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Andre's 1968 Kawasaki W1SS

I have attached pictures of my unrestored survivor, 1968 Kawasaki W1SS which is one of the more rare bikes in my collection. I'm not sure if you have ever seen one, and thought you may find it interesting. The motor in particular bears a striking resemblance to a BSA A10. In spite of myths of it being nothing more than a BSA clone, nothing interchanges whatsoever but the influence is obvious, right down to the right side shifting and pre unit design. Since there are so few around, I wasn't sure if you were familiar with this 650cc Japanese pushrod twin. Like BSA, they also have a single and dual carb version called the W2SS. I also have a red 1967 W2SS which is well into its rebuild.

Here's a little info about mine and about the W1 origins. Hopefully this is useful.

My 1968 W1 is a single carb, pushrod paralell 360º twin. Obvious similarities to British bikes of the time are the separate transmission, and dry sump motor. Even a right side gear changer. It doesn’t look like anything you would expect from Japan and I find it to be a nice looking and well thought out machine. I’ve had this example for about 4 years. Tracking down parts can be a challenge, but having something rare and unique makes it worth the effort. I plan on using it more in the future and expect it to be a good rdaily rider.

The Kawasaki W series is a line of motorcycles made by Kawasaki since 1965 that shares some characteristics of classic British vertical-twin standard motorcycles. Sold as a 1966 model in the North American market, the first Kawasaki W1 had the largest engine displacement of any motorcycle manufactured in Japan at the time.

In 1960 the Kawasaki Aircraft Company acquired an interest in the Meguro motorcycle company. Meguro had been Japan's largest motorcycle manufacturer but in the late 1950s its models had become less competitive and it was short of money. In 1963 Meguro was taken over one hundred percent by the new Kawasaki Motorcycle Corporation, which enlarged the twin from 500cc to 624cc and made many other mechanical and styling changes.

In 1966 the first W1 models were imported to North America, Europe and many other countries. A twin carb version called the W2SS with slightly improved performance, followed shortly after. I believe Australia police used the W1 for a time. The 650 remained popular in Japan, and although a small number were exported to Europe in the 70s, subsequent models were produced primarily for the domestic market. The final version was the 1973 W3 model with upgraded suspension as well as twin disc brakes in front until production ceased in 1974.