Stored 45 Years! 1974 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV 750

The legend of the “widow-maker” Kawasaki 750 is, well, legendary. Two-stroke motorcycles are generally quick anyway but one such as this 1974 Kawasaki H2 Mach IV 750 is stupid-fast and they can be dangerous in the wrong hands. But, come to think of it, so can a glass of water. This dusty devil is listed here on eBay in Ballston Spa, New York, and the current bid is $10,100 with no reserve.

This incredible motorcycle has 1,784 miles on it and no, the original owner didn’t have a problem with it after a year or so. He got married and started a family and the bike stayed parked, and parked, and parked some more. Unfortunately, he never got to enjoy it again and now it’s being sold by who I’m assuming is the original owner’s son. They have a fantastic eBay listing with a ton of great information and photos, check it out!

Hey, weren’t there two exhaust pipes on the other side? We all know that this is a two-stroke triple-cylinder and to say that they’re legendary is the understatement of 2021. Given everything that’s happened so far this year, that’s saying something. They were a follow-up to Kawasaki’s H1 Mach III, a 500 triple which was fast, but add 50% more punch to the mix and some folks weren’t up to the challenge. They were made from 1971 to 1975 and are very collectible today.

The seller says that this bike was put away in 1975 or 1976, given the 1976 license plate still on it. That’s a long time to be in storage and it gives me hope for a couple of my bikes that have been in storage for 34 years now. I know, not good. A question came up with the seller as to why they didn’t wash it before taking photos and they say that they wanted to show it exactly as it is, and also, a ham-fisted person can actually do damage to a vehicle in this condition by overdoing the clean-up. I paraphrased that last part. It doesn’t seem to be hurting the bid price any but who knows what it would be now if it would have been all shiny and clean?

The incredible engine is Kawasaki’s 748cc three-cylinder, a two-stroke exercise in madness. With 71 horsepower, this would make an incredible engine for a Subaru 360! Or not. The seller says that it doesn’t turn over, unfortunately, and clearly the bidders don’t care. Nice, restored examples have sold in the $13,000-$15,000 range a few years ago so it’ll be interesting to see where this auction ends up. Have any of you owned or ridden a two-stroke 750 Kawasaki of this vintage?

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Comments

  1. EPO3

    I had a 1971 with a 7 in. extension and drag bar’s. Didn’t help looped it at the drags it made it through 1/4 mile I didn’t .Get on your scariest roller coaster but make sure it has a jet motor on it.The triple way more fun and a hole lot scarier

    Like 7
  2. Boatman Member

    Yes I have, Scotty, and your description is spot on. WOW.

    Like 7
  3. Doug

    Extremely radical performance and king of the straight line crotch rockets in it’s day but not very fast by today’s standards.

    Like 3
  4. Howard A Member

    I love it, just love it,,,I can hear it now, ( new wife) “YOU’RE NOT RIDING A ( blinkity blink)MOTORCYCLE CALLED THE WIDOW MAKER”,,,,( head sinking low), “Yes dear”,,,and there it sat, OR, at 1700 miles, motor just loosening up, “GOOD HEAVENS, I CAN”T HANG ON TO IT”!!! Either way, make sure your things are in order before even attempting to ride this thing, and “oh, I rode my Honda 200, how different could it be”? I believe, it was the fastest motorcycle from the factory, until the CBX came out. At 12.72 @103 mph in the 1/4, it really was a handful, not for the weak of heart, which I suspect happened here. In closing, naturally, I wouldn’t pay HALF of that for one of these death traps, but what do I know? And most importantly, DON’T Armour All the seat!

    Like 17
    • Ray Ingold

      LMAO when I read your comment about Armoral on the seat I had a Honda 500 Custom and the kids decided they were gonna clean it up for me one day while I was at work they even Armoraled the damn tires drove it very gingerly for the next week :)

      Like 9
    • Rex

      I was the only licensed mechanic in Alberta who worked only on bikes and sleds in the early 70’s. These were not easy to tune properly with three sets of points and three carbs but when you got it right they were pure adrenaline. The front coming up was not smooth but rather violent. At least in the the first 3 or 4 gears when in the meat of the power band. The Z-1DOHC 900 was quicker at 12.0 out of the box and literally you could live with that one. Some didn’t with the H1/H2.

