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Decide-n-Combine Deal with: A W650 hardtail bobber from South Africa

The Kawasaki W650 has been custom-made in myriad methods, however we seldom see it as a pure engine donor for one more venture. And why not? Kawasaki’s classically-style parallel twin is arguably probably the most engaging motors from the previous couple of many years.

This pleasant hardtail bobber makes use of the engine, gearbox, carbs and the essential electrics from a 1999-model W650. However each different half has come from elsewhere, or been comprised of scratch. A tasteful combo by proprietor and builder, Marnitz Venter.

Primarily based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Marnitz’s love for classic twins runs deep. He has a number of basic BSAs and Triumphs in his storage, and runs the retro components and attire web site Outdated Skool Buying and selling. Customized jobs sometimes get squeezed in between life’s different priorities.

Marnitz’s final construct was a show-stopping Triumph bobber that took 4 years to complete, but in addition bagged gold on the Lightning Bolt customized present in Cape City, late final yr. After the present, Marnitz “was type of searching for a venture, however probably not.” That’s, till he noticed {a partially} constructed Kawasaki W650 standing within the nook of a neighborhood store, V Customized Cycles.

“I used to be searching for one thing dependable you can simply hop on and go,” he tells us. “I fell in love with the look of this motor, particularly the bevel drive aspect. I requested Patt [V Custom Cycles owner] concerning the bike and he stated I have to make him a suggestion—the subsequent second there was a brand new venture standing in my storage.”

Though the bike was incomplete, the engine had carried out little or no mileage. So Marnitz took it out, cleaned and polished it, and mounted it in his workshop as a show piece. Then inspiration hit: “I took some measurements of a Sportster motor, and determined to herald a customized hardtail body for a Sporty from the States.”

Kraft Tech Inc. in California provided the Sportster-specific body, which Marnitz then modified to deal with the Kawasaki mill. He reduce off the outdated motor mounts, welded in new ones and fabricated a set of customized engine brackets. The rear of the body had an offset to accommodate a Harley belt drive, in order that needed to be addressed too.

Marnitz salvaged the forks and triples for the entrance finish from an accident broken Sportster. The tubes have been straightened, then the lowers and yokes have been shaved of the whole lot they didn’t want—just like the brake caliper mounts. A set of shrouds from Lowbrow Customs was added too, to streamline the look.

For the wheels, Marnitz sourced a pair of classic Yamaha drum brake hubs; the entrance is of unknown origin, however the rear is from an RD350. The rear hub needed to be modified to get the sprocket alignment proper, then each ends have been laced to 18” aluminum rims with chrome steel spokes.

We’re not normally followers of whitewall tires and neither is Marnitz…however these Shinko E270s have been the one classic treads he might discover throughout the venture. And as soon as he’d spooned them on, they really suited the construct’s quickly evolving fashion.

Transferring to the bodywork, Marnitz picked out a Honda CB200 gasoline tank, then proceeded to make an entire bunch of modifications to it. It’s narrower and shorter now, with additional area beneath for the ignition coil and new mounts to connect it. There’s additionally a Daytona speedo bolted to the precise aspect of it, and an LED indicator gentle panel embedded up high.

The remainder of the bodywork is minimal. There’s a fake oil tank beneath the seat that homes the wiring and a number of the switches, and a slim rear fender out again. Dion Korkie dealt with the upholstery on the chunky bobber saddle, and made an identical instrument bag that’s mounted decrease down.

On his earlier construct, Marnitz assembled a crew of pals to assist him—however this time, he dealt with all of the fabrication himself. “I discovered to TIG weld over the lockdown,” he says. “It was additionally my first try at constructing my very own chrome steel exhaust pipes.”

His handiwork extends to the whole lot from the chrome steel rear fender stays, to the drilled brackets that maintain the battery. Marnitz even prolonged the W650’s sprocket cowl, by welding in and shaping some aluminum into an built-in chain guard.

The mini ape hangers are customized too, full with an inner throttle. The switches, carb tops and air filters are from Motor Rock in Japan, whereas the grips, levers, mirror and classic headlight are all from Lowbrow Customs. Marnitz mounted a pair of LED flip alerts under the headlight, sunk one other pair into the again of the body, and put in a Prism Provide Firm taillight.

The forward-mounted foot controls have been pieced collectively from a hacked up set of 1” handlebars, with a handful of tailored brackets and bushings.

Marnitz’s brother-in-law, Justin, helped him whip the wiring into form, whereas Patt assisted in sourcing most of the components for the construct. Rudi at Kicker Paints was answerable for the beautiful sweet paint job, which flips from black to gold to inexperienced in daylight.

The bike’s completed off with neat little touches like color-coded spark plug cables. And there’s one trendy element too: a pair of 3D-printed Kawasaki emblems on the tank.

Throwing that many components collectively can simply lead to a disastrous mishmash, however Marnitz has nailed it. There’s only one downside: he initially deliberate to promote it, however he’s having an excessive amount of enjoyable driving it.

Outdated Skool Buying and selling | Marnitz Venter Instagram | Photographs by Kevin Sutherland

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