You can find a passion for motorcycles in the unlikeliest of locations—even on a small island in SE Asia still reeling from decades of civil war. That’s where the owner of this bike lives, a man who wanted a low-key custom capable of tackling rough roads.
It’s one of the more unusual commissions to land in the Wrenchmonkees’ Copenhagen headquarters, but they’ve built the perfect bike for the job—based on a 2012-model Kawasaki W800.
“Our client asked for a simple, practical, and easy to maintain scrambler,” says the Wrenchmonkees’ Per Nielsen. “The local roads can be quite a challenge—gravel mountain passes that are sometimes flooded, and broken bridges.” The bike also needed to be a two-seater, and have a USB port for portable power in the wild.
To eliminate potential reliability problems, the Wrenchmonkees decided to buy a new-ish Kawasaki W800. “We´ve worked on the W650 before, and we really like that platform: It has a good frame and engine, and simple construction. The W800 has the same qualities, so we went for that instead of an older W650.”
For ease of servicing, the Wrenchmonkees left the engine and swing arm alone. The standard engine has a plain painted aluminum finish, which was switched to a subtle black. The shocks were swapped out for Hagon Nitro items, and the forks now contain TÜV-approved Wirth progressive springs. The tires have been upgraded to tough Heidenaus, with a 140/80-18 K60 at the back and a 4.00 x 19 K37 at the front. The front disc is now a Ferodo item hooked up to steel braided hose.
Stainless mufflers are mounted to the original headers, with some heatwrap added to the mid section near the rider’s feet. Aluminum fenders save weight over the heavy standard steel components. Aluminum is also used for the seat pan and ABM handlebar, which now carries a Motogadget speedo and Biltwell Kung-Fu grips. A 6½-inch headlight is attached with custom brackets, and there’s a custom aluminum battery box under the swing arm and an aluminum skidplate to help protect the engine.
Despite the practical nature of the modifications, this W800 is much faster than a stock bike. “The small engine changes—the K&N pod filters and the mufflers—have improved engine performance,” says Per. “A ‘gentle’ dyno run showed almost 90 Nm of torque at 3500 rpm on the rear wheel, compared to the standard 60 Nm at 2500!”
Right now, the Kawasaki is on a boat to its new home, 12,000 kilometers away from the Wrenchmonkees’ workshop. It’s one custom you could never accuse of being a trailer queen.
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