– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Kawasaki Introduces Classic, Upright W800 for 2020 (with videos)

Last year, Kawasaki introduced the W800 CAFE to the U.S. market, with its semi-aggressive ergonomics. For 2020, the standard W800 is being introduced with more traditional looks and ergonomics. In MD’s opinion, this is one of the most beautiful retro models currently available … if not THE most beautiful.

The new W800 features an air-cooled 773cc vertical twin engine, gorgeous detailing in the fit and finish (with the possible exception of tank seams), together with nice, modern features that do not detract from the classic theme. These include ABS brakes, Assist and Slipper clutch, and a bright LED headlight. The 19″ front wheel gives the W800 the proper retro profile. Here is the full press release from Kawasaki, together with several photos and two videos:

The all-new Kawasaki W800 is Kawasaki’s latest addition to Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.’s retro lineup of motorcycles. It’s a true throwback to its 1960’s predecessor, the famed Kawasaki W1.

For 2020, Kawasaki brings class-leading authentic styling, sound, and feel to the category of retro motorcycles. In building the W800, Kawasaki has meticulously crafted one of the most authentic retro bikes in appearance and design, paying homage to the past, all while tastefully incorporating modern technology and features. With the arrival of the W800, riders in search of a taste of history can now enjoy two flavors of W, the W800 and the W800 CAFE.

Developed for riders in search of a well-rounded bike that is not only rich in history and character, but also packed with modern technology, the W800 is powered by an air-cooled 773cc vertical twin engine, and features an updated modern double-cradle frame design and modern suspension components that bring an unmatched level of authenticity and performance to the retro motorcycle category.

The sleek sweeping contours and meticulous fit and finish of the W1 redefined the standards of motorcycle design in the 1960’s Kawasaki has applied the same meticulous attention to detail in building the W800, from the iconic appearance of the air-cooled bevel gear driven vertical twin engine to the elegant gas tank and muffler design, all the way down to the retro themed wheels.

The W800 motorcycle is packed with plenty of modern technology, such as the clean running engine, ABS brakes, Assist and Slipper Clutch, Kawasaki advanced analysis designed frame, and an LED headlamp.

Highlights of the 2020 W800:

  • Iconic W1 Inspired Styling
  • Relaxed, Vintage-Style Riding Position
  • 773cc Air-Cooled Vertical Twin Engine
  • Kawasaki Advanced Dynamic Analysis Designed Frame
  • Large, 19-Inch Front Wheel
  • Assist & Slipper Clutch

Iconic, Powerful Vertical Twin Engine & Transmission

The W800 motorcycle features a 773cc air-cooled, fuel injected, SOHC, vertical twin-engine configuration, with a bore and stroke of 77.0 mm x 83.0 mm, which offers plenty of low-mid range performance and torque. The engine utilizes a heavy-flywheel that was chosen to create the strong low-mid range torque character. The fuel injection offers precise fuel delivery to the engine, clean emissions, as well as easy starting. A pair of 34 mm throttle bodies have been arranged to ensure a straight line from the airbox to the cylinders. Long, slim intake funnels deliver enhanced low-mid range performance. The engine also utilizes sub-throttles that aid in reduced noise emissions and help ensure ideal engine response. To ensure broad, widespread, responsive power a bevel gear cam drive and SOHC four-valve per head configuration was chosen. A slick-shifting five-speed transmission has a gear for any occasion a rider may encounter.

The classic, retro muffler design is comprised of smooth curves and long, straight flowing lines. The peashooter-style silencers with slim chambers and long tailpipes contribute to the bike’s classic look. The mufflers emit the throaty exhaust note for which parallel twin engines are famous. The twin mufflers were carefully tuned to bring out the engine note of the vertical twin 360-degree crankshaft configuration, which was also used in Kawasaki’s original W1 to create a hearty roar that complements every twist of the throttle.

In building the W800, creating a beautiful engine was a key concept when designing the air-cooled vertical twin. The classic-styled engine is lightweight, playful, simple and a joy to behold. The iconic bevel-gear-driven cam adds beauty to the cylinder head while also contributing to the engine’s classic retro styling and appearance. The chrome bevel-gear cover on the mostly silver engine of the W800 draws attention to the engine’s classic form and inherent beauty. The fuel injection components have been cleverly concealed, giving the engine bay a clean, uncluttered appearance. The rich appearance and character of the engine are nicely complemented when coupled with the strong bottom-end response, enhancing the timeless pleasure derived from riding a classic motorcycle.

