Kawasaki W800 – Cycle Torque Magazine

10 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Kawasaki W800 – Cycle Torque Magazine

Kawasaki W800

Classic Reborn

Test by Tony Penfold. Pics by Pickett/Paterson

KAWASAKI’S W800 revisits past bike design, adds modern technology, and a superior build/finish at a sensational price. What is not to like? I for one couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

On the centrestand

Yes, a centrestand. It comes standard and is easy to use, not to mention the advantages it has with maintenance. I had already looked at a W800 prior, but I was again taken by the bike’s simplistic classic look.

The only colour available is metallic dark green, but how good does it look and wait till you see it sparkle in the sunlight. Kawasaki has tried to minimise the use of plastic. Chrome, polished aluminium, spoked wheels and an air-cooled parallel twin make this bike enjoyable before I even get on. W- model history The W in 800 pays homage back to Kawasaki’s early days in the 1960s when it began manufacturing motorcycles.

You may remember the W650, which Kawasaki imported into Australia between 2000-03. It was not a big seller. Simply speaking the new W800 (773cc) with a bigger bore, is the W650 (676cc) finishing puberty.

Torque is the real differentiator here, more to come on that. Okay the major change in technology is fuel injection. But, you could be forgiven for thinking the injection system resembles carburettors. What about the eye catching bevel-gear driven camshaft on the right side of the head?

Does the job and like the rear drum brake keeps the bike very traditional. Unlike the W650 it does not have a kick-starter, which several hard-core punters did comment on. You cannot please everyone.

I sit on the seat and I am immediately comfortable. There’s an easy reach to the chrome bars which are thinner than many modern bikes at 22.2mm. I instantly find the bars comfortable and changing direction easy. Let’s not forget the kneepads on the tank, which make holding on easier, not that there’s really enough horsepower to buck you off.

Certainly the 19″ front wheel helps take the bumps out of our lovely roads and makes the steering predictable and stable. Clutch and front brake levers are both adjustable to suit different size hands. I start her up and the sound from the twin pea-shooter exhaust is very distinctive.

Very pleasant even with standard pipes. No, there are no rattles or rocking, not like editor Picko’s Norton Commando.

The bike has a long-stroke 360 degree crankshaft with a modified balancer to dampen vibration. Accelerating away in first gear effortlessly sees me at 60km/h. Change up to second, continue accelerating and very quickly I am at 100km/h. Both occasions I was just approaching red line at around 7000rpm.

The smile increases so I punt on up to the old ton. Too easy, that is enough of that I think. Lucky I am on a private road. Very smooth indeed.

Kawasaki has not said a lot about the power of the W800 but really it’s all about the torque. It has risen to 60Nm but this power is reached between 2000-2500rpm, where the W650 was at around 5500rpm. This is where the bike feels so good. You can be cruising along at 60km/h in top gear (5th) and then just roll on.

She is doing about 3500rpm at 100km/h. Just humming. A heavy flywheel contributes nicely to this strong torque feeling in the low-mid range.

Wife’s approval

I decided to take the wife out for a spot of lunch and more importantly to get her to sign off on my W800. Now the wife is ‘only’ in the 60kg weight bracket, but combined with my 85kg I decide to crank up the rear suspension’s pre-load. It is 5-way adjustable and easy to use.

Again that is what the W800 is all about. There are no other suspension adjustments and that suits me fine. Modern bikes have so much adjustment these days, I have to admit I just want to get on with it and go riding. Sorry to all the fiddlers out there

Kawasaki W800

While on weight, the W800 is a fairly trim 216kg wet and I must say it is very easy to ride in heavy traffic. Anyway I threw the bike into some curvy stuff and the W800 did it all in its stride. Single disk up front and drum on the back has had a few people talking. Even two-up I found the brakes more than adequate. The tyres did the job and as I said a 19″ up front and 18″ on the rear.

I made some inquiries regarding 18″ rubber and there are plenty of tyre options there, despite all you 17″ lovers out there. I do love the rear valve curving outwards making it easy to get a pump onto.

Now the wife also loved the seat comfort and the bike also provides a couple of chromed pillion handles on each side. There are also hooks for luggage and provision to lock two helmets to the bike, the left one external, and the right one under the seat. The W800 is definitely an eye catcher and had people looking/commenting on its appearance wherever we rode the bike. The bike has an analogue tacho and speedo up front.

The speedo has a digital screen within which is located the time, trip meter and odometer. On the tacho you have the various warning lights.

The fuel tank holds 14 litres and something Kawasaki has mentioned is the first use of an external fuel pump. What this means, is you can certainly get 14 litres in the fuel tank as the pump would normally be within. Now fuel economy is something always dear to my heart. I loved that I could ride this bike to work all week, most of it being 80-100km speed limit.

After 270km the fuel light came on. I managed to get 11 litres of fuel in the tank. Well that equates to around 4l/100km or in classic W800 terms….70 miles per gallon.

Hello, fuel injection, how good is that? Running 95 octane.

The only drama I had with the bike all week was the mirrors tended to have a vibration between 70km/h-90km/h. Two comments noted from other riders were, “you should be looking forward and accelerate.” When I did get over 100km everything settled down. Taller riders will always have to consider distance between the seat and the pegs. You could be a little cramped. Wash up Look, I really enjoyed the Kawasaki W800.

For a traditional looking bike with modern technology such as fuel injection it really was a pleasure to ride. And who knows I may even be allowed to own one.

At a price of $11990 RRP plus ORC, the W800 is going to keep its competitors from the United Kingdom on their toes. It really is a lot of bang for your buck. If you want to personalise your W800 Kawasaki has a range of accessories and if you really want to have a crack let’s not forget companies like Deus Ex Machina who absolutely love the Kawasaki W series.

Kawasaki W800
Kawasaki W800
Kawasaki W800

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