Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles Reviews (43)
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2018-11-05 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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I read a lot of reviews praising the 'retro' Kawasaki W650, but not much critical analysis of the bike. It's performs adequately, but could have been much better. With more attention to weight saving, braking and suspension, I believe Kawasaki would have had much greater sales success in this country. Partly due to low sales there aren't a lot of accessories or upgrades available, so there are limits to improving the performance of this enjoyable and reliable 'standard' motorcycle.
- John Morris, Nehalem

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2009-01-23 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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Let me say first and foremost that I've had them all. Being a teen in the 60s and 70s I've owned a plethora of great bikes. But the W650 just takes me back to a place I want to be. You remember... a slower pace with, can you believe it, no cell phones. Back when it took almost an hour just to cruise through town on a Saturday night. Remember? If you're looking for speed then this one is not it. don't get me wrong, it's quick for a 650 and it's always looking for a back country road. that's where this bike shines. A lazy Sunday afternoon on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Man, now that's living. One of the best things about the W650 is its reliability. It starts the first time every time. And never leaks oil. As I see it, it is the best of both worlds. The look of my old bikes without all the problems.
- Ron, bristol, Tennessee

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2004-12-04 2001 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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What a great bike. I am a racer, riding since 1971 at the ripe age of 8. My background was flattrack but over the years have done it all and still take my CBR for some knee draggin at the track. This scooter is the coolest thing out there. It hits the twisties hard enough to scrape pegs and cruises the cities with confidence. I have to disagree with the guy who gets no attention from the ladies. I'm in my 40s and had a car full of ladies' complete attention after a couple of sportbike style lane flics. They were stoked. I ride this thing just because every wannabe on the planet has a Harley. (boring) I had one in the late seventies. Been there. Step out and above the crowd with this scooter. Mine is heading for the cafe look. Take care!
- skantyska, houston, Texas

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2004-11-17 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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60 Era Triumphs were my first love. Guess I've never gotten over them. I had stopped riding for several years before I bought a W650 with 8000 miles for $3600. I think this bike is GREAT! The bike and I both enjoy curvy back roads where the line counts for more than the speed. It's a shame American riders didn't take to it. It does just about everything I want a motorcycle to do. I'm already thinking of getting a backup to set up as a high-piped scrambler for fire roads.
- J. L. Hall, Outside Liberty, Missouri

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2004-10-24 2001 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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As you might have guessed from the title, this is my first bike. I ran out of the normal magazines that kept me awake during the long weekend nightshift and had to buy a pair of Motorcycle Mags to stay awake. The W650 was in both and I was smitten from the first. Two weeks later I found, and bought, a used one. I have a really bad impulse control problem! Anyway, this bike is a perfect beginner's bike. It is forgiving, controlable, it sounds beautiful, and it looks great. That is what makes it a good first bike. What makes it the perfect first bike is that power. There is just enough. The engine will give you a great learning tool as you find out how much skill is involved with riding but it will not overpower you so that it is very easy to get yourself killed. Please note my language, on any bike at any level it is easy to get yourself killed, but on this bike it is NOT "very easy", it is only "easy". Some of the things I have done on this beauty could be seen as acting on a deathwish, but she has carried me through. She will do the ton, but I almost never push her that hard. She can keep up with highway trafic at or around 80 mph, but she doesn't have the deep well of power needed to get out of trouble through speeding up. Earlier I said that there was just enough, but what I didn't say was that there is STILL enough. After the first year I felt very confident that I could handle more bike. As a student on a limited budget, that "more bike" concept must remain only a concept. I drool over the new bikes in magazines and dream of my next bike and the one after that, but every time I throw a leg over my W650 and hit the kick starter (you gotta love the kickstarter) the idea of trading her in for another bike becomes absurd. I don't have the power I would like, but that is probably a good thing, and I still have plenty of power to get me from A to B with a smile on my face. This beginner's power is why she gets only a four star rating on performance. Reliability gets five stars because she is a tank. I have had to learn all I know about bikes on her and she has suffered for it, but she is still here and staying strong. Comfort is another four stars because the seat is great, but it is not somewhere you want to have to stay all day. There is plenty of space for a passenger, but I am not brave enough to have anyone ride with me yet so I can't pass on any secondhand info on that. The only after market seat I know of is the Corbin. It looks comfortable, but I like the classic look of the stock seat. Quality is four stars simply because I have obnoxiously high standards, and while this bike is put together very well and I have not had a problem with the workmanship, nothing trys to convince you that it is anything but factory made. It is just not overly fancy, but that helps to control costs. I love this bike and I am so glad I found it. It has treated me very well and I cannot recommend it enough. That being said, guys should note that they will become invisable to women on this bike. I have been complimented on this bike countless times (because face it, the thing looks great) but never by a woman my own age (20s). 80% of the time it is older guys who, "had one just like it, I loved my Triumph!" They still think it is cool after they learn that it actually works, I mean is from Japan. The other 20% is made up of children who recognize a motorcycle that looks like what a motorcycle should look like. Despite this fact, I still love this bike, and would recommend anyone who is thinking about getting into motorcycles to consider it.
- Golem0311, Westport, Connecticut