Assist & Slipper Clutch

Complementing the transmission is an Assist & Slipper Clutch, race-inspired technology that offers both a light feel at the lever as well as a back-torque limiting function.

The assist function is noticed by the lighter pull at the clutch lever, helping to reduce rider fatigue especially in stop and go traffic situations.

The slipper function is noticed when excessive engine braking occurs as a result of quick or accidental downshifts. The slipper cam comes into play, forcing the clutch hub and operating plate apart, which relieves pressure on the clutch plates to reduce back-torque and help reduce rear wheel hop or skidding.


The double-cradle frame design is reminiscent of that of its predecessor, and was designed using Kawasaki’s advanced dynamic analysis software to determine the  rigidity required for each piece of tubing to ensure optimized performance. Then, while keeping the pipe outer diameters unchanged, the pipe thicknesses were adjusted as necessary.

The double-cradle frame configuration uses a sturdy, 50 mm square-section backbone to give the W800 a very confident ride quality and well-balanced overall design. Complementing the 50 mm square-section backbone, round downtubes were chosen to enhance the retro appearance. Gussets and brackets were kept to a minimum for improved aesthetics and reduced weight.  Round tubes with a smooth finish and minimum welds and gussets contribute to the high-quality appearance. A highly rigid swingarm design further enhances handling qualities while minimizing weight.


Staying true to the retro appearance while incorporating modern handling, the W800 motorcycle is equipped with a large diameter front fork with stiff springs, a highly rigid lower triple-clamp and sturdy dual shocks to complement the more rigid new frame.

A telescopic front fork features 41mm tubes that easily soak up bumps on well-travelled city streets. The dual rear shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload offer a smooth ride and clean look.

Brakes & Wheels

Handling the stopping duties of the W800 is a full disc brake setup featuring modern ABS. The strong and responsive stopping power comes via a large-diameter 320 mm front disc paired with a 270 mm rear disc.

To maintain the classic appearance as well as handling of a true vintage machine, large 19” front and 18” rear wheels were chosen, providing a balance of relaxed, light turning and straight-line stability. The large front wheel contributes to a characteristic unhurried steering feeling. The sturdy, lightweight aluminum rims are highly resistant to corrosion. The spokes and nipples are treated with a coating which allows dirt and grime to be simply wiped off. Tube-type tires offer a traditional tread pattern and plenty of traction.


The W800 features a relaxed riding position, more upright than the sporty, forward leaning position of the W800 CAFE. The W800 also features a long, comfortable tuck and roll seat with thick, ribbed padding and offers plenty of room for both the rider and a passenger. The front of the seat was shaped to facilitate the reach to the ground and the seat features piping around the edge. For increased rider comfort, the W800 has been equipped with a five position adjustable clutch lever and four position adjustable front brake lever to enable riders to fine-tune lever position.


The W800’s engine features a raw aluminum look, drawing attention to its classic form and inherent beauty. The engine’s iconic bevel-gear cover is finished in chrome, adding a sparking highlight, while the steel piece throttle body cover is finished in a rich black paint.

The chassis of the W800 follows the design concept of simplicity, functionality, and elegance. Large diameter, spoked wheels and a traditional steel double-cradle frame create a well-balanced package with classic proportions. On the fuel tank, chrome tank emblems complement the lustrous paint and knee pads feature the same design as the W800 CAFE.

The faces on the classic dual-dial instrumentation feature model-specific typeface, reflecting the classic character of the W800. Large, 170 mm LED round turn signals have been fitted with orange lenses, adding to the classic styling. Chrome turn signal bodies contribute to the motorcycle’s high-quality looks.

Front and rear fenders are formed from steel and are chrome-plated for long life and great looks, utilizing traditional styling. Several other chrome parts have been added to highlight the W800’s brilliant paint, including: the handlebar, headlamp brackets, mirrors, chain cover, shift lever, brake pedal and oil filter cover. A buff and clear-coat finishing treatment on the fork outer tubes and engine’s crankcase cover also contribute to the W800’s high-quality appearance. The bright pieces help give the bike a lighter, more nimble look.


