– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Kawasaki W800 Cafe Style Available in Japan

Many of you have acknowledged Kawasaki’s excellent execution of the retro style in its new W800 parallel-twin motorcycle, which features 773cc and a rated power of 48 bhp.  Modern features like electronic fuel injection and front disc brake combine with an impeccable retro design that is unfortunately unavailable in the U.S. market. 

Pictured is the W800 Café Style, which has been announced for the Japanese market.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for this bike to be available in the U.S., but we can admire it from afar.


  1. Jim_N says:

    No, the squids/kneeslider-wannabees won’t buy it, and the doo-rag Harley types won’t buy it, but how many more HD-type cruisers and Ninja crotch rockets do we need anyway?

    If just a portion of the just average riders like myself who claim they lust after this bike would buy it, it would sell very, very well. Just offer it at a decent price- ie, Honda’s excellent selling Shadow 750 line, Triumph’s Bonneville line, etc.

  2. Moonbandito says:

    Send one to the Huntington Beach Concours d’Elegance. Let the public see it and gauge buyer response in the flesh. The show is Sunday, June 5 in Huntington Beach’s central park – on the library grounds. There’s more to motorcycling in the U.S.A. than big dark cruisers.

  3. Alaskan18724 says:

    Bring it. Bring it. Bring it. Scratches a whole lot of itches for a guy who was a kid in the 70s and really wanted, more than anything else on earth, a ’75 R90/S in Daytona orange. And who dearly loves British twins. All the good stuff, but starts every time you hit the button, with Kaw build quality. Zombo–not a big talker; I’d actually buy the thing.

  4. David Duarte says:

    love the look, but put a disc brake on the rear.

    • Richard Kuschel says:

      A disc on the rear really isn’t necessary.they don’t add that if any much to braking, require more maintenance, cost more.
      When BMW put discs on the rear of their airheads, performance suffered.
      Over 80% of braking is performed with the front wheel anyway.

      I have a BMW R90S, and I really like the look of this bike, though I would have it in Black rather than the faux R90S Egg Yolk.

      It’s just a little underpowered for my taste.

  5. Herb says:

    I really liked the W650, bet I would like the 800 even more.

  6. MikeD says:

    If i had to choose i would rather take the more modern looking, cast aluminium wheeled Bonneville SE.
    I like the engine on the Kawi better tho. Looks like a piece of art and is bigger than Triumph’s Twin [i think ?]
    Then again im not old enough to feel anything for this kind of bike style so i guess all is forgiven, LMAO.

    • BATMAN says:

      Bigger? The Triumph is a 865 vs. a 773 for the Kaw. I like the SE as well, but am partial to the older style pea-shooter muffler design of the T100. And at 51, I’m plenty old enough to feel something about the styling! 🙂

      • MikeD says:

        Yeah…im starting to warm up to the Black Body-Gold Wheels one at the bottom.
        I can see how this wouldn’t get old looking real quick like a…Latest Gixer, for lack of a better choice.

  7. Papa Bear says:

    Japan no longer wants us as customers. Europe dose. Just look at the way Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki gives the world all the cool stuff, and we get crap and cruisers. Then they cry because their market share is down.
    Buy a Triumph.
    Screw japan!

    • MikeD says:

      LOL. It does feel that way more times than less.

      • Idaho Bruce says:

        If you look at sales of similar types of bikes in the past (GB500, W650, SR500) it is clear that the American market does not embrace this kind of motorcycle. Americans who DO like this kind of bike are in the minority. Simple economics dictates that we will not have this style of motorcycle gracing our shores unless the American mindset changes. It is, after all, a business.

  8. BATMAN says:

    You’re right on Jimbo. The older Bonneville’s looked smaller then they were, very elegant. The newer ones appear kinda chunky, and they diffenately lost something there. (still like them though) But this Kawasaki has that elegant look of the older Bonnies. Maybe Kawasaki can do a pre-order similar to what Yamaha does on some models.

  9. G-Man says:

    G-Man says:

    Man, it brings back memories of my 79 Yam 750 Midnight Special. Just sell me one Black Kaw.

  10. jimbo says:

    One of the best lookers ever! I’d consider one. It shames all current retros, especially Bonne’s, which look to dense and massive compared to the originals, which looked svelte IIRC).

  11. Dennis says:

    Wow, that is one very nice looking motorcycle.
    Even if it only comes as the standard version, as long as you get these accessories, it wouldn’t take much to make it look like this one.
    I’m with Randy on this one, bring it on!

