Kawasaki W650 Racer by FCR

Anyone that's been following this site since it's launch in 2006 knows it all started with the purchase of a Kawasaki W650. Since I bought my W it's been a love affair that constantly gets better with each new day of riding. As a base for customisation the W gives you classic looks (mine always gets mistaken for being an old Brit), bulletproof reliability and solid performance. I've seen them turned into everything from Scramblers to hardtailed Bobbers, but it's as a Cafe Racer that the W really looks its best. Today to perfectly illustrate my point is a W650 based build from French workshop FCR Original, which they have quite simply called 'The W Racer'.

Headed up by workshop founders Mathieu and Sebastien the 6 man strong FCR crew customise modern and classic motorcycles as well as performing nut and bolt restorations on vintage bikes. With a skill set that includes structural welding, composite manufacturing, metalworking and custom paintwork most projects are completed entirely in house and the W Racer was no exception.

The W Racer started as an idea the FCR crew had been kicking around the workshop for a while. The goal was to create a bike with an air of historic racing that appeared race ready and was far removed from the W's standard cruiser guise. The donor for the build was a stock standard, 650cc parallel twin powered, 2000 model Kawasaki W650, which was promptly torn into pieces. 

To tighten the bikes dimensions the tailwas chopped short and a new loop welded in its place before being resprayed metallic silver. A low profile, elongated tank and short, bum stop style tail were then handmade from aluminium sheet, left raw for a vintage racer look. Next up the stock wheels were torn down, painted gloss black, re-laced using stainless spokes and wrapped in fresch Avon Roadrider rubber.

To stiffen up the W650's notoriously sloppy rear suspension a set of exposed spring, Hagon shocks were then fit to the bike. Up front clip on bars, a new FCR designed and built top clamp and custom mounting gear for the fairing was also bolted in place. The fairing itself was also designed and made especially to fit the W inhouse at FCR from fibreglass before being shot in a bold pearlescent yellow.

To finalise the riding position rear set foot pegs were added and a suede covered, low profile seat upholstered to match the new seat pan. Basic tuning improvements on the W Racer come from adding pair of K&N pod filters, rejetting the carbs and fabricating a pair of custom made exhaust headers and mufflers.

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