The W800 is equipped with traditional instrumentation, which includes an individual speedometer and tachometer with classic display. A multi-function LCD screen incorporates an odometer, trip meter, and clock.  A full range of indicator lamps include: FI warning lamp, dual turn signal indicators, low fuel level indicator, high beam indicator, neutral indicator, and oil pressure warning lamp. Compact switchgear, designed to add a vintage touch, gives the handlebars a light, uncluttered appearance, but beneath the retro-styled exterior, modern internals ensure the reliable performance of the W800.


A number of Kawasaki Genuine Accessories (KGA) will allow riders to personalize the looks of their W800 or offer added comfort or convenience. Those include grip heaters, helmet lock, tie-down hooks, chrome small engine guard, chrome rear carrier, chrome large tandem grip, chrome throttle body cover, and chrome taillight bracket. The seats from other W800 models are interchangeable, making the CAFE seat an easy option for riders looking to personalize their ride.


The 2020 Kawasaki W800 is available in Candy Cardinal Red.


W800: $9,199

See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram


  1. Joe says:

    glad it’s not brown.

  2. MikeGGG says:

    Wow! An absolutely beautiful motorcycle. I saw no mention of a counter-balancer in the engine. Does anyone have any info on that, or the bike’s smoothness in general? How were the older Ws when it comes to vibration? The Triumphs and Royal Enfields are reportedly very smooth.

    • Bob Scogin says:

      It has a counterbalancer. The crank phasing is 360 degrees in the tradition of the classic British twins. I had a 2000 model when they first came out and with the exception of the saddle, it was a great bike. Very smooth, as are most of the new twins compared to the old non-counterbalanced twins. The parallel twins now mostly have 270 degree cranks. Although I understand the engineering advantages of the 270 crank, the 360 crank engines have an even, rhythmic exhaust note that is more pleasing to my ear.

  3. jay says:

    What a beauty ! Someday my 6 year old son will get my 2013 CB1100 and I will be on the W800 style of bike as Kawasaki is my fav brand .. and we will ride places together ..

  4. Rg500g says:

    I’m keeping it real with a ’71 BSA A65l that I often ride, and clearly see the benefits of technology (2008 BMW K1200gt in garage also), but ask myself if the benefits merit $10K or more all in. I might pop for the RE Interceptor, but much above that an R100 airhead would do the trick.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your thoughts on the bike are well stated and beyond just making sense they are also common sense. For this kind of money Kawasaki might have put the kick-starter back on the bike. 🙂 The RE Interceptor is a fine bike too and for thousands less with an excellent 3 year warranty and 2 years of roadside assistance for those “tube moments”, LOL!

  5. paul246 says:

    In Canada the Royal Enfield 650 twin is about $2,000 cheaper than the Kawasaki W800. I like the looks of the Kawi better, especially the engine. I also like the bevel gear driven cam better than the RE’s chain system. Wet weight is about the same for either bike. The W800 also looks so much better IMO, especially with the 19″ front wheel.

    My choice would be the Kawasaki, even if it costs more.

  6. Bubba Blue says:

    Tank seems. Ugh! That’s why I didn’t buy the retro-classic Triumph. My 1979 Bonneville didn’t have tank seems.

  7. Mark says:

    Tube type tires? I’m out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Careful, you’re risking banishment for speaking the truth.;-) In the past one person here regularly spoke against the use of tubes on motorcycles and was ridiculed here by “tubists”, LOL!

      But yeah, tubes are a deal breaker for those that think. I agree with you because you are right. Kawasaki could make this bike with tubeless spoked wheels but didn’t. This bike’s looks are the tits but the spokes make ’em sag, LOL!

      As the author points out, the bike is gorgeous except for the tank seams and again that could have been dealt with especially for the asking price. The seam wouldn’t stop me from buying one but the tube type tires will.

      • Ken Howard says:

        “I agree with you because you are right.” i.e., I agree with you because you agree with ME, and I am right.

        As to the wheels, I prefer cast wheels with tubeless tires, but if Kawasaki put cast wheels on this bike, then others would bitterly complain that they don’t belong on a retro-style bike. It happens every time.

