Wonderful work! Especially love listening to others who share my motorcycle passion so eloquently as yourself. You're a tribute to Wriders everywhere and the useful execution of web cite authoring!
Monty, Danville, CA
Congratulations on an inclusive and professional website dedicated to that most ecstatic of two-wheeled transports, the W650, a time machine if there ever was one. Yep, I'm an old fart (59) but have been dicing it up with the boys starting with a Honda F3, then a Triumph T595, then a Yamaha R-1 and now the Ducati 916. The T-Bird Sport was for those days the 916 was in the shop, repairing crash damage. (Where it happens to be now, by the way.) But ever since the W650 arrived in my race garage with a house attached, the other bikes have been mostly involved in running down their batteries (one each, Tri and Duc). What is it about this little two-popper that evokes such pleasure? The lightness, the nimbleness at speed, the sheer pleasure of tooling along a country lane listening to the deep drone of the cylinders, the fact that when the twisties come up it's willing to be thrown about until various metal parts start scraping? All of those things and more.
I can (and have, on other sites) waxed poetic until people start shouting "enough already" but this is the first bike I've ever owned whereby I'm not sure just one is enough. There's so darn many things you can do with it: let's see, I need a dirt version, and a scrambles version, and a hillclimb version, and a cafe racer version and a touring version ... hmmm, how did Kawasaki know I even existed? Ah well, it's to their good fortune that I do.
Thanks again for letting us know about your site.
Wayman, CA USA
Great site! It's great to see such a lot of interest generated by the W. I bought mine three months and 5000 miles ago. I won't bother adding to the body of information about what it's like to ride, except to say that it can be persuaded to scratch like the best of 'em, and I'm certainly going to stay away from the real vs. retro debate 'cos it's irrelevant. It's a bike, it looks great and it does what I want it to.
A couple of bits of information gained from experience. High speed steering wobble from the wide bars was a problem. Kawasaki do a conversion but it's way too expensive, so I converted to narrow 7/8 bars by making up spacers to fit the clamps (sourced from a 1" bicycle seat post). This reduces the weaves but cables need re-routed a bit.
The rear tyre wore out by 4000 miles and I'm currently running Continental TKV11/12s. they give good grip but the bike is twitchier on the limit. One unwelcome throwback to the Triumph days is siting the coils right in the way of rain and spray (we get rather a lot of that in Scotland!). A lot of silicone spray has helped.
In general I would say I love the bike, but would welcome any info on sourcing a few extras to make it a bit more personalised, particularly seat, Daytona style short meggas and uprated fork springs.
Keep the rubber bits on the tarmac and all the metal bits higher than the rubber!
Sam, East Lothian, Scotland
Very nice site and good information on the W650. I also like your Timeline site with it's massive history content. Now that the new Bonneville has been revealed, will you consider buying one, Ian?
Urban Andersson, Sweden
Great site!I'm 54 and I identify closely with much of what you've written. The only reason I don't plan to buy a W650 within the next year is that due to an unavoidable move and higher rent now, I can't afford it.
I did get a chance to test ride one.Other than three factors, it was everything I would have hoped.The first factor is that it's heavier than I remember the T-machines being, the second is that it seemed to have less power (of course, it was a new dealer demo), and the third, which is the only significant one, is that compression didn't slow it down enough when closing the throttle.I need more slow-down from the engine than I experienced with it.It was idling pretty high (I don't remember exactly what rpm, maybe 1200); I'm wondering whether they are by specs supposed to idle that high, or if the one I rode simply hadn't
I will have one one day...
Went nuts over the concept of this bike the first time I saw a photo in a bike mag.Saw the real article at the Cleveland Bike Show this past January. Sat on it ....thought .... man, this feels like the Beezers and Triumphs I rode in the mid-60's.And then kind of let it go, since the garage already contained a K1200RS and an older R100GS (BMWs).Until late this August.The R bike was in the shop for extensive damage control, which left me with no light(er) twin to ride.Enter the W650.
Since August 18, 2000, this little gem of a bike has made several short trips of approx 200-250 miles thru Amish country.I'm amazed at how nimble it is on the twisty back roads.It's now Sept 12, 2000, and the odometer reads 2600 miles. Granted, it isn't a superslab bike . . . but neither were its British predecessors.What it is, however, is a really great two lane twisty ride that practically goes where you mentally will it to go.Shifting and clutching are unbelievably smooth, and there always seems to be a perfect ratio forentering and exiting back country turns. And the mellow sound coming from those beautiful peashooter pipes is the icing on a very sweet cake.And the little beauty pulled nearly 95 mph on an uphill section of Interstate 271 just the other day.It didn't get there quickly .. but it got there, and it was a long way from redline (maybe a little more hp in the
This bike is killing my goal of hitting high mileage this year on my BMWs. At this rate, I'll never get my 300,000 mile badge from BMW of North America. With the W650 to ride, maybe I don't even care.
