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…

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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.