Given the well-known first-year W650 tendency to crack rear fenders and given that my W still had the original rear fender, it came as no surprise to find that my rear fender had started to crack:
It was like this, both sides. So I ordered up a new rear fender (Kawasaki p/n 35022-0025) and set about installing it today. The manual made it look pretty easy but it was slightly more involved than I was led to believe. Here's how it's done. This is how I would do it if I had to do it again, regardless of how the service manual says I should do it.
First, if you have the Five Stars luggage rack, remove it, piss on it and throw it in the garbage. This is the second one I've been through in a year that did this:
Currently awaiting Hepco & Becker rear rack.
ANYWAY, on to the fender. First, take off the seat. Then remove the two nuts that hold the little plastic u-lock tray. Then pull the tray out.
Now remove the two lower mounting bolts, just forward of the rear wheel. They are 10mm heads and it helps to have a swivel extension for this.
Now, the service manual tells you to unplug the rear harness connector and remove the seat lock mechanism, but you don't need to do any of that.
What you need to do is go underneath the fender and pry up all the clamps that hold the wiring harness in place, then pull the harness out of the clamps.
Then undo the three bolts (accessible from under the fender) that hold the taillight housing in place. There are two at the bottom and one at the top.
Flip the taillight housing over and pry up the little tab underneath it where you see a black plastic sleeve around the wiring harness. Pull the harness out from under the tab and slide the sleeve up to find a whole bunch of bullet connectors for all the rear electrical connections.
Unplug all the bullet connectors. All the colors match except for one of the turn signals, so just make a note of any different color connections and then pull them all apart. You have to do it this way because the harness plug on the other end won't fit through the holes in the fender that the harness goes through.
Unplug the bullet connecters, push the harness (and the grommet) back through the fender, then pull the harness (and the other grommet) out through the top hole in the fender in the under-seat area.
Now you are left with the three "dampers" as they are called in the service manual. Basically grommets through the fender with metal inserts for the bolts to go through to secure the taillight housing. First push out the metal inserts from the grommets (the two lower ones are identical but the top one is different), then push the grommets out.
Now you should have a bare fender which is ready for removal from the bike. Go up top and remove the four top mounting bolts:
Then remove the fender to the rear.
The bike looks kinda badass without the rear fender
For installation, first hang the bare fender to the bike with a couple of the top mounting bolts. Then install the "damper" grommets and inserts to the fender. Thread the wiring harness through the top hole and then out the rear hole.
Re-connect all your bullet connectors for the rear harness (if you took that plastic sleeve off, don't forget to put it back on before connecting everything), then seat the rear grommet for the wiring harness and mount the taillight assembly.
Install all four top mounting bolts for the fender and snug them up just to get the fender in position. Then install the two lower mounting bolts and tighten them up.
Place the wiring harness into the little clamps under the fender and then press them down. Seat the other wiring harness grommet.
Tighten down the four mounting bolts, then mount the plastic u-lock tray and install the nuts.
Go over everything and make sure you remembered to tighten everything down. That's pretty much all there is to it.