Bob Gilligan, Ohio, USA
Best bike I have ever owned and I've had more than a few.Beautiful to look at, forgiving and comfortable to ride. An absolute beauty and I hope someone at the big K gets the kudos they deserve for finally going back to making real motorcycles.
Ignore the wallies who damn it with faint praise, check out the folks who actually have one. All I ever see is very happy owners. That should tell you something.I just read one of the aforesaid wallies reviews...'no power'.No power? How much do you need!
Only trouble is I can't afford to buy three more to convert to different specs. No matter, I have already tried mine as a cafe racer, cruiser, and standard.A simple matter of a few hours worth of bolting and unbolting carriers, sissybar, highway pegs, different bars.
Great fun! Well done Kawasaki.
Mike Dench, Virginia, USA
I have owned Honda bikes, a cb750 and a cb1000 both great bikes. I eventually realized that the type of bike I wanted was really a sport tourer. I bought a BMW k1100lt.What a great bike for the wide open roads in Wyoming. The problem with going 120mph is that is makes 100mph seem slow. I sold the BMW because I am moving to Bolivia and do not believe that the roads or the quality of gas would make for a pleasant ride , plus I'm not sure about the ability of the mechanics. With that in mind , I purchased the w650 for a number of reasons.
First, I believe that I will be able to keep up the service on the less complicated design.
Second, the w650 really looks like the bike of my dreams when I was growing up.. the Triumph Bonneville. Also as a kid I learned to ride on a Norton 750.
The w650 brings back all the feel and the look of the bikes of the era. I love the w650 , it has been a lot of fun breaking in the engine, it has a lot more power than I expected. It really seems at home in the 60 mph to 70 mph range. I have one question if anyone knows the answer or can give some advise, when I move to South America the only gas I can get will be leaded. Am I going to ruin this bike by running this type gas. Is there anything I can do? Please give me some assistance if you have any ideas.
George Miller, USA
Pretty good web site, I will thank you for all this information and photos. Please continue in the same way.
Congratulations and bye bye.
Thierry Schebath, France
Great site. Looking to find some accessories such as better designed seat for two, rear rack and luggage.
Hi Ian. I visited your Bullet site a lot back in 98 and found a very useful pool of info there too. Keep up the standards on this site too and you'll be onto a winner.
David Martin England
Terrific site, very informative and well set out TOP MARKS! Will post again when I have more time.
Howard Baker Australia
The W650 is my kind of bike. The design ,look, feel, vibe and sound are just great. The power band is right where I like it. My only complaint is seat comfort. I have A Corbin seat on order. I would like to see some accessories become available for these fabulous machines. Things could get real interesting with talk of Triumph and possibly Yamaha producing their version of this modernized throwback [retro] motorcycle. I love it!
Tom Wulff, Florida, USA
Your site is great and looks like it was a labor of love. I bought my W650 in July and have not ridden it a lot yet. I really just like to "look" at it and admire the work of art it is. If Kawasaki does not bring it into the states next year, the current model will probably garner collector and "classic" status immediately. It really is a classic machine. Thanks for letting me comment.
Mike Pfeffer, USA
Perhaps because I own a vintage Triumph, I find the W conceptually appealing. I'd much rather do work-commuting on a more functionally modern, freeway-friendly machine and save the Bonnie for more "special" rides.
I'm definitely intrigued by the W, and very much appreciate your site. Have you found any aftermarket sources for replacing or trimming down the tank emblem? It's the one thing I can't seem to look past when I see the bike in person. Also, has anyone been able to order one with the green tank (or the red/black you mentioned?)
I have been riding motorcycles since 1972 and my dad owned a Triumph in the 60's so you can get a good idea of my motorcycling background. My last motorcycle was a 1994 Ducati 900SS, nice bike but I got tired of the racing crouch and after I sold it in 1997, I couldn't find another bike that excited me (except maybe the Ducati Monster or old BMW or Triumphs) and that was the end of my riding days, or so I thought. Forward to 2000, I walk into my local Kawasaki dealer and low and behold, a magnificent Triumph Bonneville. Whoops, its a new Kawi W650! Love at first sight, I buy it and now I am active in motorcycling again at age 40.
