In 1999, superseding the Zephyr series, Kawasaki introduced the W650, resembling British motorcycles of the early 1960s, notably the Triumph Bonneville. In contrast to British twin-cylinder motorcycles of the period, which featured pushrod engines, the W650 features a shaft-driven bevel-gear overhead camshaft, similar to those found on 1970s Ducati singles and V-twins.
The W650 has a long-stroke engine of 72 mm bore x 80 mm stroke with an anti-vibration balance shaft and modern electronics. In 2006 Kawasaki added a short-stroke W400 model, in Japan. Kawasaki simply combined the same 72 mm bore with a short-throw crankshaft to give a 49 mm stroke and 399 cc (24 cu in) displacement.
In the United States and Canada the W650 was imported for model years 2000-2001. With weak US and Canadian sales and the introduction of the competing "retro" Bonneville by Triumph, Kawasaki concentrated sales in Europe and Japan.
Production of the W400 and W650, unable to meet new emissions standards, ended in 2008. In 2010, the 50 hp (37 kW) W650 was succeeded by the W800, which had a displacement increase to 773 cc (47 cu in) and fuel injection.
- "2000-2001 Kawasaki W650: Brit Done Better?". Motorcycle Classics. 8 (3). January–February 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "Motorcycle Museum". Corporate Kawasaki. Canadian Kawasaki Motors Inc. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Spannerman (13 December 2011). "Test: Kawasaki W400". Motorcycle Trader. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
By changing the crankshaft and conrods, Kawasaki converted the 650’s 72 x 83mm bore and stroke to an engine with the same bore but a stroke of just 49mm.
- "W400" (in Japanese). scs-tokyo.co.jp. Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Triumph Bonneville Versus Kawasaki W650
- Motorcycle Online: First Ride
- Motorcyclist Online: Kawasaki W650 and Triumph Bonneville
- Motorcycle Cruiser (October, 2000)