Motorcycle Classics

Joe Kiess' Kawasaki W1

Reader Contribution by Roland Brown

Joe Kiess has restored two Kawasaki W1 motorcycles.

Bike: Kawasaki W1
Owner: Joe Kiess
Hometown: Indianapolis
Occupation: Retired
Etc.: With all due respect to our nation’s former commander in chief, Joe Kiess may be the guy everybody should call Dubya: He has restored two Kawasaki W1 motorcycles and has owned several other W series bikes — including a Kawasaki W2TT. Here’s a brief Q&A with the Commander master:

Why the love affair with the W-1?
“More than anything else, it’s the look. I always gravitated toward the looks of the British machines (the W series follows classic English design). The Brits didn’t know how to build a good motorcycle, but they knew how to make them look good.”

What about the performance?
“It’s got plenty of power, and they really don’t handle all that bad. And I haven’t had any leaks or reliability issues.”

What’s your take on Kawasaki’s modern retro twin, the Kawasaki W650?
“Had I known that in 2000 I would have been able to buy a W650, I probably never would have started restoring these W1s. The W650 makes these bikes look like dinosaurs.”

  • Published on Sep 20, 2011
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