Earlier today in Milan, Kawasaki unveiled the retrotastic W800 Street (pictured above) and W800 Cafe (pictured below) at the EICMA motorcycle show. And later on today, we got confirmation it’s coming to Canada.
Many readers will recall the W650 series from years back, retro-styled parallel twins Kawasaki supplied to the Canadian market—here you can read Editor ‘Arris’s take on the original, wayyyyyy back in ’99.
Alas, when Kawasaki changed the W650 to an W800, it was discontinued in Canada, although lucky Europeans still got it. The bike, we mean. Well, they got the idea behind the bike too. That meant the bike kept in production until canceled in 2016. Could it be The End? Was there really no more place in this world for an air-cooled parallel twin that echoed classic Brit bikes of the 1960s?
Nope. Today, Kawasaki brought back the W800 in both standard form and cafe form.
So what’s different? Not a lot, compared to the 2016 model, but most importantly, the new bike is Euro4-compliant, which is the main reason Kawi canceled it in the first place—it didn’t meet emissions standards at the time. Now, that problem is fixed.
As a refresher, the engine is 773 cc, and uses a bevel gear drive, which is why it has that cool-looking pushrodesque line on the right-hand side of the cylinder. The engine has four-valve heads, but it’s a SOHC setup. It’s cleverly designed to look like the bike has carburetors, but in reality, it has an EFI setup with 34 mm throttle bodies.
The exhaust is a set of classic peashooter mufflers.
The driveline is a mix of old-school and new, with an assist/slipper clutch mated to a five-speed gearbox.
As for the frame, it’s a classic steel double-cradle configuration. The suspension is also a no-nonsense retro setup, with telescopic forks up front and vintage-looking twin shocks in rear (with adjustable preload). Kawasaki didn’t slap on faux remote reservoir shocks, as is so often the temptation with manufacturers today.
There’s a 320 mm front disc and 270 mm rear disc, with ABS. The brake lever is adjustable (as is the clutch lever).
The W800 models roll on spoked 18-inch wheels, like proper classic bikes, and have tubed tires. And, there’s an LED headlight and LCD gauges.
In Canada, the W800 Street will carry a $9,999 MSRP, and the W800 Cafe will sell for $11,499.
Check out all the pics that go with this story!