Bonhams Pioneer, Vintage
& Classic Motorcycle Auctions

Bonhams Motorcycle Department


Date Published:
09 Jul 2020
Tacoma, Washington

This Kawasaki 750cc two-stroke triple was the hottest motorcycle on the street in 1970, a wicked-fast machine that handled well enough to win production races. Kawasaki’s H1 500cc triple of 1969 was a big success, although it was rightly criticized for having brakes and suspension barely adequate to handle the machine’s terrific power. When Kawasaki decided to build its biggest bike ever, a 750cc capacity, it totally redesigned its two-stroke triple with a new chassis and a new engine. The engine displaced 748cc and produced 74 HP, which was by far the most powerful production motorcycle from Japan and was only bested by the Münch Mammut, which used an NSU car motor and weighed 100 pounds more. Thus, the H2, when it was released in 1971, had the quickest quarter-mile times of any production bike—12 seconds flat. The new frame was more robust and kept the wheels in line far better than the H1, while the single disc brake up front (with an optional second disc) was a better bet than the twin-leading-shoe drum of the H1. The 750 H2 weighed 452 pounds and had a broader spread of power than its smaller brother, which made it far more civilized to ride. It was still a totally uncompromised and wild machine, though, and instantly displaced the H1 as the wheelie king and the ultimate street racer. However, the end of the two-stroke street bike was near at hand in the U.S., and we only got three more years of the H2 before its smoky tendencies made it an outlaw and Kawasaki stopped production in 1975, as the 900cc Z-1 was loose on the streets and a worthy inheritor of the H2’s mantle as the mean-streets monarch. This awesome 1971 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV 750cc two-stroke triple holds a special place in the hearts of closet hooligans everywhere. It’s a bike that lived up to its reputation, and well-restored examples like this are rare.