Dale Pentek, Ohio, USA
Tremendous Website dedicated to W650
Chris Spence, Canada
I am sales manager at a multi-line dealership, and over the past twenty years of my life I have thrilled to motorcycling. I have owned many bikes over the last 5 years, some stayed, some visited briefly. I bought a new 1997 HD FXD that "somehow" found itself with 12k on the clock one year later... I loved that bike, but sold it to purchase my '99 FLHR, which is not for show- it now has 15k on her, and she's a veritable Swiss army knife for my daily commutes. I've had Goldwings, and even dabbled into choppers- and yes, a 1999 Honda VFR800FIX! I had read so much, but found it wasn't me... I wanted something "sporting", but my concept of sporting doesn't necessarily require maximum lean angles, and performance Ohio troopers will never quite let me use.
I saw the "Dub" 650 at last year's dealer show, and was thrilled to find they were bringing it to the states. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a custom HD project, and lacked the cash... well, I cleaned out my garage, save for my faithful RK, and the ol' 360... and I bought the W650. I guess you could say she is reminding me of why I started riding, and she seemed so lonely on the floor... but I think she's adorable, and quick, and cool... and now, she's mine. Great site- and tell me, how do I get those German bags?!?
David C. Russell, Ohio, USA
I bought my W650 in mid-April of this year (2000) and was very conveniently fired from my job on May 30, leaving me a summer to enjoy it.
So far, I have taken an 8 day trip from North Carolina up to Maine and back (2500 miles) and a 9 day trip from North Carolina to Wisconsin and back (3000 miles). On the second trip I pack my backpacking tent, etc. and camped out in state and national parks along the way.
I loved every minute, and mile of both trips, as well as all the shorter rides I take, everyday, around my home. After owning the W650 for 3.5 months, I've got 9300 miles on the clock, and hope to log another 5000 or so over the next two months before I head back to work (somewhere).
I bought the W650 because it tweaked my heartstrings, AND because it fits my idea of what a motorcycle should be. My last few motorcycles had been street versions of dirtbikes, such as the Suzuki DR350s and Honda XR650, and I thought that the W650 might give me the same sit-up-straight-in-the-wind-with-plenty-of-torque-and-sporty-cornering sort of ride. One test drive proved that it did, and I was sold.
I really like my new bike, and I look forward to hearing other people's experiences with theirs.
Dave Kreibich, NCUSA
Some words in French. En parcourant le Web, on peut certainement dire que la W650 est une moto qui fait parler d'elle et ce uniquement en bien. Pour ma part, je peux vous affirmer que cette moto est extraordinaire. Elle allie "Elégance, Maniabilité et Fun", avec elle vous retrouvez l'esprit de la Moto.
Just found your site and I think it's great! Your home page really hit home with me. I would have thought I'd written it except I can't write nearly as well. Born in So. Cal. in 1954, my dad started riding a Yamaha Trail 80 in 1964. 1967 he bought a Bultaco for himself and a Hodaka Ace 90 for me. I graduated to his Bultaco in 1968 when he bought a new 1968 Triumph TR6C Trophy. He added Bates High Pipes, Ceriani Forks, Skid Plate, Knobbies, and a larger rear sprocket. We rode in the desert during this time and he quit riding due to health reasons in 1970 leaving the Triumph and Bultaco to ride. I loved that Triumph. My Bultaco would ride circles around it everywhere except in a straight smooth line, but the feel and the sound of that Giant (or so I thought at that time) engine was as good as it got back then.
I wanted that same look, feel and sound but I wanted the dependability and dry engine cases offered on today's bikes. The W650 was it. A week after a friend had told me that the bike shop in Macon had a W650, I put my other two bikes (a 1970 Yamaha DS6 250 twin 2 stroke Street Bike & a 1973 Honda 250 Elsinore) up for sale and headed down to get my new bike. As you can see, I liked the vintage bikes and was actually looking for a nice Triumph when I found out about the W650.
Now living in central Georgia, I'm surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of miles of two lane highways with 50 - 55 MPH speed limits. My W650 makes the perfect Bike. While I don't ride it much for transportation to and from work, I do ride it to work every once in a while. I've had it for two months now and it's almost turning 1000 miles on the odometer. Good luck with your Web Site and I hope to hear from you soon on your club
Tom Bush, Georgia, USA
Great site, links to just about all the info that I've found across the Net. Glad to see someone took the time to start this off. Of all the bikes I've owned (standards, sport bikes, touring, & dirt) it's the "W" that gives me the most pleasure. Maybe that's because that is exactly what it's designed for, FUN! Find me a back country road and I'm a happy man. For anyone that is considering the "W", GO FOR IT!
