On the move: Kawasaki W 650 Scambler
In the sign of K
Daring but not ostentatious; stylish without ingratiating yourself, this is how this Japanese motorcycle comes with an English look. With cooling fins, kick starter and vertical shaft.
Bruno Dotsch’s Kawasaki W 650 Scrambler: far from the original, but very original.
Riot at the Glemseck motorcycle meeting point, in the middle of the former Solitude GP track at the gates of Stuttgart. This creation in glowing orange, which leans so casually on its side stand, attracts viewers in droves. Enduro riders get their hands wet, seasoned business people in expensive limousines are almost on the brakes, and for a moment they forget the leathery luxury world around them. But the hardest hit is this scrambler with heather gray classical connoisseurs. What, please, is that? The only note: the brand logo on the tank indicates a Kawasaki.
This is the original emblem of a W 1 from 1965. But it was a street motorcycle. So where is the solution to the riddle? Quite simply: here the admirers stroll around a machine that seems to have sprung from yesterday and yet comes from the almost-still-present. Created from the passion of its builder and owner Bruno Dotsch.
This scrambler is based on the W 650 that was only released in 1999. Unlike the Triumph Scrambler presented in 2006 as part of the retro wave, this Kawasaki has no special historical model, but it comes with 202 kilograms, 30 kg less than the said Triumph, and more delicate dimensions closer to the machines of the 1960s.
Back then, when enduros had not yet been invented and it was up to the scramblers, who were structurally close to street motorcycles, to exude the nimbus of indestructibility and getting through anywhere. The name of these multi-purpose motorcycles comes from the English verb "to scramble", For "clink" or "jostle". Although this specimen is a mix of many donated parts, it looks like it was made from one piece. The proportions are right, the shapes seductive, the lines distinct.
Many secrets are hidden in the fine details, citing the spirit of a bygone era. The steel handlebar: 84 centimeters wide and stiffened with a sturdy cross brace. Classic bellows protect the stanchions of the W 650 fork; The immersion tubes sparkle with a highly polished finish. The dimensions of the studded tires are historically inspired: at the rear, an 18-inch model in the fat 120/90 format rotates on a steel rim only 2.15-inch wide with original wire spokes, at the front a narrow 90/90 rubber spans the 21 Inch rim of a Kawasaki KLR 650.
The fenders are made of plastic and installed high. The rear one, including the taillight the size of a fuse box, was donated by a 1977 Kawasaki KL 250 A. The headlight with its control lights integrated into the lamp pot comes from an unnamed supplier. On the standard double loop frame ("If possible, you should always get by without welding and sawing.") Bruno Dotsch unceremoniously transplanted the 14-liter steel tank of the Estrella 250. The tool bag holder comes from the Munich classic supplier Southern Division, which preferably stocks Triumph oldies. "Bratwurstern" Dotsch calls it with a view to other Thuringian specialties.
The start number plates are also from Southern Division. They were an “absolute must”. Dotsch sacrificed the airbox to them and instead equipped the Twin with distinctive K air filters & N. However, this required a very difficult adjustment of nozzles and nozzle needles. Its effect should not be underestimated: the sensual, cozy, glowing lacquer dressing for the lamp, tank and fender. An original color of the legendary Honda scrambler CL 350, the icing on the cake of classic elegance. It’s crazy how successfully the wildly crossed genes merge into an independent species
This is how the Dotsch-Kawa drives
The right bend nestles tightly around the vertical shaft. The self-made exhaust system, which is halfway up on both sides, exudes unconditional off-road capability and is a definite distinguishing feature from every Ducati scrambler from a distance. The 676 cm³ parallel twin "made in Japan" remained almost standard. Only the electric starter was thrown out by Bruno Dotsch. "Useless gel pump on a classic!" he is right.
Enough shown and explained, this thing is made to drive after all. Kicking is not a feat, the parallel twin comes on first step. The two equal pressure carburettors dance happily back and forth in their flanges. Pure four-bar beat delights the ears; throaty and muffled, accompanied by deep snorkeling.
You can push back the choke early on and concentrate fully on the long-stroke experience. The two parallel 72 pistons hammer smoothly up and down between the dead centers 83 millimeters apart. Run smoothly at the lowest speeds? No problem. Even on the top floor – nominal speed 6500 – the brave Japan twin always remains casual and effortless. Its 50 HP are probably among the healthiest horses in recent motorcycle history.
The Langhuber soaks up the airstream gracefully and bubbles its way through the speed range in a good-natured manner. 50 things in the last gear? The twin does this very gently. It is a great feeling that a venerable vertical shaft drives the camshaft on top; beautiful, individual and fully suitable for everyday use. There is no doubt that this engine is a visual and technical gem. It has very pleasant, friendly characteristics and precisely that charisma that many modern, short-stroke two-cylinder engines lack.
The struggle with the elements is still valid here. Centrifugal force, inertia, wind pressure, everything can be felt unadulterated. The driver sits majestically behind the high handlebars on the lavishly upholstered bench; it comes from a Kawasaki KL 250. All that Dotsch has taken from the suspension struts is their sleeves, and the fork has given harder springs. The spring travel is modestly tight. When the going gets tough, it hits the front and back audibly. No wonder.
But propulsion and chassis are definitely enough for casual motorcycle hiking. The straight-line run is without blame or blame. The four-hundredweight motorcycle is easy to handle and maneuverable even in trial-like passages. The Pirelli MT 21 studded tires are good ambassadors between worlds: You could, if you wanted. At least on dirt roads that are more or less open. Traction is abundant on coarse rock. Then later, back on the country road, the tires tip off suddenly even in a moderate incline.
The Kawa-Scrambler works better on asphalt with Bridgestone BT 45, the test winner for youngtimers – see MOTORRAD CLASSIC 4/2006. However, the motorcycle loses its essence. It’s that of a different era, the wild 60s and funky 70s, here and there.
Because the very decades when MZ triumphed at the Six Days, spent
Bruno Dotsch behind the iron curtain. Only a few kilometers away, but inaccessible, the western world turned at a different rhythm, with the latest two-wheelers from England, Italy and Japan. Thanks to the GDR’s state-prescribed two-stroke haze, Dotsch always saw them in front of him, the Triumphs, Ducatis and Hondas. With smuggled motorcycle magazines and with western contacts in the Czech Republic and Poland, he has refreshed his dreams: "We only had one goal: a motorcycle like that. We lived for this completely."
As early as 1985, the car mechanic owned his own CX 500. He immediately drove to the West on November 10, 1989 with it. The turning point opened a valve in him: "I’ve always dreamed of steam hammers." He has been a Kawasaki dealer for 18 years, with a sense of proportion and a sense of history. In any case, his soul flatterer has a high experience value.
A few days with the Kawa scrambler have passed too quickly, but have never been forgotten. Now it’s time to return it in the winding motorcycle area of the Thuringian Forest. Unfortunately. He aroused desire. But the simple question to Bruno Dotsch whether he would also sell the motorcycle almost upsets him. "No, no, I built it for myself." He has invested a lot of love in this machine. At the same time, it is also his showpiece: "You just have to have something great in the store", he says in his role as a businessman in no uncertain terms. A lot is possible under the sign of K..
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