Kawasaki W650 “Bean” by Revival Cycles
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.