– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Kawasaki W800 Retro On Its Way?

This is a picture of the Kawasaki W650 that was available for sale in the United States for just a couple of years (I believe 2000 and 2001).  It was available in other markets until 2008, and was generally well-received by both the press and enthusiasts who bought one. 

It is rumored that Kawasaki is about to debut a successor displacing approximately 800cc and known as the W800.  The original W650 had a 360 degree crank, operative kick starter and other retro influences intended to mimic a British twin of the 1970s.  The W800 is expected to have more power (coming from the larger displacement), fuel injection (replacing the carbs on the old model), and possibly a disc rear brake (the W650 had a drum in back).

If the W800 does appear this year, it will probably be shown first this fall at Cologne, and we have no idea whether it will be made available in the U.S. market.  If you own an old W650, post a comment with your impressions of the bike.


  1. Terrence W says:

    I keep hearing comparisons with the new Bonnevilles and (having owned both a “W” and a Hinkley Bonneville) I feel obliged to comment.

    I love air-cooled twins which make adequate power in an unstressed fashion in a bike with a “normal” steering geometry and riding position. I like quality bits and a lack of plastic. I like to get a good mpg – something motorcyclists used to brag about but no longer. That is the reason I bought both bikes. My decision had nothing to do with brand allegiance or whether the bike would fit my image.

    My vote has landed firmly with the “W” (which I still own). The long stroke engine is torquey and characterful. Its is mechanically quiet and has no cam chain (this is a great advantage for anyone who likes to wear their bikes out). It acheives a full 20+ (British) mpg’s more than the Bonneville. It is easier to work on – for instance, valve clearance adjustment on a Bonneville is a cam-out job. Standard equipment spec is much better. Finish is better. It’s lighter and more nimble, which suits my riding preference for staying away from highways.

    The “W” has it’s faults, but love is blind, and I really struggle to recognise them. I will be tempted by the new 800 but probably would’nt buy one. Less is more for me.

  2. Michael Y says:

    I think the main issues for me will be size, weight and complexity. I have a ’00 that I bought new. Me and hundreds on the very active boards have since twiddled and tweaked our bikes to squeeze out whatever extra power we could but in all truth, it has power enough. In fact, it’s a great bike because it’s so well balanced right out of the box.

    I think as opposed to displacement and complexity, we buy this type of motorcycle because we want simplicity and lightness. Just check out the W650 customs that Deus Ex Machina are building down under and you’ll see what I mean.

    • sliphorn says:

      Good points, Michael Y. I imagine the new W800 won’t be much heavier, and any complexity it will have will come from the fuel injection. The new larger displacement should put it at the same power level of a tweaked and hot rodded 650. So hopefully, the 800 will be just as well balanced a motorcycle as the 650.

  3. Bill says:

    If it’s half as good as the Bonnie it will be a hit ! But then I thought the Drifter 1500 was a hit ????

  4. chris c says:

    i’ve owned a 2000 w650, and two triumph bonnevilles. if kawasaki builds the w800 i’ll buy it too. very sweet, beautiful bike. i hope it comes to the us. i also think triumph should build a bigger bonnie with the t-bird engine. the t-bird is getting a lot of good press but i hate the harley styling. btw, i love kawasakis zrx1200 (lawson replica) too. another one of the best bikes i’ve ever owned and wish i didn’t sell. i hope kawasaki builds both again. i’ll make room in the garage. i love reliving the bikes and memories of my youth!

  5. John Dean says:

    I’ve had my W650 since 2002, she was delivered on our 20th wedding anniversary. In the 8 years gone by she has been rock-solid. Nothing has gone wrong in 34,500 km.

    I live in Kobe, Japan and most of my riding is on switchback mountain roads, where the light & torquey W is in its element. It is not much use on an expressway for any length of time — lack of fairing makes it a pain after a while.

    Good machine — it does what I want it to. Would I buy a W800? Possibly, but unlikely. The W650 is fine…

  6. Joe says:

    Personally, I like it. Why does everyone have to compare it to the Bonneville? Kawasaki, along with several other manufacturers, made motorcycles that looked a lot like that. We call them UJM’s. Bring it here, with real chrome fenders, metal side covers, disc brakes, and laced wheels. It will sell in reasonable quantities at a reasonable price. Just like the soon to be released CB1100 from Honda. There are plenty of us 45 to 60 year olds who don’t drink the HD koolaid.

