Sud Ouest Bosozoku Triples Club Bordeaux Bash

The what? The, “Sud Ouest Bosozoku Triples Club Bordeaux Bash”…..Let me explain.

I put my old Kawasaki KH400 in my van and went down to Bordeax to visit my friend Richard. He has an old motorbike too. We went for a blast around the streets of Bordeaux. Simple eh?

So, Sud Ouest (South West), because Bordeaux is in the South West of France. Bosozoku are the Japanese motorcycle gangs. Now while neither Richard or me are Japanese, we’re both riding Japanese bikes, and Richard’s wife is Japanese, so that’s near enough! Triples, because we’re both riding triple cyclinder two-stroke motorbikes. Speciffically my KH400, and Richard’s KH250. If you’ve ever ridden one you’ll know what they’re like, and if you’ve never ridden one the put it down on your “must do” list.

We’re out in the street warming our bikes up. The noise has attracted one of Richard’s neighbours. We take off down the street wreckless fast so as to treat our spectators to the noise, sight, smoke, and smell that triples are known for. Richard’s neighbour is very impressed.
Just about to take off
Richard has been wondering if he will be faster on his ‘tuned’ 250, than I will be on my standard 400. Factor in that I’m some 10kgs heavier. We’re both keen to find out. Dragging away from lights we’re fairly evenly matched. The 250 is just as fast off the mark, but the 400 pulls it back in 2nd going to 3rd.

We hit a clear stretch of road. We’re crouched down on the bars going for top end speed. Richard makes 140kph, he’s holding it wide open. The 400 still has a little left. Richard spots the Gendarmes, we test our brakes hard!!!

It’s been a long time since I rode in city traffic. Richard rides with effortless confidence that comes from experience. I try to keep up without taking risks. As we filter through the heavier traffic lots of the car drivers move over to let us through. This is common in France. The normal response it to say thank you by taking your right foot off the footrest and straightening your leg.

Roundabout, sprint, roundabout, sprint, we’re not hanging about. A short stretch of motorway, and we’re almost home. The first, and probably the last, “Sud Ouest Bosozoku Triples Club Bordeaux Bash”. Sadly there probably won’t be another because Richard is heading off to Japan to teach English for a year. Yep, and leaving his Japanese wife in France to look after their two teenage girls! Crazy guy!
A real Bozzo!!

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.

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?

I know I shouldn’t but I did……

My KH400 at the Chateau in Rochechouart
While i’ve been waiting for shoulder to recover i’ve been fettling my motorbike, the last thing I was waiting for was a new set of plugs, and they arrived today. I popped them in, and fired her up, 2nd kick. Ticked over beautiful, dead even and smooth…… I know I shouldn’t have, but I just couldn’t stop myself. Grabbed my helmet and went for a blast.

I rode a loop that brought me back up the main road from Chalus to Rochechouart, a road created specifically for hustling a two-stroke along i’m sure. Hardly straight for kilmometres with lovely winding bends on a super smooth surface that gets you working the motor, rowing the top three gears, and havin’ a blast. I stopped briefly at the Chateau to check for leaks, and problems, there were none. I razzed home.

I have told yer ’bout my new/old motorbike haven’t I? I will. 🙂