Tom Cruise Again Rides a Kawasaki Ninja in the New Top Gun

When you’re riding on the Highway to the Danger Zone, you don’t take just any bike. If you’re Tom Cruise in Top Gun, you ride a Kawasaki Ninja. That’s what he rode in the movie 36 years ago, and that’s what he’ll be riding May 27 when Top Gun: Maverick opens in theaters nationwide.

After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him,” reads the release from Paramount.” Training a detachment of graduates for a special assignment, Maverick must confront the ghosts of his past and his deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who choose to fly it.”

OMG! So exciting! And what better thing to ride—after flying an F-18 and whatever that pointy-snouted thing is in the top photo—than a Ninja?

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In that scene in the original movie where he races a jet down the flightline at takeoff, Maverick rode a Kawasaki GPZ 900R Ninja. That bike was not only the first Kawasaki to bear the Ninja name, it was also Kawasaki’s first use of a liquid-cooled inline-four, the first to use the engine as a stressed member of the chassis, and the first to top 150 mph in the production street bike category. So it was the proper bike for a hero to ride.

Now, with just 36 days and eight hours (depending on your time zone) until the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick, Kawasaki has announced Cruise will once again ride its finest product in the new movie. In addition to some hijinks on his old, original GPZ, this time Maverick will pilot the Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon, a $34,000 hyperbike so quick it might rival some of Cruise’s fighter jets.

The Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon.

The H2 Carbon has a centrifugal supercharger—the only production bike to have any kind of forced induction—good for 200 hp. Cycle World got 190 rear-wheel hp on its dyno when it tested one several years ago. One of the bikes, with a few bolt-on pieces, hit 226.9 mph.

“Working with the Top Gun: Maverick team has been amazing,” said Kawasaki VP of Marketing Chris Brull. “When we had the chance to jump onboard and see our Kawasaki Ninja motorcycles on the big screen again, we had to be involved. We know that Maverick is a dedicated Kawasaki rider, and we made sure he had a full garage of Kawasaki models.”

A total of four supercharged Ninja H2 Carbon machines and two restored Ninja GPZ 900R motorcycles were provided to the Top Gun: Maverick production team, along with some additional surprise models that may appear in Maverick’s personal hangar featured in the film.

Buying an H2 Carbon for yourself is tough. They were only open for ordering for a limited time and that time has closed. Maybe next year. You can buy a “regular” H2 SX with the same supercharger and the insane speed but minus the carbon-fiber bits for a bargain-basement $28,490. Or any number of great Kawasakis, one of which will certainly fit in your budget somewhere.

However, if your spouse has forbidden riding (and indeed, forbidden fun of any kind) Kawasaki has partnered with Paramount Consumer Products to launch limited-edition T-shirts sold exclusively at participating Kawasaki dealers. These T-shirts feature both the iconic Ninja GPZ 900R from the original movie as well as the supercharged Ninja H2 Carbon from the new release. Visit your local Kawasaki dealer while supplies last.

See ya May 27!

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