  12. Tom says:

    got sort of an R90-S look to it.

  13. sliphorn says:

    I noticed on the United Kingdom Kawasaki website, that the bikini cowling and single seat are available as accessories. Nice touches, but it definitely needs lower bars to finish it off. Certainly easy enough.

  14. Randy says:

    It’s fine, bring it over. If Triumph can sell it’s Scrambler Kawi can sell these.

    A new ZX$%@1200XXZR? Who cares.

  15. MarkT says:

    Would you rather have Kawasaki import the W800 you see here, or a updated premium quality ZRX1200R to the US market…lets start a poll, and maybe we will get what we ask for…My suggestion to Kawasaki is an ‘early order program” like Yamaha uses for questionable sales models.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I think the Z1000 is supposed to fill the order for an “updated, premium-quality ZRX1200R.” I don’t think sticking a square headlight, dual shocks and ’80s-style tail piece on it would float my boat. So here is a vote for the W800.

      • Zombo says:

        Another vote for the W800 to be offered in limited numbers for special order like the Super Tenere and the CB1000R . That way the dealers don’t end up stuck with a huge inventory of them when the big talkers who say they’d buy the bike turn out to be big bullshitters .

  16. Leo says:

    I like it, but I like the standard model better. I was just on the Kawasaki UK website re-admiring the standard and now see that the seat and faring will be available soon as accessories. IMO Kawasaki missed the boat on getting this to the US. Wonder if you can order one? My dealer got me the European gearing for my VN-2000. Maybe I can get it part by part and assemble it in my garage…

  17. Kjazz says:

    ….from a Thruxton owner, very cool bike! Bring it on Kawasaki. I think this will be met with better response. The market has matured with respect to “retro” since the initial release of the W650.

  18. Mickey says:

    I TRIED to buy a W 650 back in 2003. Problem was no dealers carried them. Hell, they didn’t even have brochures for one. I ended up buying a 2003 Triumph Bonneville which turned out to be a very, very nice motorcycle.

    I think this looks better than a Thruxton, although the seat looks a bit misshapen.Color is stunning and yes very R 90-S like (which I almost bought too in 1976 but changed my mind after a test ride). This is a bike that would make a lot of baby boomers very happy, however I doubt it would see in very big numbers with all the competition that is out there now..Triumph Bonneville and Thruxton, Moto Guzzi Classic and Cafe’, Suzuki GU 250, Royal Enfield etc.

  19. Wilson R says:

    The old one didn’t sell that well so why in the world would they bring this one over to American shores? Everyone has nice things to say about it but nobody ponies up the money to buy one. Same old situation, different bike.

  20. Tim says:

    I like everything about the bike except for the seat. Proportionately, the seat is just way too big.

    I like the standard version pictured here a few weeks ago, much, much better. If they brought the standard W800 stateside, I would buy one, even if it meant selling my ’96 mint condition Sprint (which I love) to make room in the garage.

  21. GaryF says:

    It will probably out-accelerate and out-handle the original R90S (it pains me to say it), but it certainly won’t out-style it. It is an interesting concept, but at the end of the day it is only a cheap copy of what was a stunning (for its time) original.

    Now if BMW would market a nostalgic R90S, with the new overhead cam motor, I’d be all OVER it.

    • Kjazz says:

      THAT, is a great idea!

    • Goose says:


      It might out handle an R90S but I doubt it would out accelerate one. A good R90S makes over 60 HP, this bike is only rated at 48 HP and probably puts less then that to the rear wheel.

  22. BillGareau says:

    You build them we’ll buy them. Anything that beautiful I have to have.

  23. MARC says:

    I like this bike. but i want it to be 30 years old and the market to have been flooded with them. New? I wouldn’t buy one. I suspect the manufacturers realize that the market for retro naked standards is thriving in the US, but it’s thriving on craigslist. it would be nice to see this bike here, though.

  24. Artem says:

    That is th best looking motorcycle i’ve evere seen.
    And it it will be sold in our country.
    The problem is I do not have enough comfort to place it
    in garage or whereever. Evereything is very not chip.
    I hope you get the point.
    Cool thing, maybe someone will do it better.

  25. Joe says:

    Kawasaki needs to send that bike stateside it would sell.

  26. Edward says:

    I would buy one, looks awesome!!!!!

  27. ABQ says:

    Who are we really selling retros to? When new buyers would more likely get something faster and cooler, like a ninja 650, who are you selling these to? Keep these geezers in Japan. When I want a Bonneville I will go to Triumph.

