Originally Posted by Chris in Tokyo
How well does the W650 handle off tarmac?
Is the suspension up to days of corrugation and otherwise bumpy roads? Are there any "must have" modifications for real travel?
Been considering one myself, but don't know anyone who has put any sort of real punishment on one.
Would love to use one for a mostly on-road trip, but would hate to be held back by being restricted entirely to tarmac.
Can't comment on the W650, I bought the Bonneville (more out there so easier on parts, Kawasaki dealer only wanted to sell ZZZZZR1000ZZZZZZZZZZZZR's in green with matching power rangers outfit). However, I believe the two are close enough to say:
Fit the sort of tyres you'd fit to an R80GS and performance off road will be similar. I do gravel and mud tracks with ease.
They'll take off road use but things like the shocks are cheap and nasty so don't expect comfort.
The road bike shape requires you to fabricate dust covers/bash plates for under the engine, things like the oil filter aren't covered in. Personally I let the silencers take a beating and replace from e-bay when someone else wants their Sunday ride to be louder. For a long run it could be sensible to scramblerise with a high level exhaust. I won't do this as the Triumph Scrambler is 10 HP down which makes a difference on the sort of roads I need to ride to get to the interesting stuff.
Range is ****. Although you'll see 50-60 mpg the tank is still too small. I run a 10 litre auxilliary tank, easy on a carbed bike, not so easy with FI (I'd carry a jerry can).
If Ted Simon made it on a bike this shape in 1973, why take a desert racer if you aren't going to race?