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|01-24-2016, 10:50 PM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Ninja H2 Owner Meets Kawasaki Motorcycle Builders
New Owner Mitch Feingersch With Ninja H2 Builders
This one is getting framed! Visiting with the H2 team reinforced just how important this motorcycle is for Kawasaki.
We are accustomed to thinking that big corporations are cold and impersonal. They don’t know we’re alive—much less care about what we like. And for the most part, that’s true. But not universally true, as I found out.
As we all know, Kawasaki Heavy Industries builds everything from aircraft parts for Boeing to whole ships. But a tiny part of this industrial giant builds a line of product that garners worldwide recognition and puts a face on that otherwise impersonal mega-company: motorcycles.
Here’s where this starts to get personal. I own an original 1972 Kawasaki H2 and a 1985 GPz750 Turbo, so I’m obviously a nut for fast (and, in retrospect, significant) Kawasakis. So when Senior Road Test Editor Ari Henning gave me the heads up that Kawasaki was reviving the H2 name, I thought I had to have one, even as I was very briefly on the fence. But a conversation with MC Editor in Chief Marc Cook helped seal the deal. “Do you want this bike?” he asked. Yes, I did. “Would buying it have any impact on your financial well-being?” No, it wouldn’t. “Then why are we having this conversation? Just buy the thing,” he said.
1972 H2 Owner Mitch Feingersch With His New Ninja H2
New Ninja H2 owner Mitch Feingersch owns an original 1972 Kawasaki H2 and a 1985 GPz750 Turbo.
So I did, and some months later, soon after I picked up my brand-new Ninja H2, Kawasaki’s US office started plying me with goodies. (Didn’t they realize I’d already bought the bike?) I received gift boxes with special paint protectants for the new bike’s fabulous paint job, which was cool, but I also received requests to take surveys on the bike, which I was happy to do. After two surveys, I received a call from Kawasaki marketing. They wanted to know if I would be interested in meeting for an hour or two to talk about my new acquisition. They would even pay for my time. Can you imagine?
On the appointed day, standing outside my garage waiting for the marketing manager to show, I was taken aback to see a very large white van pull up with KAWASAKI emblazoned on the side. When eight people spilled out I couldn’t help but think, “What the is this?”
It turns out that most of the factory team responsible for the concept, development, and testing of the new H2 was here.
From Japan and in that van.
After correct and polite introductions, we got down to business. The team was most curious about my views on what was good and what was not as good about the new machine. I told them an analog speedo was part of my wish list, as was a fuel gauge. They were also very interested to discover that, prior to purchase, I had no plans to buy a new bike. I stressed that the resurrection of the H2 nameplate was the determining factor. The team was certainly attentive to my answers, and maybe some of my notions will show up on future bikes. Of course, I also asked, “Will there be a 2016 Ninja H2?” The answer was a polite change of subject. (We now know the answer is yes.)
Kawasaki knows the competition. They wanted my thoughts on BMW, Ducati, Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki. (I reminded them that they had forgotten MV Agusta and Aprilia!) They also wanted to know if I planned on any further bike purchases. My answer was that I’d next like to find a classic Laverda 1000 Jota and a BSA Rocket III. This elicited nods of approval.
Toward the end of the meeting, the team presented me with another cool memento, a copy of the press book for the new Ninja H2, signed by each member of the team and the test rider! What a treat.
I realize the H2 is a very special product for Kawasaki and that its high price and limited numbers make such customer treatment possible. But I was also impressed that Kawasaki cared enough about its newest baby to spend time with a real owner. It was a great experience that makes me love my H2 even more.
Kawasaki H2 First Ride Video: