The Kawasaki W800 is coming, and it’s coming to Canada.

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!


  1. Hope they put a center stand on it. A chain drive needs to be lubed. it use to be only HD that put a chain and no center stand now there many following a bad thing. When on the road I like to go for breakfast and lube my chain and let it sit while I eat, when you art putting a lot of miles on in a day it needs to be lubed and you should not have to have some one push your bike around the parking lot while you follow with a can of lube, leave that the the old HD riders. I have my bike lubed and breakfast ordered while they were still chasing there bike around getting the chain lubed.

  2. Like the bike but the front fender needs to be extended we are in Canada where we get rain and don not like to get my feet socked. That is the main reason I got rid of my 883 did not like the cut of front fender, takes a long time to dry out your boots and if the sun pops out I want to get going with dry feet.

  3. I like the retro look with the newer technology but 47 HP makes it a gutless wonder like Moto Guzzi’s retro V7 750’s are (I had one & got rid of it fast). OK for younger less experienced riders I guess.

  4. The question , as always, is will they sell?
    Had they been introduced here at the same time as the European market ( what, 15 or 20 years ago now?) I think they would have been well received.
    Now retro buyers have more than a few models to choose from.

    • They were sold in Canada, 2000, 2001 and a handful of 2002s….and they didn’t sell. I remember seeing an NOS 2001 model at McBride’s….in 2004 maybe? No one here wanted the W650 until they couldn’t have them anymore.

    • Dealers only need to stock a demo and it’ll sell end of season, then order them as needed, so it’s really doesn’t matter if they are a sales hit or not.

  5. Prayers answered…this is great news. The only thing this one is missing is the rad kickstarter on the old 650. But a better bike in every other repect. And fun fact…we’re getting the Street AND Cafe…while the US is only getting the Cafe. Better act fast before Canadian Kawasaki rethinks it.

  6. Good to see these types of bikes on the market – I would go for one with proper chrome fenders, polished alloy rims, alloy-coloured engine cases, and silver fork-sliders.
    Also, here in BC the insurance category cutoff is 750cc – too bad the bike couldn’t be a 749.

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