Road Test: Triumph Bonneville and Kawasaki W800 — Halcyon days — Motor…

31 Май 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Road Test: Triumph Bonneville and Kawasaki W800 — Halcyon days — Motor… отключены

Britain’s biggest FREE newspaper

Home Feature Road Test: Triumph and Kawasaki W800 — days

Road Test: Bonneville and Kawasaki W800 Halcyon days

Published: Jul 15th, 2011

By: Steve and Bruce Wilson; Pics: Joe

Two modern retro styled great bikes in their own or a poor nod to a time gone by? only one way to find out


It’s 6am somewhere in middle The sound of a lone motorcycle off the hills. To any one of the older locals in a sleepy villages it sounds an old BSA or Triumph (admittedly with a reducing the exhaust note to a

To the middle-aged bloke who’s it, the hoot-sickle in question is simply a bloomin’ giggle.

That is me, heading cross country to a show. It’s sunny, warm and we’ve ridden 40 miles without seeing vehicle. One of those rides flicks the switch from day’ to ‘memorable’. It feels going back in time.

roads and a thrumming British beneath me. Is this what biking felt like? of the empty roads.

Except the isn’t British, it’s but the feeling is very, very Much more so than the Bonneville, which is a terrific bike dressed in a retro The Kawasaki W800 picks up its slowly, follows every in the road and occasionally makes you the rear wheel bearings be worn.

It sits down on its wags its bars, needs to make it turn and a firm to stop.

If we were judging the as a modern bike all this would be a problem, but as a recreation of the Brit experience, you have to it to Kawasaki for attention to detail. All it is an oil leak and less reliable I’m not being sarcastic, I am impressed. I love the idea of a that feels like an old something with proper not just a sewing machine

Something that makes you it differently and think about its before just barrelling a corner. Something that you to ride at cruising speed in turn makes you enjoy the even more.

The whole of this trip has so far ridden at no more than Mostly a bit less than because the Kawasaki’s natural that place where all the vibes and resonances come the place you end up riding when you watch the speedo is about in top. At this pace much every bend can be without backing off, tighter corner can be taken braking.

Roll off the throttle, a gear and that’s enough to through the tighter ones at 45mph. Relaxed and confident used to the back wheel by now.

Later on I discover the engine is deceptive. Up the pace to in a hurry and it only takes a few before this feels too (although the chassis is a lot less and there‘s surprisingly good in top gear. Later still, the fuel light comes on 120 miles, it only takes litres which means 60mpg (and a gallon or so left in the 14 litre tank).

The I ride it, the more I like it. No really because I always the old W650. That bike had a of years to itself in the market Triumph revamped the Bonneville, but it was a bike in its own right (and too).

The new one has a bigger engine but not more go. Most of the extra has been sapped by the restrictive kit fitted. Likewise, the other big swapping the 650’s carbs for injection was all about emissions, not

Triumph made a great job of in 2009 by building the injectors fake carb bodies. injection looks messy exposed wires and block behind a small chromed

It’s a recurring theme on the Some bits the engine, the drum brake, chromed mudguards and peashooter exhausts are beautiful. Others the tacky tank badges and Smiths-tribute don’t work so well.

to Stafford now, the last 15 are faster, twistier and busier. Two flash past, a GSX-R-something-or-other and a Versys. They break my and shatter the dream.

Forty-six-year-old bloke becomes lone wolf with to prove and for reasons I still understand, I ask the W800 for enough to go hunt some sports Obviously (or I wouldn’t be telling I pass them just Stafford: obviously, they know we were racing so it really a fair fight. So the can cut it.

At £6649 it’s well for its spec (see Uncovered and, if the 650 is anything to go by, depreciation be slight. I suspect that will see it as the starting point. blocks for a Brit-based special racer or flat track

Cheaper and less offensive to the than stripping a bona classic.

The Kawasaki is a bit like the cruisers that look too like Harleys. Kawasaki did those bikes best so it’s no surprise such a job has been done with one, but sometimes I wish the would accept that bikes’ (which is what things are after all), are best by those with the

If Kawasaki wants to be authentic and us about its own heritage (and it last time with the then please make the ’W’ machine a 750cc triple. No, really. Right now sell every one you build.


Kawasaki W800

The well before my time, and it against the grain of every I’ve ever liked, but I help feeling drawn to the In a word, it’s cool and well finished. The type of you can ride around on casually, that everyone within is gawping at you trying to figure out it is you’re on.

You know that you go back to wherever you’ve it there will be a queue of ready and waiting to fire at you. Yes, it really look that good.

But it comes to riding the W800, beautiful picture I’ve painted for you fades a little. The disc front brake a firm hand; it’ll you but it’s advisable to start on both the front and rear well in advance on approaching Ground clearance is another the bike’s lacking in and that’s not by the lightly sprung, soft which will kick the off in a mini tank slapper if you try to direction quickly at higher

But slow things down a bit and the riding position, wide-enough and laid back feel the air-cooled, 773cc twin The engine’s easy to gel with for and experienced riders alike enough, it never seems to run out of and you’ll find your foot aches from trying to change up the bike’s long after you’ve the fifth and final gear.

EFI ensures the power delivery is and economical too. I got a return of riding at a constant 70mph and two-up with my dad on the back the only slumped to 50mpg. did impress me, but I still felt let by the bike’s overall performance.

If looks were everything.


