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Monkee #57: Kawasaki W800 Stripped Bare

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Danish customizer Wrenchmonkees have produced this simple, light do-it-all machine based on the Kawasaki W800 retro introduced a few years ago in markets outside the U.S.

The W800 produces a modest 48 horsepower from a parallel twin 773 cc engine. Monkee #57 reportedly offers a big boost over stock power with K&N pod filters and custom mufflers (mounted to the stock header). The bike has also undergone a significant diet courtesy of stripped unnecessary parts and the replacement of the heavy, steel fenders with aluminum items. Other changes/upgrades include Hagon Nitro rear shocks and a Ferodo front disc.

The instrument pod is by Motogadget with an included USB port. Many other items are one-offs created by Wrenchmonkees, such as the seat, headlight bracket, headlight, tail light and turn signals.

Unfortunately, you cannot buy Monkee #57 as it was custom ordered. You can, of course, employ Wrenchmonkees to build your own special. You will find their web site here.

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80 Comments

  1. Kiwiclown says:

    Proof reading error, they Don’t sit we’ll. hopefully that makes more sense.

  2. Kiwiclown says:

    I like the proportions and lines of this bike. It apeals to my minimalist tendencies and retains most if not all of the stock machine’s functionality.

    From the artistic viewpoint of customisation it is almost formulaic in regards to the frame lines, handlebars and body work etc. Kawasaki did most of that and a few small items and relocations define the intent of the “customisers” vision. Which brings me to my next point.

    From fifteen thousand euros?!

    That’s thirty thousand of the piddly ass little dollars where I live. I could by two W800s for that or a Gixxer Thou and run it on the track for a season of club racing. As earlier posters have commented, there’s one born every minute.

    There’s some details on this bike that really sit well with me considering what they’re asking for something like this…

    How hard would it be to take a flap disc and a file to the welds on the frame loop at the back of the seat?
    The numberplate bracket, couldn’t the weld be hidden on the inside?
    They’ve taken the trouble to hide the battery yet there’s wiring exposed in obvious places.

    I’d expect a bit more attention to the details if I paid someone else to build this bike for me, I suppose the customers in this instance are paying for the brand, the image associated with it and the bragging rights so relatively minor details don’t really factor greatly to them?
    Maybe I’m too fussy, I do think this bike is cool and would own it in a flash but couldn’t justify spending so much money on a bike that l’d spend hours on to finish to a standard commensurate with the outlay.

  3. ROXX says:

    A few final specs would have been nice in this article.
    Weight?
    HP?
    Torque?

  4. Bob L. says:

    Tank seam. There, I said it.

  5. Mike says:

    Sensible bike, nicely done. Imagine one of those with high side pipes and some trail tires for a look like the old Honda SL’s or the old Triumph desert bikes?
    Nice to see someone build a custom bike without family drama queen nonsense or Hollywood stars involved.

  6. BulletBob says:

    I’m guessing this is how trends go? We went from the over priced and over chromed/ accessorized chopper, Orange County and etal, to as understated as they can get. I’m ready for a new trend!

    • Starmag says:

      Ah, well, this trend is still better than the “chopper-in-every-McMansion” trend before the crash of 2008. Let’s see:

      Wrenchmonkees W800 or

      Brand-new-with-unvoided-warranty Triumph Scrambler with a 270 degree crank + Brand-new Arrow exhaust + $10,000 left over.

      Seems absurd, what was the customer thinking?

      Sure, this probably weighs 60lbs less than a stock Scrambler, but $10,000 divided by 60lbs = $165.00 per lb. for weight reduction.

      I’d rather have a stock Scrambler over even a stock W800, but I suppose folks naturally want that which they can’t have.

  7. paul A says:

    Since when are mirrors “unnecessary parts”?

  8. hrembe says:

    It would make a great winter bike and I would pray for snow or stud up some tire and play on ice

  9. Stocaz says:

    I would really like to see the strippo treatment applied to something like a Yamaha Super Tenere. Get rid of all the plastic shrouds and geegaws and leave just the basic bike. I bet that would be cool.

    This Kwack is OK, I guess. The owner needs to ride it around and get it nice and dusty.

  10. DaytonaJames says:

    “Unfortunately, you cannot buy Monkee #57 as it was custom ordered.”

    I wonder if they saw him coming or if they phoned him up. I’m sure I could have done a better job in Grade 11 shop class.

  11. 70's Kid says:

    Man, I’m getting old.

    You kids stay off of my lawn and take that cheesy looking motorcycle with you!

  12. Ed Chambers says:

    I still think it’s beautiful and would love to see this trend continue.Would I pay 20,000 for it hell no but I would love to build my own for about 1/4 of that.

