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Old 09-20-2012, 05:23 AM   #31
Loop OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barnone View Post
Loop,
Very nice W800. I have the W650 here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Just about the perfect bike for around here like you pictures of your W800 suggest for your area. I have the Avon Distanzias on my W and they are decent in the gravel.

*picture snip*

That's my 2001 W650 in the center. Kawasaki imported the W650 in the USA for 2000 and 2001 after a lot of people requested them but they did not sell in sufficient quantity.
Very nice it is too, I'm considering tracking down a W650 myself, the 800 is so perfect for me. Be nice to have one as a more off-road oriented bike.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:31 AM   #32
NJ-Brett
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I like rear drum brakes, I never had a bike I could not lock the back wheel on, and since I am ham fisted and unskilled, I like needing a bit of force needed on the brakes, otherwise I would have something bad happen in the rain.
And drum brakes never seem to wear out, at least I don't remember ever wearing one out.
The drum brakes on my old Daytona also worked very well, TLS setup with an air scoop, I could also lock up the front wheel on that bike.
Only if racing would the brakes be a limitation due to over heating, but that would never happen street riding this kind of bike.

Tubes on street bikes do suck.
In the old days you could pop a tire off and patch one in 15 minutes, new bikes seem to suck that way with the modern rim locks and no center stand.

Funny, I had a 1979 Triumph Bonneville special which had mag wheels and tubes!
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:21 AM   #33
Speedo66
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Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
In the old days you could pop a tire off and patch one in 15 minutes, new bikes seem to suck that way with the modern rim locks and no center stand.
Luckily, the W's do come with a center stand.
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:29 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Speedo66 View Post
Luckily, the W's do come with a center stand.
No luck about it - for a road bike to have tubes and a chain, it is a properly designed bike (albeit it a design that is easily 40 years old - just think where we'd be today if the makers actually continued to improve on what makes a proper bike... proper ... for another 40 years!).

I just came off of a modern chain-driven road bike I put ton of miles on, and realized that they had bike design down-pat back in the 1970's with center stands, neutral comfort, etc.

The reason why the W is designed right and not sold in the US is because the US market, by and large, does not understand what makes a good bike good. Instead we're too worried about ego-trips and looking cool on a bike that looks cool.

I'm pretty willing to bet that if I had a W800 shipped over and just threw the plates of a similar sized / color Kawasaki on one, I'd never be questioned for riding it here in Florida. Really, how often do police check the VIN of a bike and compare it to the plates at a traffic stop, anyway? Police, at least in this state, have far more crime to worry about than a bike that was never reported stolen in the first place.
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:36 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Mambo Dave View Post
No luck about it - for a road bike to have tubes and a chain, it is a properly designed bike (albeit it a design that is easily 40 years old - just think where we'd be today if the makers actually continued to improve on what makes a proper bike... proper ... for another 40 years!).

I just came off of a modern chain-driven road bike I put ton of miles on, and realized that they had bike design down-pat back in the 1970's with center stands, neutral comfort, etc.
I agree totally. First day I went out on it after I rode it home I was out for four and a half hours and not even the slightest hint of an achey bottock troubled me in all that time. There's nothing on it that doesn't need to be there, its shiny where it can be and painted where it needs to be. The best thing about it is the ride quality. The engine is a peach and the suspension, although nothing special, never seems to be fussed about anything on even the most bumpy, broken country roads.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:10 AM   #36
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...and the suspension, although nothing special, never seems to be fussed about anything on even the most bumpy, broken country roads.
So true. I take my W650 down into NYC, which probably has the worst roads in the US, and it just handles them beautifully. Hard to figure out why, since it doesn't have a tremendous amount of travel, but whatever it is, it just works. Same for the seat.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:57 PM   #37
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I found the 800 just OK as far as the rear goes. The front is fine. The roads here are pretty bad and the rear was quite underdamped and undersprung. Unless it was up on the highest preload it wallowed badly in sporty riding - like a BSA with sacked-out dampers. I weigh around 75kg and my daughter is about 45kg - and two-up on the highest preload it bottomed out on the slightest bumps. I put a set of YSS shocks on it and they are much better; bit firmer but no wallowing and pillioning takes the 2nd preload out of four. I'm used to the basic suspension on Brit twins so I wasn't expecting anything particularly supple but the rears were a disappointment.