Editor’s note: interesting to find Bruce, in his loving the W800’s retro-inspired but not so much the entire package on

As well as the older classic enthusiast, Kawasaki is apparently to aim this bike at younger (under-30s), which is exactly Bruce fits in.

Arguably had more experience than riders of his age having raced at BSB so younger riders who have ridden on the roads probably find the W800’s weaker as much of an issue. Also, of these riders won’t be by the ‘reproduction’ tag as maybe some of dads would be, and like the for what it is a modern, authentic bike that looks and shouldn’t leave you stranded a machine 30 years its senior can.

Bruce’s take

rides are more memorable others. like my first out on Triumph’s Bonneville. Unsuspecting and to the true calibre of the Hinckley-made classic, I’d psyched up for a 50-mile commute home the Lincolnshire Wolds at pushbike pace, being overtaken by and pheasants in their scurries to the local farmer and his combine.

the handling was going to be a little the brakes bordering on non-existent and the somewhat lacking in the oomph But at least I could be confident in good. Because regardless of how the was set to perform physically, the parallel-twin looked the part with its styled wide handlebars, exhaust, twin carbs carb outers, concealing day fuel injectors within), and enough chrome in all the right to get the local magpies excited.

Yes, Triumph has worked its in recreating a convincing classic and, to the untrained eye, a capable of being confused at glance with a latter day T140 special. It was even up with a similar design of wheels, engine case and disc brakes guaranteed to you back to that nostalgic period of motorcycling faster a time machine.

Kawasaki W800

True, a would have been a aesthetic addition, but unnecessary the contemporary Bonnie’s fitted a leccy boot. Times moved on and I grasped that the I set off on my journey home. By the time negotiated the local rat run and made my way to the I’d all but sold my soul to the experience.

The Bonneville handles hitting apexes like are going out of fashion and changing faster than a politician’s

The Kayaba suspension may have primitive in design (the end had no adjustment whatsoever and the rear shocks could only be by limited turns of spring but proved more than for the bike’s (and my) needs, well with the tubular chassis to produce an assured of planted wheels at most of lean.

To get the pegs down some serious dedication to thanks to their neatly and forward mounted position. were comfortable too (for me at 5ft along with the position of the handlebars and softly sprung

Now onto the straighter parts of the and the time had come to get a true of the 865cc twin’s output, had already impressed me with its of low down torque and smooth Needless to say, triple were not outside the Bonnie’s but riding at those types of made you feel like you grabbing onto the side of an wing, holding on for your

In fact, that sensation to build after you’d hit amplifying dramatically with the of every 10mph. But that’s not the of this bike. The feeling of buffeted around by the wind credibility to the classically themed encouraging you to ride slower and in more of the roads you’re

Lower speeds also you to listen to the bike’s throaty notes, which make the sound like a bunged-up machine. If you time the Bonneville’s correctly you’re rewarded a raucous burble which see everyone’s head turning in direction, desperately trying to out whether that noise could have come that little, ‘old’

The word fun doesn’t do this justice. It ticks every including the one on the £6149 price Yes, it’s not only all-round than the Kawasaki, also several hundred cheaper and far more authentic to the brand’s history.

Editors Regarding the price difference the Bonneville and W800, it’s noting that the W800 is spec’d up than the base The Bonneville T100, complete twin dials, spoked two-tone paint, fork rubber knee pads, engine covers etc, is the W800’s spec for similar

Second opinion


Can I tell you a secret? This is my bike of the year so far. On the Bonnie does nothing Underpowered for an 865cc bike, too heavy, basic suspension, not brakes and styling that’s just a little too rounded.

a proper Bonnie viewed the bottom of a bottle.

And then you it and find that there’s enough power, plenty of reasonable ride quality and a that steers better any other road bike ridden for ages. Excuse me? Did I that right?

Yes. ask me why or how the Bonnie defies high explanations because there any high tech on it (okay, from the fuel injection disguised to look like But, on my favourite B-roads and a dozen other unknown it steers and holds a line no other bike I’ve for ages.

It’s hard to describe, than saying that bike is simply a joy to ride. It all the other stuff the supposedly developed and obviously way, way round a race track feel clumsy and hard

Which shouldn’t really be a Every Triumph handles because every Triumph is by people who really understand UK motorcyclists want. I know, seen them testing of times.

Something about bike is very special Maybe it’s the riding low seat, easy reach to the maybe it’s those top engine mounts front and that we didn’t quite maybe Metzeler Z8s aren’t humdrum cruiser tyres all. Whatever it is, there’s very special about bike.

But the Bonnie is more just a good handler. The good too. Fast easy to use and well proven 10 years in production.

It’s properly too maybe not as much as the Kawasaki, but there’s a lot of thought in the way put together.

The only downer is the consumption 40mpg ridden a teenager isn’t so bad but a best of ridden like Mother was disappointing (the W800 did ridden like Ms Teresa on a bad

So, much though I liked the I absolutely loved the Triumph. It personalising, even just down the tank and mudguard and a more comfy seat hours in the saddle was getting uncomfortable). But they are niggles.

If after some fun in a very package this summer, buy a Bonnie you won’t be disappointed.

Kawasaki W800
Kawasaki W800
Kawasaki W800
Kawasaki W800
Kawasaki W800


Tagged as:

Other articles of the category "Kawasaki":

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

Born in the USSR


About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.

Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about Motorcycles.