    • Gary says:

      Beautiful? Beautiful!? You’re all kidding me right? This is the dumbest excuse for a custom bike I think I’ve seen in a while. Flat and I’m sure uncomfortable seat, too big (wide) front tire that I would think would compromise handling, and that clearance light for a pickup cab for a taillight is just dumb and ugly. Add all this with a flat black paint scheme, a cheap unattractive license plate piece of metal and a wrapped exhaust pipe and you have a rat bike, and a way too expensive one at that. No thanks Wrenchmonkees, you can keep this thing.

  13. joe b says:

    am I the only one who thinks this trend is overkill now. flat black, everything off the original bike, flat seat, knobby street tires, just because you can doeasnt make this bike attractive at all.
    5-10 years ago, it was neat to see people do this to old bikes that were previously thrown away, a $250 special, and usually to some obscure Japanese bike, not to ruin a truly collectable.
    but now, here, in 2013, is that all you got?
    doesn’t anyone have any new ideas? anyone?

  14. Colors says:

    Its cool. I don’t like the look of those exhaust cans though. I wish we could get a W800 here. I know it wouldn’t sell, well I would buy one, but… I also wish they didn’t have 360 degree cranks. 180 or 270 would be better. Moot point cause they don’t sell them this side of the pond, so I’m glad they are 360 cranks, makes me want one less.

  15. Gpokluda says:

    It all has to be taken in context. Bikes like these are only cool if the rider built it. Otherwise they are just wannabes.

  16. mickey says:

    If I lived in an area with lots of desert land to ride in, that would be the cats meow, or a Triumph just like it. Wouldn’t do me much good where I live, being limited to asphalt.

    2 things I notice that would have to be corrected though, the nads catcher on the back fender, and the inner thigh catcher license plate holder bolted to the right shock.

    • TimC says:

      Nads catcher – you usually exit your bike off the back? Kinda like the Duke Boys sliding across their hood at every opportunity?

      • mickey says:

        Apparently you have never ridden in the dirt…where you can come off in ANY direction..unintentionally of course.

  17. red says:

    This is more my style and I think it’s cool. However – value detector going off. How does a mass produced $8k bike lose a few parts, gain some (not fancy) paint and seat and become a $20k bike. No Ohlins, or engine mods.. what’d I miss?

  18. ABQ says:

    This is what a scrambler is supposed to look like. I like the choice of tires. All purpose, go anywhere, do anything. And, you don’t need the inseem of a dual purpose rider.

  19. vitesse says:

    Have to say it looks cobbled together. Reminds of a worn out bike with for sale sign sitting in someone’s front yard. To each his own, as they say.

  20. SmokinRZ says:

    Ruined a pefectly good bike. Now if they had done it with an old XS 650 that was leaning against a fence post…..

  21. NORKA says:

    I love the look. This is what drew me to motorcycles. Now if Kawasaki put street ties on it and built at a new price equal to the W800 they would have a winner.

  22. GP says:

    IMO – A stock W650 or W800 is a beautiful machine. This one, not so much. I regret not buying a new W650 when I had the chance.

  23. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    Wow. I’m in love

  24. Lenz says:

    Bikes reduced to their essence – “muscle”, bone and menace – that’s what does it for me.

    I like where these guys are aiming.

  25. Al says:

    Wrenchmonkees – “…Kawasaki W 800 prices start at 15.000 Euros…” – and how do you start that bike without a battery? Do you have to push-start it?

  26. Sean says:

    Nobody said “tank seam”!!

  27. Azi says:

    I am trying to put my finger on what specifically annoys me about this current “boutique customization” commercial movement. Perhaps it’s a lack of authenticity – they are mimicking styles which emerge out of necessity (eg. poor students or apprentices trying to keep their ratty bike on the road), yet charging unbelievable prices for it. I guess it’s like certain fashion labels charging top dollar for ripped jeans.

    It’s not surprising that businesses like Deus have roots in fashion design (Mambo).

    Maybe true authenticity is too daggy – like the V-Strom 650 or a CBR500 – which only real connoisseurs can appreciate!

    • Tuskerdu says:

      I think you’re on to something there. . .

      • Dave Kent says:

        I agree. It’s one thing to take a clapped out CB360 and resurrect it, stripping everything that’s broken, unnecessary and expensive to replace, ending up with a thing of beauty that has a reason for looking the way it does. But to me it’s foolish and false economy to buy a new bike and spend that much more to greatly decrease its overall function and practicality for the sake of looking like you “had to” make it that way.

        • Gentleman Rook says:

          “There’s a sucker born ever minute.” ~ P.T. Barnum. Never has this been more evident than in modern society, where people will pay thousands of dollars for a mixed breed dog because it’s got a cute name (Labradoodle–really?) or a brand new bike that’s been made to look like something it isn’t. Sickening. But, I won’t fault wolves for fleecing the sheep–the sheep aren’t just asking for it, they’re paying top dollar for it.

