GPM #2 - “Shaken Fist” - W650 Café Racer
Sometime in late 2006 I was driving along Parramatta Road into Sydney when I saw this…
…I immediately pulled over and walked inside. My jaw hit the floor…
I had never seen a motorcycle shop like it (or since). There was a replica Jaguar D-type on the showroom floor as well as the exceptional Hunwick Hallam X1R superbike…
…Motoring books covered one wall, quality T-shirts another wall. The smell of coffee beans was wafting through from the café that had “On any Sunday” on the big screen.
This was not the reason I was drooling so much that a shop assistant had to follow me with a mop. It was the bikes. Customised Yamaha SR400’s, TW220s to Kawasaki W650s and a bunch of classic bikes to make a grown man weak at the knees were everywhere.
Nigel Begg of Deus said “There’s two kinds of people who wander in here at the moment, sometimes they just want to come in and dump all their knowledge on you. What they know, what their uncle did…Then there’s the ones who come in and sort of look wide-eyed and can’t believe it and just pepper you with questions”.
I was definitely in the latter category as I had always been into sports bikes and was never particularly enamored with classic or retro bikes. Those two hours in Deus changed all that. Never again would I lust after a sports bike, I just had to have a customised Kawasaki W650.
It wasn’t long after that fateful day that I saw this…
…for sale on the side of the road at Bondi. I rang the owner Chris who just happened to be in the pub across the road and after 10 mins of negotiations (He bought me a beer and didn’t budge on the price!) it was mine.
Amazing what a set of clubmans, front and rear indicators and tail light can do to the look of the bike. I had people giving me the thumbs up at traffic lights, people stop to talk to me about the Triumph they used to ride and ask me what year it was and then be shocked when I said an ‘02 model.
It wasn’t long before I was back at Deus to start planning the full cafe conversion. The first change I could make immediately was the seat.
I enjoyed the bike as it was above for a few months and then it came time to do it properly and move onto Phase 2 of the modifications.
The Evil Twin from Deus is an absolutely brilliant bike that I didn’t appreciate that much years ago but I liked certain aspects of it, such as the 2 into 1 Supersound exhaust, big bore kit, hot cam, flat slides and oil cooler. I didn’t really like the Nitro Heads seat or the smaller tank as it exposed the frame and wiring which I thought looked a little messy.
I loved the shape of the standard tank especially when the badges and knee pads were removed so I asked Deus to create a Photoshop pic of what I wanted. This is what they came up with…
Pretty sexy but I was wanting something more traditional so we went back to the drawing board. Originally I wanted Staintune Reverse cones but they had stopped making them so I then wanted the short 2 into 1 Supersound exhaust but the workshop were raving about the power and sound from the new scrambler type pipes so I trusted their expertise and went with them.
The second Photoshop pic was much closer to what I wanted.
I intended to take this to a few track days so I wanted modern rubber and I liked the wrapped pipe look at the time so we went with that. We decided on a headlight that had the speedo built in which meant I needed to change the indicators to match the design. I didn’t like the brushed aluminium guards so they had to be changed as well as a couple of other things.
I gave Deus my bike, a wad of cash and instructions to tackle the Captain Jake Airbox modification. A few weeks later they called to say the bike was ready. It wasn’t exactly what I asked for so it went back to the shop for another week and then I was presented with this…
I was pretty stoked with the result even though there were a few things that weren’t exactly what I imagined. The paint was a few shades lighter green than what I asked for but that was probably more my fault than Deus’ as I was 4000kms away in Perth giving instructions. There were a few things missing that really make a custom job great such as replacing standard bolts with anodized items, using cloth wires, painting the rocker cover and front caliper etc.
Deus hadn’t made a modern style cafe racer out of the W650 so it caused a bit of a stir on the showroom floor for a few weeks while it waited for me to come and pick it up.
When I finally got my hands on it, I took it to a trackday where it ruffled a few sportsbikes feathers (albeit in the slow group!).
In 2009 I saw an advert for the 3rd Annual Jap Bike Show and decided to enter but as the custom scene in Perth was limited to drag bikes and streetfighters there wasn’t a class that the bike fitted in. So I put my money where my mouth was and sponsored a cafe racer class.
I now had a deadline to get Phase 3 of the modifications done. I wanted to improve the performance of the bike at the track and at the same time finish some of the details that were bugging me.
First change we made was the black 17” Excel Takasago rims with stainless spokes and a soft compound 120/70 ZR Bridgestone Battalax on the front and a race compound Michelin 160/60 ZR Power Race tyre on the back. These would reduce weight and improve grip and confidence at the track and transform the look of the bike.
Next we painted the rocker cover and exhaust clamps black and modified the bevel cam cover. The single mirror was replaced with bar end mirrors and the rear light was replaced so it now matched the style of the front light and indicators. The rear sprocket and a bunch of bolts were black chromed. The front brake caliper was painted and a wave disc fitted. The silver braided lines were also changed to black ones.
The biggest change we made was remove the pipe wrap that wasn’t particularly effective and had started to fall apart. The pipes were ceramic coated so are cool to touch within a minute of turning the engine off and they look fantastic.
We also removed the Deus stickers as it was significantly different to what they had built.
The bike was entered into the 2010 Jap Bike Show in the Cafe Racer class and came 2nd to Garage Project #1.
Phase 4 of the modifications have started.
Planned mods include…
- Big bore kit
- Hot Cam
- Oil Cooler
- Flat-slide Carburetors
- Head flowed
- Carbon Fibre seat cowl
- Engine painted
- Ignition relocated and triple clamp modified
- Keyless ignition installed
Q: Why did we call it “Shaken Fist”?
A: Everywhere I ride, I get people shaking their fists at me. Check out this video of our recent cafe ride to see what i mean. Watch out for the angry gardener at 2:18!
Along with our other bikes, we took “Shaken Fist” to a studio shoot and had Scott G Trenorden photography take some pics. Let us know what you think…
^ hours of polishing pays off!
Some of the comments the bike has received…
- "Fuck yeah, My world is a better place because of those photos" - Tiger1
- "Rex Havoc that is a very tidy looking bike." - Tic
Phase 4 has started.
The engine has been removed and stripped ready for cleaning, paint and of course to get the cylinders bored to accept the new pistons.
Old vs New
Out of all the engine mods the flowing is expected to have the most effect.
Such a bullet proof engine.
With the Flat Slides fitted, oooh I can’t wait to ride this…
Time for the oil cooler to be fitted
A more accurate description of the engine :)
It used to say 650cc even though it was actually 674cc. The new big bore kit takes it up to 724cc. Combined with all the other engine mods, this thing should have a few more people shaking their fists at it!
One thing that has bugged me for years on this bike is the speedo is obstructed by the ignition box under the triple clamp. See below…
We found a keyless ignition system that looks the goods and means we can relocate it under the tank and make the speedo visible.
We took the triple clamp off and made the necessary mods. Looks even better now.
Brad then removed the ugly and quite frankly poorly made muffler support bracket. A template was drawn up and some very difficult measuring was done to create this…
Next on the list was the side covers. If we’re going to have flatslides and K&N filters then we need to show them off right!
The next thing that was bugging me was the height of the front fender. It was in the same position after phase 2 of the mods with the 19” rim. Once we went to 17” rims, there was too much of a gap between the fender and tyre so Brad made two new brackets to reduce the gap. Here it is before paint…
We made a small mistake with the engine work which meant it was better to switch back to the stock carbs for a while. Bike is running smooth but once we finish the engine it will rip and we’ll do a proper location shot and post the pics here first