Mine has the EFI bug (light comes on when you start it and it has to be reset by turning the bike off again and restarting, occasionally several times in a row) but I haven't taken it in for the fix as yet. There hasn't been a reliable cause discovered yet - O2 sensor on the crossover pipe or a sticking pressure activated lever on the left of the throttle body seem to be the most common. The only other problem my local dealer has had out of 30 or more bikes sold was a chipped bevel gear which was replaced under warranty. Quite a few of the Australian bikes have had the EFI glitch, but bikes built from Feb 2012 have a few minor changes and it appears to have been fixed.

The other thing I did to mine was cut off those wire safety loops on the side-stand and the rear brake. I couldn't get my toe or heel on the stand tab easily and the brake one just looked silly. BTW, if you want to adjust the height of the rear brake lever there is a metal tang it rests on near the footrest which you can bend to give the desired placement.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:57 PM   #38
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One of the nicest bikes I've owned out of 60-odd, and just about the perfect big twin if you grew up riding British iron. I put over 6000km on mine in the first 7 weeks I owned it - then slowed down a bit while recovering from a minor accident on my Sportster. I'm currently rolling up about 1200km a month, but it has been a very wet winter. Fantastic economy, handles nicely and it is small and light with a lot of torque. I look forward to getting on mine every day - even riding to work is a blast.

I run Dunlop K70s on mine now as I do a lot of gravel roads and they work far better than the TT100s. K70s handle well if you are used to them too.

The one thing they do need is a decent sound - easily got by taking a hole saw to the muffler tail-pipe and cutting out the band around the inner pipe. (If you don't have a high quality hole saw you can use a small drill bit and simply make a lot of holes in the band and the cut it out with a small punch.) Once that is cut through the baffle simply wiggles out. Remove the remains of the band from the end of the baffle - and inside the tailpipe if you didn't cut it right to the metal - drill a small hole about 1 1/2" in from the end, and a corresponding hole in the underside of the tailpipe, slide the baffle back in and use a short self-tapping roofing screw to hold the baffle in place. Takes a bit of fiddling to get the inner pipe central in the tailpipe as the self tapper bites and screws fully in, but only a couple of minutes. That gives a low burble at idle and a deep burble underway. If you want to go for a slightly louder, deeper sound drill 8 x 1/4" holes about 2" apart in 4 equidistant (ie, quadrant) rows down the baffle. Neither of these make the noise level obnoxious - it is about on par with a standard BSA or Triumph system, and sounds very similar. Leaving the baffle out entirely doesn't make it overly loud, but the sound is a bit harsher. You might also want to stick a marble in the air injection hose between the cylinders as it causes a lot of popping on the overrun as the air goes into the exhaust. (Sounds similar to a badly leaking exhaust gasket.) Not worth removing all the bits and using block plates, and the EFI requires the air-injection electronic unit under the tank to be connected anyway or the error light will come on.
No need to do a bafflectomy on these. There are scads of aftermarket 60's style pipes available ranging from $80 bucks apiece (Burtons Bike Bits) on up to $250 apiece. All will improve the sound immensely.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:00 PM   #39
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That looks like a perfect bike for general daily use.Kind of reminds me of an old Honda cb450 from the 70's.Our lust for technology has forced us into riding complicated fashion statements.I lke the riding position of these kind of bikes.A buddy had a Ducati equal to this(light weight.long seat) that was a nice ride but too expensive.I am getting old and I dont like having to adapt my body to a bike.I like the drum rear brake-no brake fluid to leak .I could throw the giant loop bag from my dual sport bike on it and do a week or 2 of riding.If gas ever got really expensive in rhe USA (above $10/gallon) Kawi could sell a few of these
Not to mention the very sizeable insurance cost difference between the W800 and sport bikes.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:29 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigTed View Post
No need to do a bafflectomy on these. There are scads of aftermarket 60's style pipes available ranging from $80 bucks apiece (Burtons Bike Bits) on up to $250 apiece. All will improve the sound immensely.
There are cheap alternatives around, (especially if you have a garage full of old Brit bits) but it takes about 10 minutes to do the baffles, costs nothing and maintains the internal structure of the exhaust that was tuned for it. Underway the sound reminds me of the RE Interceptor (minus the thrashing tappets), especially when opened up in 4th up a steep hill. Part of the problem with fitting mufflers is the crossover pipe; it really needs another section welded in past the crossover to take the new mufflers and that means some chroming if you want it to look neat. I had a look at putting some late 60's Triumph mufflers on, but in the end the baffle job sounds good and doesn't take any messing about to do. Apart from the effect on torque from removing the crossover, we have an O2 sensor on the crossovers here and disconnecting it throws up an EFI error. A full system like the Staintune is around $AUS1800 but to my ear they sound awful; very blatty and harsh. There's a very good sounding Japanese stainless set for the 650 which fits - cant remember the name but I think it starts with a "D"; it is also pretty pricey. A set of standard 90's-current Sportster mufflers could be fitted easily enough after the crossover, and they sound nice too.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:41 AM   #41
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wow, I love what they did with the front brake disk. It's very tastefully integrated into the hub.