    • Terry

      Actually, Kawasaki’s Z1 came out in 1973 and the first edition was faster.

  5. jeffro

    Having ridden one of these, I can honestly say that, this is one bike that should of had a seatbelt. lol Heck of a ride.

    Like 9
  6. Ron L.

    I rode as a passenger on the back seat of one doing 135+ mph as a kid. Scariest ride of my life! The acceleration on those beasts was insane.

    Like 5
  7. Stevan Billings

    I have ridden dozens H2’s and H1’s as I was a mechanic at a Kawasaki dealer. Yes they were a handful for a unseasoned rider!

    Like 3
  8. Judson schumacher

    Owned ‘74 h2 tripps and used as daily driver back in ‘76-80
    Bot it for $400 sold for $700.
    Rounding a corner at speed on one of these was like turning a battleship .
    Spent plenty of time in cardiac arrest in ditches avoiding culverts.
    Even put it down at rear of deliv truck making surprise Left turn . She popped right up and I kept on my merry way (minus a few yrs off my life)
    . A monster in a beautiful legendary sort of way that I miss every day ..

    Like 5
    • Terry

      I rode one once, but never owned one. I didn’t care for it because I felt like I was riding a barrel.

  9. Steve H

    First 2 years were insane fast, detuned next 2 years as people were flipping them but still fast. Had a power band like a dirt bike. After 6000 hang on! Not the best handling but sure was fun!

    Like 8
  10. Mark Busta

    I had the 1971 500 H1. I always said it would go as fast as you could hang on. It was hard to keep the front wheel on the ground at 360lbs and 62 hp. On the drag strip I turned 111.6 mph at just over 11 seconds.

    Like 2
  11. John Ruth

    I had an H1 500 that almost killed me. Fastest bike I ever owned.

    Like 5
  12. james malone

    Had a friend who had a performance modified one (I know, why!?). Was racing a very built up Camaro (again, why). Camaro was fast and kept up through the first two gears, baffling my friend…then the rear wheel hooked up! :)
    BTW, to an above comment, I believe Kawasaki’s own Z1 was faster than the H2 when it hit the market (albeit at twice the price) and was several years ahead of the CBX. Regarding the “just loosening up” comment, the rumour was that tolerance quality control was so bad that technically, most of the H1 and H2’s would have qualified for a rebuild right off the showroom floor.

    Like 7
    • Mark Busta

      According to a source the H1 in 1971 was the fastest production motorcycle in the world.

      Like 1
      • james malone

        I remember that, although the H2 came the next year (72) and that, as they say, was that.

  13. Roy Blankenship

    I went to the local Kawasaki dealer in ’73 to look at the new Z1. There were 6 of these two strokes in the back with flattened front ends. I bought the Z1, it was scary enough as it was….

    Like 6
  14. Bing

    I remember seeing these bikes at the drag strips on Sunday.
    This should be an easy resto, and with the low milage it’s worth whatever a motorcycle purist care to pay. There’s no “deal” here but this may be the lowest mileage example in existence.

    Like 2
  15. JS

    I had one of these and they are really fast. I bought mine for $290 and a stack of reel to reel recording tapes. The guy I bought it from was in the army in Germany when he wrecked it. The OEM pats were so expensive that he turned into a cafe racer with fiberglass fairing, gas tank and seat with tail fairing and expansion chamber pipes. It was great fun on the interstate, but if you cornered hard it would weave so hard it felt like you were riding a great white shark.

    Like 4
  16. Fred Underwood

    Yes, this one has ridden one of these insane motorized killers of the unsuspecting, I was used to riding 750 Hondas and a friend came by my house on one of these. He offered to let me take it for a spin which of course being the self assured type ( already a rider of motorized two wheeled vehicles) this one said OH sure, I left my home easily enough went to a long stretch of road where their were no homes and having no fear did as my friend said I ought proceeded to stop and start off again with the idea of seeing what it was capable of compared to a Honda 750. All was well until I went to 2nd gear and rolled on the throttle, the demon rose up under me like it had a mind of its own and needless to say even as an experienced rider this one was almost unprepared for how quickly and smoothly this happened. I very sedately rode back home and told my friend what I thought of his endeavor to promote me killing myself, but that it was evident his scooter was in a different league than my 750 Honda !!

