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Kawasaki W650 “Bean” by Revival Cycles


Posted on November 19, 2014 by Scott in Café Racer. 23 comments

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Written by Martin Hodgson.

If I sat down with pen and paper and began to brainstorm my perfect café custom I could never limit myself to just one influence. I’d want the vintage appeal of 1950’s British bikes, the beauty and charisma of Italian styling, the function and reliability of Japan’s best and then I’d entrust the whole build to a workshop of builders who understand the beauty of raw mechanics and properly engineered fabrication. Pen and Paper can be pushed aside, silence and admiration is all you need and join me in feasting your eyes on Revival Cycles Kawasaki W650 “Bean”, my dream bike come true.

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Revival Cycles from Austin Texas are a no nonsense workshop of craftsmen who restore motorcycles so that part of their aesthetic appeal is their mechanical purpose. The Kawasaki W650 is an often overlooked modern motorcycle that lends itself extraordinarily well to a custom make over. Japanese mechanicals and electronics provide the function, the parallel twin engine is the perfect tip of the cap to the golden age of British bikes and a bevel drive is straight from the Ducati playbook. Immediately your eyes are drawn to the tank inspired by both the Ducati “Jelly Mould” tank and the Gilera Rossa Super Sport tank. The tank has its own “spoiler”, side wings and flows seamlessly into the tail section. All of which is then lovingly coated with the bright blue and grey paint work following the strong influence of the 1957 Mondial Dustin Road Racer.

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But much of the bikes detail comes straight from the great minds at Revival, the front forks are Yamaha R6 items that maintain the vintage look while providing modern day technology and full adjustability. Revival engineer Stefan then turned his attention to make the perfect set of triple trees. Rather than just knock out something that would fit he ran full simulations with all the relevant suspension and geometry data inputted to create a piece that is as beautiful in its form as it is its function. And that front brake, a reproduction of the 260mm four-leading-shoe front drum brake used on the 1974 Yamaha TZ350 GP racing bikes, I could look at it all day!

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Then there are the details, the stunning custom stainless exhaust system that weaves through the frame never obscuring the beautiful bevel drive while saving weight along the way. The hand-built leather seat pad by “New Church Moto” of Portland, the AMAL style cleaners, the bespoke rearsets and the new progressive shocks. With such a clean bike an untidy wiring loom would be sacrilegious so Revival installed a small lithium battery and rewired the entire machine for LED lighting. Tiny LED rear taillight and turn signals are integrated into the frame, while bar mounted Motogadget items take care of the front end. There’s an LED headlight, Motogadget M-unit controller and speedo that is elegantly integrated into the front trees.

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There is so much detail I could keep writing for days, 19” shouldered alloy wheels front and rear, custom chrome-moly subframe, polished side covers, the list simply goes on and on. Yet despite all that Revival has done and added to the W650 not only has it lost 50 pounds in weight, its also gained a simplicity in both form and function that the big manufacturers could never achieve with all the latest technology in the world. It’s a revival of the days of man, machine and the pursuit of sweet mechanical dreams.

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  • Bultaco Metralla

    What a gorgeous gorgeous motorcycle. Love the tank, the colour, the 4ls front brake and the craft that has gone into it’s making. Especially the fabrication of those exhaust headers thay are fantabulous.

    But the real achievement is the look. This is a british cafe racer with what looks like the tank from an early Ducati 250 and a colour scheme from a 50’s Gordini racing car.

    • What he said.

    • Spyker May

      Blue is a very difficult color, to pull off on a motorcycle and white/light-grey either looks anaemic, or camp.

      This bike is neither, by no measure, rather it is simply delicious – as in, I would never get as far as riding it, I would just want to lick it…

      Revival are metal-magicians (check their website) – I believe their shop Guzzi Le Mans I, made the Italian parent Co., brake out in full operatic accolades. That says a lot – Italian are often animated in their demeanor, but they spare little praise for anything not out-and-out Italian (much less from red-neck HQ – Texas).

      Just one comment (okay criticism): risking mixing the ‘bean’ with my peanuts from the back-gallery, I would still change the tires, there are very good modern “classic” tires made by a number of leading tire-makers. In fact, on this build Metzeler’s new Sportec Klassic would have looked great and would have been a match for all the detail work that went into the build.

      Just my 2 cents…

  • Mike

    Irrelevant comment: Admins, the website keeps crashing my safari browser. I use Chrome to view it. Something hogs the memory. Please remove the comment after viewing it.

    • Same here, the site has not worked in Safari for a few weeks now.

    • Thanks guys. We’re onto it. Seems like it might be a Disqus/Wordpress issue.

      We’re not sure about Chrome, but in Safari, it’s just a case of leaving the page for 30 seconds or so until it sorts itself out.

      Thanks for the feedback. We’ll het it sorted soon.

      • roscoe

        Happens with me on Firefox too. Annoying. Nice bike though! I’m assuming the tank is metal?

    • Guys. Hopefully it’s now fixed. Please let us know if you find otherwise…

      Thanks for yr patience.

      • Tony Pereira

        I was having the same problem too. It is fixed for me. Thanks!
        This bike is sick!

  • Michael Kork.

    Love everything about the bike, except the bubbly tank. I guess I’m too young to appreciate a reference to the past. Killer machine, nonetheless!

  • A fine build with stunning details, but with a visually unpleasing tank for me.

  • foiled again

    360 degrees of Just Right. What a knockout. Love the tank.

  • vintageman

    THIS is what I remember from back in the day. Not many of this build quality out there..BRAVO!

  • Bowds

    Really nice. At first I didn’t dig the tank, but the more I look at it, the more I think it works. Looks like it would hold a fair bit of fuel as well which is always a bonus. The mechanical look of the front drum really works with the engine. hats off for treading lightly on the line between new and old.

    • Alan Stulberg

      6 DAMN GALLONS! (almost 23 damn liters for most of the world) of Gas (Petrol) goes into that puppy….and trust me, it will ride a very long time on that much fuel!

  • Blake Proudfoot

    All I would want is an emblem or script on the tank. Feel like that would finish it off. I read about their reasoning for intentionally leaving it bare in a recent article but still think that would complete it. Nonetheless, absolutely gorgeous.

  • Junior Burrell

    Great guys that do great work!!!! Always top notch.

  • bjparker

    Always love what these guys do. Brilliant work.

  • Lovely – the tank is a work of art and reminds me of the tanks hidden by fairings on Italian GP bikes from the 50’s. Wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Love everything regarding the bike, except the bubbly tank. i suppose i am too young to understand a regard to the past. Killer machine, nonetheless!
    http://www.projectoverlordsystem.com

  • arnold

    thanks for fixing the prob that was on my Linux and Xp denial of Disqis for your site.

    I am afraid that as tractable as the W650 engine is that ‘ The Bean’ would have a secure, if sullen place in my ‘living ‘ room.

    Really some one should be riding this baby in the best possible venues.ald

  • James duke

    Nice machine 🙂 I’d ride it like I stole it 🙂

  • Jacob Speis

    Despite any misgivings I may have about individual styling choices (tank), Revival’s attention to detail on their builds always keeps me looking twice.