  28. graham says:

    with all the success triumph has had with the bonneville, i can’t understand why they don’t bring that thing over here.

  29. alfonzalas says:

    Yeah. That bike is kinda not cool. To me, it looks too simple. Too much like a CB500 or XS650 that someone polished up and slapped on that crappy universal fairing that you see in catalogs. Dont get me wrong, I love that kinda stuff. I have a bunch of them in my garage already. But, they only look right, when done right. This one… the seat is frumpy, the mufflers dont look right, the curve or the head pipe is too curvy, the fairing sticks up too high, the bars are too “easy going”. Its just kind of a frumpy, dumpy, middle aged turd.
    Kawa, I love you. But put some effort into this thing. Take some of the squish out of it and maybe you got something. Lord knows, everyone loves a twin.

  30. Mike Tee says:

    Needs clip-ons.

  31. KC says:

    I’ve seen it all before: All those who seemingly, desperately desire this bike instantly changing, upon learning of its availability in the U.S., to “Well, if it was only 100 pounds lighter and $4,000 cheaper…” Me? I’d actually buy this today. Oh, well.

  32. denny says:

    And…. oooh, yes. Ship has arrived to harbour. The only thing missing the perfection are those unfit mufflers.

  33. Dave D says:

    The W800 looks fantastic with the R90 color and a similar quarter fairing. The W650 was a neat bike, but suffered from no advertising or promotion,and as usual for a standard bike from any manufacturer, left to die a slow lonely death. Have you tried to buy a used W650 or Honda GB5 currently at more than the original MSRP? As long the pricing is realistic, I agree that since Kawasaki is making the bike for other countries, and does not have the confidence to bring in a thousand units, then follow Yamaha with a pre-sold order basis and a deposit. Bring it. Even Harley responded to US riders with the XR1200.

    • JimBob says:

      Yes, and XR1200’s are stacked up like cordwood on HD showroom floors. They can’t give ’em away.

  34. Mr. Mike says:

    The W650 was a flop here in the U.S. I don’t see Kawi bringing this updated W800 to these shores.

  35. Jay Mack says:

    The appeal is because it is remeniscent of the BMW R90S, which had a similar cafe fairing and golden color.

    Now, what I don’t understand, is why Triumph doesn’t make one of those. Or BMW.

  36. Mud says:

    Yikes! Even the tires look like old K81’s!
    Cool bike.

  37. JB says:

    Triumph already sells the thruxton with the same styling.

  38. Bud says:

    Not sure why it has passenger pegs, it’s hard to imagine 2 people squeezing on to that seat. But it sure looks good in gold.

    Strange tank emblem, I don’t see Kawasaki’s name anywhere on this bike.

    • sliphorn says:

      If you want a passenger all you need to do is swap the seat to the standard one, so that’s why there’s pegs. The emblem is that of the early “W” bikes.

  39. Chris says:

    Dear Kawasaki,
    I’m 52 and over the (many) years have ridden everything from my first bike – a Honda SL100 to a ’76 Honda 750 to a carbon’d out Ducati track bike – even a couple of Harleys. But I haven’t owned a motorcycle for the past 4 years. Why? Nothing really appeals to me. But as the pic of this bike appeared, I actually said out loud to myself “Now THAT is cool…”, only to then see the “not available in the US…” What a disappointment. I know the industry needs to entice new, young buyers and I have no idea if this sort of bike would do it, but dang, this is the first bike I’ve seen that had me thinking about opening the checkbook. Simple and classic. Tell you what – I volunteer to beta test this in the US market. I’ll ride it all over the San Francisco Bay Area and talk it up to everyone that approaches it to ask “Wow, where can I get one of those?” What say you? Or maybe I need to head down to the Triumph dealer instead?

    • Rene says:

      Yes Chris,
      I think you should go to your Triumph dealer instead. Buy a Bonneville or Thruxton and dress it up to your taste. In 2000 (?), I was nuts for the w650, thought about buying one, but could not really afford it. Then for the next model year, they made changes to it (the details escape me, at the moment) So, had I bought a W650, it would have amounted to a “1 year model” and I was thinking of getting a “keeper.” But a bike built only one year will have supply problems down the road. In my opinion, the Triumph will serve you better, long term, in that you will be able to get parts for it for many years to come.

