The Japanese motorcycle companies went through a period when their designers focused their attention on the older British classics, like the Triumph Bonneville, and figured they had a better idea or interpretation of the concept. The Honda GB500 was their way of doing an English cafe racer and the Kawasaki W650 you see here recreates the classic Bonneville. These W650s, just like the Honda GB500, weren’t really popular in the US when they were available new. They were only imported to the US for two years, 1999 and 2000, but remained in production elsewhere until 2008. It wasn’t until they were gone that enthusiasts here recognized what a nice bike they missed out on and a clean used one is a good find.
The W650 is a 650cc parallel twin with a bevel drive cam, that’s the vertical shaft you see on the right side of the engine. It’s no screaming race replica, but it does make for a very nice standard motorcycle with a pleasant ride, pretty much like the old Bonnevilles, but without the drama.
This one has a low 2150 miles and it’s completely stock, a nice selling point because many of these have been customized, especially since outfits like Deus have made a business of creating various resto-mod versions that are really appealing, nice to be sure, but maybe not what you’re looking for.