Kawasaki has recently introduced a new model, the W800, which is reminiscent of the British bike designs of the 50s – 70s. This new model is actually an update to the previously available W650.
The Kawasaki W800 has the British bike style right down to the “pea-shooter” exhausts.
The 773cc Vertical Twin Engine Provides the basic British Styling
The vertical twin engine style of the Kawasaki W800 is pleasing to look at, but I’m a little disappointed that its output is only 48 horsepower. While it still possible to hoon with that power, I think that Kawasaki should have increased the horsepower of the Kawasaki W800 into the mid-60s range in order to rival the new Triumph Bonnevilles.
I Think That This is the Image That the Kawasaki W800 is Trying to Capture
The other disappointing technical feature of the Kawasaki W800 is the rear brake – it’s a drum brake! This is one feature where apparently the stylists won out over the riders in the Kawasaki design office. This is an area where the Kawasaki W800 designers should have worked harder to provide disk brakes, while still providing the “retro” design. Good brakes are very comforting, as it is nice to know that you can get out of trouble faster than you can get into it.
The Tank Emblem on the Kawasaki W800 is a “W”, which Refers to its Predecessor, the W650
For some reason, Kawasaki has decided not to import the W800 into the US of A. I would not expect the W800 to be a huge seller, as my styling tastes in motorcycles are shared by only a small portion of the potential customers. But if the bike is already being manufactured, then why not make it available to Americans? Perhaps this explains the small horsepower numbers and rear drum brake, as these aspects might be more acceptable outside of the US of A.
The Kawasaki W800 Would Make a Great Country Touring Bike
For those of you outside of the US of A who are in the market for a “retro” designed motorcycle, take a look at the Kawasaki W800. The styling is great! The bikes to now look at and compare would be the Kawasaki W800, the Triumph Bonneville, and the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic. If you like your riding a little tamer, then also include the Royal Enfield 500 on your list.
The Kawasaki W800 With Its Major Competitors – the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic and the Triumph Bonneville