My Kawasaki KH400 two stroke triple…

The miniskirted girl with long legs and long blonde hair walked over to where the biker was waiting. She hitched up her skirt a little and climbed on to the back of the bike. She wore no helmet. The biker kicked the bike into life and roared away. At that moment I fell in love.

Nah, not her, the bike!!! A Kawasaki triple…a two-stroke three cylinder bike. The look, the incredible sound, wow! Built to be fast, the fastest thing on the road. I just had to have one. But, as I was only 16 at the time and still at school, I had more chance of being run over by one than actually riding one.

Two old girls together - kylie minogue with kawasaki triple
To quote Lee Doxey

Most young motorcyclist of the seventies coverted certain dream bikes, from Honda’s CBX to Kawasaki’s range of triples, the latter being more realistic to a teenager. The triples were the must haves, they seemed futuristic with their small capacity triple cylinder engines and wild paint jobs, I’d have sold my soul for a KH250. And now 30 years later I have one, not a 250 but a 400, I’m transported back to the seventies when ever I stand and stare at it…

Me too Lee. A KH400…

If you didn’t have one of these bikes in the seventies as a teenager then you just couldn’t earn the respect that came as part of the package with a triple.

Yeah, so true…

Thirty odd years on and the legend is as strong as ever…nothing on earth sounds better than the ‘howl’ of a Kawasaki triple at 9000 revs or looks as spectacular as the smoke screen that it lays down behind along with that classic two stroke smell.

kh400_right_side_engine
Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. Tell us more…

The 250 was the most popular followed by the 400, the 350 is rare but the 500 and 750 were the original demonic machines, Kawasaki thought it was o.k. at the time to fit powerful engines into flimsy frames with skinny tyres and poor brakes, the 750 soon became known as ‘The Widow Maker’ for obvious reasons, but this did not deter the enthusiast and foolhardy from parting with their cash. Out of all the different variants of triples one was to become known as the most user friendly and best all round triple… the KH400, it had good looks, a proven engine, handled considerably better than the other triples and came with decent brakes and electronic ignition.

So, it’s more than 30years on, and I just happen to be scanning some local newspaper adverts when I spot a triple for sale just down the road in the Correze. Could it be? A long lost dream come true? I pursuade Carla to let me go and have a look, she comes with me. As soon as I see it, just like Lee, i’m transported back to the seventies. “Can I try her up and down the road?”, I ask……… “Of course!”. Next thing, it’s me! i’m riding a triple! i’m a teenager again!

Along the valley road, that sound echoing off the buildings as I head out of town. I open her up, she starts to wail. Whhhhhoooohhhoooooo (that’s me). A little later that day we’re heading home with my new/old bike in the back of the van. Yeah!!


‘Let the good times roll’, as the Kawasaki slogan goes.

Many thanks to Lee for taking time to give me great triple buying advice. Why not pop over to his website and take a look at his stunningly beautiful triple?


15 thoughts on “My Kawasaki KH400 two stroke triple…

  1. I,m sure the girl is nancy sinatra,of “Boots” fame-certainly looks like her!
    Anyway Mr Bennett,I think youre suffering from teenageheimers syndrome-have a few beers and a lie down!

  2. Hey Steve

    David want’s to know why I don’t look like that when I lean across our bike……..

  3. Yea ! KH 400 a great bike. I had one also a 1977 with TNT chambers . That bike kick some ass. I used to street race back in 1978-1982 I beat quite a few guys out there that had the old sohc honda 750s . That 400 was as quick as most GS 750S OR SECA 750S . and kz650s. My brothers 1974 500 triple would beat me pretty good though.

  4. My older brother had a 73 rd350 his buddy had a kh400.I was 15 and would
    take them out for a quick spin. When his friend would drop by sometimes and my brother was out we would switch bikes, I had a kx 250 that he liked to rip it up with in the trails by our house and I would hit the street cruisin with the 2 stroke triple.
    Wow, the memories come flooding back.That was in around summer of 1977.
    Many years later I had the chance to ride the kh750, I had a rush that I still have
    have a hard time beating.
    I would love to buy a 400 and up kh if anyone knows where I can get one.

  5. I am signed in as smokey and cruizin for a bike
    Thanks

    There is a h2 for sale close to home , about 75 percent complete
    not running was a basket case. no title but I am checking into insurance as a salvage bike
    He wants 3 thousand, I really dont know if that is a good price.
    I can send pics for someone to view and give an opinion along with what has been done and what is missing

  6. Hi Conrad,
    3000 dollars?……..
    I think a lot of it depends on which H2 it is, and what’s missing. I found the guys on the UK Triples forum incredibly helpful. The extent of their collective knowledge is second to none. Plus Rick Brett is on there.

    You’ll find it here…
    http://kawaportal.org/phpBB2/main.php

    I’d say…
    Don’t be in a rush to buy.
    Buy the best most complete bike you can.

    Good luck
    SB

  7. Its a 72
    needs expansion champers, fork tubes due to pitting, all cables, headlight , signals, front caliper and a few other things.
    Its been repainted with proper decals new seat.
    I am going slow but I do like the idea of saving this bike.
    I would prefer a intact bike that has been forgotten and needs to be awakened.
    Not in a rush but I really do want one.
    How hard is it to get parts from the U.K. sites ?????
    Thanks SB
    Conrad

  8. Hey Conrad,
    That sounds like a great winter project, and it sounds like you’re keen to save her.
    Getting parts isn’t too bad depending what you’re after. Again, I found the UK triples club website/forum very helpful, just post what you’re after.

    There’s some guys on there who are happy to do some reciprocal stuff. Like if you spot something on US ebay, and the seller only posts to the US, they’ll get it for you and send it on. Then you owe them a similar favour.

    Again, good luck, and please let me know how you get on.
    Do you have any pictures?

    SB

  9. heloo,,,dear all friends
    Myname is john from bandung. indonesia,,i have kawasaki triple 250cc,1974…its still greats powerfull bike,,,hope fully we can share ,,,,each others,,,at ,,CAPTAINJOHNID@YAHOO.COM,
    all the best

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