The recently launched duo of W800 models from Kawasaki are joined in 2020 by the final machine in the range creating a three model line. Adding to the existing W800 Street and W800 CAFE, the new W800 turns its attentions to the impact created by the original W1 in 1966 and brings the ethos of that machine right up to date for modern taste and legislation.
With the familiar lines of the 35 kw (46.9 HP) and 62.9 Nm of torque, air-cooled 773cc bevel drive camshaft engine at its core, the W800 and its two siblings may have the look of previous W machines but the overwhelming majority of components are new or updated.
Starting with the chassis, the frame is a new construction featuring larger diameter tubes for a more reassuring ride with the welcome convenience of a centre stand as a standard fit item. This thorough approach includes the front forks which increase in diameter to 41 mm and – combined with wider wheel rims – make for responsive range of W800 machines with the new W800 having the unique benefit of 19 inch front wheel for the most classic of looks. Add deep chrome mudguards and a chrome handlebar and the visual effect is stunning.
From the aesthetic point of view the W800 features a deeply padded “tuck and roll” style seat, meter graphics unique to the model and a paint and graphic scheme that not only evokes machines of the past but does it with a modern twist. Standing back to appreciate the overall impact of the new W800, the sheer number of chromed and polished surfaces impresses, along with the classic lines of the twin exhausts and silencers that have been tuned to appeal to the ear as well as eye.
Technically the W800 also shines with feature’s both evident and below the surface that mark it out as a machine that KHI engineers have dedicated much thought to. The new ABS disc brakes front and rear are both efficient and necessary for legislative compliance whilst the overall package is focused on meeting Euro5 requirements as they arrive. Inside the engine there is a clever addition is an assist and slipper clutch that eliminates rear wheel hop on down changes and, of course the most modern of heritage style twins features digital ignition, fuel injection and electric start.
As the original icon, the W series has a place in Kawasaki’s motorcycle manufacturing history. With such a strong legacy and loyal following it is only right that for 2020 Kawasaki sets out a model line to appeal to a wide range of rider groups offering style options and genuine accessories to create that final, personal touch. The 2020, W800 has successfully encompassed over 50 years of W heritage and reinterpreted it for a new age of motorcycling while appealing to age old motorcycling virtues and style.