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New to me - Kawasaki W650

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' at netrider.net.au started by QuarterWit, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. I've bought a Kawasaki W650 from a friend for the princely sum of $4000. As if I didn't have enough grandpa bikes in the garage already.

    It blows no smoke, runs quite nicely and is all there - though it's in rough cosmetic condition. Matt never cleaned the bike in the 60,000km's he's had it. (All up it's got around 90,000km's on it). It's got quite high mileage but I'm not too fussed about that. It's such an overbuilt and under-stressed* engine it should have another 40k or so on it before the top end could do with a look-over.




    So while it runs okay it has a few things that I need to address. It needs a new front disc, pads, some stainless lines while I'm there and a pair of shoes for the rear brake. I'm not a fan of the rubber on there at the moment so that'll go sometime over the summer as well.

    It's been dropped at very low speed so it's got one cosmetic issue that really, really annoys me. The RHS header is brand new and immaculate and the left is pitted as all hell. At some stage I'll be doing the exhaust, the shocks and springs and a few other cosmetic modifications so I can live with that in the interim.

    Until I go all happy with a grinder and cut everything back it's just going to be a commuter. They're awesome bikes. Boring as all get out really, but so well built and so damn reliable (fingers crossed).

    *Yeah, it's slow.
    • Like Like x 15
  2. Nice pick up. They are a brilliant basic platform for customisation. I've seen 'scramblers', cafe racers, bobbers and even one that had been given the 'chopper' treatment.

    I'm actually trying to convince my wife that she should look at a W800 for her next bike to get her back in to it gently.
  3. Thanks lad - this one will be in the garage for a while yet.

    The W800 is an absolutely gorgeous bike. Handles its weight really well at a walking pace but it's a bit of a bugger to wheel around. Something to consider if she's slight of frame or uncertain around bikes.
  4. Her uncertainly around bikes will be non existent the moment she rides the one she wants - right now she's in lust with the Yamaha Bolt, but we won't be able to afford one of those for a while.

    Note: She used too push Harley's around the store and has ridden bikes where she could only just to say tip toe touch the ground - but that was pre accident.
  5. Ah, she'll have no problems then.

    The bolt is apparently a good ride - and objectively better than the sportster in just about every way.
  6. What my wife likes about the Bolt - other than it looks like it might suit her current riding needs (stuffed left wrist and stuffed right thumb) - is that it's relatively cheap and easy to customise at not too great an expense....
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. If I was to buy another bike the W800 would definitely be on the list. Nice 650 QW! !!
  8. The bolt would likely be cheaper than the W800 to customise. The Kawasaki has very few things wrong with it but the exhaust is one of the stupider designs I've seen - it's an entire sealed unit so you have to buy headers and mufflers to replace the whole thing, or cut up the existing system. It's not a cheap proposition.

    Hornet, you could do much worse than this bike. It's a very refined, sensible thing to get around on. The 800 is actually quite a different beast to the 650. It shares 80% of the components but the engine itself behaves in quite a different manner. The 800 has oodles of torque while you have to work the 650 quite a bit more.
    • Like Like x 1

  9. That's a nice looking ride :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Who cares if it's slow? It's a good bike. Well done.
  11. On the subject of the exhaust, a few years ago I turned up a couple of adaptors for Matt to allow the double walled headers to be cut off the mufflers and be mated to alternative silencers. I dunno if they worked (I was working off a sketch and didn't have access to a bike to try them on) or if he's still got 'em or if they came with the bike. Might be worth asking though.
  12. I kinda do. It's more slow in the way that it delivers it's power. I guess, more than anything, it lacks personality. It's a 360 degree parallel twin and they're not the most exciting things out there. But it's quicker than a car and fine for commuting, so that'll do me okay.

    Yep, he mentioned that! Thanks so much. To be honest my issue at the moment is that one header is immaculate while the other isn't. So I either need to get a new header and exhaust ($800 from Kawasaki!) to make sure they match or just get a whole system. I'm keeping an eye on Yahoo Japan auctions and at wreckers in the meantime as well.
  13. One of the ladies in the club I was in had a W650. My impression was that it wouldn't pull the top off a cold custard. It certainly didn't go up 'Talbingo Mtn' (Snowy Mountains Hwy) very quickly.
  14. Yep, it'd be a lie to say it was quick. The 800 is very noticeably better in this regard - certainly down low. 0-100 on my butt dyno says it's quicker than a Bonneville, and people never really heaped too much scorn on that for being slow.

    At the end of the day it's my commuter. It's the easiest bike I've ever serviced in my life, insurance is real cheap, parts are everywhere and it should keep some kind of resale value. It's also bloody good on fuel.

    I'm going to make it look cool as fcuk and park it on Brunswick street and attract hairy-pitted hot girls with no tits and Bukowski books in their hands.

    And old men. Loads of old men.
    • Funny Funny x 3
  15. I've had surprisingly durable and attractive results from the following el-cheapo method of renovating rusty, blued exhausts.

    First I hit them with a wire brush in the angle grinder, roughing up the surface to give it some tooth.

    Next is a thorough dowsing in a phosphoric acid based rust converter. Last time I just used SuperCrap's cheapest.

    A good rinse with near boiling water and a scrub with an old paint brush to get rid of every trace of acid.

    A minimum of two good coats of hi-temp satin black. Again I just used SC's cheapest. Septone I think.

    Refit and give the bike a good hard run to bake the paint into place.

    I used this technique on the Ural's rusty Russian chrome pipes and mufflers when I tidied it up to sell it a few years ago. I was surprised at how good it looked but I didn't really expect it to last beyond the cheque clearing. However, I saw the bike a few weeks ago and was astonished to notice that the pipes were still looking good three years on. I know it was my paintwork too, because I found the thumbprint I managed to carelessly put in the finish.

    Obviously this is only a goer if you're OK with painted pipes. Those perverts with a chrome fetish will have to bear the cost of their little peccadillo.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  16. Oi! Who's peccadillo are you calling litt ... yeah fair enough.

    I'm thinking about going through this exercise on the son's Hyo 250. The factory finish is, well ... finished.
  17. Good tip, thanks PatB!

    It's sadly well beyond the stage it can be recovered. It has very, very severe pitting and all sorts of funky shit down the LHS header. It's a double wall header pipe and it looks like the outer is nearly done with. I'll take a pic next time I'm near the bike.
  18. Great platform for customisation. I like its patina.
  19. They're very flattering photos. Up close the patina is much, much less impressive!
  20. That's a nice looking motorbike. I thought it looks nicely grubby too. You could throw the good header in the sea for a couple days to make it match?
    • Funny Funny x 1