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Kawasaki W650 – Blitz Motorcycles

Posted on July 22, 2011 by Scott in Brat. 37 comments

Did you hear the one about the Frenchman, the Czechoslovakian tank and the Japanese bike? Sounds like a joke, right? But the punchline is this sweet W650 “Gentle Tracker”, built by the Parisian guys at Blitz Motorcycles. When one of their customers came into the shop asking for a unique build and a very open brief, they obviously had a few ideas. But then when he mentioned the name of his business was Jawa Productions, they immediately thought they had to get their hands on an old Jawa tank.

Blitz started by powder coating the frame in a glossy red color called “Carmin”, it was the closest match to the original colour of the beat-up vintage Jawa CZ350 tank they found. They also painted the wheels, crankcase covers and fork in a shiny black powder coated. The cylinders were also painted in high temperature black paint. The handlebars are from a Triumph T140 US and fitted with clutch levers by ISR, tiny switches and Posh black glitter grips. They’ve also used the ever popular Firestone Deluxe tires and placed a MotoGadget speedometer below the tank.

Apart from the cosmetic changes Fred and his team have lowered the W650 by 4cm (1.75 inches), added Hagon rear shocks, simplified the electrics and created a custom red battery box. They’ve increased the horse power by adding Mikuni VM34 carburetters and K&N air filters. Lastly they’ve thermo wrapped the exhaust pipes and added Supertrapp mufflers. And put it on a sweet old rug.

Overall Blitz have created a great looking tracker, particularly the contrast between the dented old Jawa tank to the shiny and fresh-out-of-the-box style of the rest of this Kwaka. Bon boulot!

Photos by Gary Jézégabel

  • tondro

    Where can I find those wheels?

  • dave in kalifornia

    @ tondro: If you have a bike, the wheels are right there… These are just stockers, painted/powdercoated..

    Can someone PLEASE tell these cats that the work put into the bike is ruined by leaving the 'worn' tank unpainted? Sorry. It's just stupid. This one looks far better than any of the others' they've done, but c'mon- FINISH it!

  • Mike

    @Dave no way dude, the tank has character and style and makes the bike.

  • Jason

    I don't like how the filters stick out so far beyond the seat or the crotch-mounted speedo, but other than that awesome. Where can I find those switches? Maybe they made the switches themselves?

  • dave in kalifornia

    @ Jason: check it-

    @ Mike: I disagree.. It's a Jawa tank. Has no connection to the W at all. Looks dumb. If the tank was finished, it would look great, but it also shouldn't be sporting the jawa logo any longer.. That's like putting BMW emblems on your civic.

  • D

    I can see my knees slamming into those airfilters. I could see bumping into the speedo as well. Has cool looks but the function is not there.

  • Trundich

    Kawa is Kawa, Jawa is Jawa, better do Jawa streettracker, W650 is anywhere around on the internet)

  • revdub

    I like the tank. The huge pods, crotch-speedo, low-mouted turn signals, wrapped forks, and cheap bicycle style mirror… not so much. I'm not impressed at all. But, as to not leave on a negative note, that frame looks nice!

  • Andy

    That tank is legitimate, so what if your legs rub the filters. Its a bike, no power windows, no cup holders. Hang on and go fast!!!

  • I like blacked out stuff – and I like patina.

    That being said – this one is a jumble. If one is building a patinated bike – follow it all the way through, or not at all.

    Also – I'm not fond of checking my crotch to see if I'm doing the ton. Bad idea.

    The Jawa tank is cool, but it should be level and taken to the same standard of finish as the rest of the bike for some measure of integration.

  • Jezuz

    Great bike, Dont give a fuck what other people says, just go on with vision you got at that point of time!!

  • 10 Bones

    Paint and colors and such are like hairstyles or whatever … I couldn't care any less about what colors bikes are. It's too easy to change to bother bitching about what someone else has done, y'know?

    The air cleaners remind of the HD XR750s or the XR1000s of 83 and 84. Yea, they're in the way a alittle, but after all this bike is supposed to be an emulation of a dirt track bike … some inconveniences are to be expected. The only thing I'm not hip on is the choke lever sticking out, easy enough to shorten to bother griping about it though. I think the "useless" placement of the speedo is more of a rebelious political message more than an issue of practicality. You just have to "get it" is all, and take it's placement a whole lot less seriously (or is that "take yourself a whole lot less seriously" … haahaa!).