  7. Stan S says:

    Had a ’00 as well – absolutely perfect proportions. Tall, lean, nice detailing… It’s saying something when you’re the “belle of the ball” at the local moto get-together (1st Thursdays – Dulono’s Pizza – Minneapolis) – all for around $5500 OTD …. And yes sonny, That IS a kick-starter!

    Flat out intuitive to ride – no stability issues on my example (must have been a mid-week build.)

    The new bonnie is nice (even better now w/cast wheels); but it was never a real stunner – too squat, too quiet, and Eh-Gads.. that kink in the pipes!

    Here’s hoping.

  8. sliphorn says:

    I always loved the look of the W. To my eye, it looks more like a proper British motorcycle than the modern Bonneville does. And of course there is history to back up it’s re-introduction. The original W’s were made from ’67 to ’75.

    The fact that Triumph is having great success with the Bonne is all the more reason for Kawasaki to bring a new upgraded W stateside. It offers us another option for a great, down to earth, make it your own, basic motorcycle. Plus, there aren’t many Triumph dealers in the US. Whereas a Kawasaki dealer is easily found in much of the US.

    I hope they keep the kick starter and make the suspension better than the previous model.

  9. Brian S says:

    I’ve ridden a W650 and it’s a nice enough bike, but it’d be a HUGE mistake for Kawi to try an 800 here (the US) now. Any sales success (which was limited) the bike had here was in the absence of a legitamate option from Triumph itself. With actual, affordable, and reliable bonnevilles available in many shapes and colors , this copy will be viewed as just that, and be a repeat commercial flop.

  10. CC Coleman says:

    I owned a used low mileage (600 miles) W650 which I ran up to 25K miles. I loved the bike and it was trouble free.

    It did have some quirks though. Odd sized tires that grabbed rain channels in the road, a strange wobble at speed, low power to weight ratio, and Kawasaki made it an orphan bike before it was even sold with ZERO after market support (they had the parts in Europe and Japan – all they had to do was make them available in the US).

    I loved my W650 but I will not buy any bike without an aftermarket or OEM accessories available. Kawasaki will not have my business as I hear they’ve done this often to niche bikes.

    All retro bikes should come with a kick start. I loved using mine on the W650. It was smooth and almost effortless to turnover.

  11. Frank says:

    The best vertical twin ever… the TDM900. Unfortunately, completely ruined by a mass of ugly plastic. If Yamaha had gone for classic styling with this engine it would have been a real winner.

    The W800, could be good.

  12. Mark says:

    I rode a W650 for many enjoyable miles. It never gave any problem, great engine, looks that always got attention.
    Bring on the w800. I will look and scratch my wallet again.

  13. Martin says:

    My brother in law has a W650 and plans to keep it. I haven’t asked to ride it…
    I remember borrowing a Suzuki GR650 twin many years ago and thinking “this does everything I need a bike to do”. Pillow soft Full Floater rear suspension and thick seat made for ample comfort, split crankshaft weights made it torquey around town, yet able to spin up well at higher revs, and a general do-it-all friendly personality that made it easy to ride anywhere, anytime.
    Perhaps a 750 reissue, fuel injection, a more retro restyle, modern gaskets and metallurgy and electrics, what a sweet ride that would be!

  14. scorpio says:

    I was intrigued by the W650 when the new Bonneville was just a rumor (eventually bought a new 2007 & love it), but was concerned that it might not be enough bike – I was on a GSF1200S at the time. Now I know better, but have no regrets for buying the 865cc Trumpet instead. Still, there’s this guy in town with a W650 & he’s fanatical about it, like many Europeans apparently are as evidenced by Martin Fischer’s Silverneck Racing in Germany: As for a W800 being doomed to fail in the USA, the new Bonneville variants seem to be doing pretty well stateside, so I imagine that’s what Kawasaki is looking at, determining if there’s a market here. I hope so, as more choices for real motorcycle enthusiasts is always a good thing!

  15. Bob G says:

    I ran the dickens out of my 2000 W650. Installed the factory low bar kit, Corbin solo saddle, Five Star mounts and Givi E21 bags. I treated it no differently than I would have treated any small sport tourer. 400 mile days weren’t uncommon, nor were long weekends where I racked up 1200-1500 miles. Seven years and 52,000 miles later, I reluctantly sold the bike, since I’d purchased a nice used Bonneville a year prior. I bought the W650 in August 2000 at a rock bottom price from a dealer whose philosophy was/is to move bikes rather than let them gather dust and run up floor plan costs ($4995 vs $6495). However that bargain basement price only indicates the problems Kawasaki had selling the W650 in the USA.

