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Kawasaki Ninja H2 vs. MSG Triumph Rocket III "The Beast"

Displacement against boost pressure

The Triumph Rocket III can be taken off the leash on the runway: 2300 cm³, tuned to the teeth. The opponent carries a compressor: Kawasaki H2. Twice 200 horses, twice full of torque. Regular table feed: Displacement against boost pressure!

Neuhausen airfield. Maximum voltage. In a few moments the flag falls for the quarter-mile sprint duel: displacement versus boost pressure, tuner versus series. There is a thunderstorm in the air, now the bitter smell of burnt rubber is mixed in. Here as there, a well-defined burn-out opens up the whole sticky potential of the mixture. The sound carpet blows the hair on the back of the neck: Here a mighty three-cylinder in a row sucks through free filter mushrooms, condenses up, ignites its mixture in a sawing roar, angered from three-in-little unabashed acoustic affirmation of life in the Lake Constance region. A compressor forces its breathing air with up to 2.4 bar into an in-line four-cylinder, which sounds more restrained from a standard exhaust, but whose bitterly whistling undertone promises no less dire violence. Both find their starting speed. Here the barking MSG Triumph Rocket III "The Beast", there the chirping Kawasaki ninja H2. A quarter mile lies ahead of both, followed by another kilometer of dead straight track. Behind the fence. On your marks …

Kawasaki Ninja H2 vs. MSG Triumph Rocket III "The Beast"

Displacement against boost pressure

What happened before:

On a rainy day in the office, a memorable email pops up on the monitor. In Rheinberg, a little further down the river north of Duisburg, a driving instructor (!) Had a Rocket III Roadster heated up by the Triumph tuner MSG using every trick in the book: single air filters that allow passage, large valves, machined camshafts , high-compression forged pistons, specially made manifold systems, more open Exhaust, modified mapping. Free from electronic shackles. "Around 200 hp, over 230 Newton meters", It is there. Oops, you can practice driving with it. The optics? Clean and nasty: zero chrome, even less frills, instead lots of black and matt military green. The colossus is said to have worked off 40 kilos in this way. "The Beast" emblazoned in proud letters on the side emblems. And then it becomes clear at the latest that something like this firstly needs a lot of exercise and secondly not a victim, but a serious opponent.

Why not the boss right away? Enter the Kawasaki H2. The nasty Über-Ninja, who could also be Darth Vader’s official vehicle, had not honored the editorial team for a long time. The Greens promise 215 hp with Ram Air and 134 Newton meters. Just right to cause a bit of tire wear, and for the housewife test of a generational round table question: Is there really no substitute for displacement??

Quarter Mile Race – Start

The answer follows in the here and now on the runway. The flag is sinking. Fire!

Both drivers pull faster than their shadow. In a wonderfully orchestrated ceremony, two combustion engines transform oxygen and fossil energy into torque – the unleashed force of nature takes its course in the form of acceleration. Here the 230 Newton meters of the massage "Beast" the 240 tire through the cardan shaft, this hooks immediately under the enormous rear wheel load – so preheated and on the rough Neuhausen asphalt, wheelspin is practically no issue even at the Metzeler Marathon. A lot of power, a lot of grip and still a lot of mass (322 kilos ready to drive) put the clutch in trouble. Despite the reinforced springs, it engages with less bite under these conditions than one would wish for the quarter mile – there would be more. Then frictional connection: That "Beast" tear the A with a short one "Braaap" through, there is a connection in the bony gearbox, the tire whimpers briefly, then the unit also devours gear stage two. Extreme, how this monster hurls the iron rocket forward. The acceleration can only be savored in the third. To breathe. Look next door.

There the Kawa pilot wrestles with a different drag race control variable for the first few meters. The stability and bite of the coupling are not critical, the 200 Bridgestone RS10 offers plenty of grip. No, the compact compressor machine has another problem: In contrast to the heavy Englandwumme, which has an eternal 1695 millimeter wheelbase, its front wheel snaps up suddenly either when the clutch is engaged or in the rear third of the speed of the first gear. The sport bike’s short 1455 millimeter wheelbase sets the physical acceleration limit at the start, no matter how much the driver can lean forward. Blunt full throttle is therefore forbidden. A light front wheel that is just sailing across the piste is the ideal start (hence: traction control off), and this requires a trained hand on the throttle in view of the steep rise in compressor power. Even if that succeeds perfectly, the Kawasaki H2 and MSG-Triumph Rocket III are front wheel to front wheel for the first few meters: Both reach 50 kilometers per hour after 1.7 seconds (or 10.5 meters).

Like a braking parachute on the handlebars

Then, however, at the latest when the MSG-Triumph Rocket III needs the first, hundredth-consuming gear change at 80 kilometers per hour, the compressor mercilessly pushes the Kawasaki H2 away. Around 80 kilos less weight, slightly shorter gear shifts (despite a test bench-related failed Quickshifter), longer gears – the loaded Kawa crosses the 200-meter mark after 6.9 seconds at a terrible, GPS-verified 192 kilometers per hour, only then demands the fourth Corridor. But the Rocket III is still pressing it bravely, at the same point the gap is 0.5 seconds and 24 kilometers per hour. Hardly respectable for a heavyweight cruiser.

From now on, however, she is driving a losing race, because now the air resistance, which increases as the square of the speed, becomes the determining variable. While the Kawasaki driver can slip away behind the fairing and the entire floor hisses down the slope in a streamlined manner, the Rocket Man hangs on the handlebars like a parachute brake. The pimped 2.3-liter seems to stretch the laws of nature – but it cannot override them. The Kawasaki H2 pierced the 400 meters with 238 things after a breathtaking 10.2 seconds. With a longer swing arm (and quickshifter) there would be a nine in the front – Drag Race Olympus! Looked at differently: Just 2.9 seconds after the half-distance, the H2 has covered the remaining 200 meters. The gap of the MSG-Rocket is then 61 meters or 1.1 seconds: 11.3 seconds for the quarter mile that it passes at 202 kilometers per hour. Second winner despite a spectacular performance. Just for reference: So that’s it "The Beast" faster than a 660 hp twelve-cylinder Lamborghini.

Compressor for the Rocket III

So: boost pressure beats hot engine displacement – in this race. From a strictly scientific point of view, one would of course have to add that the two engines are in completely different machines, which the Kawasaki H2 was able to win the race primarily because of its weight advantage and better aerodynamics. What the heck, also Bastian Glacer, MSG boss and builder of the "Beast", looks calm. We always had fun, even if the Triumph clutch was completely smoked at the end. "No problem, the driving instructor wants a compressor for the Rocket III anyway. Put in a stronger clutch and we’ll see you again!" We’re looking forward to it.

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