2000 Kawasaki W650 from United Kingdom

Summary:

Absolutely great!

Faults:

Absolutely nothing. The only remark is that the headlight makes a noise at certain revs which can be annoying.

General Comments:

I have had - Fireblades - umpteen Guzzi's (only after the 8th or 9th Guzzi I gave up on their unreliability?) FZR - Triumph Bonneville - Matchless - CBR750 and 400 (still have a sandcast to admire) but to ride, the Kawasaki wins because it rides exactly like a Guzzi without the issues. Compared to the retro Triumph, it wins as it is less dull and the frame is more stiff.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st July, 2019

2005 Kawasaki W650 from New Zealand

Summary:

Lovely classic design, but the Japanese have overcomplicated many aspects of it

Faults:

Nothing up to now.

General Comments:

Replaced standard exhausts with Posh straight-throughs.

Airbox gone, pods instead. Up jet of carbs, sounds and goes like a 60s BSA Thunderbolt. Real nice.

One inch longer spacers in the front forks. No more bottoming on bumpy rides.

Replaced standard size tires with: front 110/90-19, rear 140/80-18; looks and handles better.

Fitted grease nipples to the swing-arm centre and foot brake pivot at the frame join.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th May, 2019

2001 Kawasaki W650 from United States of America

Summary:

It's an adequate rider with attractive features, but nothing special

Faults:

Carburetion issues.

General Comments:

I enjoy riding the bike, but it's not all I hoped for. It's heavy, though acceleration is adequate for my needs. It does not handle well at low speeds, with excessive steering 'flop' when maneuvering in tight spaces. I swapped out the US high and wide handlebars for a 'Euro' style bend and mounted a custom seat. Those help.

The suspension is indifferent, even with progressive front springs and aftermarket rear shocks. Brakes are not adequate for high speed riding. The rear drum is sub-par, as is the single disc front. If there was an easy fix for the brakes, that is the next place I would invest in the bike. Stainless steel hydraulic brake line?

I enjoy the power curve and rarely exceed 4,500rpm since vibration increases above that point. I put on some weighted bar end/sliders, but if they made a difference it's negligible. I get some hand tingling and fatigue. But I rarely ride for more than 2 hours at a stretch so, with a custom seat with gel insert, it's just mildly annoying. I would like to use the bike for some longer rides, but I wonder if it's in the cards. I sometimes reach for another gear and may replace the drive cog with a tooth up when the original starts to show signs of wear.

Stock mirrors gave me a great view of my elbows, and not much else, so I replaced them with long stem circular units, which are smaller, but still a big improvement. The side stand has a too small 'footprint' and invites disaster when parking on a loose surface.

If I keep the bike, I may try different tires without such a big difference in cross section between front and rear. I may also try a fork brace to see if that results in more confidence inspiring handling.

All that said, I do like the bike and mainly wish it was lighter weight and had better sorted steering.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th October, 2018

2000 Kawasaki W650 from Denmark

Summary:

Sweet ride on any day

Faults:

Nothing, only normal service.

General Comments:

The W650 is one of the best bikes I have ever owned. You can have fun on this bike at normal (legal) speeds. It is powerful enough to go long distance on motorways and is even better in town.

I have changed a few things on mine. Better seat and a lower handlebar. I have also fitted a front fork brace and better rear dampers.

The engine on this bike is so sweet, with good low down power. Roundabouts in third gear, even two up, no problem. Despite the parallel twin-engine layout, vibrations are not a problem and the gearbox is the best on any bike I have tested.

I sold the first one I owned and missed it, so I bought this one again after a few years with a real Triumph.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st July, 2017

29th Aug 2019, 12:54

Funny, I had the Triumph Bonneville and totally agree with you that the W650 is a nicer ride. Apart from cold start issues (had to use a hair dryer on mine to get it started) it was dull to ride and the frame of the Bonnie was weak compared to the W650.