    Like 4
  17. Bill

    I had one these in 72 nicer colour I think myself. Very fast 1599.00 plus tax is what it cost back then. I think I blew it up at least 10 times. It sounded great with chamber pipes. Another fact from these old killers my key worked in everybody’s H-2 lol

    Like 2
  18. Greg Williams

    I also had 1 or two of these except they were the 500c,c Model H-1. One was that beautiful turquoise blue/green and the other a burnt orange color which to me was rolling artwork. The best part about these bikes was the noise they made which tended to scare the average elderly 4 wheeler that you were in the process of passing. Especially if they had their windows down you could intentionally ride really close as you pinned the throttle and wait for the expression on their face go to immediate fear as their bodies jerked to attention. Unfortunately their weak link ( one of them anyway) was their ignition system which tended to burn out Stators or magnetos or whatever they used for Spark. I never got to ride mine that much because they would fail to spark and few mechanics I knew were able to figure it out. Price is steep but Low milage originals allow their owners to set the market. How many can be left this original and complete??

    Like 1
  19. Ford Nickle

    Life begins at 6000rpm

    Like 6
  20. Steve

    Had a 750 triple like this as a 20 year old back in the late 70’s or so…. power was just explosive! When that thing hit the power band… the front wheel immediately shot skyward! Never had another motorcycle with a power band like that! It’s a wonder I lived to tell about it.
    Looking back though, was a neat time to grow up … muscle cars, etc.

    Like 4
  21. Carnutjoe

    I have ridden 3 models of triples . My oldest brother bought a 750 new and quickly became known as “the hinge”. I was too young to get to drive that one before it was stolen . 2 years later another older brother bought 500 triple and I did ride that one also brother in law owned a 350 triple and that bike whole lot fun light and nimble I could carve thru the canyon like a pro and wheely on the straights. Fun fun! Later he bought a 400 triple and rode that one some.

    Like 2
  22. Mark Busta

    If I remember correctly the power band on the 500 H1 started at about 7500rpms. When you hit it it was like flipping a light switch. If you didn’t back off quickly you were looking at the sky. I think full Rev was about 11,500 rpms.

    Like 2
  23. matt

    I had a friend in college who had a 900 kawasaki with a lot of speed modifications of all sorts; and he let me ride it one day.
    I started out of the parking lot and tweaked the throttle a tiny bit – – and the bike almost ran out from under me.
    I immediately turned around after that 75 foot ride and said Nope !
    matt

    Like 3
  24. vintagehotrods

    In 1975 and 1976 I was assembling these new from the crate at Stich’s Honda-Kawasaki dealership in Sioux Falls, SD. I test rode every bike I put together and these were my least favorite in the whole inventory. Crude, ill handling, smoking ring a ding ding beasts that deserved the “rice burner” epithet. I much preferred the Honda 750’s and the Kawasaki Z-1’s of the time. When the Suzuki GS750’s and GS1000’s came out, they were the best and put everything else to shame. I owned a GS1000 Sport, one of the first Superbikes, which was known as the Wes Cooley Replica and was styled like the race bike. I wish I still had it but I think the young man I sold it to in the 80’s still owns it. I also owned a Kawasaki Z-1R at the same time, and it looked cool but wasn’t nearly as good as the GS1000S and I sold it pretty quickly.

    Like 1
  25. 370zpp

    I rode 750 Hondas back in the day.
    Never had one of these but always wanted the 500 H1. Talk about bang for your buck.
    And there was that sound. As Frank Barone would say, “Holy Crap!”

    Like 1
  26. MMAZZETTI

    I had one back in the late 70’s in NJ.. It’s was like a open motocross bike with street tires ! Loads of fun.

    Like 1
  27. JCH841

    I tested a 500 that was for sale and it was apparent I had the wrong hands. I did not buy it and so I am here today to type this. I stuck to doing stupid things in fast cars.

