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I traded my 2017 Ninja 1000 for a 2019 H2SX. As with most things there is a story behind most decisions, and I figured I would share just so you have some real world perspective.

After three summers on the N1K, and some stupidly fast multi-day trips with my buddies on their 14's my body was feeling it, especially the vibration. The N1K is in a class by itself, don't get me wrong, but when you are "commuting" on a straight section of road, or big sweepers, in between the twisty sections for 30-60mins, at commuting speeds of 90 - 100mph, the vibes in the bars, pegs, and especially the tank just wore me down. It is a great sporty bike up to 140kmh, and fine doing passes up to 180kmh, but tiring for anything above that for extended periods of time.

Like most of you, motorcycles are a passion of mine, and I am always looking for my next bike. This may sound like an eclectic short list, but the H2SX, the BMW R1250RS, and the new style Goldwing Bagger (no top case) all intrigued me enough to go test ride them.

Goldwing up first. I spoke to so many people, online and in-person before throwing a leg over this thing, and I had my doubts about all the raves on the new 'Wing...."It's fast........it can rail corners.....it is nothing like the old Goldwings..........it will surprise you". Whatever these people were smoking, I wanted some. Sure, its BIG, but it is diminutive compared to the old style. Sitting next to a Honda ST, they are about the same size, and the Goldwing even slightly narrower. They dropped 100lbs of it from the previous model, but its still heavy AF, right?

Fast forward to the test ride. I got the front wheel off the ground in 1st and 2nd gear. I could drag a knee on this thing easily. No bike has a better looking dash, headlights, or an engine this smooth. The center of gravity is so low, that you forget you are on a heavy bike once you are over 10 miles per hour. I was hugely impressed but in the end decided against it as I felt I "Just wasn't there yet". I see it more as my "Last bike". Plus, it needed about $2,000 in front and rear suspension from Traxxion to be sprung properly.

Great bike, but I really wanted my unicorn. A bike I didn't have to modify extensively like I have with every one of the 16 bikes I've owned.

On to the BMW. I spent some time on the S1000XR, and soon came to the conclusion that the ergos weren't all that different than my friend's KTM 1190 Adventure. He has been struggling with windscreens all year, and even ran without a windscreen for a couple of months. Naked offered the cleanest air, and the best airflow on hot days, but at the speeds we "commute" it just beats you up. The big challenge with these Adventure bikes is wind management. There is just no way you can avoid buffeting when your helmet is that far away from the windscreen. So the XR dropped off my list rather quickly.

The R1250RS seemed to be perfect for me. Lower seat, higher bars than my N1K, an amazing looking dash, shaft drive, and a redesigned motor. Let's go for a rip! Man, I like this bike. I've ridden a few boxers in the past, and their unique characteristics always turned me off. This new shift-cam is a real peach. First let me tell you I have owned half a dozen BMW's from Z4's to 545i's, and my buying experience as well as my service experience has been nothing short of stellar. BMW Bikes? I worked with two local dealers and my feedback (this was my feedback to them as well) was that they could stuff their arrogant attitude right in their tailpipe. I am a serious rider with 25 years riding, 16 bikes....bla bla bla .............I know what I am talking about and when I told them "I am buying a new bike in the next 48 hours, what's the difference between trading in my 2017 N1K and the 2020 R1250RS?", all I got was "Well, we can't give you a number because we would have to bring your bike in to the shop, inspect it top to bottom, and spend $100 to check Carfax. Without a pending deal in hand, we can't give you a number". Serious? Good bye.

Needless to say H2SX won. I wanted less vibration at high speed, cruise control, and suspension that was good enough that I didn't have to spend $2-3000 to upgrade it. In fact, I'm at the point now that I don't really want to mod bikes (much) anymore. I loved the cruise control, and the suspension is the best I have ridden on a stock bike. The rear seat is large enough that I don't need a tail rack for my dry bag when I go on multi-day trips. Every aspect of the stock bike was perfect, except for two things (1) the pegs are high, about the same as the N1K in terms of seat-to-peg, and (2) the bars are low, about the same as my N1K with the Speedy Moto clip-ons.

Some 10mm riser plates from Japan have been ordered (Not much available aftermarket for these limited production bikes). After a 500mile day ride yesterday, I experienced no discomfort with the high pegs. Raising the bars 1cm should help. And the seat! Well, I have never found a stock seat that was comfortable, and to my surprise, the stock seat works, works really well. No changes needed there. Did a ride out to Nelson and back for an overnight and even though temps ranged from 5C to a high of 13C, with rain and fog, I got off the bike in my garage, stared back at it and said to myself "Wow, I'm not sore anywhere". That's a first for me. Closest experience would have been riding my Concours 14.

The H2SX is a very impressive motorcycle, but don't let anyone tell you it is a sport-touring bike. It is a sport-bike through and through. You do not feel the extra weight over the N1K, it turns as well, it brakes better, and of course the power difference is significant.