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2004-10-21 2001 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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In this day and age of hyper-performance and ultra specialized motorcycles, the W650 is a welcome throwback to those earlier days when one bike could be used successfully for several purposes. It's stone-reliable, looks and sounds terrific, gets great gas mileage, and is a snap to work on (though not much work is necessary. It's very comfortable too for short-to-medium distance rides, although the lack of wind protection can become bothersome at higher speeds. This bike's forte' is cruising around twisty, scenic two-lane secondary roads, where the broad power band and upright seating position really enhance the fun. My advice - pick up a decent used one (the only option now), enjoy the heck out of it, and maintain it in good condition. The W650 is a keeper!
- G.P., Grand Rapids, Michigan

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2004-03-14 2001 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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Now 66 and a born again biker for the last 15 years I have at last discovered the perfect bike. I got to the W650 via a Fazer, a Zephyr, a Yamaha XJR and a Honda Deauville. The W650 is light and beautifully balanced. Maintenance is very easy and comfort good. The paint and chrome finish is really good and looks like it'll last well.
- Peter RT, Cork, Ireland

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2003-10-02 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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IT HAD BEEN 25 YEARS SINCE I HAD OWNED A ROAD BIKE. ONE ACCIDENTAL SIGHTING OF A W650 IS ALL IT TOOK TO CHANGE THAT. 5 STARS FOR LOOKS, SOUND, TORQUE, & EVERYTHING ELSE EXCEPT THE SEAT.
- cb, maitland nsw, Australia

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2003-09-13 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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Turns heads everywhere I go. Could do without the chain but hey it goes with the classic look. Love this bike. Looks cool and has the kick starter too. Talk about a conversation starter. Added a Corbin seat and small windscreen and haven't looked back. If you can find one, buy it, you won't be sorry. Got mine for $3500 and it only had 1100 miles on it and it was still under Warranty. You can't go wrong. Nothing but smiles for miles.
- J Bostwick, Russiaville, Indiana

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2003-08-06 2001 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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It backfires like an old geezer on prunes, your butt is numb after a couple of hours, the bars are too high, there are no accessories for it from Kawasaki and it's overpriced. But when I ride the thing, I can't wipe the stupid grin off my face! It's not a crotch rocket or a lay-z-boy, it's a real motorcycle - it handles great, has enough horse to have some serious fun and the looks... a cross between the old Bonnie and the '74 Kawasaki W1. Did you get a load of the kick start? What a riot! (Not to worry, it has electrics too). Great weekender. Super city bike. Kawi stopped making them after '02. Try to get a '01 or '02 as there are some improvements over the 2000 model.
- pollywog, Toronto, Ontario

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2003-05-23 2001 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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I am not a racer, I'm more a sightseer and for that this is the perfect bike for me. I have found it to be very stable even at 110 mph (on a long staightaway on an isolated backroad) and it corners very well. I weigh 250 lbs. and have had no instability problems at all. Add to that the pleasing sound of the factory exhaust, the classic good looks and the comfortable riding position and this is a terrific motorcycle! I have added a windscreen, throttle lock (for relief of carpal tunnel symptoms) and saddle bags which makes longer rides more comfortable. I also cured the engine backfire problems which apparently plague this model with a relatively simple modification to the reed valves in the exhaust system.
- rahclaims, San Jose, California

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2003-04-02 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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Well after 24years in the motorcycle wilderness i have found what for me is the perfect bike. Japanese sport bikes and tourers, 2 harley davidsons(VERY unreliable), buell X1 lightning(HORENDOUSLY unreliable) all very enjoyable bikes in their own right, BUT..they all seem to fit a narrow spectrum of motorcycling only. Enter W650 kawasaki. So far i have toured long and reasonably comfy distances, got a little sporty carving up my fave mountain roads, commute reliably and just all round enjoyed the hell out of it!! It is Not perfect at any one function but overall it is proving to be "a great all rounder" and for my money thats what motorcycling should be all about. CHEERS
- Phil Coster, Cloverlea, Australia