        • Anonymous says:

          Nothing wrong with agreeing with what you agree with! And Kawasaki could have EASILY put tubeless spoke wheels on the bike and yet didn’t. Nothing wrong with spoke wheels, but tubes are not wanted by a great many motorcyclists.

          This bike look great and spokes make all the more gorgeous and period correct. Tubes in the wheels don’t do a damn thing for it. 🙂

  8. dan says:

    Nice bike, but why not just get a real Triumph? With fake Harley Japanese cruisers the benefit is reliability, but Triumphs are reliable now too

    • Anonymous says:

      Harley’s are very reliable. Those without a salable history of their own will ripoff one that does sell. The W800 is a tribute to Kawasaki’s own history. If you want to make the claim the original W was a ripoff of a BSA or Triumph or whatever fine, but to many of those that were around back then your words are without merit.

    • paul says:

      I want air or air/oil cooled, not liquid cooled.

    • Tim says:

      I’ve owned a Hinckley Triumph, so I’m definitely not a hater of modern Triumphs. That said, I consider this Kawasaki the better looking bike. The motor looks much more authentic to the retro-era it’s trying to portray. If I was currently in the market for a retro look bike, this would be the one I’d go for (and there are a lot of good looking retros out there, including the Honda CB1100, the Triumphs and the new Royal Enfields…I like them all, but I like this one the best).

  9. Selecter says:

    Love the paint. That is truly a gorgeous finish – looks almost like the coloring on a foil balloon. Overall, not a bad-looking bike, though hardly my preferred style.

    But… it doesn’t look like, that aside, that any of the journalistic complaints about the W800 Cafe were addressed before bringing this one stateside. Still the same terrible tires as the Cafe model. Same spindly chassis. Same lackluster engine output, especially for nigh-on 800cc! Over $3000 more expensive than the RE 650, and reportedly still not even as good to ride. So this one’s kind of a head-scratcher to me.

    The most surprising aspect, is days after posting, we see only one comment on the weight – 496 lbs. by Kawasaki’s own reckoning. Personally, I wouldn’t care – you ride a bike, not carry it. But given how anything non-“retro” gets crucified for being an ounce over 400 lbs. nowadays, Kawasaki clearly put no effort into making this bike light, and nobody seems to care. Funny what spec-sheet deficits in the consumer’s eyes can be obfuscated with styling.

    I’d really like to check one out for myself, to see if the moto-journo kvetching about these was warranted, but regardless of if I liked it or not, I’d *really* have to love the hell out of it to spend anywhere near $9k for one.

    • motocephalic says:

      Good Point. I was wondering the weight from the posting, and indeed if it is near 500# you can count me out. I am very concerned about the weight, but not to carry the thing, only to move it about at slow speeds. I love the concept, and can only wish for smaller bikes, simpler bikes that spike any kind of interest.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      Agreed. You hit every issue exactly on target. Just another continued production bike without consideration to any improvement.

  10. Tom Shields says:


    I wonder – can tubeless tires be fitted to those wheels?

    • Ralph W. says:

      Have you seen the Tubliss system? I don’t know if it is good.

    • Anonymous says:

      You might be able to get them sealed but then it should have come standard with tubeless. Spoke wheels can be made to run tubeless but for whatever reason, many bikes don’t come with them. Too bad as this is a sweet looking ride.

  11. North of Missoula says:

    With the great retro styling, torquey motor and the 19/18in wheel combination that bike would be a fantastic platform for a scrambler.

  12. JR says:

    OK Kawasaki.. now for a MSRP of $9,200.00 lets complete the bike by making the following changes.
    Tubeless tires on mag wheels. Make front forks without rubber flex boots, just standard seal design. Install rear maintenance free belt drive with fixed idler along with fixed rear axle. Install easy to adjust valve clearance adjusters. Install easy open lockable hinged seat for easy battery access. Make the side stand lock in place when the weight of the bike is on it. Now you have a fun machine to own.

  13. BOB says:

    W800 $9199
    Z900 $8399 ($7899 w/current $500 savings)

    Enough said.

    • Ralph W. says:

      Spot on, Bob! The Z900 is an exciting bike. I haven’t ridden one, but everyone who owns one seems to be extremely happy, and it looks like a modern bike should. The W800 is very dull and looks really old. Hard to believe people want to buy it just because of its looks.

