This Kawasaki KH 400 is the queen of the famous "Kawasaki" in the 70s, the KH 400 is especially the latest and most advanced 3-cylinder 2-stroke Kawasaki. Her character remains a monument of its kind but not so difficult to tame. The proof! When she arrives in 1976, the Kawasaki KH 400 already announced the end of a line that has yet signed the most beautiful pages in the history of the manufacturer. The famous oil shock has since dictated her law and the Honda CB750 fully involved in imposing the 4-stroke motorcycle in a culture full upheaval. However, with its 38 hp to 177 kg, the weight / power ratio of the KH 400 still holds a candle to many rivals as its designers have just attached to make it more politically correct than its predecessors, and 350 S2 400 S3. Revenue less than 10 liters per hundred kilometers (instead of 16 liters for S2 angry!), Consumption of the KH 400 "back into line", as well as his behavior elsewhere. So if pull the floss on a 3-cylinder Kawa is no longer synonymous with risky outcome. And even today, the KH 400 she remains the best gateway into the very particular to these sports as special as legendary.
A shot of timeless pencil
In 2016, pencil stroke still requires its soft and clean lines. The design of the seat into the continuity of the reservoir, without rupture, also appreciate once on board. Hard not to find its place on a Kawasaki KH 400, as laid on this bike that tends its high handlebars with equal natural. Despite its small displacement, the engine, it you deviate feet more, partly because of its large oil pump, right. Kicker remains without big effort to launch the famous melody. This typical sound of big motorcycle then propels us many years back, to the days when pollution standards were just beginning to bother engineers. For now, the rich aroma of the three exhaust does not bother anyone, at least less than the characteristic roar of its kind according to our photo shoots. He must know, roll Kawasaki 3-cylinder is to forget all the discretion of the rules that prevail in modern society.
Nothing is spared you!
For now at least, it is far from bestiality promised by its big sister, the legendary Kawasaki 750 H2 and perhaps even more famous "Widow-maker" 500 H1. Ride aboard a KH 400 is almost a formality. Between 2 and 5 000 r / min, 3-cylinder reassured by its flexibility and progressiveness. Compared to S2 / S3, the air filter housing is bulkier and its intake reduced diameter on the last of the siblings. Added to electronic ignition, all rightly promotes regularity of operation and licensing at low revs. The box of reasonably gentle speeds correctly and locks the clutch fit for purpose provided they do not tortures too in sessions 400m standing start.
Precisely, this is the time to see what it. Those who expected a furious acceleration in a wheelie indomitable will resign themselves: the latest evolution of the framework released this KH 400 favors stability, even the steering damper has disappeared. As for the 38 advertised horses if those are definitely less wild than the S2, they scamper no less effectively in an absolutely unique sensory orgy. Noise, smell, smoke, nothing is spared you, there is life here, overflowing!
Even the shoes may stain mixture, whereas we quickly forget any restraint on the throttle. A vacuum or engaged, to roar 3-cylinder Kawa remains among the most incredible sensations we have offered motorcycle industry! And here, those ones reach their peak between 6 and 8 000 r / min, where cavalry pushing you (nicely) in the back in a hysterical caterwauling while the reactions of the chassis and the tires (in juice) make you understand it does not may have to add too much on these country roads.
The brake, which brake?
A reasonable pace, the KH 400 normally holds the course, tired suspensions maintain comfort, the bike easy to handle in turns. The random grip of the tires does not invite too much testing ground clearance on the angle (deemed limited) and anyway, here it is above all the front brake which imposes limits. One disc gripped by a single piston with again with original pads do no miracle aboard a KH 400, it can slow down, but in terms of braking, all depends on your references in appreciation of the term. In short, it was nice draw four fingers on the lever, better anticipate and think about investing in better equipment (+ Brembo caliper disc type P08 conventional, at least) to avoid abrupt change of the geometry of this beautiful bike at the slightest surprise.
Balance: Your first 3-cylinder 2-stroke Kawasaki
In short, drive a KH 400 is back 40 years ago and still wonder his good behavior. Gradually, the rate stabilizes itself ultimately optimal regulatory limitations of the moment. The wind whipping your face discovered by the jet helmet suffices to fix the good cruising speed, according to the refueling breaks. According to Christian, restaurateur and owner of the motorcycle our test, a KH 400 consumes between 8 and 10 liters of gasoline (0.3 liters of oil in the 1000 km) in "normal" use (for a 16 liter tank) this ultimately raises little concern given the reasonably foreseeable average annual mileage to handle this type of gear. Deemed reliable, Kawasaki 3-cylinder in good condition should perform tens of thousands of kilometers without any major mechanical intervention. Finally, the price of a Kawasaki 400 KH obviously varies depending on its condition. For a complete model "in its own juice" have between 6 and € 8,000 or more for a restored bike. Above all, the prevailing rule here, like most older bikes, is always put a full KH 400 and original as any spare part is quickly adding up (if it is still).
Article by; Manu Cadiou, photos Arnaud Vibien for moto-station.com
Taken in hand
Prices and availability of parts
A big thank you to Christian Arnaud for his home and the loan of his Kawasaki for this test. Christian sells, restores and maintains all model Kawasaki 3-cylinder 2-stroke in Savoy, a contact to carefully note 07 89 61 38 93 Other items and test the Kawasaki 3-cylinder 2-stroke coming quickly the station. Just for the pleasure of the ears, accelerated riding a Kawasaki S3 equipped with a rare 3 in 1 Martin of time. Sublime!
Engine: 400 cm3, 2-stroke, 3-cylinder, 57 mm bore x 52.3 mm stroke, air-cooled, 3 Mikuni carburetors diam. 26 mm, electronic ignition, 5 speed, secondary transmission chain
power 38 hp. 7 000 r / min, torque daNm 4 to 6 500 rev / min
Chassis: Double cradle tubular steel frame, telescopic fork deb. 110 mm, 2 deb dampers. 70 mm caliper front brakes 1 1 piston / disc diameter. 250 mm - Rear drum diam. 180 mm, front tires 3.25 x 18 - AR 3.50 x 18
Template: seat height NC, wheelbase 1364 mm, tank 16 liters, weight 177 kg with full
Performance: Maximum speed 170 km/h