This is what makes the Kawasaki W800 a desirable Japanese retro motorcycle | Taza Khabre

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  • The Kawasaki W800 is a retro-style motorcycle that pays homage to the classic British motorcycle line while meeting modern Japanese standards. It offers an authentic old-school riding experience with refined engineering.
  • The W800 has a classic design with details reminiscent of the 1960s, such as the dual clocks, running boards and exhaust. It also includes modern performance enhancements such as bigger brakes, stiffer suspension and a stronger frame.
  • The W800 is powered by a 773cc air-cooled parallel twin engine that delivers good power and torque. It offers a smooth ride with adjustable rear shocks, ABS brakes and respectable handling. It also includes modern features such as assist and slipper clutch and ABS. MSRP for the 2024 W800 is $10,399.


Japanese motorcycles have long been lauded for their precision engineering and gold standard inline-fours. But in between it all lies a bike that still embraces the simple mechanical pleasures of the 60s. Kawasaki jumped into the retro bike race with gusto, and this time the W800 line-up has certainly responded to the surge in interest in retro bikes. The new W800 is a hipster-chic entry-level bike.

The company has succeeded in having a machine that is retro-styled and as close as possible to its 650cc W-series engine from the 1960s. The W800 is great for experiencing a true modern classic. This motorcycle is called a “pseudo-classic” because it is a Japanese motorcycle that is as close as possible to the old British motorcycle line. The retro-classic Kawasaki W motorcycle rejuvenates the spirit of the 1960s with its best-in-class authentic style and feel. The W800 looks authentic and meets refined Japanese standards.

It’s a bike that’s full of old-world charm, and the company has reworked yesterday’s technology, delivering consistency and reliability and delivering a true old-school experience. It serves as a piece of nostalgia for the way it rides, looks and feels. It’s not a motorcycle designed for racing or high-speed riding, but it can be accurately described as an “aged Japanese machine”. A true throwback to the classic W1, the W800 has been carefully crafted with respect for the past while benefiting from modern technology and fashionable features.

All technical data and pricing details used in this article are taken from the official Kawasaki North America website.

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Kawasaki W800 has a retro old design

Kawasaki

With all the vintage sophistication and rare good looks, the W800 has been designed to emulate Kawasaki’s first parallel twin, the W1. The tribute to the 1960s model is spot on. Details such as the dual clock, footpegs, exhaust pipe and seat are perfect. The new bike also improves performance over the W1 and W2. Styling changes include smaller 18-inch front wheels, larger diameter front forks, alloy wheels, larger brakes with ABS, lower triple clamp, stiffer springs and a stronger frame. Vintage inspired Dunlop K300 GP tires cause the front end to jerk in the nerve space, which more modern tires can easily correct.

Center pegs, low-seat banana handlebars, a teardrop-shaped fuel tank and a Lucas taillight make the new model as authentic as possible. Kawa W800 imitates retractable seat style W1, trimmed in leather with ample padding. Blacked-out steering wheel and engine contrast with chrome wire-spoke wheels and exhaust pipes. The LED headlight sticks out a bit, given the overall retro vibe of the bike. The dual analog instrument panel features theater-style lighting and a classic font. The dash also includes a digital readout for time, trip and odometer. The bike only has a low fuel warning light, not a proper fuel gauge.

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Kawasaki W800: engine and classic appeal

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Kawasaki

The engine looks old, keeping the old-school vibe, but it delivers good power thanks to the 773cc air-cooled parallel engine that generates over 51bhp. The long-stroke engine is tuned to deliver low- to mid-range performance and deliver plenty of torque. The engine’s slightly offset ignition sequence gives the bike the same exhaust roar as its beefy predecessor.

The clean operation of modern fuel injection complements the motorcycle’s high torque. The classic muffler design delivers the raspy exhaust note that parallel-twin engines are notorious for. As a throwback to the original Kawasaki W1, carefully tuned internal twin mufflers provide the engine’s distinctive crankshaft configuration.

2024 Kawasaki W800 Engine Specifications

Producer

Kawasaki

Configuration

Parallel-Twin; With air cooling

Moving

773cc

Method of transmission

5-speed

power

51 hp

A turning point

46.4 lb-ft

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Kawasaki W800 Components: True to its retro appeal

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Kawasaki

With dual rear shock absorbers, the W800 offers a clean look and a smooth ride with adjustable spring preload. The bike is quite responsive thanks to the ABS equipped braking system which has 270mm rear and 320mm front disc brakes. This provides string stopping power and excellent bike response. The 41mm stanchions reduce flex, and the stiff fork springs soak up city street bumps well.

The W800 also offers respectable handling and decent performance. The ride is smooth and light, even when leaning into corners. Although the fork is not adjustable, the dual rear shocks are adjustable, and the slightly softer suspension could be slightly springy. Overall, the W800 provides a comfortable ride.

2024 Kawasaki W800 Component Specifications

Front suspension (stroke)

41mm telescopic forks (5.1″ travel)

Rear suspension (stroke)

Dual shocks with adjustable spring preload (4.2 inches of travel)

Front brakes

One 320 mm disc with two-piston calipers

Rear brakes

One 270 mm disc with two-piston calipers

The size of the front tires

100/90-19

Rear tire size

130/80-18

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The classic Kawasaki W800 has received modern features

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Kawasaki

The W800 is equipped with features such as an auxiliary and sliding clutch, which uses an auxiliary cam and a sliding cam to drive the work plate and clutch sleeve together or separately. This reduces back torque and helps prevent the rear tire from skidding or bouncing. This racing style feature is useful for track or sport driving. The ABS or anti-lock braking system controls the steering speed using front and rear wheel sensors. In case of wheel locking, ABS modulates brake fluid pressure until normal operation is restored. In this way, ABS provides the driver with confidence, which contributes to a more “carefree” driving experience.

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How much is the Kawasaki W800?

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Kawasaki

The The 2024 W800 has a suggested retail price of $10,399. Buyers are also treated to a modest list of thoughtful accessories for this classic Kawasaki motorcycle. On the other hand, the W800 can be equipped with luggage racks, a set of nuts and a helmet lock. Style has also been taken care of with a great range of individual seat options. There are those that can also turn the W800 into a cool café racer. Kawasaki also offers an optional set of heated grips. Protection is enhanced with accessories such as engine guards, tail light brackets and passenger grab bars.

The W800 was actually sold from 2011 to 2016. Kawasaki reintroduced it after a hiatus in 2019. Since then, the W800 has remained largely unchanged in terms of mechanical upgrades. Color changes are offered with each new year. For 2024, the W800 is offered in a single Metallic Slate Blue/Metallic Diablo Black two-tone finish.

This classic Kawasaki is also plentiful on the used market, including the rarer ones W800 café racer models. In addition, due to its very simple design, there are also various modified with taste. A pre-owned Kawa W800 can be had for as little as $6,000according to the listing on AutoTrader.

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