2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe | First Look Review

2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe
Inspired by the legendary W1, the 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe is a modern interpretation of a classic British café racer.

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.

Read our 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS first ride review

2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe
The 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe has clubman handlebars and a stepped two-up seat that looks like a solo saddle with a rear cowl.

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.)

2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe gauges
The 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe has a modern spin on classic analog gauges, with contemporary faces and an inset digital display.

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.

2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe headlight
Café racer bona fides on the 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe include a round headlight (with LED illumination), a sleek front cowl and fork gaiters.

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.

Check out Rider’s Guide to New/Updated Street Motorcycles for 2019

15 COMMENTS

  1. We’ll lets see…a Triumph knockoff with last years styling, air/oil cooling, non-adj forks & barely there shocks. IS there anything orig here? So does Kaw really expect this thing to sell? If it doesn’t have a killer price, what’s to buy? If I wanted a Tri, I’d buy one! Good luck Kaw …I think you’re gonna need it! Happy New Year!

  2. 5 speed transmission, tubed tires, 18 wheels, single front disc, non adjustable shocks and you have the balls to call it a modern bike, sounds more like an ad than usual here. Umm, ah. No.

  3. I don’t think this Kawi’s going to dissuade somebody from buying a Triumph Thruxton, It’s not meant to. Its appeal is meant to remind us who grew up in the era where any competent ride could be “cafe’d”
    Relocate those mirrors to the bar ends & they might just sell a few.

  4. i wish Kawasaki would have left it more a standard ,with normal bars and peg placement. Nice to have fuel injection, but tubed tires? No thanks, some things are best left in the past. Lets hope kawasaki comes out with a revised, standardized version without the bikini fairing, low bars, tubes and flat brown paint for less cash.

  5. This bike makes the new Royal Enfield 650 twins look like a bargain. The tube type tires are the deal breaker for me. My CB400F would run away from the original W bikes on any curvy road, and aircooling with tube tires has no appeal anymore.

  6. Price, price, price! I hope RE outsells them big time. Why pay $3K more for tubes, air cooled, cut-rate suspension, etc. Not saying it’s not a good bike. But either make it truly modern and get down to $8.5K- sell a bunch; or sell it at under $6K, and sell a bigger bunch. Right now, a year or 2 old Ninja (saw low mi. $4K) or Versys 650 is the best buy in mid-size parallel twins, by far. Add taller windshield, tank bag, Get a faster, better handling, reliable/easy maint., thoroughly modern, thousand dealers, and more bike. Just not the retro look. C’mon Kawi, you can do it! And Rider can soon give us a road test to tell us the Kawi is $3K better– or not.

  7. I would pay $700 more and get a KTM 790. I was around and riding those old bikes. No sense in buying one now with all the great bikes out there and for less money. Hell I bet the Z-400 from Kawasaki is a better bike and you could buy two of them for that money. Like someone said when there are left overs and $6000 I would think of it.

  8. Yeah….but it looks bitchin’! I already scratched my retro itch with a 2018 T120, but I would pull over to look at one of these. I hope they sell. There just aren’t enough motorcycles on American roads.

  9. Totally agree with many of you on the tube tires. Just got rid of my tubes on my R9. Love Kawis but no need to go backwards to retro. The R9 and Truxton are good examples.

  10. Dear worthless and weak people,

    Nothing wrong with tube tires. They’re easy to fix on the road and they don’t have rim leaks. If you plug a non-tube
    tire, you need a new tire. A tube can be filled with Green Slime, with no damage to the tire.

    As for the competition, have you ever set the valves on a modern Triumph? People who are afraid of tubes would collapse into a warm puddle of tears if faced with that job. The beveled gear driven cam on this Kawasaki is a mechanical marvel! No push rods and no timing chains with their infamous tensioners. This Kawasaki W800 is probably a hundred thousand mile bike.

    Take it from someone who put 83,500 miles on a 1967 CB450 Honda Black Bomber, this Kawasaki W800 is a
    classic to behold.

    Maybe you guys, who shiver at the thought of a tube, should just get a motor scooter and a new backpack and forget about dangerous motorcycles. Your helicopter parents wouldn’t approve anyway.

  11. If you plug a tubeless tyre properly it will go on until it’s worn out. The tyre industry loves fools who replace at the first puncture.

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