The W800 is finally coming to America. After being a European exclusivity for so long, Kawasaki is reviving the W and will introduce it to the US market. What we are getting, however, is the Café version of the model with the racer fairing—the fully naked version could be coming later this year.
The new 800 is built on a brand-new structure and each component has been optimized according to the level of strain and pressure it receives thanks to a fancy analysis software. At its core, the model keeps the same air-cooled, 773cc, parallel twin engine found in the previous generation. Kawasaki sticks to a very retro regime with the W’s setting, fitting the bike with tube tires, a basic 5-gear transmission, and a twin shock spring suspension at the back, among other things.
A lovely feature of this design is the bevel shaft that drives the overhead camshaft—the only current production model to feature one. This layout is inspired by early-century motorcycles. While the engine looks like it’s been fitted with carburetors, it uses instead a more modern, direct injection system. The assist slipper clutch is yet another “modern” feature of the W: there’s little to no fluff on this model. No ABS, no ride modes. Even the speedometer and tachometer are analog—only the odometer is digital. A series of accessories can be added to make the W800 more versatile, including heated grips, passenger grab bar, luggage rack, and hook nut set.