      • Anonymous says:

        I know a lot of folks swear by the Z900, I’m one of those folks who swear at it. In the top three of the worst bikes I’ve owned. Crap gearing, terrible ergos and lousy suspension. Nice motor tho and I liked the slipper clutch. They could price it at $1.00 and I wouldn’t buy another. I should also mention the broken shock mount recall and the bandaid fix.

    • Selecter says:

      To be fair, since the W800 does come with standard ABS, you’re looking at a $8799 Z900. Your point stands, though. As mentioned elsewhere, of course it’s more expensive to finish out a bike like the W with the chrome and such… but the rest of the components are as cheap as they could possibly get, so where are the rest of the costs?

      If you go past the $500 rebate on the Z, though, the disparity is even more stark. Even here in the midwest, you see Z900s start at $7000 or so before TTL. Shocking bike for the money.

    • Fred_M. says:

      W800: Classic beauty
      Z900: Modern ugly

      Enough said.

      Well, not quite enough. Why should I care that a motorcycle that is unappealing to me costs slightly less than another one that I really like? Also, since I already have a sport bike that could eat the Z900 for lunch, why would I buy a Z900?

      The bikes are aimed at completely different markets. No one is buying a W800 because of its performance. And no one is buying a Z900 because of its classic styling.

  14. Gerry Urban says:

    I like everything but the price and the weight. A 1960’s era Triumph that this thing copies weighed more than 100 pounds less. But a center stand! How much more retro can you get?

  15. carl says:

    I’m excited about this kawasaki zx25r

  16. Bob S. says:

    Even the tank seam is beautiful.

  17. southbound says:

    They even nailed the ad. Pointing out things like the 3D tank emblem is so…60’s. Too bad the tooling costs are so high. If you think about it, the bike has way fewer parts and high-tech gear than “modern” bikes, so you think it would be cheaper to build. But it isn’t. A shame, too, because cheaper, simpler bikes could start interest younger. My first bike was 90cc at $349. My second was a 250cc for $825, and a progression followed. Is that impossible today? I’d say yes when a Honda Monkey is FOUR GRAND and a Grom is $3400.

    • paul says:

      Your 90cc at $350 was probably somewhere in the 1960’s. That would be about $2800 today which isn’t far off from the Grom in price. Plus, the Grom would blow your shiny new 90cc right out of the water.

    • Curly says:

      H’mm, using the Inflation Calculator an 8hp Honda S90 in 1965 was $370 which would be $3,015 in today’s dollars. So a Grom with a 9hp 125cc, electric start, FI engine and a disc brake at $3600 doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. There are also cheaper, albeit lower quality, bikes on the market too. Big bore bikes back then we’re in the $1100-1200 range which is around $9,000 now but I’ll bet the W800 doesn’t leak oil.

    • zuki says:

      Chrome plating is expensive, and there’s not much plastic on this bike.

  18. Skybullet says:

    If you still want a Retro Brit Bike with modern performance and reliability this is it. Will it be a sales success? Ask Mazda how the Miata worked out. This bike is light, will handle well and has all the performance you need 98% of the time. I’ll bet it is a joy to ride. This is a perfect fit for those of us who wanted but never got a Triumph/BSA/Norton. Are 7 bikes too many?

    • VLJ says:

      If the goal is a Retro Brit Bike with modern performance and reliability for those who wanted but never got a Triumph/BSA/Norton, why this Kawasaki over the higher-performance, equally retro Triumph Street Twin, or one of the Bonnevilles?

  19. Mike E says:

    I just rode my 2001 W650 this afternoon. It is perfect for around town errands and back country jaunts. Reliable and fun. Feels sporty at the speed limit, compared to my old FZ1 which felt like I was coasting at 15 over the limit. If I needed a new bike, I’d look hard at the W800 … but Kawasaki made mine too well.

  20. bmbktmracer says:

    They got the aesthetics nailed — assuming you want your new bike to look 50 years old — but if it’s anything like the W800 Café it’ll also work like a 50 year old bike. Who wants that? The comparable Triumphs have nearly perfect fueling, suspension, and handling. I’ll look forward to a comparison test before throwing money to the “W”ind.

  21. Dan says:

    Nice bike but why not just buy a real Triumph? They’re mechanically reliable now too.

