Joining the Z900RS and Z900RS Cafe in Kawasaki’s lineup of retro-styled motorcycles for 2019 is the all-new W800 Cafe. Whereas the Z900RS is a modern interpretation of Kawasaki’s legendary Z1 in-line four-cylinder superbike from the early ’70s, the W800 Cafe is inspired by Kawasaki’s W1 from the mid ’60s, which shared an air-cooled parallel twin and many styling elements with classic British bikes of that era.
Having a “W” in its name links the W800 Cafe to the W1, W2 and W3 predecessors from the Golden Age of Motorcycles, but it’s also a kissing cousin of the W650 that was introduced for 2000 and was a remarkably faithful interpretation of a classic Triumph Bonneville. (Triumph launched its all-new Bonneville a year later, sealing the W650’s fate—Kawasaki dropped it from the lineup after just two years.)
Loping within the W800 Cafe’s double-cradle frame is a 773cc air-cooled parallel twin with an undersquare bore/stroke (77 x 83mm), a bevel-gear-driven SOHC, four valves per cylinder and fuel injection. It has a 360-degree firing interval and peashooter-style mufflers tuned for a throaty exhaust note. The 5-speed transmission is mated to an assist-and-slipper clutch and final drive is via chain.
A 41mm, non-adjustable fork and dual shocks adjustable for spring preload handle suspension duties, while single disc brakes front and rear with standard ABS slow things down. Spoked, 18-inch wheels roll on tube-type tires with a traditional tread pattern.
Befitting its name, the W800 has a sporty, café racer-inspired riding position with low M-shaped clubman handlebars and a two-color, two-up stepped seat that looks like a solo saddle with a rear cowl. Other classic café racer styling elements include a round headlight, a front cowl, fork gaiters and analog gauges.
The 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe is available in Metallic Magnesium Gray/Galaxy Silver, and MSRP is $9,799.