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. It was the last full-size motorcycle sold in the United States with a kickstarter.
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.
- Motorcycle Online: First Ride
- Motorcyclist Online: Kawasaki W650 and Triumph Bonneville
- Motorcycle Cruiser (October, 2000)