  22. fred says:

    Other than age, I’m probably not the target market for this bike. I love the looks, but… Tube tires? Really? Put some modern 17″ tubeless radials on it. We’ve figured out how to do tubeless tires with spoked wheels for some time now. I’d prefer 4-piston front brakes as well. While it is possible to make twin shocks that work, those look too skinny to do a great job.

    As I said, I’m probably not the target. Memories are nice, but bikes have gotten a lot better over the years.

    • Tank says:

      I agree. Using tube tires for the sake of retro is like using drum brakes. Not a good idea.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most people here think tubes are great. Of course they’ve probably never flatted at speed with them. Whatever. As said elsewhere, most folks that ocme here do so to whine about something “too” about a bike.

        You’re dead on though. Using tubes on any street going bike is just downright ridiculous these days, especially when spoke wheels can be made that run tubelss. It’ll likely take a lawsuit to put an end to the use of tubes. Whatever. Still a pretty motorcycle.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Very nice. Looking to get rid of my 1700 Roadstar. Bad knee, and too heavy. Reminds me of my ’66 Tr6c. Sold that bout 7 years ago. Big mistake. Looked at Kaw web site. Why is this twin 24lbs heavier than the 900 four retro? Think I will get as soon as my Dual sport is paid off.

  24. Nick says:

    Traditional-looking? Yes. Exciting? Not in a million years! The put-put exhaust note tells you all you need to know…

    Nick, aged almost 71, UK

  25. Butch says:

    I also had a 2000 model. Superbike bars and front spring upgrade. Stripped the tank and painted it black. Got the thumbs up almost every time I rode it it. Rode the snot out of it, never broke. Would start first kick. My only complaint was the lack of character from the 360 twin.
    Sounded like a British twin but purred like a sewing machine. Overall one of the best bikes I’ve ever owned. For the money, I would go for the RE650.

  26. Kermit says:

    I’m in. Thank you Kawasaki.

  27. John says:

    I can’t wait until bikes like the thinking Honda Sabre, CX500 and VT500 are finally old enough to be classics and updated. FFS, these “modern classic” bikes are designed for 70 year olds.

  28. advrider says:

    Kawasaki does retro right, beautiful job, only missing the kickstarter, let the good old times roll. I’ll be the first in line to pick one up, nice addition to the stable, looking forward to it.

  29. Ronny says:

    The reason why motorcycle sales are in decline………….

    The old person says to the young person, “Young person, you should buy a motorcycle and come riding with us. It’s really exciting.” The young person says to the old person, “No thanks, old person. What I mostly see is a bunch of boring old geezers riding boring old bikes. I don’t want to be a part of that.”

    • todd says:

      Actually, all I ever hear is “they’re too dangerous”. They don’t care enough yet to notice any difference between this bike and the other Kawasaki with the blower.

      • Ronny says:

        Not notice any difference between the W800 and the Z H2! They’d have to be blind, in which case they wouldn’t be able to ride anyway. The W800 looks old, really old. Young people are very image conscious. They’re not likely to participate in an ‘old boys club’.

  30. Buzz W says:

    The bike MD message board posters have been clamoring for forever. None will buy since it doesn’t include a free milk crate.

    • azicat says:

      I’ve owned one since 2012. Now get off my lawn, I’m busy yelling at clouds.

    • Sam K. says:

      People are already complaining about the lack of a kick-starter so yeah…

    • Anonymous says:

      Same people whine about a great many other bikes being “too” something. They never buy a damn thing.

      You know, too heavy, too weak, too expensive, too retro, too insectoid, too much, too little.

      Pretty soon it’s gonna be too late.

  31. Mick says:

    I’ll bet that this doesn’t slow down the whining of the life past 1968 is crap crowd one lick.

  32. My2cents says:

    This gets my vote for motorcycle of the year. Innovative no, great handling no, it’s just so beautiful to look at that and for that reason alone it’s a winner.

  33. Jeremy says:

    Hard to escape the irony that the most authentic retro bike of 2020 is “inspired” by a model that was itself a mimic of a British twin. But who cares? That is one pretty bike regardless.

  34. rider33 says:

    they got this design right about 20 years ago. Timing and marketing missteps aside, the bike was strong enough to survive, even the Cafe-only multi-color relaunch in the US. Now that we’re back to what this bike is all about maybe it will do better. I hope so, my W650 was one of my favorites.

