This is a Kawasaki W650 that was customized by Deus Ex Machina in 2011 at their headquarters in Sydney, Australia by famed builder Jeremy Tagand.
Deus Ex Machina was founded in 2006 by Mambo founder Dare Jennings, the company name comes from the Latin phrase “God from the Machine.” This Kawasaki W650 was one of the first couple of dozen customs built by the company, it was featured in “The Book of Deus” and displayed at The Bike Shed in London.
Fast Facts – A Kawasaki W650 By Deus
- The Kawasaki W650, first introduced in 1999, is renowned for its retro styling, heavily inspired by the British motorcycles of the 1960s, particularly the Triumph Bonneville. It features a classic teardrop fuel tank, round headlight, spoked wheels, and a dual seat, which collectively impart a vintage aesthetic.
- The W650 was powered by a 676cc parallel twin, air-cooled engine producing 50 bhp. This engine has an unusual bevel drive single overhead cam, a nod to older Ducati models and a rare feature in modern bikes.
- As the modern classic motorcycle genre continued to surge in popularity through the 1990s and into the 2000s the Kawasaki W650 became a staple model in the class, beloved by many for its retro looks and modern reliability.
- This custom built in 2011 by Jeremy Tagand at Deus Ex Machina keeps the original engine in place, now upgraded with pod air filters and a performance exhaust. This was featured in the “The Book of Deus,” featured in the Ace Café 75th Anniversary Special magazine, and displayed at The Bike Shed in London.
History Speedrun: The Kawasaki W650
The Kawasaki W650 was released in 1999 as the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer’s newest modern classic motorcycle. The “W” in the model name is a referenced to the BSA-inspired Kawasaki W-series motorcycles from the 1960s and 1970s, and the “650” tells you the engine displacement.
In the late 1990s it was becoming clear to many motorcycle manufacturers that the public wanted retro motorcycles that offered more modern levels of reliability. Triumph and BMW were among the first to release their own line of “modern classics,” and thanks to strong sales figures many other marques followed suit.
A new tubular steel frame was developed for the Kawasaki W650 along with a new parallel twin, air-cooled engine featuring a Ducati-style bevel gear driven overhead cam powering two valves per cylinder. The suspension was relatively standard, with telescopic forks up front and dual shock absorbers and a swing arm in the rear.
Power was somewhat modest, with 50 bhp at 7,000 rpm sent back via a 5-speed transmission and a chain final drive. The top speed was listed at 180 km/h or 110 mph, though very few owners would ever actually test this out. The dry weight of the bike was 195 kgs or 429 lbs, it carried 15 liters of fuel, and it had a beginner-friendly seat height of 31 inches.
The styling of the W650 was very 1960s BSA/Triumph, with a two-tone fuel tank featuring rubber knee pads, a flat black seat, mid set foot controls, standard handlebar positioning, and of course, that parallel twin engine.
Kawasaki would keep the W650 in production from 1999 to 2007, it was a strong seller and as a result it was released with the Kawasaki W800 – a similar though upgraded model now powered by an 800cc parallel twin.
Given the simple design and classic good looks of the W650 it quickly became a common target for custom motorcycle builders. Over the years we’ve seen many come across our pages including flat trackers, scramblers, and cafe racers – one challenge for buyers looking for a W650 now is finding on that hasn’t been modified.
The Deus Ex Machina Kawasaki W650 Custom
The motorcycle you see here is one of the more memorable early builds from Deus Ex Machina based out of Sydney in Australia. The company was founded by Dare Jennings back in 2006, the same man who had founded the Mambo surf brand.
With Deus, Jennings wants to get back to his roots of surfing and riding motorcycles as he had done as a young man back in the 1970s. The company started out making surfboards and clothing aimed at the surfing and skating communities, unusually they also started turning out custom motorcycles.
The modern custom motorcycle boom was in its infancy in the early 2000s, this was before Bike EXIF and Pipeburn came along, and there certainly wasn’t the global Instagram-native custom motorcycle community that exists today – in many respects Deus helped build it up from the ground floor.
The W650 you see in this article was one of the first couple of dozen motorcycles made by the team at Deus, led by renowned custom motorcycle builder Jeremy Tagand.
Tagand kept the rebuild simple, the rear frame loop was cropped and a new flat tracker style seat was fitted, along with a new brake light, dual rear indicators, and the license plate. The original side covers were removed and replaced with an alloy cover finished in black with the racing number “8.”
The front fender was cropped to better suit the look of the new bike, and a new headlight, handlebars, and set of front indicators were added. The bike was then finished off in a new white and blue paint scheme, with black hubs and wheels fitted with stainless steel spokes.
In order to free up a little more horsepower, the carburetors were fitted with a pair of high-flow pod air filters and a two-into-one sports exhaust with a high-exit muffler – the carburetors were then re-jetted the match the new set up.
As noted above the completed bike was featured in “The Book of Deus,” featured in the Ace Café 75th Anniversary Special magazine, and displayed at The Bike Shed in London.
It’s now due to be auctioned by Bonhams on the 1st of December with a price guide of £6,000- £8,000 or approximately $7,800 USD – $10,400 USD. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bonhams
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.