    Nice bike overall … as for the paint or whatever … if it isn't your gig, just do it until it is. But to slam the creative efforts of another simply to show everyone how superior your own tastes are is just wrong … something grown ups usually avoid doing.

    Just sayin'. 🙂

    Rhetorically speaking: Is something of this nature ever really ~done~? I'm thinking ~no~. So who's to say the tank will stay the way it is?………….


  • In regards to the speedo placement, they do say it takes balls to do the ton

  • Just a quick update you about different details that have changed since:
    – the K&N air filters were placed the first place because we still had not received the aloy air filters we wanted to mount on it. And as the owner was in a hurry to try his "new toy", I placed some of my personal K&N air filters taken from my perosnal W650

    – the speedo was removed from its first place because the owner told us he indeed had issue to read it. I did not see that come because when I tried it, I could perfectly see the gauge when driving. But firts: I am used to such a thing because on one of my personnal bike (the "Green Hornet" on a BMW R100/7 basis), I did the same. Second: the owner and I do not seat at the same place on this bike (he seats way closer to the tank than I do).

    As so for the fact that we love mounting old spares on newly rebuilt frames, what about this image:
    I wear WWII flight jacket (G2) on a daily basis. Still, coming along with my G2, I wear new underwears and new t-shirts…
    So far, nobody threw stones at me in the street telling me this "mariage" between old and new was wrong.
    So… so… what if, like all the people I happen to meet, you would allow us to keep doing it just because…. in fact, we LOVE it ?
    Isn't what passion is all about? The love for what you're doing.

    And final word to Dave: you happen to put together I presume, let's say, a pair of Nike shoes with let's say, a Levis' pair of jeans, right ?
    Well, and you would not like someone like a Karl Lagarfeld-like to tell you : "Zi iz vrong !!! You should vear 100% Chanel outfit" (Yes, Karl L. has a bit of a German accent when he speaks English or French).
    You would even think that this guy is a bit of an Ayatollah, to tell you what you should do in terms of clothes (highly related to what I'd call personal taste). And you would be right, in fact.
    So what about you would think of our choices on our own re-built bikes as the same kind of choices we make in terms of clothes?
    What about that, Dave?
    Just as long a s the guy we made this bike is happy, can't we both agree that this is the most important?
    Or are you so narrow minded that a HD bike can only receive a HD tank, and so on ?
    Because if yes, I'd love to see a picture of you when you go training : Nike shoes, Nike pants, Nike t-shirt, Nike underwear… that rocks, for sure !!!

    Fred (Blitz Motorcycles)

  • Jurp

    Well I guess I am going to have to return all that Nike apparel I just bought, I feel like a dick..Thanks Fred! But seriously, great bike, looks like fun, a word some of these dudes don't understand. As long as it goes fast, who gives a damn about period style, or "correct".

  • Ken

    Cheesy mirrors – did the budget run out? Junk tires and I see you changed the speedo position, which is certainly original but wouldn't work for me, either. Otherwise, love it – looks like a hoot, I'd be perfectly happy wearing my new BMW Airflow suit on it (pose) and I might even steal some of your ideas. Shortage of 650 Kawis around here, might have to get a Triumph if I want it to look like a Triumph.

  • dave in kalifornia

    @ Fred:

    I said nothing about being 'period correct' or anything of the kind… All I am saying is the Jawa emblem looks silly on a W- series Kawasaki… If you took your Trabbi, and put Porsche shields on it, Would that be cool? Your comparison to clothing is weak, at best… ZERO correlation in this instance.

    AS for the style of it: I do like the old-style tank- It has character and design that is lacking in the OEM parts. BUT- if you're gonna do all the rest of this work, damn it man: FINISH the tank as well. Sorry, but it makes the rest of the bike look bad. Cover the jawa logo with either a cast or machined 'blitz' emblem…

    As to your personal 'attack' on me, after just voicing a fair critique: Yep. My initial assumption of 'who the blitz-boys are' and what types of guys they *might* be seems to be correct- There's dozens of guys *just like you* in SoCal that take everything personally, and get their thrift-store panties all twisted if anyone doesn't think everything they do is "The Coolest"…

    Keep up the work- maybe you'll hit the right combination one day- This one brings you pretty close… But it's still only 80%.

