2005 Kawasaki W650 from New Zealand


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


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


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


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


Sweet ride on any day


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


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


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