Kawasaki W800: a bigger retro

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Looks like Kawasaki is leaking things itself now, according to MotoMag.gr, which snagged these photos and details off the manufacturer’s European website, where they were published for a brief time. The Kawasaki W800 is a 773cc version of the venerable W650, itself considered a better take on the classic Triumph Bonneville than the new Triumph Bonneville itself. You know what to expect: a reasonably powerful parallel-twin, “meh” suspension and tires, but ridiculously good styling and neat retro details.

Update: full details in a Kawasaki PDF embedded below.

As this is a “leak” there’s not a lot more information for now. The whole shebang weighs 220kg/485lbs (not clear if that’s wet or dry), which is par for the retro course, but still pretty disappointing for what could be a truly awesome motorcycle. Indeed, that’s sort of the feeling with get with all these retro roadsters. Sure, they’re pretty affordable, but they’re built more for a look than they are for actual riding, which is a shame, looks like this in a package that could actually perform? That’d be a killer app. But of course, this is why the W650 was and the W800 will presumably be such a popular basis for customization, the fundamentals of greatness are there, they just need some help coming to light. We expect to see Deus Ex Machina churning out kick ass customs based on the W800 by next summer.

And before you ask, no, this probably isn’t coming to the states. Despite the success of the kinda-rare W650 on the used market, the bike was never marketed correctly here and therefor wasn’t a sales success, but the company blames that on the bike, so we lose.

via MotoMag.gr

  • davidqrosen

    Love it. I still regret not buying the retro single. Especially fond of the instrument cluster and rear drum! davidqrosen http://www.scoutgarage.com

  • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

    Rear drum? A little too retro for me.

    I too am awaiting the light weight, well performing, classically styled motorcycle. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s ever going to be an off-the-shelf item.

    • richard gozinya

      Ducati’s had one of those for years now, and there’s the new Nortons, which may or may not be available to those of us outside the UK someday.

      • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

        Correct. But, the Sport 1000 is pretty pricey ($13k) and not exactly an easy find depending on where you live which makes it feel like it’s not quite “off-the-shelf”.

        Sub-$10k is where I would like to see a “character” machine.

  • telekom

    Agreed jpenney. I was very impressed with the proportions and the styling… and then saw the rear drum. Come on. That’s just not necessary. I think they have a chance to make a modern retro which has a certain look to it but can utilise contemporary technology… (because it’s BETTER)… but they choose to use older outdated technology because of how it looks? Yeah a drum brake looks nice, but you won’t be able to see it when you’re sprawled over the bonnet of a car.

    • mmike

      I may be waaay off base here since I’ve never ridden a bike with a drum brake in the rear, but are they really THAT bad? I mean it’s still got the disc up front; I would think even a drum could lock up the rear easily.

      It looks great and with enough disposable income I’d get one if it was available in the States, but it doesn’t look like either of those will happen any time soon…

      • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

        Personally, I just don’t like working on drum brakes. The ones that I have ridden were adequate but lack the feedback that discs give.

        • tonup

          drum brak isn´t that bad. Had it on my Ducati 600SS and it worked fine in combination with the front. Those were Brembos though:)

  • roccopeterbilt

    I love the tank badges and the understated Kawasaki logo that appears to be n the rear of the seat only. It is amazing that Ducati is the only company that seems to care about putting some performance into their retro’s. Take the Sport 1000, mid 90s HP, under 400lbs versus the w650′s 430lb dry weight and piddly 50HP. The w650 and even more so, this w800 look svelte, where is all the weight coming from?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, but that Duc still had crossplys. Fail.

      • crimsoncloak

        The Ducatis all have radials.

        Heavy spoked wheels: yes (for the look)
        Tubes: yes (for the spokes)

        But they come with 120/70 and 180/55 rubber giving you some good choices on radial rubber.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Ah, right. I stand corrected.

  • ike6116

    Call me a motocross fool but I think it is a cardinal sin when a kawasaki bike isn’t offered in the team kawasaki green, even if it wouldn’t necessarily match the “retro” theme

    • wwalkersd

      OK, you’re a motocross fool. I like Kawasakis in general, but “team green” to me is one of the ugliest colors on the planet, and it would be totally, utterly wrong on this bike.

      • tonup

        that´s right. The fugly green has stopped me from considering Kawasakis many times

      • s0crates82

        disagree. the team green could be reduced to a simple stripe along the side or down the top of a gloss black tank.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      http://2strokebiker.blogspot.com/2009/06/green-custom-h2.html

      Agreed; I’m a big fan of team green, and it can definitely still look classic.

  • PCPaul

    This “old guy” likes the looks and doesn’t mind the drum brake in the rear since the vast majority of the the braking effort is handled by the front discs. My PC800 which has dual discs in the front and a drum in the rear has served me well for the last 21 years.

  • MikeD

    475 pounds Curb ? Big Deal, i used to ride a 1982 Suzuki GS1100G tipping scales around 550 pounds and never felt that heft was there (it made for a great piece of endurance-training equipment when time came to move it around the back Porch by man-power). If anything, it made it more stable and gave me more confidence than can be said about my current “anorexic” SV1000N.

    Wes, I could be wrong, but reading on the tire specs on the last 2 sheets i don’t the little R on the tire’s #s indicating Radials.

    Not my kind of ride, i would take a 2009 Triumph Bonneville SE over it (i dislike Spokes, Dumb Brakes, Un-even Wheel Sizes and Pea-Shooters) BUT it looks Great. Just the engine is a Work of Art to have as a CenterPiece on the living-room to stare at and polish.

    LOL, It reminds me of a Suzuki TU250 on Steroids.
    Motorcycle at its most basic form Xcept for EFI.
    I like they made the Tach standard unlike the Base Model Bonneville (Non SE) and they look cool to boot.
    The rubber knee pads,tank-shape & emblem makes it look so Classy.
    On pic #3 the the emblem reminds me of the hood ornament on 1950′s Pontiacs (Indian Head?).

  • duncanbojangles

    Are those the same Tokico brakes on the front as on the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom? Those brakes suck. Especially since this bike appears to be heavier than the V-Strom.

  • Mattro

    with the amount of bonnevilles and sport 1000′s i see on the road, which has become noticeably voluminous in the last two or three years, i think kawasaki would do well to bring this one to the states.

    i’m not entirely sure why only some of the major manu’s have embraced the retro bike trend. all these 24-year-olds dicking around with 70′s bikes are gonna have the money for something new and worry-free soon enough. these bikes fit that demographic’s aesthetic and, with the exception of the odd iron 883 (arguably as much a retro bike as any other), these types of bikes are the only new ones i’m seeing around.

    i’d personally rather have a sorted v7, but if the price point is lower than the bonnie’s, this model will sell.

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

    Anyone know if this is coming out in the UK?

  • cityag

    Does the dip and upward vector of the seat line irk anyone else? Reminds me more of an ’84 Vulcan than a ’64 BSA.