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.