The French Way: Bad Winners’ Kawasaki W650

The French Way: A custom Kawasaki W650 by Bad Winners of Paris.
Just like love and cuisine, when it comes to custom motorcycles no one does it quite like the French. Builds from the likes of Clutch Custom and Ed Turner constantly wow us—and now we’ve added another name to our watch list.

Bad Winners is the workshop of Frenchman Walid Ben Lamine. From his 250-square-meter space in downtown Paris, Walid creates motorcycles like this très chic, 2006-model Kawasaki W650.

The French Way: A custom Kawasaki W650 by Bad Winners of Paris.
“The concept behind this bike,” he explains, “was to create a clean, minimalistic look that focused as much as possible on raw metal textures, clean welding, and simple lines.”

To smooth out the distinct dip in the W650 frame, Walid lopped off the entire subframe and fabricated a new one—complete with new shock mounts and passenger peg brackets. Up front, he rebuilt the main frame’s backbone to accommodate a Yamaha DT250 fuel tank.

The French Way: A custom Kawasaki W650 by Bad Winners of Paris.
The tank itself has been mounted as flush as possible—to the extent that Walid had to add indents to help it clear the engine. It’s perfectly matched to a bare-bones seat, with hand-made fenders at each end capping off the bodywork.

The front forks have been lowered by 5cm, and the rear shocks swapped out for a pair of YSS units. The classic diamond-tread tires are from Coker. There’s a Beringer brake at the front, customized by Beringer themselves to fit the stock caliper mounts. And the engine’s been treated to a set of K&N filters and Spark mufflers.

The French Way: A custom Kawasaki W650 by Bad Winners of Paris.
Walid went to great lengths to trim the W650’s wiring down too. There’s even a custom CDI, which allowed him to remove a bunch of sensors that were no longer needed. Everything’s been rewired around Motogadget’s popular m-Unit, and stashed in a discreet tray under the seat.

The speedo and switches are also from Motogadget, with all the wiring running inside the low-rise, 1-inch handlebars. Biltwell Kung Fu grips, a new throttle and Beringer brake and clutch levers round out the cockpit.

The French Way: A custom Kawasaki W650 by Bad Winners of Paris.
Up front, Walid’s fitted a classic Cibié headlight—upgraded with a 2500 lumen LED. There’s also an LED taillight integrated into the rear fender, and compact turn signals at both ends.

The W650’s finishes are sublime—a result of careful thought and hours of prep. “There’s no paint on the frame, fenders or suspension,” says Walid. “I kept the raw look of the metals to achieve the simple ruggedness of my concept. “

The French Way: A custom Kawasaki W650 by Bad Winners of Paris.
The frame was blasted before being sanded to a final finish and clear-coated. Other components—like the fork lowers and handlebars—were given the same raw effect. The only painted bits are the tank and headlight. Both are finished in an off-white that earned the bike its nickname: ‘Skin Milk.’

It’s an ode to simplicity, and one of the most charming Kawasaki W650s we’ve seen.

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The French Way: A custom Kawasaki W650 by Bad Winners of Paris.