    As I remember it, the bike was first introduced in Japan (perhaps Europe) as a 1999 model, two years before the Bonnie arrived in the USA as a 2001 model. I don’t think Kawasaki’s marketing plan included the US initially, but because so many were crying ‘bring it, we’ll buy it’, they were swayed. They should have known better than to listen to the bike mag editors!

    So, the W was here in the USA for only two model years (2000 & 2001) and soldiered on in Europe and Asia thru (roughly) 2006/2007, and was also available late in its lifespan with a destroked engine of approx 400cc in Japan (W400).

    I think if Kaw plans to bring the W800 to the USA, they should do the same thing Yamaha did when they first introduced the FJR 1300 ……. you want it, give us a deposit up front and we’ll get you a bike.

    I personally think Kawasaki will have a wonderful little machine in the new W800 that will fall flat on its face in the US. I recall watching individuals walk toward my W650, and upon seeing the Kaw logo, doing an about face. So, much as I’d like to own another W Series Kawasaki, I’d rather see them show they learned something from their US experience with the W650, and sell the new W800 in Asia and Europe …. forget the USA on this one. I personally think Kawasaki is too good a company to embarrass themselves a second time.


  16. Pete W-B says:

    I very much regret part ex-ing my W650, but at the time (2003) it didn’t quite have enough power for me then, and I probably missed the whole point of the bike as a cool retro cruiser. If Kawasaki do launch the W800, my advice for what it’s worth,is why not make variations? ie, retro cruiser, cafe racer & scrambler, with lots of available tuning & goodies to individualise what is essentially a nicer looking bike than the modern Bonneville, then I would buy all three variations for sure depending on price of course.

  17. todd says:

    I rode a W650 when it was new. Coming from other vintage bikes (i.e. Triumphs, BSA’s, old Hondas, and Yamahas) the W650 was a revelation. Great, smooth power, comfort, and reliability. Understand that the people buying this bike are the people who are sick with putting up with their old CB350 or who last owned a Kawasaki Avenger when it was new. No sense comparing this to a ZX10R.

    I like it but imagine it will be much more expensive than a clean R75/5 or a used 2001 W650. I ended up buying a clean, low mileage GB500 for a 1/4 of what Kawasaki wanted for the W650.


  18. Chris S. says:

    I purchased a 2000 W650 strongly influenced by a road test written by the late Richard Stevens of Motorcycle Sport & Leisure July 1999 issue.I have over 100,000 klms on it.I enjoy the sheer pleasure of riding a motorcycle on country roads using the torquey long stroke 675cc 360 degree parallel twin driven by a rare hypoid bevel gear driven sohc with 4 valve heads and twin carbs.The engine is counterbalanced and smooth all the way to its 7,000 redline rated at 50 HP, save for a rough spot around 3,700 rpm where it runs lean for emissions testing.It is easy to ride with a plush well damped ride, is nimble and fun.It is an effective and attractive retro bike.It has a wonderful sound from the “silencers” which seems to have gotten louder over time.Its a “keeper” and has the unmistakable aura of the quintessential motorcycle.

  19. jorge says:

    I have a friend who has a W650 from the second year of importation. Its a pretty charming bike, appears very well made with an excellent quality of fit and finish.
    He’s thinking of selling it as he is retiring and wants to cut down on the number of bikes he has. I’m thinking pretty seriously of buying it for those times one just feels like riding something that reminds us of the good ol days.

  20. Clyde says:

    I have a 2000 model W650 that I bought new in 2001. I never understood why this model wasn’t more popular. Mine has over 20,000 miles on it with no problems at all. It’s light, fun to ride, and looks good. And it gets 60 mpg. By the way chuckster, the W650 is not a “plastic cartoon imitation”. It has steel fenders and steel side covers. Have to look pretty hard to find plastic here.

