Potent In Purple – 1973 Kawasaki H2A Mach IV

In Japan, Sport by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

When Kawasaki unleashed its mighty 750cc triples into the world, the machines quickly earned their rightful, and somewhat infamous, place in motorcycle history. The H2 Mach IV models mark an important point in the evolution of motorcycles, raising the bar in the industry and changing riders’ perceptions of what a “fast motorcycle” was. Upon their release in the early 70’s, the H2s became instant classics, and the public’s admiration for the torquey triples hasn’t subsided over the last half-century with Mach IV examples being some of Kawasaki’s most prized production bikes of all time.

The lab coats at 1970’s Kawasaki found a way to squeeze an enormous amount of oomph out of the air-cooled 748cc triples powering the H2, however Kawa’s R&D department unfortunately wasn’t quite able to raise the bar on the bike’s chassis, suspension, and brakes in the same fashion. Kawasaki did offer an optional second front disc — which I’d seriously argue should have been a standard feature — but the rest of the components on the motorcycle hadn’t caught up to the powerplant.

Developing a frame or suspension system capable of better taming the Mach IV’s triple was an insanely tall order, so Kawasaki instead opted to water down the model. By 1973 – just two years after the initial release of the Mach IV – Kawasaki made tweaks to the model’s oil-injection pump, cylinder port timing, and carb jets in order to make the ’73 H2 (known as the “H2A”) less antagonistic. The next year for the H2B, even more changes were made to the bike in an effort to tone down its raw power On top of a less unruly powertrain, Kawasaki also opted to increase the H2’s stability via stretching the bike’s swing arm.

The three-quarter-liter three barrels made an impressive 75hp and more than 57 foot-pounds of torque (both at under 7,000rpm). Said power was responsible for quite a few riders proverbially (or occasionally literally) wrapping their respective H2’s around a tree – an occurrence that lead to the H2 becoming that much more valuable because motorcyclists are a weird bunch. The highest values are assigned to the 1971 and early 1972 model years which were the most powerful.

Even though the Mach IV boasts a reputation for being an uncontrollable beast, Motorcyclist’s Mitch Boehm argues that the model’s infamy is, as we’d say in 2018; “fake news”. Boehm doesn’t deny that the H2 was fast, however he does point out that the things only made 65hp at the rear wheel. Now considering the H2 weighed in at over 420lbs dry, it’s performance, while impressive, isn’t as menacing as its reputation suggests when contrasted with other machines. As a point of reference, the first generation Suzuki SV650 makes roughly the same horsepower (though it produces about 20 percent less torque) and weighs in at around 60 lbs less than the H2. If you’re a fan of the H2 Mach IV, I highly recommend giving Boehm’s story a read.

This particular example is from 1973 and has recently undergone an extensive restoration. The current owner claims their H2 “starts right up” and has been stored in doors. In addition to this being a particularly clean restoration, I very much enjoy this H2 being adorned in the rare purple with red and orange highlights scheme (which may or may not have been inspired by the flag of the Second Spanish Republic). This example isn’t perfect, but it’s nonetheless a beautiful Mach IV. The polished metal surfaces and pristine paint definitely suggest that this Kawasaki underwent a thorough and detailed restoration.

You can find this restored 1973 Kawasaki H2A Mach IV for sale here on Craigslist in Palm Beach County, Florida with a price of $18,000.