    Like 1
  28. xrotaryguy

    This was the motor my dad selected for his Wasp motocross sidehack. It used a couple different expansion chamber setups: one for “low rpm” and high torque and the other for maximum hp and high rpm. The pipes were spec’d by a guy at Ohio State University who had written a Fortran program for his 2-stroke flat track bike. My dad attempted to chassis dyno it at work (the AZ State emissions labs haha) but, no matter how tight he strapped it to the rollers, all it would do was smoke the tire.

    My mom was racing a 74 Yamaha 500 with a sidecar at the time as well. She attempted to passenger for my dad at one race and was thrown from the rig within the first lap. It was that much faster than the 500!

    Like 1
    • vintagehotrods

      Sidehack racers are a very rare breed, even among motorcycle racers, and you had two of them! You must have had the coolest parents in school! I’ll bet the parent-teachers conference must have been interesting……We need to talk about your son, he comes to class and tells us these crazy stories about you……

      Like 2
  29. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    As some of us have owned them – it was also that sound they made even with the stock pipes – but add some chambers and just listen – I ran Denco’s on my last one. And on the price – for an original not messed and garage one let’s just see where it goes – that’s a rare find.

    Like 1
  30. Ed Z

    I’m a Yamaha guy, having worked at a Yamaha/Kawasaki dealer from 1968-1973. Power on the 750 was deceptive The 500 actually felt quicker than the 750, as the power band was quite narrow on the 500.The 750 felt mild compared to the rush of the 500. I actually thought the 500 was quicker., until I squared the 750 off against a 500. The 750 walked away from the 500..very deceptive power on the 750 compared to the 500.

  31. Dave Mazz

    Too bad the owner(s) couldn’t afford a small tarp and/or a bench brush. Or does dust and detritus add to an old scoot’s value?

  32. Gordo

    My neighbor had one of these and made the local news in small-town Ontario in ’77. Blew by the police being interviewed by a reporter, on their new radar equipment. On 2-lane blacktop at over 120 MPH, he couldn’t be caught. He repainted it and left it in the barn for a couple of weeks.
    I almost bought a H1 500, but after the test ride decided to go with the KZ-400. A little more my speed for a first bike.

  33. Greg Smith

    I rode one that a friend owned. Reed valve carbs, ported engine, with expansion chambers. That was the quickest machine I ever touched!

  34. Gary

    Have a 1973 S2 350. Crazy fast!

  35. Showbiz

    Had and restored a 69 H1 and a 70 H1 lucky enough to have kept a mint little 76 KH400 the H2 is a hoot to ride , you need to respect it ,had chambers on mine and jetted , sounds like three chainsaws in harmony ,quickest bike in the day . was fortunate a few years back to have restored a very nice 75 Z1 now there is a smooth quick ride coverted to dual disc front brakes and she could stop way better than the H1 or H2 ;O

    Like 1
  36. Ron

    Great bike. I still have my 1972 mach IV 750.

  37. Howard A Member

    Nobody mentioned the “death wobble” on these. It’s why they had that steering dampener, which was useless, at best.

    Like 1
  38. chrlsful

    “…owned or ridden a two-stroke 750 Kawasaki of this vintage?…” nope mine was a robins egg blue 500 (H1). Never got the oil injection adjusted right so no tailgaters (o0OP!); All the co made them 250 – 900 I think (suki, kawie, etc) and so just like the Brits (BSA, Try, etc) competition assisted in upping the game for the consumer.
    Mine was too buzzy (hi revs all the time, no relaxed cruiser) 4 me and I like its replacement more my KZ750B (4 stroke, 1 less cyl, 4 yrs newer, known as “lowest maintenance” bike).

  39. Ward

    At 16 years old, I worked as a mechanic at a Kawasaki dealership for the summer, and the owner gave me a brand new 74 H2 750 to ride as a “demonstrator”. The first time I rode it, the torque caught me unprepared, and I almost lost my grip on the handlebars! After I learned to control it better, it was a blast to ride.

  40. Terry

    What a gloriously fast engine. But between the wispy frame and spaghetti swing arm, if you dumped the clutch who knows where the thing is actually going to end up? This particular unit is going to need a complete engine tear-down. If it isn’t locked up, the rings are most likely stuck in their grooves and the crank seals are toast. all from sitting.

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