As modern retros go, Kawasaki hit the nail on the head with their re-imagining of the W series bikes from the ’60s. In fact, the ‘new’ W’s bevel driven twin cylinder engine is even more of a classic than the original. But as an overall package they’ve always needed a little more panache…
It’s been a big week for Kawasaki retro remake fans with the release of the Z900rs in Tokyo to pay homage to the legendary Z1 of the ‘70s. But it seems that what one hand giveth the other taketh away, as Team Green hammered home the final nail in the W series retro rides coffin. One of the first modern bikes to be built with a classic look, the twenty-year production run is finally over. But so long as useable items can be found in salvageable condition, then Germany’s Schlachtwerk proprietor Tommy Thöring will make customs of them all. His latest is a 2012 W800 Special Edition that’s blacker than the ace of spades for an owner who is just as lucky.
We’re guessing you all know what a custom bike is, right? They’re the ones with all the wild and unique modifications. The bright colours and the racing numbers. The flames and chrome skulls with the glowing eyes. And the ones that develop a gazillion horsepowers from their superchargers, nitrous oxide and turbos. But what if you wanted a custom bike that didn’t look like, well, a custom bike? What if your aim was a customised yet classic machine that would look good today and in 2116? If that thought puts a lightbulb above your kopf then you best check out today’s feature bike, a wildly mild Kawasaki W800 from Germany’s very talented Schlachtwerk.
It’s been a while since our last Imaginary Garage, and in that time we’ve had more than our fare share of smack talk in the comments sections of our beloved blog. It seems that everyone seems to know best, and everyone seems to have the world’s best taste in customs. But let’s face it, it’s easy to talk the talk, but can you all walk the walk? What’s that? You can? Well, here’s you chance to damn well prove it! As you’ve probably noticed, above we have ourselves one brand splonking new 2011 Kawasaki W800, a sweet bike that were lucky enough to review recently. We’ve done a few dream bikes lately, but for a change we thought we try a more realistic bike this time around. So now it’s up to you lot to take a modern classic and make it, well, classic-er. And kick ass-er as well.
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My Dad. Knows absolutely nothing about motorbikes bar their mechanical basics and (in his eyes at least) their inherent danger – that and whatever his still-sharp 60 year-old senses tell him. So picture the vista when I roll up to my parent’s farm for Mother’s Day on a brand new Kawasaki W800. Of course he knows that the last bike I reviewed was Zero’s brave but flawed Zero S, and he briefly casts his eyes over this new one as I rev it up to give him a listen to the engine. There’s a moment of deep contemplation, much like a Kung Fu master might do, then he calmly pronounces, “Another electric bike, is it?” I laugh out loud. An electric bike? “Come on! Just look at the thing,” I blurt, pointing out the two massive pipes hanging off the back. “I know it doesn’t look like an electric bike,” he replies. “But it sure does sound like one…”
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