Back in August we revealed that Kawasaki was plotting to launch a new, authentically retro version of the W800 as part of its 2020 model range. Now the firm has taken the wraps off precisely that bike.
When it launched the W800 Café as part of its 2019 model range, Kawasaki didn’t include a direct replacement for the old W800, offered from 2011–2016 and a descendant of the 1999–2007 W650. It was the bike that was designed to hark back to Kawasaki’s 1960s motorcycling roots, when it bought the Meguro brand and its license-made BSA A7 and turned it into the Kawasaki W1, so it always seemed a strange omission from the firm’s retro lineup. For 2020, Kawasaki is remedying that by reintroducing the W800, with the original’s style but all the technical upgrades that appeared on the Street and Café models.
The engine is the same 47-hp, 773cc parallel twin that’s used in the other models, and the W800 also shares their uprated chassis design, including larger-diameter frame tubes and thicker 41mm fork. But it brings back the more classic styling, with the long, chrome fenders of the previous-generation W800 and a 19-inch front wheel instead of the 18-incher of the Café model.
New elements include the same headlight that debuted on the Street and Café, and ABS-equipped brakes including a rear disc instead of the drum that died with the last generation of W800. It also brings back chunky chrome tank badges.
The new W800 made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, but information revealed by the California Air Resources Board documents earlier this year has already confirmed that the bike has been approved for sale in the US