  • Jurp

    oh snap!

  • 80%, is not that bad, after all 🙂
    And YES, my comparison to clothes works: it's all about the freedom you have to put stuff together, that might not have been designed to match the first place.
    And YES, we'll keep mounting genuine tank in the condition we found them when bought them in a swap meet (or on any auction site).
    Regarding the coolness or not of our behaviour, mark my words: me do not give a shit.
    As said in my previous reply, we do what we love.
    And as long as the owner of the bike who decided to trust us when bringing us his bike is happy with the final result, this is all that matters (and trust me here: all he guys using our service are 120% happy).
    Since you will never be one of these persons, I guess we will never have to cope with your vision of what a motorcycle should be.
    But PLEASE, instead of barking like a crazy dog at every job done in a different way you would have done it yourself, take a deep breath and admit you do not have the monopole of good taste.
    It starts sounding like you would feel not totally at ease with these newcomers… Any bit of jealousy here?
    Anyway. If you ever come to Paris, I'd be glad to offer you a drink in our workshop, and spend some time talking with you. No kidding here.
    And maybe then, after we have spent some time not hidden behind our respective screen, we might start enjoying ourselves 🙂
    So now YES: I ow you one drink!!

  • I don't really need to defend this as Fred has done a good job of defending it himself 😀 But I will say I dig it – a lot! It's simple really – don't get hung up on every detail – look at the bike, you like it, or you don't. I would hate to have a speedo right by my tender bits, but I can still look at the idea and say ok, that's funky. And as Fred said it got moved for the owner's sake – how about that? A happy customer! I mean really, aren't those the only 2 people that should dig the bike – the builder and the customer?

    At the end of the day, if you DON'T dig it, then say so! But trying to be the harshest critic or the wittiest commentator at the expense of a custom shop that, whether you like their work or not, is actually out there making a living from this, come on, is that really necessary? And it seems everyone has a list of "what not to do" – I guess everyone's an expert then?

    Go to your garage, wrench on your bike a bit, live happier 😉

    Shameless punt – as if seeing it on pipeburn and bikeexif aren't enough, here it is on my blog as well 😀

  • Dave in Kalifornia

    Here's my question: Why does Fred need to defend himself? Why does anyone else? I simply stated that the tank looks out-of-place. If it was finished, (to the same level as the rest of the bike) it would be great. In fact, I believe I said I liked the bike 4 times! The unfinished look of the tank is the only criticism I voiced. damn. Y'all take this crap so personal- If you can't take a little constructive criticism, don't post your work out on blogs. Period. Fred got his panties all twisted, for what? Because I said that (IMHO) the bike is 80%? paint the fuggin tank, put your OWN logo on it, instead of a dead brand that has no connection the said bike, and it would be great. Notice I NEVER mentioned the cheap-ass mirror, the poorly wrapped pipes, the minuscule bicycle grips, or the poor placement of the speedo? Those things don't matter in the big picture. The tank, on the other hand, VISUALLY lessens the rest of the work put into the bike.

    Some of you (Fred included) need to brush-up on your collective comprehension skills…

  • lafuine

    Deja vu a hundred times…..monkee see monkee do. Poster boys building bikes for trendy rich kids.

  • Dave, I actually posted the same message on BikeEXIF and here. For that I apologise – there was way more jibba jabba on BikeEXIF than there was here. So my comments were not directed at you – more at the collective, and I may have been overstating my case within the context of the comments on this page.

    Before you tell me to brush up on my comprehension though – I never said Fred had to defend HIMSELF, I said "I don't really need to defend THIS as Fred has done a good job of defending IT himself", i.e. I was referring to the bike.

    You say "The tank, on the other hand, VISUALLY lessens the rest of the work put into the bike." – that, good sir, is your opinion. Some people like white wine, I prefer red. I still kick it with those white wine drinkers though.

    Nothing personal 😉

  • Dave, lafuine illustrates my point nicely: comments such as "poster boys building bikes for trendy rich kids" are completely unnecessary, don't you think?

  • dave in kalifornia

    @ the_wes:

    Yeah, I get tired of the snarky comments myself. Apology noted.

