Is Kawasaki Ninja H2R Street Legal? (Solved & Explained!)

The Kawasaki Ninja H2R is a closed-course “hyper spot” motorcycle that is used only on the track.

There is no version of the Ninja H2R that is built for use on public roads. At over 300hp, it is the world’s most powerful production motorcycle and has a top speed in excess of 248mph.

This article answers the question: “Is Kawasaki Ninja H2R Street Legal?”…

Put simply, no it’s not. The H2R is classed as a “closed-course” motorcycle. This means that is used for riding only and is neither manufactured for nor intended for use on any public streets, roads, or highways. Therefore, to operate this bike anywhere but on the track would be illegal.

There is a list of things that motorcycles have to have in order to be called street legal. These things include (DOT = Department of Transportation):

  • An electrical system
  • At least 150cc output
  • Rearview mirrors
  • A horn
  • OHV decal
  • DOT-approved tires
  • DOT-approved fuel tank
  • DOT-approved headlights with low and high beam options
  • Battery-powered taillights and brake lights
  • Proper registration, license plating, inspection, liability insurance
  • Passing of noise test (mustn’t exceed 82 decibels)
  • Emissions test

Missing even one of these items will mean your motorcycle is not street legal.

When your motorcycle can demonstrate these features and pass all inspections and tests, then it can be made street-legal by the DMV.

The Kawasaki Ninja H2R is not street legal first of all because it lacks mirrors.

It has track-ready wings as standard but would need proper rearview mirrors to be street legal.

On top of that, the Ninja H2R rides on racing tires that are not acceptable for use on public roads.

These are not DOT approved for public road use.

Besides these, there’s no way that the Ninja H2R could pass either emissions or a noise test.

The H2R is estimated to produce 130 decibels at its peak loudness.

The street-legal limit is only 82 decibels.

Finally, the H2R lacks the proper lighting required to be street legal and therefore could never be called roadworthy without heavy modification.

H2R Vs H2

The H2 is the street-legal version of the H2R that has also been in production since 2015 but is usually under much more limited production due to high costs and low demand.

The first difference is in legality, of course.

The H2 has the mirrors, lighting, horn and other requirements to qualify as a street-legal vehicle.

Some other changes were made, too, such as plastic body panels being used in the H2 to substitute the carbon fiber ones on the H2R.

The power rating of the H2 is also much lower at just 200hp, even though the two bikes actually share the same supercharger.

The H2’s top speed is 209mph.

Some construction differences included the suspension.

The H2R uses a fully adjustable KYB telescopic fork with a steering damper at the front and a single-sided swingarm with a mono-shock at the rear.

The H2, on the other hand, uses a 43mm telescopic fork and a single shock preload-adjustable rear suspension.

Yes, it is possible to do, but very difficult.

There are some states in the US, such as Arizona where inspections and regulations are not as strict.

In Arizona, it is permissible to change a formerly non-street-legal bike into a street-legal one with fairly minor modifications.

By adding mirrors, headlights, taillights, and changing the tires, you perform most of the required steps to get the bike street legal.

While it might be technically possible, the level of change in most states that you would have to make would arguably render the purchase of a Ninja H2R rather wasteful.

To make the H2R street legal, you’d have to change it to be something much closer or exactly the same as the H2 model because it would have to also pass a strict inspection.

Things that are technically possible are not necessarily good ideas to pursue.

The MSRP for the Ninja H2R is well over $50,000.

It would seem a strange use of money to buy that model only then to turn it into a $29,000 H2 street-legal model.

To make a Kawasaki Ninja H2R legal, there are two paths you would have to explore.

The first path involves minimal change.

If we assume that your home state doesn’t have strict inspections and has no laws against converting non-street-legal bikes into street-legal ones, then you can do the following:

  • Install headlights with adjustable dipped/full beam settings
  • Install brake lights and tail lights
  • Remove racing wings and install proper rear-view side mirrors
  • Swap tires for proper motorcycle all-season or street-legal tires

If your state has strict inspections, then you can only go down the second path.

Other requirements would be needed to meet those conditions, especially on exhaust emissions and noise.

You may have to restrict the engine power and possibly upgrade the muffler or install an exhaust silencer to meet these requirements.

If you could satisfy all of the requirements laid out by your state DMV and the Department of Transportation, then there’s nothing stopping you technically from making your H2R street legal.

Non-street-legal motorcycles are mostly used in competitive motorcycle sports or off-road motorcycle hobby riding.

For example, if you race superbikes around a racing circuit, then you would favor a bike like the Kawasaki Ninja H2R with its incredible raw power and track-ready features.

Other non-street-legal bikes include many dirt bikes, which people use for motocross, stunt biking, motorcycle obstacle courses, and just general off-road riding.

Another use for non-street-legal motorcycles is in kids’ mini motorcycles.

Some families buy these for their kids to learn motorcycle skills at a young age, but they can only be used on private land and roads.

The principal way to know if your motorcycle is street legal or not is to register it with your local DMV and get their approval for its use.

First, your motorcycle will contain a number of standard features that have to be present on all street-legal bikes.

These include rear-view mirrors, headlights and tail/brake lights, a horn, street-legal tires, and emissions low enough to pass a test.

Your bike also can’t make any noise more than 82 decibels when active.

Any bikes noisier than that will fall foul of noise regulations.

These rules can be stricter in specific states and cities.

If your bike has these features and can pass all the tests set by the DMV and other state and local bodies, then it can be called street legal.

It is not permissible for you to adjust a non-street-legal motorcycle and deem it legal yourself.

This status as street-legal must be confirmed by the state.

There are many street-legal motorcycles with speeds approaching 200mph.

But the fastest overall is the Kawasaki Ninja H2 which can reach 209mph as its top speed.

The H2 is not exactly a “mass-produced” bike and is only available at certain specific order times.

Among the larger-scale production bikes, the fastest speed goes to the BMW S 1000 RR 2nd generation bike which launched in 2019 and is still being produced.

This bike is powered by an 999cc inline-4 engine outputting 205hp and maxing out at 193mph.

There was also a special MTT Y2K Turbine Superbike produced from 2000-2005 that was the first-ever turbine-powered street-legal motorcycle.

It could achieve speeds of 227mph powered by its Rolls-Royce 250-C18 turboshaft engine. With a price tag of $200,000, however, it was hardly a mass-production model.

The fastest non-street-legal motorcycle ever produced was the Dodge Tomahawk which could reach 420mph

The Tomahawk boasted a V10 SRT  10 Dodge Viper Engine with an 8.3L displacement.

It was really only a concept motorcycle, however, so isn’t available for purchase today.

Only 9 units were made and each sold for $555,000.

The Kawasaki Ninja H2R remains therefore the world’s fastest non-street-legal motorcycle reaching 249mph.

With a price tag of $50,000, it’s not cheap either.