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

2000 Kawasaki W650 from United Kingdom

Summary:

In 50 years as a motorcyclist, the best bike came last!

Faults:

Just one starter relay and one brake light switch.

General Comments:

This motorcycle is the most reliable I have ever owned. It has never broken down. I have had 3 batteries over the years, but even then the kickstart will get you going if the failing battery has even 10V to power up the coils.

The handling is light and quite precise now I have fitted Hagon rear shock absorbers. Above 70 mph the upright bars are far from ideal and the front wheel goes a bit light. Below this it is sweet handling and just the thing for tarmac lanes pottering along on top gear, if you like at 1700 RPM. It is this type of riding I prefer and the fuel consumption is quite impressive if you use the magnificent torque rather than revs: 70-80 MPG.

I have modified the poor original seat for a slightly narrower stepped dual seat. This stops pillion passengers sliding into the rider by degrees.

I am on my second set of chain and sprockets, but have used 4 drive sprockets over the years as these are small in diameter and make a whining noise when worn. Regular maintenance is easily carried out - no need for dealers.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2017

2000 Kawasaki W650 from United States of America

Summary:

Versatile, bulletproof, beautiful tough classic

Faults:

Incorrect main jet size in right carb caused fouling until corrected. Kickstand safety switch went out and had to be bypassed.

General Comments:

Having owned an 80's 600 single beforehand, even though it was a "retro" bike, the leap in sophistication was phenomenal. It was absolutely bulletproof reliable while I owned it, capable of 110mph, could cruise all day on the highway, and yet was fun to fool around on in town or country roads.

It had excellent acceleration, although gearing was slightly annoying (2nd too low, 3rd too high). The seat was extremely uncomfortable (fixed in the 2001 model year) and the stock handlebars were "buckhorn" making long distance high speed travel extremely uncomfortable. That said the bike performed excellent averaging speeds of 90-100 mph on I-40 from Oklahoma to California without a hiccup. It was always fun to see the look on the Goldwing/Harley dresser rider's faces when I passed them on a small old looking bike.

I did not baby this bike, I rode it in Oklahoma ice storms, LA traffic, on gravel roads, dirt roads, offroad (mud, pastures, etc) and it always started first press of the button or first kick (yeah, it actually had a kick starter, great for a dead battery) and it was always ready for more. I also stored it uncovered outside year round through four brutal years of Oklahoma weather, and the finish remained remarkably beautiful. It was a tough machine, and with a 2001 model or aftermarket seat and low bars, it's hard to think of a better overall motorcycle, as it can honestly be used for any purpose except motocross.

If you are lucky enough to own one, don't sell it. It has much more charm and versatility than the new Triumphs. I sold mine because I needed the money and I certainly regret it. If you want a "standard" motorcycle that can do it all (motorcycling has degenerated into genres) with great classic looks and cross-country dependability, get one if you can find one, they were only imported for two or three years.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd August, 2010

6th Dec 2011, 18:16

I have a 2003 W650, & have ridden it all over the UK in the past three years. All I can say is I LOVE IT! I always have a smile when I ride it & talk to others about its merits & minor shortcomings. I have also tested many Enfield 350/500s, and they don't hold a candle to it in my opinion.

I also ride a 1200 Bandit S, an altogether different machine; this gives me the buzz I need when wanting to go fast, but it hasn't the charm of the W650.

I really think I have the best of both worlds riding these two machines, both of which have been utterly reliable.

Nev G.

18th Jun 2012, 00:54

Share your views entirely. I just sold my W650, and wish I had not done so. I have bought a FJR 1300 with the proceeds, but wish I had kept the 650... what a sad day it was when I watched it go. The position was great, ride was smooth and without fault; overall it was a dream bike to have (for general runs about and the sunny days).

I will be back looking for another I am sure, and perhaps the W800 may be the best option?

Nice to hear that I am not alone in regretting the sale of the W650... wish I had seen your write up first.

Safe riding/Rick Isle of Man.

13th Mar 2015, 10:20

Just wondering why with such a justifiably good review, you would NOT buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer?

Cheers, Gary.

23rd Sep 2017, 16:57

If you ended up without the bike, and would like to

buy an all rounder, to keep it forever, W650 or FJR? That's my dilemma.

2003 Kawasaki W650 from Republic of Ireland

Summary:

Very good

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

The Japanese copy of a 1960s Triumph Bonneville.

Looks good, rides good.

Economical, 70 MPG.

Handled better when I fitted Hagon Shocks.

Braked better when I fitted stainless steel lines and Double-H sintered pads.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st March, 2006

7th Apr 2006, 21:15

I first saw a "W" parked in a wall-mart parking lot a few years ago. I couldn't stop talking about it with my brother. He'd been stuffing money away in a Harley fund for years...

I came home from vacation to find he'd bought a "W". I had to pick it up at the dealer because he didn't have a permit and couldn't ride it legally. Of course, it was pouring raining the the day I picked it up. Regardless, I'd leave my visor up so I could hear the engine better. I love the sound of the engine, particularly on compression.

I love the "W", it's a great little bike, and the nostalgia factor just adds to its appeal. Everyone points or stops to look at it. Luckily, my brother lets me take it out once in a while. Happy trails. Enjoy!