Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A truimph of Japanese engineering: The W650.


From Motorcycle daily
"This is a painstakingly styled retro -- true to the British tradition and, as Kawasaki points out, Kawasaki's own 1960's vintage W-model.

The W650 actually displaces 676cc of air-cooled single overhead cam, eight-valve four-stroke. The pistons rise and fall together (with a 360-degree crank) like some of the British bikes of yore.

Modern touches include four valves per cylinder and constant velocity carburetors equipped with Kawasaki's integrated ignition control, throttle position sensor ("K-TRIC"). K-TRIC varies ignition timing according to throttle position and engine RPM for "crisp throttle response and better fuel efficiency", according to Kawasaki.

The 360-degree crank and parallel twin configuration would normally lead to significant vibration, but the W650 also has a balance shaft to help eliminate this.

Electric starting is featured along with a 5-speed transmission and Kawasaki's patented Positive Neutral Finder.

The W650 features a traditional double-cradle frame with large square-section backbone for a much more rigid chassis than the 1960's designs.

While the styling is very true to the 60's era, with twin rear shocks (pre-load adjustable) and a conventional telescopic fork, the W650 does feature a large, 300mm disc brake for braking power that would go beyond any 60's era bike.

The classically shaped gas tank features rubber knee pads, along with high-quality paint and chrome.

Ride reviews from Europe (where the machine has been available for a year) are generally favorable, but note that the machine should not be expected to match modern day sport bike performance figures (obviously). The motor is surprising flexible and punchy, while the handling is stable and sufficiently nimble.

Kawasaki certainly beat Triumph to the punch. While Triumph continues to labor on its parallel twin design (expected sometime next year) the Kawasaki W650 represents an existing choice for parallel twin fans with a taste for accurate 1960's era styling."
The W650 is a huge success in Japan and the E.U. with countless touring and Cafe variations being created many diehard enthusiasts- like this smart LSL Sport version.

6 comments:

Ton Up said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ton Up said...

Great write up. I'm currently in the market for a W650 for my own cafe racer project.

It's great to see that there are other blogs out there celebrating Cafe Racers. You're now in my list of favorites ;O)

s.a. said...

Hey TonUp!..I have been reading your great blog for sometime and I have even added you to my link list. want to do the same and we'll see if we can stir up some more interest in Cafe Racers...?

Thanks for the kind words.

Cheers,
S.A.

Ton Up said...

Hey there S.A. just added a link to your blog from mine. Your blogs fattening up real fast! Keep up the good work...I'm now a regular reader of yours!

s.a. said...

Thanks pal, I appreceate the link and the comments!

cheers.
s.a.

Ton Up said...

Hey buddy, Your blog is really cranking! I'm a regular visitor now nice work.

You won't believe it but I've finally found a W650 for my own Cafe Racer project! Should hapefully have it in a week or 2 so I will start documenting the build as I go. Check out the first pic of it I got from the guys who are selling it. Can't wait!