Down & Out’s “Misfit” – 2001 Kawasaki W650 Custom

In Custom, England, Japan by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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Down & Out Motorcycles is a UK-based customs outfit that’s received write-ups on well-over-a-dozen of its builds on sites like TheBikeShed, BikeBrewers, and BikeExif. While the shop undeniably has a lot of range when it comes to the flavor of its various builds, much of D&O’s work has a vintage feel to it, with this café’d W650 — that reportedly premiered at a 2014 Bike Shed Show — being no exception.

Dubbed the “Misfit”, this 2001 Kawasaki W650 was torn down to the engine and frame before having the factory suspension swapped out for an inverted front-end with dual discs off a ZX-14 while the back end was treated to a monoshock and single-sided swingarm off a Honda VFR400R (NC24) – markedly upping the modern-retro’s performance.

The new bodywork adorning the build are reportedly all bespoke steel and aluminum units, including a low-profile café tail (w/ custom leather seat), side-covers, and a classic, narrow, Honda-style fuel cell similar to the tank on the CB50. There’s also a one-off fender, exhaust bracket, and battery box. Aftermarket handlebars have been drilled and modified to accommodate the build’s Motogadget switchgear which has had its aluminum buttons recessed into the bars themselves. All of the wiring has also been routed internally, resulting in a very tidy cockpit.

Other goodies include Motogadget indicators, taillight, and switchgear, as well as a GPS digital speedo, CNC’d rear-sets, quick-action throttle, Brembo levers, a gorgeous full custom exhaust
system terminating in a high-mounted cone, and a professional one-off “Nardo Grey” paint job with a black racing stripe.

Despite the W’s new café’d stance, the owner says the bike is surprisingly comfortable. With a seat height of 30.3” (770mm), it’s not unreasonably tall either. In addition to the photos, there’s also a brief video showing the thing running. One of the photos also shows the bike with a custom cowl which is also included in the sale.

This build was completed in 2014 and after making its rounds at various shows it traded hands once or twice before winding up with the current seller in 2016. In total, the 2001 Kawa
only has 4,254 original miles on it, with only 100 of those reportedly having been put on the bike since the build’s completion half a decade ago.

The W650 already has a gorgeous engine, and the addition of more modern suspension complimented by one-off old-school bodywork all comes together in my opinion to make one really stellar build. I do have a few qualms with the area where the tank meets the new tail-section, but otherwise I thoroughly dig this one.

You can find this 2001 Kawasaki W650-based Down & Out Motorcycle’s build, entitled, the “Misfit” for sale here on TheBikeShed’s Classifieds in Luton, England with a price of $10,400 (or £7,950).

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