The only drawback that I have is the seat, but then again, I have the same complaint with most stock seats. Corbin has a nice one offered for the "W", but so far, they're not offering it in a Gunfighter + Lady setup. That doesn't "sit" too well with my other half. I've asked them if they can build one for me, they said yes, but the bike would need to be taken to their shop in California to do the work. That ain't happening. Seems like a simple process. Just take the existing seat pan, add the Lady part and throw in a backrest for her...maybe if Corbin gets enough request for the design, then they'll build one for us?
DynoJet is offering a Stage 1 kit, but no filter yet. And the last e-mail from Cobra said they would not have the exhaust until September, can't wait.
Steve, Texas, USA
Lots of info. Looking forward to seeing details about dynojet-modification. Greetings from Expo2000-city Hannover
Ralf Schumnig, Germany
Howdy from Texas! W650 owner now for about 6 months. Saw it, bought it, love it! I'm currently having the tank painted the Japan colors (gloss black, ruby red) along with the gold pinstripe. Should look great as he said he's going to clear-coat a number of times. I'll try to send a pic when done. The only modification that I'm really wanting to make is changing handlebars. I see there is a "kit" on the German website (or Japan, I forget) to do this. I've tried looking in every way to obtain it, would you or anyone know of any way to find this? Love the website and all the info!
Kenny in TX
Not many of us W650 owners in England owing to sports bike culture among the younger (I am 54) and predudice toward anything Jap among the older. Anyway I love mine and wouldn't change it for the new Triumph, well not yet.
Colin Broad, England
I´m a German student and my English is not so well. but I´m an owner of a kawasaki w-650 since may of 2000. i grown up in the former gdr where we did not have many motorbikes. the biggest was the mz 250. when wall came down i passed my a-level and after that I had to join the army. there i became an officer and first i was platoon leader in a paratroop battalion after that i was in staff of an armoured reconnaissance battalion, so i had never time to ride a motorbike. but last summer i left the army and suddenly i had enough time to go motorbike riding and i had enough money to by a motorcycle. I´m a big fan of elvis, jerry lee lewis and the whole spirit of the 50`s. One of my favourite movies is "the wild one" (marlon brando on a triumph thunderbird). and the only motorcycle with this spirit was the beautiful w-650.
so i went by motorbike the whole summer and now when the snow is gone i will do it again.
i have done some modifications (colour, light, handlebar, ) so now i´m out of words greeting to all bikers
Trutz Winter, Germany
Enjoyed this article on the w650. These are bikes that are "real" bikes. The Brits made a bike that gave us the nostalgia. but the Japs give us the whole thing. Some may disagree. All Harley lookalikes (Japanese made) do all things better than Harleys. V twin sports bikes these days, dukes are fine, but the VTRs And TLs keep going, better longer and just as hard.
Philip Blenkin, Australia
I just wanted to let everyone know, the corbin seat is well worth the money and looks cool. i've had a lot of good comments about it. it feels firm but you'll like it--- promise.
Steve Gilmore, North Carolina, USA
What a great site, i thought i was the only rider in the world to lose my marbles. lol. I traded my 96 zzr1100, for the W650 and it's the best thing i've ridden in 15 yrs. Fun, it has put that word back into riding again, it feel's like when i first got my license in 78 and fell in love with my first road bike Kawasaki z250. The feeling of freedom, excitement,& great m/cycle that's not a handful to ride, it rode with you, not had a mind of it's own. I grew up in the horse power age and owned gpz1100,zxr750,gpz900r,zzr1100,gpz750turbo and the like, thinking faster is better?. But something was missing? Until i walk pass the local kwaka dealer and fell in love with the [W] took it for a ride 20 mins later traded the zzr and never been happier.!!
Some tech tips on suspension/i have fitted koni rear shocks [koni aust has no listing yet in oz] but kawasaki st1000  sharft drive fits perfectly spring No 204-1 is perfect 1&2 up riding. Front sus, usa made, progressive springs, [again no listing for w650 in OZ] but my suspension guru work out spring No 11-1124with 15weight oil stiffens up the front perfectly! I have a slight problem with ideling, very slow to warm up & to settle to a steady idle, i have just re moved all the fresh air, pollution crap today i hear it could help??? ANY IDEAS WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM OTHER MEMBERS.
