Anyone that’s been following this site since its launch 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, bulletproof reliability and solid performance. I’ve seen them turned into everything from Scramblers to hard tailed Bobbers, but it’s as a Cafe Racer that the W really looks its best. Today to perfectly demonstrate my point is this 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. You’ll also find them performing nut and bolt restorations on vintage bikes and everything in between. With a skill set that includes structural welding, composite manufacturing, metalworking and custom paintwork most projects are completed entirely in-house. This W650 Cafe 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. One that appeared race ready and was far removed from the W’s standard cruiser guise. The donor was a stock 650cc parallel twin Kawasaki W650, which was promptly torn into pieces.
To tighten the dimensions of the bike the tail was chopped short and a new loop was welded in its place. A coat of fresh silver paint was laid to finish it off. A low profile, elongated tank and short rear cowl were handmade from aluminium sheet and left raw for a vintage racer look. Next up the stock wheels were torn down, painted gloss black and re-laced using stainless spokes. To complement the classic racer look they were wrapped in fresh Avon Roadrider rubber.
To stiffen up the Kawasaki’s notoriously sloppy rear suspension a set of exposed Hagon shocks were then fit to the bike. Up front, there are clip-on bars, an FCR original top clamp and custom mounting gear for the fairing. The fairing itself was also made especially for the W. Constructed from fibreglass it’s been shot in a bold pearlescent yellow to match the cut down side covers.
To finalise the riding position rear set foot pegs were added and a low profile suede saddle that sits atop the alloy pan. Basic tuning improvements on the W Racer come from adding a pair of K&N pod filters, rejetting the carbs and fabricating a pair of custom made exhaust headers and mufflers.