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2002-11-22 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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Just bought my new 2000 W650 2 weeks ago for $4599. It was a real steal at this price. It handles beautifully on the back roads and around town. Shifting is effortless and the clutch action couldn't be better. It's got more horsepower than a Suzuki Volusia and it almost 100 lbs.lighter so you know it will run! If only Kawasaki had priced it better I think they would have had a real winner. $6600 was too much for an air cooled twin with chain drive. After all, their 500cc vulcan is only $4600 with liquid cooling and shaft drive. Love this bike!
- Les Gregory, Rockwall, Texas

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2002-11-02 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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The stock handle bars provides a difficulty in smooth handling during corners and turns. I have change to a low bar and it gave me an immediate effect on my riding. The stock bars are too high up and creates unstable manouvering during bends and turns. Change to a low bar and u will feel the difference yourself.
- Dean Shah, Singapore

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2002-07-07 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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I purchased a W650 7/6/02 and have 200 miles on it.The bike is a bit tall which can be cured by a seat change.It looks more like a Brit bike than the new bonneville.I am not an expert but I have owned two Triumphs,Bonne and Tiger. The bars look bent,the center stand clanks when you hit a bump hard,it feels like the frame pivots in the center and the engine is the best of its design I have ever ridden. Blimy! I missed the cut-off to the Pub.Later Mates,I'm bopping in for a frothy mug. GUDDAY to ya!
- E.NEWTON, NEW BERN , North Carolina

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2002-05-30 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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While the nostalic look is appealing, the ergonomics sealed my decision. This is the kind of bike I learned to ride back in the 70s. After a 20 year hiatus from riding, it just felt right. I tried several mid weight cruisers (even took the road test on one), and kept coming back to the W650. At this point, I've had the W650 for 6 days, putting 135 miles on it. Road manners are good, although the high profile and upright seating position seems to expose me to more wind buffeting than some of the lower, cruiser type bikes. Bottom line - I have no regrets. I get a kick out of the bike AND the attention it's retro look draws.
- Rich, St. Charles, Illinois

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2002-04-11 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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There are over 300 madly commited W650 riders at w650riders@yahoogroups.com find out how to sort that high speed weave, tear your airbox off and jet up, get loud pipes, different seats, fit an ammeter, choose better tyres, move the indicators, get and fit the factory low bar kit, fit luggage, change the tank badge for a less 'obvious' one, stop the headlight rattle, dump the emmisions crap....and much much more. w650riders@yahoogroups.com
- Jon, Salisbury, United Kingdom

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2002-04-11 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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What the new Bonneville should have been. A joy to ride. As user friendly as a light switch. Plenty fast enough for real world use (about 100mph). Lots of unsold bikes in dealers at stupidly low low prices. Stand out from the crowd! BUY ONE!
- Frank, London, United Kingdom

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2002-02-17 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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I'm a 42 year old male who's gotten into motorcycles big time. This is the third bike that I've bought this year (sold one). So now I have this and a Triumph Legend. Anyway just got off riding up I-95 and on some back roads and this bike is a kick. Was originally looking at A Triumph Bonneville but did some research and besides saving $2000.00 I think I got the better bike. I vowed never to own a Japanese bike or car (Pearl Harbor ya know)but I couldn't pass on this one. If your thinking of buying a retro bike, give this one a first and second look over, you won't be disappointed. It handle great and looks and sounds incredible. So once I got pass the fact that Kawasaki built bombers for the Japanese Air Force in WW2, the bike was real easy to live with. So I'll ride my Triumph on the weekends and use this one for everyday commuting.
- Graham, Baltimore, Maryland

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2001-10-24 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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My 2000 has had none of the stability problems at 70+ MPH mentioned by "Dangerous". Mine feels very stable and planted at 65-75, along with being almost electrically smooth at around 4000 rpm. However, I weigh about 160, probably 175 kitted up and ready to roll. Overall, I'm absolutely thrilled with this tribute to vintage Triumph, and only wish that more enthusiasts would show some interest so that Kawasaki will continue to sell it in this country. Is '01 the final year for it? Too bad that we are so cruiser-happy here, there are so many more interesting bikes out there. While I'm on, has anyone else noticed the lean caruretion (backfires, slow warmup, etc.) and tried to correct it? Would appreciate any suggestions to deal with this one, minor, complaint.
- Greg Mitchell, Columbia, Missouri