I can't hear the exhaust. All I hear is the airbox, the sound of the propeller, the angry birds chirping whenever you lay off the throttle above 8,000rpms. Strangest sounding bike I have ever ridden. It needs a muffler for volume so I can ride this thing off the exhaust note and not look at the tach. The bike is so smooth to ride, with only a slight vibe in the bars, that you lose track of how fast you are moving. 160km/hr on it feels like 120km/hr on the N1K. I could ride this thing 180kmh all day long.

I like comparing the H2SX to the 14R I had. I like to use the "Tuner Car with a supercharged V6 versus a big German sedan with a small block V8" analogy. Yeah, they make similar HP and Torque, but they feel very different. The 14R feels heavy because it is heavy. The H2SX is heavy, but you don't feel it one bit. There is no better motor than the 14R IMHO. I wish Kawasaki would just put it 3 new models, or at least re-design the 14R with a new tail section, LED headlights, and some better ergos. I just could not get comfortable on the 14R despite what I feel is the best engine on the market. My "long torso, short legs" never fit the bike.

The H2SX sits in between the N1K and 14R with about 90% of the power of the 14R but significantly better handling, way better suspension (the best stock suspension I have ever ridden), better tech, better ergos (for me), and better looks.

After almost 3,000kms on the H2SX in a couple weeks, The only mods needed have been bar risers, frame sliders, and a plethora of RAM mounts for my Doo-Dads. That's it! I am pretty sure that I won't be doing any major surgery to the H2 SX, it's THAT good right out of the box. And that's what i was hoping for.
 

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Great post Frank and congrats on the purchase. We've both been looking at the same bikes, i've just been avoiding the test rides -for now. I've also noticed your posts on H2SXriders, as it's a big i've been strongly considering. What are you getting for range on a tank? Any other mods you're considering beyond comfort and fit? and of course, are you going to get it flashed to unleash all the extra HP up top?
 

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Great review. Congrats on the new bike. 3k in two weeks, nice.

I thought you had mentioned lag in the other thread where the h2sx was being discussed? *How are you finding it after presumably some more time in the seat?*
 

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Congrats on the new ride! It looks fantastic with the bags...boxes whatever they're called. I'm assuming you picked it up from Burnaby Kawasaki? Those guys are great.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What are you getting for range on a tank? Any other mods you're considering beyond comfort and fit? and of course, are you going to get it flashed to unleash all the extra HP up top?
So far it looks like with aggressive riding, I can get about 300km/tank. I ran it in medium power mode (80%) coming back in the rain from Nelson and I estimate I can get 340/tank.

I just put on the 10mm Beet Riser plates and Trickstar frame sliders today. Got them from Webike. Both are very nice. I would not bother with flashing this thing and adding the ZX10R header. It does not need it, and as this is the second most expensive bike I have ever owned, I'm happy with it being bone stock. All the HP gains are north of 10,000rpms, and the bike is pretty insane above that as it is. The only reason I would consider vcyclenut's flash is to smooth out a little herky-jerky in the throttle at low speeds. It's no where near as bad as the twins I've owned/ridden, and usually smooths out over time. We will see. So far, its a minor annoyance.
 

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wow Frank. great review. and it sounds like you've got a stellar new ride. plus there's always the "Starbucks" bonus of having a really unique bike - no matter where you stop, you'll attract attention and conversation. congrats!
 

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eah, they make similar HP and Torque, but they feel very different. The 14R feels heavy because it is heavy. The H2SX is heavy, but you don't feel it one bit. There is no better motor than the 14R IMHO. I wish Kawasaki would just put it 3 new models, or at least re-design the 14R with a new tail section, LED headlights, and some better ergos. I just could not get comfortable on the 14R despite what I feel is the best engine on the market. My "long torso, short legs" never fit the bike.

The H2SX sits in between the N1K and 14R with about 90% of the power of the 14R but significantly better handling, way better suspension (the best stock suspension I have ever ridden), better tech, better ergos (for me), and better looks.

Thank you for the comparison.. i'm much the same way in regards to wanting my next bike.. with a twist as i cant seem to
shake the inner promise i wont sell my 'current' bike.. so yes its tough.. :laughing

as you well know i was THIS close to dropping coin on the ZX14R as I pined for one years before.. ERIK beat me to it though!! i rode it once.. i did not say anything about it, but i was not very comfortable ON it. it was a bit of a shock to the system. expected to enjoy riding IN one.

my own experience in wanting to purchase one was rather sour and i said fvck it, went to the DARK SIDE instead. I may have dodged a bullet. :(

alas, the miles are piling on and i'm on the fence, i saw that fvcking SX at the bike show and fell in love..

damnit.. my Raider may not be around for long if the SX develops a following..
but its a bloody S model, and built.. 240mm rear (card carrying) Member over here :D
so you're gonna have to pry it from my dead, cold fingers. ITs Stout :rockon

your description of what most weekend rides are like is exactly why i enjoy touring style bikes,
comfort in all the 'commute speed' destination bound jaunts is a Godsend.

Back in the day when i joined in group rides I found myself riding with one hand on my waist for
at least an hour at a time, just trying to get to the twisty bits.. :coffee

strangely enough i tend to ride up front with the crazy kids on most rides anyway, and that really
has not changed much..
 