  35. Moab Tom says:

    Posted this on, think there will be some jealous Yamaha peeps.

  36. Tank says:

    Why can’t Polaris make a bike like this? Enough with V-twins.

  37. bmbktmracer says:

    “Hey, nice W; is that a Chinese company?”

    “No, it’s a Kawasaki.”

    “Why is there a giant W on the tank?”


    • Moto-Kafe says:

      The “W” is a carry-over from the first W650 introduced back in the 1960’s (I believe)……it was a direct copy of a BSA bike. (actually, probably a copy BETTER than the original BSA).

      • Gsbeliever says:

        While paying homage toearlier efforts, Kawasaki’s use of a bevel drive on the 2000 650 (and new 800) was only ever used once by BSA, sometime back around 1937. Apparently the bevel drive significantly reduced engine noise, which allowed Kawasaki to make the exhaust note a little louder and still meet noise standards.f

  38. VLJ says:

    So, a similarly expensive but more powerful 900 Triumph, a much cheaper 650 Royal Enfield, or this one?

    Tough call. Sure is beautiful, though.

    Love how they describe rolling around at ten mph, in slow motion, to boot, an “action video.” lol

  39. Johnny ro says:

    Very nice indeed.

    I wonder what the (looks like two) plastic boxes are behind the horn on one side and just hanging there on the other. Block the view in front of engine from the side.

  40. mickey says:

    Beautiful motorcycle. I’d still prefer a CB1100 or a T-120 Bonneville, but this is probably a close 3rd.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      It, at least in the pictures, looks like it has more legroom than the CB, which, at least for me, was that model’s biggest drawback.

      • VLJ says:

        There aren’t many liter bikes with as little legroom as the CB1100. Low seat height, though.

        The thing I’ve always found strange is that the T120 probably sits equally low to the ground, if not lower, yet it has noticeably more legroom and no less ground clearance. Neat trick.

  41. redbirds says:

    Wonderful job Kawasaki. May have to add this one to the stable; it looks like a motorcycle should look and love the color.

  42. gsbeliever says:

    As the former owner of a 2000 W650, I couldn’t be more pleased about the W800 release. I did the fork spring swap, S&W rear shocks and a pair of superbike handlebars and it was just heaven. Just one question about the W800: where’s the kickstarter?

  43. Gary says:

    Nice job getting ahead of the tank seams before the tank seam police start complaining.

    Otherwise a great looking bike 🙂 I look forward to your ride report.

  44. CrazyJoe says:

    It does look that good. I checked Kawasaki’s site and compared it with the Cafe. There isn’t much of a difference between the two. I’m repeating myself but the wheel size makes a big difference in appearance. Most retro bikes look oddly out of proportion with 17″ wheels.

    What is Kawasaki up to? First the Z H2 and the W800. Now they’re also building a 250 Four. Looks like the other companies are going to have a hard time coming up with something as interesting as this.

  45. paul says:

    Beauty… and it comes with a center-stand.

  46. RD350 says:

    Best looking W so far by far!

  47. Shoeman says:

    The W800 Cafe version of this bike left me cold with its low bars, and odd brown paint. But this one…wow! Stunningly beautiful, and comfy reach to the bars. Can’t wait to see this one at my local dealer. And maybe in my garage.

  48. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    OMG, it looks just like a motorcycle, not a pile of scrap parts in formation under a millennial.

  49. Rendell says:

    Beautiful motorcycle. It looks like a lot of fun. This is what motorcycling is all about.

  50. Holygeezer says:

    For this 64 year old geezer, this looks like what I consider to be a beautiful looking motorcycle in this day and age. Perfect for a relaxing ride to enjoy the scenery.

    • Rapier says:

      I’m 68 but prefer the H2 SX. Or would if I had the money.

      • Bart says:

        So borrow $$, buy H2 and ride fast, take chances, safety third. Tomorrow is promised to no one, especially someone whacking the happy handle on a H2!

        Life is too short not to do something crazy like this.

        Besides, you won’t live long enuff riding this thing to pay it off anyways. Let your estate deal with it, have then throw it in the hole and pour concrete over it with your smiling remains!

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