McDeeb W400 TT

Kawasaki W400 custom by McDeeb
Fabrizio Di Bella runs Classic Farm Motorcycles, a custom workshop in a village in the mountains near the Italian city of Brescia. His obsession with classic British motorcycles gave him the Anglicized nickname of ‘McDeeb’, and that’s the brand he now markets his machines under. He’s known for his Royal Enfield specials, but this new model is based on a Kawasaki. (Di Bella previously worked in Kawasaki R&D, specializing in dirt bikes.)

The W400 TT is the ultimate evolution of a conversion process Di Bella started 12 years ago. The engine is a 440cc Kawasaki twin; the standard output of 35hp has been boosted to 40-42hp thanks to a free-flowing exhaust, special filters and some head modifications. That might not sound like much, but the dry weight is just 148kg (325lbs). Di Bella has tested the W400 TT against his own Triumph Bonneville—and found that it can outrun the Bonneville on twisty mountain roads, despite the power deficit and 160kph top speed.

The six-speed gearbox helps, and it’s hooked up to a shorter final ratio (to compensate for the bigger circumference of the tires). According to Di Bella, “The bike is a mix of our own handmade replica parts and classic NOS parts from lightweight Kawasaki models of the 70s and 80s.” The fenders are shortened, and the tail section and side panels are custom-made. Rubberized footpegs and a hand-made alloy engine bash-plate make the bike more secure offroad, along with overhauled suspension. The front disc brake is a from a later (cast wheel) Kawasaki, modified to fit on the earlier spoked wheel hub. It provides welcome help for the rear drum, which can “become a bit lazy on long and fast downhills.”

Everything else is lightened or improved or removed, down to the polished fork sliders and the alloy triple clamp. The exhaust is custom-made: “the noise level is barely legal,” says Di Bella, “but we can make it louder or quieter at the customer’s request. As with the other options, like painting, bike dimensions, engine tuning and so on.” There are cool little details throughout: the tank is reshaped, the handgrips are classic British Doherty items, and the light switch is a replica of a model used on many 70s bikes. Just lovely—and if you live in Italy, a viable option to modern retro bikes like the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic or the Kawasaki W800.

Kawasaki W400 custom by McDeeb
Kawasaki W400 custom by McDeeb
Kawasaki W400 custom by McDeeb