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Kawasaki W650

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by jd, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. Saw one of these for sale recently and although I think I've seen them before in the past never realised until now that they're actually a fairly modern bike at least in terms of when they were built not necessarily in the technology used to build them. Found a few European websites selling everything you need to turn one into a very nice little Cafe Racer - just wondering if anyone here owns a W650 or has experience/information they can provide on what they're like to ride. Also interested to know if the firing sequence is the classic British 360 degree type or not and if the engine is common to anything else in the Kwaka lineup.

  2. I believe that the firing order is similar - I have awrite-up somewhere at home - if I can I'll dig it out and let you know. They seem to be a nice bike. From what I've heard, vibration is no more that a mild buzz thru the bars - they have a kickstarter as well don't they?
  3. Comparison review with the current Bonneville here...


    It is genuinely retro - Kawasaki produced a nice 650 parallel twin in the late 60's as well (Victorian cops used them for a couple of years).

  4. Cool - saved me some work Tony :)
  5. They're not quite a copy of the original. The original late 60's W1 & W2 were really a BSA copy. The current one is more Triumph... :LOL:

    (The current ones even have a kick start :wink: )

    Every article I've read seems to like them. I reckon they'd make a great cafe racer.

    The following is from another review on the realclassic site...

    ...Imagine if you will this unlikely scenario.

    You own a '65 Bonneville, your favourite bike. One day the Bike Fairy appears. With one stroke of his wand he puts a spell on your pride and joy. In a flash he eliminates the rather harsh ride you get from the old suspension. As he walks around the bike, a careless tap chromes the mudguards, and a bit of magical blow-by ricochets onto that dodgy front drum, turning it into a subtle but fade-free disk. He zaps the motor so it is now safe to 7800rpm every time, grunting a guarantee that no matter how hard you ride it, it won't break, leak, or otherwise let you down.

    The Bike Fairy passes a heavily tattooed arm over the electrics so you now have a brilliant halogen headlamp, indicators, a bright brake lamp, and a discreet clock next to your oil pressure light. He lifts his eye patch briefly and a baleful glare forms an electric motor and press-button out of pure photon energy to complement the kick-start. He links the efficient, maintenance-free twin carbs so they don't go out of synch, fits a powerful electronic ignition -- and hands you the ignition key (which now also fits the steering lock, seat lock and helmet lock), before disappearing in a fragrant cloud of Castrol R.

    Your Bonneville (already nicely run-in) now makes a healthy 45 rear wheel bhp. It will take you the length and breadth of the British Isles as easily as popping down the shops. You can now thrash it for as long and as hard as you like and it won't care. It doesn't vibrate at speed, and nothing falls off. Night riding is a joy, and you only have to fiddle with it at weekends if you want to. The best bit though, is that it still feels the same…

    If you would love to have a Bonnie like that… tough. You can't. But for a couple of grand you can get a clean, low mileage W650…

  6. Thanks for the reviews Tony - definately given me something to think about. Seems a modified W650 might be a good alternative to a Triumph Thruxton (certainly be a lot cheaper) - definately better than a BSA A10 anyway :LOL:.
  7. The A10 will always have "character" dripping from it though :LOL:

    Well that's what a friend of mine with a BSA Gold Flash used to claim the black stuff was. :LOL: :LOL:
  8. A slap on the belly with a wet fish would be better than a BSA A10........
  9. Hey JD they are a great bike

    A friend of mine recently upgraded from one to a new bmw

    His only complaint with it was it used chain and sprockets its a 360 deg crank and run a balancer shaft it had bags of torque and fairly well grunted off the line he had his for 5 years and rode it everyday to work and back etc. handling was very good easy on tyres etc as you said the makings of a gret cafe racer.

    never let him down once again a family man like myself so you ride to work and home again thats about it. his was stock as a rock and paintwork and chrome etc was quality finish it looked as good the day he bought it when he sold it.
  10. I don't think I could live with the W650, knowing I should have got a Bonnie instead.

    Used prices are really high for the Kawasaki's- I've seen them usually around $7000+ for the late 90's models. Considering a new Bonnie is only around $11'000, they're not cheap.

    That review compares the W650 to the Bonnie, but if I were you I'd go for neither. They say in that review that the bonnie feels a bit lacking in power- which is why I would go for the T100 Bonnie (or the Thruxton), which would have it easily over the W650.

    Bonnie's are fairly new bikes- 2001 they were introduced I think? Wait a few years and prices will come down to sane levels on the used market.
  11. Definately sounds good. I've also been considering an SR500 or SRX-6 so the 360 degree crank isn't really a problem, in fact it's almost preferable. It'd certainly give the bike more character than the average Japanese bike :cool:.
  12. I do like the Thruxton - only problem is the cheapest used ones I've seen are still around the 12k mark. I've seen a few 2000 model W650s though in perfect condition with very low km's (less than 10,000) for only 7-8. You could do a lot of modifying/customising to a W650 for 4 grand.
  13. jd, I haven't ridden the Kwaka, but I have ridden the Thruxton, and it's a very nice machine indeed. At the moment you can get a new one here in Perth for $13,990 ride away. The Thruxton is very true to the original character of the 60's 'Cafe Racer'. I built several in the late 60's and early 70's and the Thruxton just felt 'right' to me, but without the vibration, oil leaks, and typical vicious head shake of the 'real thing'. (Of course no cafe racer looks entirely right without a bloody big front drum brake.)

    Edited (so it made bloody sense!)
  14. I'm just going from what I've found searching Bikesales and Bikepoint - I'm yet to see a used Thruxton for sale for less than $12,000 - probably due to the fact that there doesn't appear to be many on the used market yet. Think those that are buying them are planning on keeping them for a long time (selfish bastards :LOL:).
  15. Mmm... like this one for example... I like!
    By the way, how does one get this Bike Fairy to appear? I wouldn't mind a word :)
  16. Ace Bars For a start

    Rear sets Next

    The rest can come if your hand with the spanners and can get access to a lathe and mill

    150 bucks for materials fastners bars etc

    Just a thought
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  18. Gulp just did the calcs

    278.8 euros = 466.3 aus dollars = 536 dollars 15% duty and freight

    That thruxton tank = 1154 bucks = 1327 with duty and freight

    Um well not every body is a cheapscate like me i suppose
  19. If you add the rest of the 'essentials' like bars, rearsets, seat, tank strap, and assorted finishing items, you are just maybe going to do it on the 4k jd mentioned earlier. Of course as I said before, it's never going to be real cafe racer without a big fat, 8 leading shoe, vented front drum........and maybe a pair of really, really loud Dunstall megaphones :grin: :grin:
  20. I'd just be happy with a set of clip-ons or ace bars and some rear-set foot rests (just to get the ergonomics "right"). Of course there'd always be the option of spending more money later on for shiny things :) .