    All I was trying to illustrate to Fred, before he got all fashion-oriented, and his feelings hurt; The Blitz boys have made quite a bit of improvement since their first bike posted. This one is really nice, and more what I would expect from a "shop". Their other bikes, to date have been trite, and contrived. The trend, of late, to put on 'patinaed' bodywork, etc is really the epitome of contrivance. As others' have noted, here and on bikeexif; the rest of the bike doesn't fit. Do the same to the fenders, or (god forbid) paint the tank and it looks more cohesive. As far as 'armchair bike building'… well- I've been doing this stuff for over 15years, while these boys have been doing it for what, 2? There are alot of things to learn, and alot of shortcuts to avoid. I've built bikes like these in the past- when I was 15. Now, all you youngsters are gonna scream at me, calling me an 'old man', and 'stuck in old ways', and the inevitable "let the young new guys take over with their own style" etc, blah-blah. BS. Nothing NEW or FRESH about anything these, or any other of the blog darlings are doing. It's all been done before. Now- that's not saying that they need to stop- no, quite the opposite… They need to step it up a bit. Show what they really are capable of. Bolting on old parts, and catalog/internet items is NOT custom building. Anyone can do that. Do something that shows some skill- even if it's something seemingly simple. There have been several bikes posted here, and on Exif that show true skill, if only for a cohesive vision of the end result. If it were me, I'd print out the cool ones, blow them up and stick them on the walls of the shop- for inspiration.
    AS for what I personally do: I work on these old piles of crap. MANY of them. On a daily basis. I see/fix the mistakes that 'builders' make, for the sake of safe/reliable operation. I occasionally build them too, but I don't base my business around being a 'custom builder'… Right now, I have a '65 cb160, a '72 cl350, a '75 cb750, and 2 cb400's getting 'built'. The rest are all getting stupid things fixed.

    You can keep the wine- I'm having a guiness…

  • Clinton-

    Dave, you are so negative. Relax, why criticize those who are not like you? You always seem to be the nater around here. emember wht your moma said " if ya can't say anything nice, ever, dont say anything at all ". Fred: please note Dave is from California, it most likly explains him consistent disatisfaction. Please note not all Americans are like this.

  • Dave in Kalifornia

    @ Clinton:

    How is anything I said above so negative??

  • Erik Balagan

    I would definitely appreciate a more unified aesthetic from the bike, but yes, a solid improvement.
    I am not sure many people really understand the idea of constructive criticism. Dave is harsh, sometimes slightly snide, but fair and generally less reactionary. If you put your stuff up just so that people can jack ya off, this might be my last post.
    I hope someday soon to post my own bike, but when that time comes I expect a myriad of polar criticism that has already been self-realized. A proper work is born out of controversy and argument, and generally more money than myself or most others poses. For individuals and small shops these pieces are works in progress, stepping stones to greatness. Perhaps it would be best to take the old mans commentary to heart and in stride.
    I am so putting Porscha emblems on my Vanagon.

  • bob

    hey daveinkalifornia, if you find it so easy to rip on plenty of people on this site for their builds, id say this is your open oppurtunity for you to show us your bikes! seriously, upload some pictures and link us! Until then, quit being a pretentious know it all, as far as I know you've never had one of your own custom builds featured on this site so if your opinion matters as much as you think it does, lets see the kind of work that you do and let us critique.

    this build is awesome, looks like a super fun rip around town kind of bike. great job guys!

  • Dave in Kalifornia

    Wow, bob- All I said was I think the tank being painted to match would really FINISH the bike.

    As far as me posting- LOL I don't NEED to. I don't require the attention. Last I checked, this page, and many like it, have open forums for feedback and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism… Again, me saying that "I think that tank, painted to match, would make it great" is just that.

    Quit taking things so personally, guys!


  • Just remove the mirror and its great!

  • revdub

    A whole lot of sensitivity going on here. Dry your eyes. My take: If you don't want to hear feedback, don't release photos to the world (two sites in one day). Also, if it was just about the buyer, why all the press? Let the buyer take some pictures in the backyard and post them on the fridge. This type of marketing can't be good.

  • nibs

    Interesting bike, not my style but it's different so thats cool.

  • Nas

    Absolute beauty! Btw sent the link to my buddy that owns numerous Jawas and he loved it as well. The BMW r60/2 is a stunner too !

  • Luka

    the unpainted tank is their signature and personaly I love it!

  • Luka

    Amen, dude!