TIP: Make sure you run your machine for a solid 30-60 minutes at least once a week. I discovered mine had water condensing in the oil because I wasn't getting it hot enough while riding around town. The W appreciates a good, regular workout to keep running smoothly.
After a few weeks I got a phone call from the head of technical services at Kawasaki North American in Irvine, CA. The summary goes like this: Yes they know the W-650 engine pings. They found it on the very first bikes imported into the US. They tried the same fix. Different brands of fuel, higher octane ratings and boosters. Nothing worked. They called Japan and talked to the engineers, their reply was "just normal combustion noise". Maybe head casting design allows or sets up a harmonic environment that transfers noise to the outside of the engine. Calls to Canada and Australia indicate no longer term reliability problems, at least in their countries. The solution ride the bike and enjoy it. My dealer simply rolled his eyes and suggested if I keep the bike to get the extended warranty, he felt I might need it. The pinging appears to be unhealthy to him. The timing is spot on and can't be altered. He suggested a Dyno-jet kit once they are on the market in Dec. ($86.00) to maybe ease the problem if the engine is is overly lean.
Bill Boggs USA California
Here is a dyno graph submitted by Crawford Leitch, July 19, 2000, showing the output of the W650 in both torque and horsepower. In his email, Leitch notes:
"My ( non adjustable ) factory Needle in the Carb is Marked N8GN. When I get the Dynajet kit I will be doing a before and after dyno of the bike , possibly with the Cobra USA pipe. I will send the charts for posting then. Also I have California Smog stuff which I am going to 'ace' at some point. When I do I will document the process with my digital camera and perhaps you could post it for the 'Emission impaired' among us."
AIR BOX MOD: One of the easiest modifications you can make. Simply drill 1-3 small (1" or smaller) holes in the plastic air box below the filter. This will allow the box to breathe better and get more air into the carbs. Make sure you do not drill above the filter pad! You can also drill to the far side (away from the engine) because the air path comes from below the seat like a conch shell. May give a slight power boost, especially at the top end.
CRASH BARS: Also known as engine guards. Available from your Kawasaki dealer. easy to install. Can be used for foot rests, extra lights, or just to look cool.
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