The Kawasaki W650 is a retro standard motorcycle made by Kawasaki between 1999-2008. The “W” in its model name makes a historic reference to Kawasaki’s W1, W2 and W3 models, manufactured between 1967 and 1975. The W650 was superseded by the Kawasaki W800, which to the dismay of enthusiasts is only sold in the UK.
The “nostalgic” W650 Kawasaki is a Bonneville-BSA clone resembling the British motorcycles of the early 1960s but replacing the vibrating pushrod engines of the British twin-cylinders with a distinctive shaft-driven bevel-gear overhead camshaft, similar to those found on 1970s Ducati singles and V-twins.
Started out with a 1973 Yamaha RD350 we move the swingarm pivot points back about three inches and put a RZ rear end on swingarm disk brakes and a after market Fox race shock mono shock. We went from a 73 twin shock to a modified RZ race rear end with a 6 and 1/2 inch stretch to the rear end. Vintage Avon front clip modified RD400 tank and a vintage Ducati tail section
Photos from Richard Weslow
Update: Chris had actually sent me links to a a pair of photo albums and he actually pointed me to the better of the two… which I promptly forgot about and posted the lesser quality of the finished pics. So I thought I’d update this oversight by sorting it out now. These are much better and more representative shots of the finished product. Someone really does has a nice touch with the lens Chris. Thanks and orry for any confusion..
Chris Trotter send in this very special build. I absolutely love the Gulf Racing colors. Oh and these are just a very small taste. Be sure to check out the slideshow folks. SLIDESHOw OF THE FULL BUILD
So I bought the original bike a 1975 Honda CB550K in October of 2010, which was stock except for the exhaust. With the exception of the engine, which was in great shape, everything on the bike was replaced, refurbished or built anew. The subframe was built to match up to the tail, which was built to echo the tank. Both tank and seat/tail are constructed from a mix of fiberglass and Kevlar. That was an eye-opener for me; due to Kevlar’s uncooperative nature, I have to say the next build will exclude it entirely! All of the 36 year old bearings and bushings were replaced for peace of mind. Many members of the forum Do The Ton contributed to this build whether by encouragement or hooking me up with parts. For instance, the rear sets and top triple clamp were machined by a forum member, and the logos were airbrushed on by a friend and fellow forum member, with the stencils being made by another! The paint scheme and name are in honor of Gulf Racing’s efforts at the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
Thanks Steve! Let me know if you need anything more.
Really special bike. Well done.
Here’s a progress pic…
And the before pic…