GPM #1 - W650 Street Tracker
The first project to come out of the Garage is the 99 Kawasaki W650 that was turned into a Street Tracker. Unfortunately we didn’t take any “before” pics so just imagine the pic below was our bike…it was the same colour… (click on the image below for the wallpaper)
Ok, so we knew we wanted to make a Street Tracker but we didn’t have a clear picture of what we wanted it to look like. We had seen a few pics floating around which was as good a starting point as any.
The most prominent W650 Street Tracker is undoubtedly the Deus ex Machina W650 Street Tracker
The bike had Richard Petty NASCAR Colours, Pirelli Scorpion tyres, OVER Racing exhaust 2 into 1, pipe wrap, custom drilled bevel cover, WM™ Racing Alloy Tank, Flat Track Seat Kit, Custom Speedo Mount plus a host of other mods.
This bike is brilliant and really nails the Street Tracker look.
The bike below on the other hand…
According to Corse Performance …"The project was inspired by some of the bikes from Deus ex machina."
Looking at the Deus bike, I think they should have said "we tried to copy the Deus Flat Tracker but failed dismally”. They didn’t even change the paint scheme!
While the Deus bike was something to strive for, the bike from Corse was what we wanted to avoid.
A couple of other bikes warrant mention.
The bike above wasn’t built by a professional outfit like Deus or Corse, it was a build done over time by one guy in his shed.
This bike caught our attention because the exhaust is so different but we thought that because the header was so close to the left hand cylinder that it would affect cooling and hence performance. It’s a good looking bike but a little “ratty” for what we wanted to achieve.
Another W was given the Street Tracker treatment at the same time as ours and while it was more “street” than “tracker” it turned out to be a sensational looking bike.
This bike has since been given some colour (and blackness) and it looks even better than it did in it’s natural naked silvery self.
April 2009 - Garage Project #1 starts
Some of the major changes that will be made to the W include…
- Garage Project custom exhaust
- Rear Frame chopped and modified to fit flat track seat
- Brembo Brake upgrade
- Engine stripped and painted and all engine covers brought back to life
- Custom tank
- A super cool airbrush paint job
I’ve split this build up into the above topics rather than do it in as a timeline. So in no particular order, lets get started.
Wheels & Brakes
First up, the wave disc and Brembo brake kit arrive - not cheap!
Ready to go onto the refurbed wheel. A new hub, stainless steel spokes, powder coating and Dunlop tracker tyres gives it the right Street Tracker look.
To get the Brembos to fit we had to fabricate a bracket…
The front end bears no resemblance to a standard W650’s. The only things in the pic below that are standard are the axle and the fork rubbers!
The standard W650 rear hub is not ugly but with a bit of machining, it turns into a thing of beauty…
…painted and fitted…
No expense was spared, only Ohlins will suffice for a quality street tracker.
As you can see in the pic below, the side pods which house the battery and airbox has been removed. A bracket was made so that the battery can be hidden in under the seat and we’ll run pod filters instead of the airbox.
To get the seat unit to fit we needed to chop the rear frame…
We wanted to place the speedo between the tank and the triple clamp so had to get the drill out and fabricate a special bracket…
We made a few modifications to the swingarm…
All unnecessary tabs etc were removed from the frame before painting it black….ready to start putting back together.
Rear Seat and Sidecovers
The seat unit on the Deus Street Tracker is the quintessential tracker seat so it was an easy decision to go with that. Of course if the bike is to have the street tracker seat, the side pods need to be replaced, the air-box removed and a special under seat compartment fabricated to house the battery.
A template was made and the underseat compartment made. A lot of measuring and hours went into this…
Once we got it right, it was painted and fitted.
Everything fits well and there is room to spare…
It was then onto the sidecovers. A template was made from cardboard…
The left hand side…
…is slightly different to the right hand side.
Still a long way to go but it was time to make sure the lines were right and you have to have the tank in place to do that. In the photo below you can also see the bevel cam cover with markings for where we might customize it.
Once we were happy with the lines the bike was stripped and the tank wasn’t seen again until we needed to fit the speedo.
The wide street track bars were put on to gauge the riding position…
…and we were very happy with the way it was coming along. Just look at those plated forks, this is one very expensive front end!
When we picked this bike up, it was in decent condition but the previous owner maybe didn’t spend as much time maintaining the bike as he should have. A good ground up custom will always make sure the bike goes as good as it looks. The engine looked fairly tatty so we had to overhaul it inside and out.
There’s fifty horses in there…
Everything was stripped, cleaned and painted.
Valves and shims adjusted…
Some bling was added and it now breaths through tiny filters.
If it could be polished, it was.
The exhaust on a Street Tracker can make or break the look. If you get it wrong it really detracts from the bike, get it right and it lifts the whole bike.
We knew the Flat Tracker police would say that if the exhausts don’t exit on the right then it’s not a tracker however this is a Street Tracker and we intend on turning right as well as left so we could do what we wanted with the exhaust.
At the time Deus ex Machina had just released their w650 Swing Bobber (one of our favourite bikes) …
…and we really liked the exhaust so we gave them a call to see how much they charge for a set.
Deus: "$1,800 bucks"
….silence…while we get up off the floor…
Us: "Did you say $1,800?"
Deus: "plus delivery"
As much as we love Deus, we weren’t going to pay that much!
When we looked at the Deus Swing Bobber again, we thought the exhaust matched that bike perfectly but as ours was a Street Tracker with a fair bit more “attitude” it needed a tougher look. We wanted the exhaust to be more angular.
The pipe was bent and spot welded to get the right shape.
Once painted we were very happy with the result. Very happy.
If you enjoy being able to hear, then you don’t want to be standing anywhere near this thing when it starts. It is bloody loud, just the way a Street Tracker with attitude should be!
FINISHED (as much as a “keeper” is ever finished!)
The front and rear guards, tank and side covers came back from our painter and it was time to assemble everything and take some pics before heading for the hills…
Right hand side cover
The completed bike
9 months since we started and it was time for a ride…
The photos above were taken with a dodgy phone camera and really don’t do it justice. However the photos from the studio shoot below really show off the amazing detail on the bike.
Garage Project #1 was entered into the Cafe Racer/Bobber/Custom class at the 2010 Jap Bike Show. It was up against Garage Project #2 and a number of other bikes. We came 1st and 2nd. Here we are picking up the first place trophy.
It was entered again in 2011 against Garage Projects #2 “Shaken Fist”, #3 "The Brat", #4 “Lunacy” and three times the entries of the previous year. We must be getting better as #4 “Lunacy” came first and #3 "The Brat" came second.
Some of the comments we have received about the Street Tracker…
- ”..the Street Tracker W650 is awesome. As a matter of fact, the pin-up art on the tank is something I’ve been planning for my project, too. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of your work.” - Michael
A friend and fellow Perth Street Bikes Forum member - Scott, offered to do a photo shoot for some of the members so we took the bike along. Here is the result…
If you like the photos and need a good photographer, give Scott a call, he’s a bloody champion photographer! - Scott G Trenorden Photography
If you would like a wallpaper sized image of any of the studio pics, just let me know and I’ll send you one.