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Kawasaki W650 – Deus ‘Moto Grigio’


Posted on November 9th, by Scott in Café Racer. 1 Comment

By guest writer Ian Lee.

The Italian language is a beautiful thing. It takes words we would usually find dull, like four-door, snail and cheese, and turn them into quattroporte, chiocciola and formaggio. The problem is changing Italian words back into English, once translated you are left with a plain sounding term that doesn’t quite sound so sexy. When Deus US motorcycle design director, Michael Woolaway, needed a name for his new project, he settled on ‘Moto Grigio’. A passionate sounding name, until you discover it basically means ‘grey motorcycle’ in English. But this is definitely not your standard ‘grey’ motorcycle.

In all fairness, this isn’t just any grey though. It’s a vintage Ferrari paint which appears to have different hues in different light – always having a slightly different look to the last time you saw it. Michael Woolaway made a wise choice in picking this colour, but it comes as no surprise, because you don’t get his position by punching out boring bikes. Following on from his last build, the American 1200, Michael has chosen the Kawasaki W650 as a base platform to showcase his skills.

Taking the stock W650 engine, Michael and the guys at Deus blew the cc’s out to 800, FCR flatslide carbs feeding the stroked engine. Stainless steel headers have been matched to a Supertrapp exhaust, all hung from handmade exhaust bracket. A CBC custom bike seat follows the lines of the custom fuel tank, just enough to look good, but not enough to look like it fully flows.

Deus bikes don’t usually use run of the mill brakes, and Moto Grigio is no exception. A flat track rear brake setup consists of a Grimeca caliper controlled by a Brembo master cylinder. Braking at the steering end comes courtesy of Beringer 6 pot caliper clamping down on a Brembo rotor. Front end stability comes assisted by a Durelle Racing offset triple clamp, working with black anodized Ohlins forks, which are re-valved, re-lengthened and re-sprung to suit this mobile art form. The rolling stock consists of Sun rims, Buchanan stainless steel spokes and nipples, the knockoff hubs also being sourced from Durelle racing.

All this means naught without controls, and Michael has found an aesthetically pleasing setup in that area. A Motion Pro Revolver throttle brings the noise, brake lever is Brembo, clutch lever courtesy of ASV, all perched happily on a set of Woodcraft clip-on bars.

Taking inspiration from Classic TT bikes through to modern Moto2 racebikes, Deus has once again come up with the goods, and with talented guys like Michael Woolaway as head of design, that’s probably not going to change anytime soon.

As for me though, I am beginning to see grey in a different light. Maybe grey really is the new black?





  • Luke

    …and as usual, they screwed up. Americans *always* do that when trying to use foreign names for their products.
    In this particular case they used "grigio" (masculine) to describe a "moto" (feminine). The thing should be called "moto grigia".