  21. soboy says:

    Kawasaki: please bring the W800 to the U.S. and I will buy one and so will all my riding buddies! As a 51 year old rider who has been riding for 37 years, the W800 (and the W400 which is even better looking) is exactly the bike I am looking for. Retro bikes are selling far better now than 10 years ago, and I and all of my riding friends would buy a W800 in a heartbeat if Kawasaki would bring it to the U.S. We are all riding 650cc dual sport bikes or adventure bikes on the street now because their riding position most closely equals the classic UJM bikes of the 1970’s. Why have the manufacturers virtually abandoned the standard motorcycle? None of my friends can ride sportbikes as 50 year old bodies don’t normally fit that riding position too well. We don’t want only cruisers as they have such limited ability to corner.

  22. craigj says:

    It didn’t sell 10 years ago, and an updated 800 won’t sell with enough volume to make it worthwhile now. You can’t really say that the Bonnie and it’s many variants have been burning up the sales charts. It’s not a sportbike and it’s not really a cruiser in the classic American mode, it’s a bit of a niche bike. With the state of the industry now (read: dumper …) nobody’s going to be interested in bringing in a niche bike.

  23. Mark says:

    Back in 2001 when the W650 was available along with the Triumph bonnie I had a hard time deciding between the two and eventually went with the Triumph and while I loved the bike (while it was running) I’ve got to say it was the worst bike I’ve ever owned. Within the first 50 miles it was leaking oil out of the right side case and I joked with the salesman before I bought it asking if they leaked and he assured me they didnt, it went back to the dealer 3 times before they had to order a new side case to fix the issue, then after that it was tranmission problems and later oil filling up the airbox, what a nightmare! It was in the shop more than it was on the road and then after sending Triumph several letters and getting no response I finally got rid of the bike and wished I had purchased the Kawasaki instead. So yes Kawasaki if you really have a W800 bring it to the USA and I will gladly buy one given a second chance, I know this time I will make the right decision. In fact I’d probably buy 2! Please bring the W800!!!

  24. Bowtiedaddyo says:

    This is exciting news. Sold mine about 5 years ago and have regretted it ever since. My biggest complaint was the overly counterbalanced engine lacked any character.

  25. John P S says:

    Ive recently sold our immaculte 02 W650, possibly the worst decision I ever made,I think if the W800 becomes reality and it has a rear disk and more power it will be a winner!In my opinion the w650 and yam sr 400 are the best looking jap bikes ever.

  26. Stacius says:

    I almost bought one of the original W650’s in 2002, but decided to go with a Drifter instead.
    I wish I’d been able to track one down ever since. I’d love to make one into a cafe bike!

  27. christow says:

    I liked the original W650’s, they looked great and have the appeal of that simpler time. I also like the newer Triumphs, but up close they seem a little cheap compared to the retro bikes Harley is putting out these days. I really have a hard time considering the Hinkley Triumphs as “the real deal”, they are great bikes, but not really any closer to an original Bonneville than the last few remakes of Indian have been to the real thing. They are nice retro styled bikes that are cheap, thats it. There is room for more of that at the lower end of the market. Now if only someone could make a tank without a seam on the bottom…

  28. Kjazz says:

    I’ve got a GB500 and a Thruxton. Enjoy both of them for similar reasons and would someday like to have a W650 in the garage too. I love the more “authentic” look of the W650, maybe that’s what is drawing me to the Enfields also. I say bring more to market, but be sure to keep the little tidbits that make em real like kickstarter, idiot lights that barely work (haha), side-hinged seat, fork gaiters, etc.

  29. montesa_vr says:

    The new Triumph Bonneville, by all accounts, is a reliable and sweet handling motorcycle. It’s still an abomination. From the visible seams under gas tank to the weird bulges of the engine, it is as ugly as the orginal Bonneville was beautiful. It also outweighs its predecessor by 100 pounds. You couldn’t run fast enough to give me one.

    Kawasaki’s proposed W800 is better looking, although the marketing seat-height Nazis have screwed up what should be a perfectly level seat. But as others have mentioned, it still has to work. If it doesn’t handle, if it shakes, if it’s gutless, if it’s too heavy, it won’t sell. As long as manufacturers confuse retro with discount bike, they’ll have trouble finding buyers.

  30. chuckster says:

    I’m sure it will be nice but… unless they sell it for 1/2 what Triumph sells the real deal for it will fail. Hopefully the W800 styling will be closer to the actual Brit bike they’re copying instead of plastic cartoon imitation like the 650. I’m sure it will be a fine bike, as most Kawasakis are, but I think I’ll pass.

