Birth of the Bean: A Reimagined Kawasaki W650

What began as a Kawasaki W650 becomes a clean and simple café-style custom.

| November/December 2014

Revival Cycles W650 “Bean”
Claimed power: 55hp @ 7,000rpm (est.)
Top speed: 120mph (est.)
Engine: 676cc air-cooled SOHC 8-valve parallel twin, 72mm x 83mm bore and stroke, 8.6:1 compression ratio
Weight (dry): 382lb (174kg)
Fuel capacity: 6.5gal (24.8ltr)
Price then/now: $6,499/not quite a 10-fold increase …

Disclaimer: This story is about a custom motorcycle, but there will be no discussion of motorcycles as “art” nor will the creators of this bike be compared to any other builders in a futile and inflammatory attempt to establish who’s “The Best” — and other than its use in this overly-long sentence, the word “bespoke” will not occur anywhere in this piece.

Take a good look at the machine featured in this piece. Would you say it‘s:
a) British
b) Italian
c) Japanese
d) American
e) all of the above

If you were clever enough to have picked “e” give yourself a lollipop! It’s a trick question, so don’t feel bad if you guessed “b,” the most popular choice. By the time you finish reading this piece, however, you’ll understand why this machine is a result of multinational influences. And rest assured that the origin of the bike’s “Bean” nickname will also be revealed in due course.

The donor bike: a Kawasaki W650

This story starts in Japan in 1960 when Kawasaki Aircraft Co, Ltd. established a partnership with the Meguro Company, which was licensed by BSA to build a copy of the 500cc A7 model, the K1.

In 1963, Kawasaki and Meguro merged to form Kawasaki Motor Sales Co. (soon to be known as the Kawasaki Motorcycle Co. Ltd.), and in October 1965, Kawasaki released their version of the K1, calling it the W1. It was a 650cc parallel twin with both pistons going up and down together (a 360-degree crank), similar in many ways to the BSA A10, but also different in subtle ways (it didn’t leak oil, for example).

2/5/2015 12:01:43 PM

What a waste of time to ruin that bike .

12/14/2014 6:49:31 PM

"... all of the above" and seems they havent figured out how kawasaki heavy industries, Ph puts the bend on an ordinary section of titanium. nice looking bike.

12/11/2014 7:59:35 AM

Absolutely gorgeous. Kawasaki should bring the W800 to these shores and dress it up like The Bean. A lot has changed since 2001 and I would bet a custom W800 looking like this would do very well. Certainly a quantum leap over the W650.

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