    • rapier says:

      This unwittingly perhaps shows a fundamental divide in the motorcycling world. For me and many the most important thing about motorcycling is the riding. For others the most important thing is the machine itself and the ownership of it. How it looks and the emotions it gives. I’ve liked almost every bike I’ve ever owned. I never loved one of them. I’ve loved riding them.

  40. Old town hick says:

    Love it! Especially the orange version. Really enjoy the combination of retro design elements: the fork gaitors, spoke wheels, BMW R90s-like fairing and color, the tank emblems and knee guards, the slightly “pregnant” solo seat, the beautiful air-cooled parallel twin motor, and everythig else.

    I have never before felt that I absolutley wanted an “unobtainable-in-the-U.S.” motorcycle model-until now. This is my version of a retro bike home run.

  41. Gary says:

    While it’s nice to see chrome fenders make a return, it doesn’t do much for me. Reminds me more of a Ducati than a brit bike. Would I buy one? Nope… sorry.

  42. sliphorn says:

    Ah c’mon, Kawasaki. Get off your duff and bring the W800 to the USA, will ya!!??

  43. Zombo says:

    I prefer the stock version of this bike as this version looks like a cosmetic half fast version of a cafe bike . No rearsets , no clipons – just add a seat and fairing with black pipes to a 48 horsepower machine and call it a cafe bike . Reminds me of the cosmetic GT economy cars Detroit used to put out there by adding only racing stripes and mag styled wheels . All show – no go !

  44. Lucky says:

    Maybe Triumph can make a copy. They seem to be one of the few makers capable of making a
    good retro bike and delivering it to the U.S. Ridiculous you say? In the crazy world of bike manufacturing, a Brit copy of a Japanese retro Brit copy of a retro Brit bike makes perfect sense.

    • Old town hick says:

      Had to read this post a few times…but now it makes perfect sense to me. Looking forward to a Triumph version of the W800 Cafe…I think.

  45. Jeremy in TX says:

    I love the W800, and I love café racers. But there is just something about this design that doesn’t work for me. And what’s with the toga muffs? Those certainly don’t look right.

    • MarkF says:

      you couls easily replace the pipes. I know I would add some kinda suitcase panniers and a chrome luggage rack. Might seem strange on a Cafe bike but I’ve seen plenty of BMW R90S just like that!

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I think that rear fender would have to go along with the pipes. That is what is really taking away from the look. And leather, briefcase-style panniers look great on cafés and other retro bikes. Triumph used to sell some as a Bonneville accessory.

  46. Mfarris says:

    This is it……can I order one from Japan and have it shipped to me??

  47. Eric says:

    Oh man.. another item in the list of reasons I need to move to Europe 🙂

  48. Herbert says:

    its probably a turd to ride

    • Bud says:

      Stay classy, Herbert

      • Herbert says:

        ok, let me put it this way, concerning the power of this bike, or lack there of: It couldn’t pull a greased
        stick out of a pig’s bottom.
        To get an idea of just how spartan this thing is, you just have to look at it. You’ve got chicken wire, bacofoil and tupperware. It’s kind of like peering into one of your grannies’ old kitchen cabinets

  49. Dave says:

    Dear Kawasaki, I would buy one of these if they were available here. I’m your target demographic. I’m not into sport bikes (they’re cool but I don’t ride very fast) not into cruisers (too heavy and not enough cornering ability) Naked standards are cool, (but most of them are kinda fughly) This W800 is exactly what I’m looking for in a motorcycle: two wheels, a gas tank, seat, nice looking air cooled motor, chrome fenders, spoked wheels. Nice!

  50. ALFY says:

    Looks more Brit than the modern retro-Triumph. Designers have created a stylish product. Bravo. Too bad it won’t come here in the States.

  51. PJW says:

    Every had their chance to buy W650’s in 1999-2000 and nobody did. Kawasaki has not forgotten.

    • Tim says:

      Nobody bought TDM’s 25 years ago either and yet adventure-styled bikes are very popular now. What’s your point? That was a decade ago. Many prospective buyers of the W800 weren’t even in Jr. High yet back then. Were they supposed to use their paper route money to buy a W650 in case Kawasaki gave up on it after only two model years? Markets change. Manufacturers need to change with them if they want to thrive.

      • PJW says:

        I remember ten years ago when all of the rah-rah wannabees promised to buy the W650’s only to see them lanquish in the showrooms and eventually sold with deep discounts. My point: People don’t really change and manufacturers are not in this to lose money.