  31. Karl says:

    With items like centre stand, tacho, chrome mud guards etc that Triumph sell as optional extras, I think this might just be a winner for Kawasaki. Put a side hinged seat and throw in a tool kit and in will definatley give Triumph a bit of competition for the Bonnie.
    I love my Bonnie but I think this will be a good bike too.

  32. Jake says:

    I’ve owned a 2000 W650 since it was new. Compared to the Hinkley Bonneville, it comes much closer to the lines of the original, came w/ a center stand, tachometer, removable w/ key seat, tool kit that rivals a BMW, sounds better, lighter, feels more like the original Bonneville and doesn’t have that horid kink in the exhaust pipe – yet everybody flocked to the Triumph because of the badges????

    I ride (4) bikes in the street & the W650 is the one I grab most often. If you don’t “get it” – move on to something else. Motorcycling is a very visceral experience. For those who still enjoy the feel of bikes as they used to be, you could do far worse than the “W”.

  33. baggerchris says:

    Gee, I’d rather own a Triumph. Why would you buy a copy when you can have the real thing?

    Price? Maybe. Will it be that much less? And to tell the truth, I’d rather have tubeless tires thank you, like you can get with the Triumph.

    I just don’t see any reason to own this. It’s time has come and gone as was written earlier.

    • jorge says:

      You do of course realize that Triumph is making the Bonnevilles in Thailand and that it is in reality a copy of a bike (original 650s) that it has little connection to other than the name.

      • Ruefus says:

        Well at least it’s not an imitation made in a different country by a totally unaffiliated company.

        For the record….this isn’t a new concept for anyone….

        The engine is manufactured and assembled in the U.K. I believe the tanks are still pin striped by hand in England.

        The frame and exhausts are manufactured in Thailand.

        Various other parts such as the suspension, carburetors and electrics are made in Japan et al.

        The bikes themselves are assembled in the UK if they are bound for Europe, but assembled in Thailand if bound for the US. There is no single answer to where the Boonies come from. This sort of thing has been going on since there has been trade. There are no manufacturers that make every bit and piece.

        Your BMW may in fact have been assembled in China. Up until recently your Gold Wing was built in Ohio.

  34. Jim H. says:

    I worked at a Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha dealer for years, and have been a vintage bike nut for 20 or so years. I agree, that a W800 probably wouldn’t come over here, but it is an absolute fact that the 2001 model W650 was a great looking, good sounding bike that scored high on the “simply fun to ride” scale. I agree it looks more the part than everything I have seen from Truimph, and I keep pulling for them, or Harley to get the “retro-looking” thing right at some point. It seems the japanese machines are less “plasticy, mass-produced” looking than the Triumphs and Harleys in some catagories these days. Grins and giggles is the bottom line with motorcycling, for me, and my riding time on the 01 W650 was as good as I have had on just about anything. I am just pulling for anything that creates more diversity in todays market. All us older guys are just so spoiled by the seventies and eighties, what with there large number of bike types, and motor designs. It was great.

  35. Harry says:

    Beautiful motorcycle, almost. I long for the return of 1981-1983 and the battle by Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, and Suzuki for 1100cc inline-4 domination and sales. By 2010 standards they were retro. Standards we call them now but they were called motorcycles then. I shy away from the word “bike”, Lance Armstrong rides a “bike”. I love my 1983 Honda CB1000 Custom. It’s a 10 speed but not a “bike”.

  36. Adam Adaire says:

    I’d probably just buy the Bonneville. I’m not sure I see the point of the Kawasaki.

    (Unless I decide to boycott the British for political reasons. I guess maybe I would probably would by the Kawasaki, after all.)

  37. Mike says:

    Kawasaki had the Commander model which was a far more faithful copy of a Brit twin, back in the late ’60’s.
    If they can drop some of the faux retro and create a good solid bike like the old XS 650 Yamahas (in a non cruiser configuration) and make sure it has no fuel injection teething issues, it could mark the return of the UJM. If they can sell enough and the aftermarket brings in pipes and such, it might be just the ticket for creating traffic in dealerships that are hurting in today’s economy.

  38. Steven says:

    That is a really nice bike, thank you Kawasaki! I will own one.

  39. Angel says:

    I’d try one if they bring it state side.

