Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Insurance Rider: 1973 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV

If we're talking two-stroke street bikes, it's inevitable that the Kawasaki H2 will come up.  The H2 Mach IV 750, a.k.a the "Widow Maker" was Kawasaki's entry into the 750cc big bike derby in the early 70's. Think of the other bike makers with their 4 stokes and liquid cooling as Fleetwood Mac. Kawasaki with their air-cooled 750cc two stroke triple with 74 brake, was like the Ramones to their safe, pop-rock. Find this 1973 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV for sale in Canton, OH with a starting bid of $13,500 here on eBay.


Kawasaki's 750cc was built to take on the 750s from Norton, Suzuki, Moto Guzzi and Ducati.  The Mach IV rider experienced the two-stroke triple's output 74 bhp in a narrow, 2,800 rpm powerband all the while surrounded by a blue haze of two stroke smoke.  He also had to stop at gas stations frequently, barely achieving 20 mpg.


If power was #1 on the Kawasaki designers list, handling was #99.  The frame design was an afterthought and contemporary motorcycle magazines note how easily it was to pick the front wheel off the ground on acceleration:  [the H2] "was conceived at a time when the buying public was preoccupied with acceleration. Gut-grabbing acceleration. And little else. And the bike delivered to the tune of mid-12-second quarter-miles and wheelies that would stop your heart.”  Even a contemporary Kawasaki sales brochure said this bike "is a machine you must take seriously".  In the hands of a nervous novice, this bike was deadly, earning it the nickname "Widow Maker".  This bike is reportedly a "dining room find".  Apparently the owner stored it in his mom's dining room under a sheet and is in original, unrestored condition.  When new, the pipes were replaced with custom J&R expansion chambers, but the originals come with the bike.  Not to sound like that other site, but I'd go back to the originals, they are much cooler looking than these aftermarket things.


The odometer shows 8,300 miles on it, apparently the owner rode it from 1973, when they purchased it new to 1977, when mom got to store it.  No word on what happened during Thanksgiving dinner.  Wonder if it got a place at the table?


I have to include this one last close up of the tank.  You just don't see anything painted in that combination of purple, orange and red anymore...


See a better way for your heirs to invoke your life insurance policy? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent.  He's a lifelong Alfista and grew up riding two-stroke dirt bikes in rural Washington State when no one cared where you rode off road.  He wrote this bio in third person, but isn't nearly clever enough to make witty jokes about it.  Vote for Manuel, in reverb we trust.

24 comments:

  1. I still remember being on a long-haul trip back in the early '70s with my parents, stopping at a gas station somewhere in the Midwest. The guy working at the station had a Kawi triple in parts at the service-bay door.

    We wandered over to have a look, and his remark "Don't buy a Kawasaki, buy a motorcycle" has been stuck in my brain forever since.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair, given the date ('70 or '71, annual trip, we flew in '72 and I know it was no later) it must have been an H1 not an H2, but given the nature of the beast I'm sure his remark would have applied here as well.

      Delete
  2. Fleetwood T. BroughamSeptember 1, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Makes me want to put a fairing on the front, Appollonia on the back, and go riding all around the greater Twin Cities area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070326220727AAusPvn

      Ain't no Kawi triple...

      Delete
    2. Yes, yes, I know it's a Honda......work with me people..........

      Delete
  3. I'm sure I've read about fork, brake and rear suspension mods for these so that they will no longer make your wife a widow, just a long term carer for a paraplegic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not convinced that's an improvement, from either side of the equation.

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You nailed it. In my late seventies crew the kid with the two smoke was the punk rocker.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The fastest and scariest thing I have ever driven or ridden.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Some of the early Kaw s were pretty bad compared to Honda Yam And Suzuki build quality was from another lesser world.
    Fast and another scooter that did not handle well when it came to the twistys if you made it that far !

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love the Bold "LOOK @ ME"Colors Kaw had !

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hands up; who currently rides or did ride?

    I did until I got married....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I used to ride, have the metal in my legs to prove it. Most likely will ride again.

      When I hear someone comment about smoking and drugs being dangerous habits I have to laugh. Bikes are so much more addictive.

      Delete
    2. Once it gets under your skin, right?

      Even my grandmother rode.

      Delete
    3. Still riding, but re-thinking it what with all the cage drivers and their cell phones, iPads, newspapers, bowls of cereal, etc., etc,. etc.

      Delete
    4. I still ride, but pretty much only nice weekend mornings before the jack-holes wake up. Still, I find riding a bicycle on the street to be even scarier than riding a motorbike.

      Delete
  10. Back when these were new my cousin drag raced one. It was amazing to see how much the frames on these would flex.

    Yep, it killed him.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes i still ride tried to give it up but not able my 77 Suzuki GS750 is a very pretty nice bike and looks new but rides like a bike form the 70's Horrible front disc brake rear is okay and use the gearbox to slow down. But there is a trick to ridin older bikes and you must give it a lot more attention then my previous 04 BMW 1150RT..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know you have a problem when you haven't ridden in a long time and you watch wistfully as a motorcycle goes by.

      Delete
  12. Meant to post this earlier: '72 and '73 H2's on Jay Leno's Garage.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3Lytyt8Qmo

    ReplyDelete
  13. What does the Kawasak say? "ring a ding ding ding ding"

    Might not be as much Ramones as Ylvis.

    ReplyDelete
  14. J&R's are actually a good choice on H2's. Midrange of stock pipes with a touch more on top. Got them on one of my H2's. The power band is not as narrow as legend would have it.
    Coincidentally I got pulled over twice on my way home from a Ramones gig on one.

    ReplyDelete

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