Kawi W800 Cafe Racers


Looks like it should be able to do the ton …

Sometimes it’s hard being a Canadian motorcyclist. Japan always gets the coolest bikes from the factory, and Europe gets most of them, while here in North America, we simply have to be content with whatever trickles down at the end.

Kawasaki’s new retro-themed W800 Café Style is just the latest example of this. It’s new, it’s cool, it’s a great throwback to the days of London’s Ace Cafe, and according to motoblog.it, it’s only made for the Japanese market.

So look at the pictures and lust away – you can look, but you can’t buy. If it makes you feel any better, the Europeans aren’t getting them either (though they do at least get the standard version).



  1. I had an early W650, I also owned one of the original W1’s which Larry at Racecrafters in Virgil Ontario now owns. The W650 was not a very good bike. I love the bevel shaft cam drive, but it handled terribly and the seat had a steel separator bar in it with the thought of small assed people riding, and it was a killer. It is a copy of a good bike, the current 650 Bonneville. The Triumph motor might not be as cool, but the bike itself is far better. Don’t wish for the copy, go buy the real thing.

    • Actually the W650 is far closer to the original triumph Bonneville from the 60s than the current triumph Bonneville, which is why the W 650 is so archaic. If you’re going to buy the real thing, buy an actual vintage Bonnie. If you don’t like leaving gear box oil everywhere you go, and need something more reliable, get the W650. The current Bonnie only uses the triumph name, it is miles away from the orig. W650 is the real deal where current retro inspired bikes are concerned, and it comes closer to the original “do the ton bikes” than anything on the market today

  2. I want one! I have a 2001 W650 that I found for sale with only 700 miles on it for US $3500. The guy posted it on Craigslist and I RAN over and grabbed it from him that very morning. I had been looking for one with low miles for about a year and never expected to pay so little for it. A friend of mine just found one for $4800 the other day as he has had bike envy for some time.

    I agree that everyone seems to love these bikes but in reality they don’t sell well. I guess in the end I don’t mind as it seems to me the W is just getting more and more rare as time goes on. I wish they would sell a few thousand 800’s here in the US so in a year or two I could snatch one up. I’ll never sell my W650. Love it!

  3. This is true. Just buy an XS650.

    You can punch them out to 750cc without too much trouble, hot cams are readily available, and most other imaginable upgrade parts are only a credit card away. I think you’d still come in at less than the sticker price of a W800, and the bike would all be yours.

    I wish I had my old XS back.

  4. MXS & Costa are sadly very right. Try buying a Yamaha SRX600 nowadays. There were never plentiful but now they’re just gone.

    Fortunately I’ve got a complete 79 XS650 in the barn with a set of 18″ xs400 rims waiting for available time, money and motivation to come together.

  5. I have to agree with mxs on this one. This is the kind of bike everybody wants but nobody buys when it gets here and it ends up stagnating in showrooms to be sold eventually as a leftover at a discount. Distributors have gone through this too many times (well, maybe not with the DN01…) to risk importing these niche machines. Demand for the bike only increases after the bike is no longer available and because of its rarity its resale value skyrockets. Hence why Larry is having a hard time finding a W650, as do I. I’ve searched for one too and when one does become available its price is outrageously high — but it sells anyway.

  6. There’s a difference between wanting to buy an old bike for rebuild project and forking out new “canadian” price to a dealer for W800 … in another words a lot of people do it because the rebuild fun, so I wouldn’t be so quick assuming that there’s a market for them.

    How many has Triumph sold? I’ve seen one Bonnevile in 2 years on the road.

    I agree it’s a cool looking bike. Looks well done.

  7. The w650 and 800 look like amazing bikes. Personally I’d have snapped one up in a second if I ever got the chance. I saw the 650 over in England a couple years ago and have wanted one ever since. Now i want the 800.

  8. I’ve been looking to pick up a used W650 for several years now, and it’s nearly impossible to find one before it gets snapped up. If that’s anything to go by, it seems like there would be sufficient demand to bring the standard W800 here. I was speaking to a rep at the Toronto Motorcycle Show in December and he suggested that it would take 500 bikes a year to make it worthwhile in Canada. I know the 650 didn’t sell very well…but a lot has changed in 10 years. Bondo cites the resurgence of Triumph, but there has also been a resugence in bare-bones, DIY, custom cafe-type bikes, built from old UJMs…and old W650s. So let’s all bug the shit out of them ’til the finally cave and bring it here!

    • Mr Larry you mention the kawasaki dealer saing they have to sell 500 per year, what if we could reunite serious byers let say 200 and get them to deposite $1000,00 to Kawasaki so they deliver us our w800. These 200 w800 on the road will surely attrack more byers and Kawasaki will hurt triumph in their sales because we truly know the real value of this w800 which is way surpassing the bonnie and the Moto Guzzi v7.

      This is the first time i write in what is called a blog, could there be one specially made for this purpose of gatherin these 200 serious byers with their cashdown.


  9. That’s what we should be getting instead of more stupid-ass V-twin cruisers.

    Has anyone at Kawasaki perhaps noticed the success Triumph is having with the Bonneville and Thruxton? Maybe there’s a chance something like this would sell here?

Join the conversation!