The sculpting of the engine case is beautiful, too.

It really puts the thaiumphs to shame.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:16 AM   #42
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This thread needs more photos.


Doing a garbage run to the dump. Robbinsville,NC


Fall is here in the mountains of Western North Carolina


Old guys appreciate their W650s. Tellico Plains, TN
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:41 AM   #43
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I like the looks of those. The new Triumph Bonnevilles look bloated in comparison.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:06 AM   #44
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Thanks for all the advice on changing things and possible problems, I'll bear it mind for the future. At the moment it's running brilliantly, no problems at all getting on average around 60mpg. It's had it's first service so now I can rev the thing and it's great fun to do so. Or you can thud along at low revs just ambling around no problem, such a flexible engine. Never heard of anyone over here in the UK with fuel injection problems. I'm not likely to listen to any of those things when I buy a bike anyway. I've had several supposedly "bulletproof" bikes that have all been a complete nightmare to own, a GS500E, DRZ-400S and a Honda Hornet 600 so I no longer listen to any of that nonsense, it's pot luck whatever bike you buy if you ask me and buying new you're likely to get things repaired under warranty or get things recalled or whatever, so no need to worry.

As far as altering anything goes, I'm not going to bother. It's fine for me as standard, as soon as I started off on the test-ride model I knew it was the bike for me and I don't feel the need to change anything. I can hear it perfectly when I'm riding it and I always wear earplugs so I don't feel the need to change the exhaust noise. I was told it was whisper quiet before I actually rode one, but that's just not true, it's no quieter than most new bikes these days. It sounds quiet on all the youtube videos you can find of it, and even when I took a video myself it sounds a lot quieter than it really is, I don't think the microphones built into these non-professional cameras pick it up very well. The suspension is fine for me, I always ride back roads as much as possible and no problems for me even with a pillion. Bumps and potholes and all.

Again I urge anyone to try one if you're interested in these types of bikes as the proof of the pudding in the eating, not looking at the recipe list or listening to food critics. Try the Triumphs too, as they are different.

I'm surprised these types of bikes don't sell so well in the US. I thought you loved that sort of thing on your side of the pond. I know plenty of you buy the Triumph retro style bikes. I think Kawasaki are missing out.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:01 AM   #45
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Kawasaki never really marketed the W650 over here. Even at the big shows, they just sort of stuck it in a corner.

When Triumph came out with the new Bonneville in 2001, Kaw caved and stopped bringing it here after a run of only 2 years. The Bonnie introduction would probably have primed the market for the bike, but then it was no longer available.

Now, I can't go anywhere where there are bikes without several people coming over and either not recognizing it and telling me how great it looks, or people who do know what it is lamenting they can't find one to buy.

KAWASAKI, bring the new ones over!
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