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as it's a big i've been strongly considering. What are you getting for range on a tank? Any other mods you're considering beyond comfort and fit? and of course, are you going to get it flashed to unleash all the extra HP up top?
fvck it. i'm gonna have to get a test ride.. lol

and yes, read above post!! forget the fvcking bean counters... you gotta let that thing just ride like an engineer designed it!! D'UH!


I'm happy with it being bone stock. All the HP gains are north of 10,000rpms, and the bike is pretty insane above that as it is.
 

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Digby - if the bike doesn't NEED a flash, then why do it? Bragging rights that I have 230 RWHP? Where 99% of that HP and torque gain is above the mid-range that a street rider rides in? I don't need to brag. I'll just pass you in a 35kmh corner with my knee down and my other leg pointing straight out with my left palm pointing to the sky in a"WTF" gesture :)
 

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Digby - if the bike doesn't NEED a flash, then why do it? Bragging rights that I have 230 RWHP? Where 99% of that HP and torque gain is above the mid-range that a street rider rides in? I don't need to brag. I'll just pass you in a 35kmh corner with my knee down and my other leg pointing straight out with my left palm pointing to the sky in a"WTF" gesture :)
:rider :lolup :laughing
 

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Digby - if the bike doesn't NEED a flash, then why do it? Bragging rights that I have 230 RWHP? Where 99% of that HP and torque gain is above the mid-range that a street rider rides in? I don't need to brag. I'll just pass you in a 35kmh corner with my knee down and my other leg pointing straight out with my left palm pointing to the sky in a"WTF" gesture :)
You obviously haven't heard about the LAG issue.
 

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Digby - if the bike doesn't NEED a flash, then why do it?
so the tuning experts are all full of shit then. gotcha!, why do i feel like its 2009 all over again . :laughing :coffee

disclaimer: i'm a technician, cant help but love modern motorcycles and tuning capabilities via BINARY CODE.

maybe i misunderstood, and you meant YOU dont think it NEEDs it.. ? cause these days that is pretty much all these statements
amount to. Otherwise why are all these tuners running around learning all this useless programming / hacking etc.

apparently my Raider never NEEDED the re-flash either, you know.. cause its all analog. :rtfm

this is EXACTLY where things become HIGHLY debatable.. FLIP a coin for shits and giggles, IF the bike did not need all that damn
'after-the-fact' programming, which we know is questionable at best, THEN why would you want to ride one with it all!??

i have no need to argue on this stuff, its pure logic really.. a lot of folks love to bitch about OEM this and OEM that as if it is
the H0LLY GRAIL of all things motorcycle.. well, i guarantee you the original engineer who designed this particular motorcycle
and the software engineer who helped him, DID NOT require all that extra bullshit programming...

FLy by wire means you crack the throttle, you SWEAR its cracked wide open.. the computer now says, nope.. 30% is all you get and say thank you,!..
oh yeah sounds like fun! have you noticed how a lot of manufacturers (including Kawi) now offer adjustable engine braking? yep.. there is a reason..

all the extra safety, EPA, noise pollution BS 'limitations' on such a beautiful machine are placed there by lawyers and bean counters..
in this case they happen to work for the US / Cad gov't. in Australia, in Europe and elsewhere for what its worth, its just another
set of lawyers and bean counters.. nobody bothered to ask what the engineer thought. but hey! its YOUR bike.. have fun :laughing

i am speaking from PERSONAL experience mate.. PLENTY of people SWEAR the 09 R1 did not ever need a REFLASH!! and some of them STILL
belong to this very forum.. WELL i can tell you 100% without a doubt, IT DOES INDEED require one!! it always did!! that was never the question. :rant

i'm not even talking about RWHP, and you can do a search 10 years back to see that statement has remained true all along..

basic math, you got fly by wire? you got supercharger? you want exhaust can? = just tune the stupid thing; if you plan on tuning it?
please tell me you flashed it.. otherwise its a waste of time.

Unless of course you're HOMER Simpson and you're happy to PUSH THE BUTTON having absolutely no clue whats going to happen once you do.. :thumbup


now, if you're still reading.. if it were me!?? why the hell would i spend $23k plus on a motorcycle with a SUPERCHARGER and NEVER tune it..

just turn the Traction Control off completely.. you wont need it with 168rwhp..


for those who love dyno print outs.. hmm, maybe there's something else going on cause i see a proper increase throughout the entire RPM range.. not just UP TOP.

hold on a sec. yep.. this is a sport-bike forum right? i know its a little hard to read, but each dash represents ~ 10hp.



You obviously haven't heard about the LAG issue.

pfft, says you.. he just gonna choose to ignore it.. with one hand tied behind his back..

allegedly of course ;)
 

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Cool wheels. Thought about one myself ...... then I sobered up. Wild HP Kawis are a thing of my past. But still the lust lingers ......


And I believe in the superiority of OEM tuning, apart from a PC-V for most bikes. But yours isn't most bikes. Low volume, high prices ..... it keeps most people out of the running. I would be very leery about any tuning mods to something that complicated.
 
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