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2001-10-15 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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I'm not quite sure how to react to your criticism of this motorcycle, but then again, we all have our different interpretations of reality, which are all legitimate to some degree, but we must beware of universalizing them. I do not disbelieve that you are having problems with your bike. We all have different riding styles and each bike, even though mass produced, is its own unique entity. But I must state that I weigh approximately 200 pounds and I often do two-up riding with my girlfriend who weighs on a good day approximately 125 pounds for a nominal riding total of 325 pounds. I wasn't quite sure whether this somewhat smaller sized bike had it in it to do regular two up riding, but it does have decent ponies and torque, and to my surprise the W650 hasn't shown any great resistance to ferrying two passengers around the greater Los Angeles area. In fact the bike carries my girlfriend and I nicely around Los Angeles arterial freeway system at about 75-80 miles per hour and I have yet to experience the problems you have discussed. In fact the bike feels pretty happy at this speed with the two of us, decently stable (handling's a little mushy with the rain grooves but corners well), and never feels like its straining to keep up. I admit that the bike's power on the freeways has surprised me in a positive manner. I still need to attach either some form of fairing or a windshield to keep the wind from battering me (now that's a real problem), but overall I have almost no complaints with this motorcycle. Perhaps your problem is that the weight is centered at one precise point of the bike's frame instead of being slightly dispersed, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, for the rest of you reading this, I would like to state that I love this motorcycle. It's not perfect, as nothing is, so I cannot give it or anything in life 5 stars. This bike performs well and is reliable and is capable of being utilized for a multiplicity of purposes, from day to day commuting to taking it out on long voyages. It's happy slow and medium fast and it looks very cool. I've owned several bikes and this is the first one that my girlfriend has immediately fallen in love with. The bike has a look that attracts attention. People will stop you and ask you about the bike constantly. It's like riding around on conversation piece, sort of a rolling work of art. It's a nice thing.
- Jason Park, Pasadena, California

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2001-09-30 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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Up until the time I rode my W650 on a 75mph interstate highway, I had absolutely no complaints. However, at my weight (280 lbs) at 75-80 actual mph (Kawasaki's W650 speedometer is 5 mph optimistic), the machine develops a terrifying violent side-to-side threshing, sometimes called a "tank-slapper". This is probably due to my weight being mostly on the rear wheel; if I lean far forward over the front wheel, the steering tends to be more stable. This is not, however, the way the machine's ergonomics are designed for riding. I took the bike to the dealer, who rode it and pronounced it stable at high speeds. However, he weighs 65 lbs less then I, and that is the critical difference. The W650 owner's manual states that 404 lbs is the maximum load capacity, at which speed the machine should ostensibly be stable. The dealer balanced the front tire, and "did everything we could possibly think of" to align the machine to correct the problem. It didn't make any difference, the tank-slapper is still there. Obviously there is a factory defect, everything else being accounted for. Kawasaki has refused to honor their warranty, stating that the motorcycle is not designed to be stable under "racing speeds". Since the interstate highway speeds are the speeds at which the machine is dangerously unstable (for someone of my weight), I believe that Kawasaki is denying my claim in order to avoid admitting that this bike is defective. Beware, you other W650 owners; Kawasaki USA appears to be unwilling to honor their warranty on this machine.
- Patrick Bergquist, San Mateo, California

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2001-09-16 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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With the heavy cruiser craze, many have forgotten or never experienced what a motorcycle like this feels like. The riding position places the foot pegs and controls under your feet where they belong. Your boots and pants are behind the hot engine casing not touching it. It may not look cool to the newbies but with it's nimble quickness and power to weight ratio it will impress you. A heavy 650 or even 750 cruiser would be hardput to compete. What about the sound? There are probably only two that are legend. The Harley of course and the Triumph Bonneville. This Kawasaki is a dead ringer with a sound to die for.
- Capt. Al, Oregon

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2001-08-28 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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It's definitely more addictive than that. Once you've ridden it makes you understand what a really good passionate, illicit affair is all about. There's really nothing logical about this bike, its price, its looks, its performance, but once you get on and start driving around, at 15 miles per hour or 75 miles per hour, the endorphins begin to secrete is massive amounts in the brain. You return home. You park the bike. You sit on the couch and think what the hell am i doing here i should be out riding that bike.
- Giles Cohen, Los Angeles, California

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2001-04-27 2000 Kawasaki W650 Motorcycles View Listings

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I picked up the W-650 in the afternoon and was immediately on it that evening. This is one fine handling machine and without doubt the best all around bike I've owned out of the 20 something bikes, jap, H.D.& British I've owned. I had the tank painted deep maroon metallic, very similar to Triumphs Cherokee red of the 70's and put a Corbin Gunfighter seat on it. People stare at this bike. I also have a new stock tank for the day when i turn it back to original and give it to my son. I have a deposit on a 2001 Bonneville BUT it's going to have to REALLY impress me by measuring up to the Kawi for me to close the deal. And of course the Kawi will then have a stablemate.
- 49 yr. old Rider, 26yrs riding., U.S.A

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