When it comes to action movies, hardly anyone does it better than Tom Cruise. And in its filmography, the original Top Gun movie is at the top. Now there’s a new one called Top Gun: Maverick, again with Cruise in the lead role and the new movie recreates the iconic scene from the first movie with a modern twist.
The scene where Cruise rides a motorcycle next to an airport runway while a jet fighter takes off. In the first Top Gun, Tom Cruise was riding the fastest motorcycle in the world at the time: a Kawasaki GPz900R. Fast-forward to 2022 and for Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise has once again chosen the fastest motorcycle in the world as his choice of two wheels. And this time it’s a Kawasaki† Called the Kawasaki Ninja H2, it really is as crazy as the GPz900R was in its day.
For us who love fighter jets, action movies, Tom Cruise and of course motorcycles, this is what makes us love this moment. This is why.
The Magic returns to the original Top Gun
To understand why we drool over Tom Cruise on the Kawasaki Ninja H2 in Top Gun: Maverick, we have to go back in time, all the way back to 1986. This was when Cruise delivered one of his biggest hits: the original Top Gun. . In that movie you saw Tom Cruise riding the Kawasaki GPz900R next to a jet that took off as the sun went down and “Maverick” cheered for the pilot, lowered a gear and raced toward the horizon. This scene marked the shift to sports bikes for America in the 1980s. It made people want a motorcycle that could hold its own against a jet over big, heavy touring machines like Harley-Davidson’s.
At the time, the GPz900R was ahead of its time. It was the first motorcycle in history to exceed 250 mph and with an official top speed of 255 mph it was the fastest production motorcycle money could buy. But it wasn’t just a very high speed that set the GPz900R apart. It used the engine as a tensioned part and the engineers mounted the engine lower in the frame, giving the bike high maneuverability with a low center of gravity. This also helped the bike weigh less. It was able to cover a quarter of a mile in less than 11 seconds thanks to the world’s first liquid-cooled in-line 4-cylinder 16-valve motorcycle engine. With 115 horsepower from the 908cc engine and a crankshaft counterbalancer, the Kawasaki was much smoother, faster, more agile and faster than any other motorcycle on the market. It was Kawasaki’s first ‘Ninja’ and thus the grandfather of the coolest Kawasaki motorcycles ever.
Top Gun: Maverick recreates the charm with Kawasaki Ninja H2
And this brings us to 2022. The Kawasaki Ninja range has spawned the Ninja H2, which is not only Kawasaki’s fastest motorcycle, but also the fastest motorcycle in the world. In the hands of Kenan Sofuoglu, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 became the first production motorcycle to exceed 400 kilometers per hour (about 248 miles per hour). Sure, it might be the more hardcore, track-only version of the H2, dubbed the Kawasaki Ninja H2R, but the performance is crazy to even think about. To avoid a tire blowout, the run had to be done in less than 30 seconds, but no problem, because this Ninja did it in 26 seconds!
This feat was achieved while the motorcycle was in a near-standard guise. If you tinker with it, the Ninja H2 can be turned into a track weapon or even a drag race monster. The awe of the H2 continues when you look at other numbers as well. It’s powered by a 998cc inline four-cylinder supercharged engine… in a motorcycle that weighs less than 500 pounds! Power output is 228 horsepower delivered at a towering 11,500 rpm, and it delivers 104.9 pound-feet of torque at 11,000 rpm. The Ninja H2 also has a unique exhaust note, as the supercharger spins so fast that the blades break the sound barrier every time you rev the bike, giving it a chirping sound. How fast does the impeller spin, you wonder? The answer is 130,000 rpm.
And all these achievements cost less than $30,000. So it’s no surprise that the Kawasaki Ninja H2 is as good as a motorcycle can get. And if you want a more relaxed (if you can call it that) sports-tourer version of the H2, then you also have the Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX.
And that’s why we love what Top Gun: Maverick has done. While it mimicked the cinematic experience that provoked goosebumps from the first Top Gun movie, it stuck with the formula of using an equally iconic motorcycle – the GPz900r in 1986 and the Ninja H2 in 2022. It’s only appropriate!
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