  40. Ruefus says:

    Not to be a killjoy…..but what is it about Japanese manufacturers and me-too products that are far too late? The most recent example is Honda’s Fury, which had it been 24-36 months sooner would have probably done well.

    The W800? Did they not learn with the W650? Very nice bike – that held the floor down for a lot of dealers.

    Triumph has had nothing but success with the Bonneville redux, so Kawasaki thinks an imitation is a good idea? It isn’t going to be cheaper than a ‘real’ Bonnie. Triumph prices their bikes pretty fairly.

    So…..why would I want a Japanese imitation that will likely go out of production, have minimal aftermarket support and well… an imitation?

    Again – my intent is not to be a killjoy, but in the American market at least, this bike makes no sense to me.

    • Ruefus says:

      BTW – I’ve got some real time on carb’d Bonnies. Kawasaki isn’t going to make a ‘more fun’ or ‘better’ motorcycle. The Bonnevilles are stellar, pure-fun bikes to ride.

      • David says:

        Google around. Outside the U.S., it was fairly popular — enough so to stay in production for several years, at least — and had a dedicated, if cultish, fan base and aftermarket.

        • Ruefus says:

          “Outside the US” being the operative term. That’s why I qualified with for the American market specifically.

  41. Rob J says:

    I would love to see another entry in the retro market, possibly may let my Ninja 500 go for one of these. I must also say I wish Kawie would add another cylinder to the Ninja 650 engine–my favorite Kaw was my ’76 KH 400 triple, I sure miss her.

  42. Ken says:

    Please bring it. The TU-250 of Suzuki’s is the look I’ve wanted, but in something highway/distance-capable. Triumph’s bonnie’s sell well. The cruiser thing is either dead or will die when ton’s of used/repo’d “toy bikes” hit the market. I loved the W-650 when I tried it, but didn’t have the cash then.

    Bring it in, market it a bit (don’t just throw it in the showrooms and hope) and keep the price reasonable…it will sell.

  43. Jeri says:

    There are lots of retro bikes in Philippines…with sidecars.

  44. mrhonda says:

    I owned the only W650 in Hawaii, back in 2006. It was a 2000, so had the teething problems of the first generation models. Kawasaki upgraded a number of parts to prevent vibration failures (rear fender was an example), plus made the 2001 seat more comfortable and changed the steering head angle or rake on the front suspension to make it less twitchy.
    It had a great sound with OEM pipes. I did the carb rejet mods to get the fuel delivery to even out on both sides and it ran great afterwards. I heard Kawasaki spent $30+ million on the engine design and manufacturing, but only sold a couple thousand bikes in the US. They were available elsewhere for a longer period of time, though. I have heard of more than a few of them having engine failures, though. A 800cc version would be fantastic, I think.
    Based on the first generation bike experiences, I doubt Kawasaki would take another shot at the fickle US marketplace.

  45. Drew (Lenexa, KS) says:

    Give me a Scrambler version and a gravel road to the unknown.

    • David says:

      My sentiments exactly. And toss in a cafe model, for good measure.

      In Europe, there’s a decent aftermarket for W650 cafe and scrambler conversion parts

  46. donboy says:

    I saw a 650 at Indy with an aluminum tank and rear seat fairing and had to look twice to realize what it was, very cool

  47. michael (from Sydney, Australia) says:

    The W650 was a bit gutless but (in my opinion) looks a lot better than Hinckley’s Bonnies which just miss the mark. Hopefully Kawasaki and Triumph (H-D can take note as well) will fit tubeless tyres to their spoked wheels ala Moto Guzzi and BMW. Triple discs would be nice too. Air coolled engines are simpler, lighter and aesthetically more pleasing to the eye than water coolled motors. Can’t wait for the W800 to reach Oz.

  48. James G. says:

    If the new W800 has a kick start, it will be a winner.

    • Doug Miller says:

      It doesn’t have a kick starter…but I still think it’s a winner. Little known fact, without a healthy battery the W wouldn’t run worth a durn. Fun to kick start the W but mostly for show. New squids want to know what that odd thing on the side of the engine is. Ya tell em it’s bevel cam drive and they say, “No, that OTHER odd thing with the foot peg attached to it!” ; )

  49. hipsabad says:

    I had one too. I bought it because my girlfriend hates the look of modern bikes. I already owned four bikes so it was not a problem to add another in order to ride with her. The exhaust sounded much nicer than a Hinckley Bonneville, and the motor had a nice smooth torquey pull, mild but well suited to urban bursts.

