Kawasaki Goes Back to the Future (Again)

YouTube is quickly spreading what is being called a Kawasaki Europe "official video" about its replacement for the retro W650, the W800. Obvious styling changes are the polished alloy barrels, new paintwork on the gas tank and replacement of the word "Kawasaki" on the tank badge with a big "W." The new seat is lowered by 0.4 inch, and the bike's wheelbase has grown to 57.7 inches, up 0.4 inch, though it's now 0.4 inch shorter overall. The W800 also is 46.3 pounds heavier than the W650, a 10 percent change.

We can hope the displacement increase from 675cc to 773cc, via a 5mm-larger bore with the same stroke, along with the change from carburetors to fuel injection, will give the W a nicely improved punch when the throttle is opened. Considering that Big K also saw fit to drop fuel-tank capacity from 3.9 gallons to 3.7 gallons, we can also hope fuel economy is improved. Compression ratio is dropped slightly, from 8.6:1 to 8.4:1.

Apart from the possibility that we Yanks might also be getting the W800 in the future, what’s interesting in the re-release of the W is the implicit rocker-culture style of the rider and co-rider in the video, which suggests that somebody at Kawasaki or its ad agencies believes that the whole Moto-Retro craze of the 1990s wasn’t just a faddish craze after all, but a semi-permanent part of motorcycling—the Britbike version of the Harley resurgence, which has put Hogs everywhere there are roads. Could they be right? Stay tuned.