        • paul246 says:

          PJW is absolutely correct…. I know this because I’m one of the idiots he is talking about.

        • Tim says:

          Maybe Harley owners never change but the rest certainly do. How else would you explain the popularity of adventure bikes and naked standards?

    • Rider33 says:

      I did and it was 2000-2001 in the States by the way. I also own several bikes but it was always the W that my son and his then-high school buddies would drool over. If you are old enough to have owned a BSA this would appeal to you.
      What I found most interesting tho was that 20-somethings who didn’t ride were very much drawn to the bike as well. In fact the only other bike I’ve owned that is more of a people magnet is my Ural. Their sales, by the way, were up 39% last year.

  52. MG Norge says:

    Eatin’ lettuce in a field and visiting with friends is livin’ large!

  53. Will says:

    This bike really pushes my buttons – I’d buy one new if it was offered in the States in a heartbeat.

  54. Manuel says:

    What a shame these will not be sold in the USA, beautiful bike.

  55. Bud says:

    Those are Toga style mufflers, not peashooters

  56. Tim says:

    Bring either iterations of the W800 to our shores….people will snap them up. The W650 was before its time & underpowered.

    The W800 has the right combination of elements & right timing!!!

    • chris says:

      The W650 was before its time & underpowered.

      Actually, the W650 was about 48HP also and the folks at the Yahoo Groups W650 Riders forum spent a lot of effort and time re-working the stock machines in rejetting carbs, and opening up the restrictive stock pipes (the nearly legendary hollowed-out so-called “Fish Pipes” were rumored to do the trick best, with the stock/retro look and enough airflow to match the rejets) to add 8-10 additional HP.

      I’d lighten the bike up by removing some of the excess “bits”, the orange paint scheme kicks ass.

  57. Wendy says:

    Mmmmmmm Me want! Not that I would buy one, but me want.

  58. Jerrylee says:

    interesting retro. I like the classic R90 paint scheme

  59. MarkT says:

    Its always tease, tease, tease!

  60. TomF says:

    Too bad we won’t see it in the U.S. Wish Kaw would take a play out of Yamaha’s playbook and get buyers to plunk down a hefty deposit and then bring the bikes into the country. What a stunningly beautiful job they did on this one, to bad they don’t think there is a market here for them – I think they’re wrong!

    • steveinsandiego says:

      i’d ride one NOW!

      as for yamaha’s marketing strategy – i don’t like it. and honda is doing the same thing with its CB1000R.

  61. john smith says:

    Arghhhhh! Another one that we can’t get here in the you ess.

  62. Joey Wilson says:

    Kawasaki USA:

    I would be down at the dealership waiting for them to open to sign up for one of these (the copper one in the picture) first thing tomorrow morning. I’d be a ‘lay-down’, no haggle, just show me where to sign, gas it up, and kick open those doors, I’m SO outa here.

    But you just don’t get it do you? I don’t want a fake Harley. I don’t want a rocket sled that looks like a prop for a sci-fi flick. I just want a motorcycle that looks like a motorcycle that won’t bankrupt me or pull my arms out of their sockets or qualify me for an AARP membership with Frye boots and black t-shirts. I don’t wanna be a stuntah, I’m not going to Sturgis, and I’ll watch Ben Spies go real fast on TV. I just want to ride something just like this.

    Look, you guys are smarter than most. No goofy scootercycles. You’ve done real well with your 250 to 650 street bikes. OK, Vulcans are pretty nice. But you took back the W650 (even though it’s still sold alongside this babe in Japan), and now, I can’t have this either. Puh-leeze . . . . . ?

  63. Mark Pearson says:

    Uhh..peashooters on a cafe?

  64. Kevin says:

    I’m sure it’s a fine retro piece, however, it’s a lower spec than the Moto Guzzi V7 which has the same HP, weighs less and has better brakes. Never mind the soulful stir of a small V-twin. MG has a “bump-stop” seat available for a bout $175 USD and is also a shaftie for those who like that kind of thing. Has anyone heard a V7 equipped with Mistral slip-on’s? Yum!

  65. MarkF says:

    I frickin’ want this bike, so bad! Guess I’ll settle for a R90S.

  66. William says:

    Awesome. I would buy one as soon as it arrives in my local Kawasaki dealer. I’ll take it in black with the gold rims.

  67. Eric says:

    First Post! Wooo hoo! Man, what a beauty! The deep green one available in the EU is a better color IMHO. Either way, bring it to the US so I can park one next to my 2010 Connie!

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