship, the H2 motor was a very uncivilized design that only gets a middling grade. It made fantastic power for its day (once you got above 3500 RPM), and the trip through the upper 1/5th of the 7500 RPM rev range remains a remarkable thing to experience, as long as you're on a straight, empty stretch of road. But, on the down side, the price one paid for that rush was unmanageable power delivery, excessive noise and vibration, and horrible fuel economy.
The H2's spindly tube frame and sub-standard suspension could never have been acceptable with this much power, but what wholly overwhelmed the H2's chassis was the motor's peaky power profile. Whenever the engine suddenly and violently came 'on the pipe,' the chain would snatch and put a huge twisting load the swingarm and frame, causing the whole bike to momentarily twist perceptively, then uncoil. This torsional flex upset everything from steering stability to traction.
The H2 — especially the original '72–'73 version — perfectly captured the over-the-top flamboyance of the era.
Considering the flogging riders gave the H2, it held together well. It was crude, but that same trait allowed other words like simple and straightforward to also apply. Unfortunately, any of 'em you find today outside a museum will have brittle plastic parts and dried out seals in the engine.
It's always been utterly useless for anything other than trying to hurt yourself. Nowadays, the rarity of parts and its collectability mean that it's a very expensive way to hurt yourself.
It sounds like it'll be more fun than it turns out to be.
People who sincerely desire an H2 are like those young women we all know who keep dating abusive jerks because they like their 'bad boy' persona.