Tom Cruise Rides Into the Danger Zone on a Kawasaki Ninja H2 in Top Gun

James Bond has his Astons, Domini Toretto has his Charger, and Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell has his Kawasaki Ninja. Alongside the Captain America bike from Easy Rider, the Ninja Tom Cruise rode in 1986’s Top Gun is one of the most recognizable movie motorcycles. But bikes, like fighter jets, have changed a lot in 30-plus years. So, for the sequel, Maverick’s got a new Kawasaki Ninja: the H2 Carbon.

A gray-black-and-green 2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon
2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon | Kawasaki
2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon
Engine998cc supercharged liquid-cooled inline-four
Horsepower218 hp (based on Motorcyclist dyno results)
Torque105 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manual with slipper-assist clutch
Front suspension and travelFully-adjustable 43mm KYB AOS III inverted fork; 4.7”
Rear suspension and travelFully-adjustable Ohlins TTX36 monoshock with piggyback reservoir; 5.3”
Seat height32.5″
Curb weight525 lbs
Top speed227 mph (Motorcyclist with “bolt-on modifications”)

Rumors about Tom Cruise’s new Top Gun wheels started circulating back in 2018 when the actor appeared in photos riding a Kawasaki Ninja H2. At the time, neither Kawasaki nor Paramount Pictures made any official announcements regarding the photos. But with the sequel almost in theaters, Kawasaki confirmed that Maverick is riding the supercharged Ninja in the movie. Specifically, a 2022 Ninja H2 Carbon.

Mechanically, the H2 Carbon is identical to the…well, ‘regular’ doesn’t do the Kawasaki Ninja H2 justice. Let’s say ‘base’ instead. After all, a 200-plus-horsepower factory supercharged sportbike isn’t just irregular, it’s unique. The Suzuki Hayabusa is certainly fast and powerful, but the H2 is in another league. Hence why Kawasaki gives it Brembo brakes with cornering ABS, launch control, nine-way traction control, wheelie control, engine brake control, and cornering brake and pitching control. Also, a standard up-and-down quickshifter.

Now, that’s all standard on the base 2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2. The Carbon, though, replaces the standard fairing with a carbon-fiber version. And it’s clear-coated so you can see the weave, Motorcyclist adds. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see it on Maverick’s bike when it zooms by on the big screen.

The iconic GPZ900R returns to the silver screen, too

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Top Gun: Maverick won’t just feature a new Ninja, though. The original film made the first Kawasaki Ninja, the Ninja 900/GPZ900R, a household name after Maverick tore down a runway racing a fighter jet. And in the trailer above, it seems that Maverick still rides his OG Ninja.

That Ninja 900 in the trailer is one of two restored examples that Kawasaki lent to the production team. The team also received four H2 Carbons, though we don’t know if Cruise kept any of them. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t show Maverick riding his GPZ900R, though the iconic race is referenced with the Ninja H2 Carbon.

So, classic bike fans will have to wait until the new movie’s May 27, 2022, release date to see the original Ninja take off.

Can you have a Top Gun: Maverick moment on your own Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon?

Maverick's red-and-black 1986 Kawasaki Ninja 900 by a gray fighter jet on the Top Gun: Maverick set
Maverick’s 1986 Kawasaki Ninja 900 by a fighter jet | Kawasaki

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Unfortunately, as of this writing, Kawasaki has closed the 2022 Ninja H2 Carbon order books. So, even if you had the $34,000 necessary to buy one, you can’t. At $30,500 the base H2 is cheaper, but orders are also closed for 2022.

However, while it’s slightly de-tuned, the 197-hp H2 SX SE is still blisteringly quick. And as a sport-touring bike, it’s comfortable over long stretches of road—surprisingly so, Hagerty says. Plus, it’s still available to order and ‘only’ costs $27,500. Also, if you do visit a Kawasaki dealership, you can at least buy a limited-edition shirt showing the H2 Carbon and the GPZ900R.

Speaking of the Kawasaki Ninja 900, it’s far more affordable than the H2. Even pristine ones regularly sell for under $10K, Hagerty reports. Most sell for around $5000. And with a 115-hp inline-four engine that’s a stressed member of its frame, the first Ninja is still worth riding today. No wonder Maverick kept his around.

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