ZRX H2: Ralf Kraemer builds a 750cc two-stroke restomod…
In late 1971, Kawasaki introduced the H2 Mach IV, a 750cc two-stroke triple with 74 horsepower and a top speed of 125 mph — mind-melting performance for the era. Says Alastair Walker, author of The Kawasaki Triples Bible:
“More than any other machine, except perhaps the original H1 500, the 750 triple cemented the Kawasaki reputation for scarily fast, good-looking, no holds barred motorcycles.”
Of course, the H2 developed a reputation of its own, becoming known as a “Widowmaker” or “Bara Volante” (Flying Coffin) in Italy — largely due to the machine’s disconcerting mid-corner behavior and rear weight bias, which kept the front wheel in the air more often than on the ground.
Enter our friend Ralf Kraemer, a dyed-in-the-wool Kawasaki two-stroke fanatic who’s the founder of Triple Klinik GL, the only German-language Kawasaki Triples forum. Ralf, who lives in Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne, bought his first Triple (a KH500) when he was 20 years old — a bike he still owns! This build started life as a ’72 H2, and the design concept was straightforward:
“My friend and I wanted the H2 to run better on the road. We also wanted it white.”
In true restomod fashion, they decided to raid the Kawasaki parts warehouse for modern brakes, suspension, wheels, and more, mainly utilizing components from the Kawasaki ZRX1100 and ZRX1200. As such, this “ZRX H2” is now running modern front and rear ends. Ralf says the ZRX swingarm fitment was a challenge, but worth it: the bike now fits a 180 rear tire!
The engine was painted, fitted with Mikuni TM34 flat slide carbs, RAMAIR filters, and a K2Tec exhaust. Ralf says the end result rides significantly better than the original, especially in the corners. Plus, it’s more comfortable, too:
“The motorcycle runs perfectly. Very good cornering behavior. The riding position is relaxed. Almost like a touring motorcycle. ;o)”
Below, we talk to Ralf for the full details on this two-stroke restomod.
Kawasaki H2 Restomod: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
It is a Kawasaki H2 first model from 1972.
• Why was this bike built?
I did this project with a friend. My friend and I wanted the H2 to run better on the road. We also wanted it white.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Modern components from the Kawasaki parts warehouse.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The engine block, cylinder, and cylinder head were painted matte black. The engine covers were painted glossy black. Front and rear end from a Kawasaki ZRX. Exhaust from K2Tec and Mikuni TM34 flat slide carbs with RAMAIR filters.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Yes, ZRX H2.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The motorcycle runs perfectly. Very good cornering behavior. The riding position is relaxed. Almost like a touring motorcycle. ;o)
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Fitting the swing arm was a challenge. The 180 rear tire fits into the chassis. More is not possible!