First released in 2006, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 (or “ER6n/f” as it was previously known in some markets) is unquestionably one of today’s best do-it-all motorcycles, offering immense versatility and solid performance in a sub-$8,000 package. And while few can deny the Ninja 650’s unbeatable value or utilitarian nature, the mid-sized commuter bike has never been praised for its looks, with the parallel-twin sporting a fairly unremarkable, watered-down superbike aesthetic.
Recognizing the 650’s lackluster appearance, Alex Gao of Taipei’s Cowboys Chopper set out to transform the no-frills commuter bike into a retro-themed standard with hints of cafe racer and tracker influence. The build features a custom hand-shaped aluminum tank shrouded with bespoke alloy covers and a lightly-humped, vertically-ribbed cafe seat—both of which now rest perfectly atop the contours of the Kawasaki’s chassis and bespoke subframe. Complimented by an asymmetrical headlight shroud, the Ninja’s headlight bracket is another bespoke item, modeled after the kanji character for “eye” (目). A custom stainless steel exhaust boasts a set of winding polished headers feeding into an underslung breadbox and culminating in a stubby 45-degree pipe. There’s also a custom cockpit setup, one-off laser-cut radiator guard complete with shop logos, vintage-style knobby tires, and a one-off livery with a silver frame, swing-arm, and subframe, and a British racing green tank.