    • Starmag says:

      +1 Exxactly Azi. If the neighbor kid built this I’d be nothing but supportive, but at $20,000 ! USD from a “boutique builder” all I can think is that Wrenchmonkees took P.T. Barnum’s famous motto to heart.

    • Selecter says:

      You said it much better than I could have. Seems pretty disingenuous.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I agree it is crazy money for a bike like this, but I think you guys are coming at this from the wrong perspective. You see a fashionable imitation of a classic rat bike, and I see the true form hidden within the rock coaxed out by an artist. Besides, I’d argue that the style comes from the street and cafe racers trying to strip every last pound from the bikes and squeeze every last squirt of power from the engines. A minimalist bike with just enough part to remain functional. This looks very authentic to me. Now if it had a rusty tank, a duct-taped seat, sagging chain and oxidized engine cases to go with that 15K euro price tag, then I’d agree that it is lacking authenticity.

    • Gronde says:

      Right on the mark, Azi. My first bike was a clapped out Honda 350 Scrambler that was rather similar to Wrenchmonkees offering. Only thing is….I sold it to my buddy for $250. I guess I lost about $19,500 by not charging like the Monkee.

    • Bud says:

      Yep, it’s all about making a statement, even if there’s nothing authentic at the core. Similar to the “relic” fad in the world of electric guitars.

    • Dave says:

      “I am trying to put my finger on what specifically annoys me about this current “boutique customization” commercial movement. Perhaps it’s a lack of authenticity – they are mimicking styles which emerge out of necessity (eg. poor students or apprentices trying to keep their ratty bike on the road), yet charging unbelievable prices for it. I guess it’s like certain fashion labels charging top dollar for ripped jeans.”

      You nailed it. The hipster movement – try very hard and spare no expense to look like you didn’t care in the first place.

  28. skybullet says:

    Isn’t it great to see a bare, functional motorcycle without plastic fairings and covers. Costs less to build, easier to work on, weighs less and performs better because of it. So pleasing to the eye.

    • Gutterslob says:

      Costs less to build only if you build it yourself. Wrenchmonkees builds would be rather expensive.

  29. Philip says:

    Not a highway bike…looks like it could use a couple extra teeth on that rear sprocket, so what is the horsepower on this bike now? I like that kind of bike, could fit one of those little milk crate looking pen holders under the seat

    • paul says:

      Wouldn’t a larger rear sprocket actually make it rev higher on the highway?

      • Philip says:

        Right, since it’s not a highway bike, it could use a larger rear sprocket for more zip around town, if it needs it.

  30. KT says:

    Now it’s off to the paint shop…………

  31. Rich says:

    “Danish customizer Wrenchmonkees have produced this simple, light due-it-all machine based on the Kawasaki W800 retro introduced a few years ago in markets outside the U.S.”

    Perhaps you meant to say “…produced this simple, light *do*-it-all machine….”?

  32. Ed Chambers says:

    I love it. I especially like the semi knobby tires looks like a real scrambler.I’d love to see a Triumph scrambler given the same treatment.

  33. Norm G. says:

    meh.

  34. dino says:

    Now that’s a bike… Motor, wheels, seat, and just enough connecting bits to make it all work…

    A nice looking bike like that makes it look easy to make your own. Take your favorite bike, strip off the unneeded bits and covers, then try to clean it up a bit. Probably would not look as good as those monkee’s did it! Nice..

  35. Ziggy says:

    Would love to take that thing for a spin. Great style!

  36. Satoru says:

    How about Kawasaki bringing W800 here?

  37. JB Spencer says:

    What about some ohlins rear shocks and some inverted forks ?

  38. todd says:

    or you could pick up an XS650 off CraigsList for a couple grand.

    All joking aside, this is a nice looking minimal-custom that is likely a hoot to ride.

  39. Schoon says:

    Also, the flat black just ruins it and makes it look old and dirty, or worse, like an unfinished project.
    ????? OK

    I think it looks great.

  40. Guylr says:

    I’m not sure about the 48hp. Maybe that’s a rear wheel figure. The Australian spec bikes and the one Kevin Ash tested were rated at 70hp which would put them at around 58-60 at the rear. The old W650 was spec’d at 50.

  41. John says:

    I’d be way more impressed if they’d moved the gas tank below or even more, if they’d ported in a unishock suspension.

    Also, the flat black just ruins it and makes it look old and dirty, or worse, like an unfinished project.

  42. ApriliaRST says:

    That looks like one very fun ride.

  43. brinskee says:

    I agree, maybe 4 HP over stock, but wow, it’s a looker. I’m not a fan of vintage or standards but I like this.

  44. Bud says:

    “a big boost over stock power with K&N pod filters and custom mufflers”

    Seems unlikely…