    Nonetheless, I failed to bond at all with this bike because it handled like a tractor and – as James K. says above – it was a bit twitchy at speed. The forks and shocks are much worse than the new Bonnevilles which aren’t that good anyway. Why can’t a designer of a retro do the right thing and maintain modern standards of performance in the handling department – arguably the most important part of a bike?

    The bike did get more attention than anything I had ridden before. From young and old alike. Still, I would never buy one again.

    • Tom barber says:

      That’s the question that I often ask when I look at these retro bikes. In my opinion, they need to be fully practical alternatives to fully modern motorcycles, and this means giving up the spindly forks at the very least. It probably also means giving up the twin shocks, and it means that the cradle frame is bolstered by a very strong fat tube running under the tank, from the steering head to the swing arm pivot. You could do all of this and still maintain a strong retro look, but the bike would be a much better bike for riding, as opposed to looking at while it mostly sits parked, than is evidently the case with the retro bikes that are presently available.

  50. Bud says:

    I’ll pass. But let me know when they bring the H2 back!

    • Chris says:

      +1 With direct fuel injection and catalytic converter it could be done. That’s a classic that’s 100% Kawi. The Japanese have tons of great bike heritage to draw from. Why do they need to keep attempting weak knock offs of Anglo-American iron??

    • Doug Miller says:

      The 2000 W650 was more than a little twitchy at speed…it was major twitchy. kawasaki cured that by adjusting the rake and trail on the 2001 models. At the expense of very slow speed (parking lot) handling they improved the higher speed stability. Stock W is light years ahead of the Hinckley Bonnie when it comes to exhaust note. The Bonnie sounds just like a big sewing machine! The W650 doesn’t have quite the low end torque of the 1st generation Hinckley Bonnie (790cc) but with its mid range to top end rush ends up almost as fast in the 1/4 mile. The W can’t match the later (865cc) Bonnie in either low or top end lunge.
      Don’t understand why people are calling the Bonnie cheap…it is a quality piece. Roll one up to a classic Bonneville and compare beefiness of various parts. New Bonnie is much stouter and yes it is much heavier but not to the detriment of it’s road handling. Not so off road though where the older Triumphs could actually be modified into desert scramblers, flat trackers, etc. One other thing, the new Hinckley Bonnevilles, like Harley, have a much more prolific aftermarket following than the W650. That’s a shame because the aftermarket for the W650 is quite strong in Japan (and to a lesser degree also in England.)
      Final words…the W650 is a sweet bike. The Hinckley Bonneville is a sweet bike. How do I know? I have one of each! : ))

    • Doug Miller says:

      Yeah, right… then we can have a vibrating, 30mpg, hinged in the middle, mid twelve quarter, 126mph top end, mosquito fogger that will get creamed by any 600. Times have moved on Rip, so should you.

      P.S. I had four H2’s and three H1’s. They were a hoot! : )

  51. Denny says:

    Now, that’s the kind of bikes we need. Real ones! Can’t wait to see it.

  52. william says:

    I have a W650 and really enjoy riding it. I have the 2000 model in blue/white. It is constantly mistaken for a mid 60’s triumph by people everywhere I go. It gets a lot of compliments, I always tell em it’s a Kawasaki and the first question is “What year is it?” because they still think it’s a 60’s restored classic.

    It rides great, has a nice old fashioned upright twin British sound, is reliable and has enough power to work the two lane back roads easily, of course I had to change tires first (stock ones were crap). It’s not a highway bike. Sunday morning rides with a group of friends on cruisers is what this bike is all about.

    I think Kawasaki did a great job of making a modern Triumph Bonneville (circa 1966) with working electrics and no leaks. It isn’t trying to compete with modern twins in any way. I bought mine in 2000 before the new Bonneville came out and haven’t regretted it (saved $2000 also). I got knee pads, a speedometer, center stand and of course a kick starter that works (not offered on the first Bonneville). Had it ten years and it still looks like new.

    The W800 should be even more fun. The target market is probably older riders like myself. It will sell well in Europe and Japan. Don’t expect to ever see it for sale in the U.S.

  53. James K. says:

    I had an ’01 W650 and was really impressed with it. As an around town bike, it was a blast. At speed it felt a little twitchy but it was a great package overall.

wordscape cheatgun mayhem 2 unblocked games