JASONBLAMIRES, NSW, Australia
Thanks for taking the time to construct a terrific web site for us poor orphaned W-650 owners! I, like yourself, was drawn to the 60's styling and lack of cutting edge engineering of the "W" but with just the right amount of modern day sophistication thrown in . Perhaps I've experienced technical overload though the years or long for simpler times. This bike also garners a lot of attention from the casual passerby that might otherwise be intimidated by modern day cruisers and sport bikes. I also own a Kawasaki Concours that I enjoy for long distance touring. Deals Gap, the Blue Ridge Parkway and New Hampshire being my favorite haunts. But for pure enjoyment you can't beat the W-650 for day to day commutes, Sunday morning rides in the Southern Tier of Western New York or Saturday night cold beer and detailing sessions in the garage (let's face it, it's just plain fun to look at).
Gary Clor, USA New York
Outstanding website! I absolutely love my W. I've all but abandoned my GoldWing since buying it! I am looking forward to staying in touch with your site and with other W650 riders.
Phil Hy, USA COLORADO
The W650-club (German) site looks like it has good info but, I can't read German! And, the English version has been under construction for far too long. I too would like to exchange comments and ideas with other owners, especially on the fresh-air, pollution crap REMOVAL (Jason Blamires, nsw, Australia, can you E-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how and what you did please?)
I really think we could all benefit from a message board allowing W650 owners from all over the planet to share tips, tricks, mods, ideas!
Kenny U.S. Texas
I was just at the local Kawasaki dealer, thought some might find this interesting:
Changes for the 2001 W650 (From Kawasaki sales literature):
Tank color is dark green with tan (off-white) sides; knee pads are slimmer.
Different seat, looks better padded, white piping gone.
Steering rake increased slightly from 26.7 to 27 degrees.
Front axle is 2mm larger.
Fork springs are different. I think it just says "improved"
Tires have softer compound "for increased fun"
Instrument placement slightly different for better visibility.
All else is exactly the same.
From the dealer I spoke to: Sales for the 2000 model were poor. They sold the ones they had well below list and are not intending to order the 2001. But on the bright side... Plenty of these models are left unsold, if you want one.
Dear Wretro Wrider: enjoyed your site very much. Have just got my W650 and am enjoying that too. One thing about it I like is that it won't be out of date next year. It's already out of date! It won't be replaced by something bigger, faster, or better handling. It's a bike that, while very competent and fun to ride, refuses to compete in the performance wars.
That said, I'm already working on changing the bike to my taste. First things on the list are handlebars, seat, and windshield. The windshield is going to be National Cycle's Deflector Screen. It's just big enough to provide some protection without overpowering the bike. Best thing about it is that is has quick-release mounts for those days when you don't want
to disturb the classic profile of the bike. For the seat, I'm considering the Corbin Gunfighter. They make an excellent product, though I'm not sure it matches the look of the bike. As for the handlebars, I don't know. Have you found a way around the strange handlebar problem?
Steve Young US CA
It's extremely nice to meet you here. I always search for any W650 lovers on the Internet and now I found it!
Your homepage is fabulous and informative coz it let me know a lot of details about W650.
I haven't got my bike yet until I pass the motorbike driving test later in the mid of November. But I have found and actually ordered a W650 (Red / cream color) from a local dealer. I have been very interested in motorbike driving before I applied the driving test and I have studied almost all sorts of models beforehand. What I have done is a long-term plan for my buying the W650. I have once considered many Harley-like Japanese bikes such as Honda Shadow 750, Suzuki Intruder, Kawa Drifter & Vulcan, etc. However, I got a dream one night and in the dream, I found myself ride on a retro bike, which was very British rather than American style. From then on, I started to plan myself to own a W650 for sure - my dream bike!
The reason I bought W650 is totally the same to yours. First, I'd rather enjoy riding & cruising than racing & crazy-looking. Second, I wanna get the feeling of sixties coz I didn't even get through the stage at all! Last, I wanna have a bike which can easily get to anyplace more freely and conveniently. All these requirements can be fulfilled by W650, so why not buy it?!
I really envy the Japanese W650 owners in their country coz there have been several clubs for them already. They can always exchange their comments and maintenance knowledge as well as the option changing. If one day I can also manage a club for the W650 owners in Hong Kong (as told by the local dealer, there are not many people who have bought W650 but it's certainly increasing), I might find you as our organizer or advisor for sure. we can keep a close touch with each other to explore more funs found in W650 in the future.
Parker Ten PR China Hong Kong
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