Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
350 S 2 Â– 1972
"After the success of Honda it was not so easy in the late Sixties for a new Japanese marquee to create an image for itself. Kawasaki, however, succeeded brilliantly in establishing a reputation as an exclusive specialist in sporting motorcycles. It has hung on to its reputation in racing, even though its range is considerably larger nowadays.
It all began in 1969 when Kawasaki introduced the 500 H1, a three-cylinder machine with terrifying acceleration that gave a new dimension to the concept of sporting bikes. Then Kawasaki's French importer, Xavier Maugendre, had the vision to form the Kawa-Godier endurance racing team, which finished first and second in the 1974 Bol d'Or and went one better in the 1975 event by coming in 1-2-3.
In 1971, Maugendre, a dyed-in-the-wool racing enthusiast, inaugurated the "Coupe Kawasaki-Moto Revue," a one-make formula that would be copied all over Europe. Initially, the Coupe Kawasaki was based on the 350cc Avenger twin but enjoyed its greatest success from 1972 on, when the formula centered on the three-cylinder 350 S2. This was derived from the famous 500 Hi, probably the most explosive motorcycle of its era, and - though it performed better on a circuit than on the road - the S2 was a little more "civilized" than the H1.
Engine: 346cc (53x52.3mm) three-cylinder twostroke
Power output: 44 hp @ 8000 rpm
Fuel system: triple carburetors
Transmission: 5-speed gearbox; chain final drive
Suspension: (front) telescopic forks; (rear) swinging arm
Brakes: (front) twin leading shoe drum (disc from 1974); (rear) drum
Weight: 335 lb
Maximum speed: 106 mph
In 1974, the Kawasaki 52 was upgraded to 400cc and its designation was changed to 53.Â”