No later than last week, people at Kawasaki Italy confirmed they were bringing a new W800 at EICMA. What we didn’t suspect, is that the model would premiere in Tokyo first. Way to surprise us, Kawasaki! 

Unlike what some sources suspected the new version of the W would be like, suggesting a scrambler would be a logical addition, Kawasaki opted for simplicity. The new W800 is W800 only—no Café, no Street, and certainly no Scrambler. 

The W in the nude disappeared from the lineup for a year to undergo its transformation while the Café and the Street (not available stateside) kept the ball rolling. The basic W is now ready for its closeup. Clad in a gorgeous dark green livery complete with contrasting chrome accents, the new W800 retakes its title as leader of the pack. (If you like the green, however, tough luck: the model is only offered in red in the U.S.).

In stark contrast with the Z H2 and Ninja ZX-25R it shares the Tokyo stage with, the W tones things down and reminds us that despite its bright colors and mean sportbikes, Kawasaki isn’t all about ludicrous speeds and performance. It also does everyday, casual riding really well. 

Gallery: 2020 Kawasaki W800

Look-wise, the W800 is actually almost identical to the Street but with a lower handlebar—a subtle difference that is likely to make a considerable difference in ergonomics. The entry-level W also adds a braced front fender for a little retro flavor and features, of course, the dual same pea-shooter exhausts and single-piece saddle as the Street. The basic W800 is also heavier than counterparts, weighing in at 496lb (versus 489 and 485 for the Café and the Street respectively).

The W is mounted on a set of elegant 18-inch spoke wheels for a perfectly retro look. Speaking of retro, the design of the bike with the abundance of chrome and the black knee pads on the tank is reminiscent of the original W1 introduced in 1965. 

The W800 uses the same 773cc twin already available in the Café that produces 47 horsepower and 46.4 lb-ft of torque, mated to a five-speed transmission. A 41mm fork and a pair of preload adjustable shocks provide the support while a two-piston calipers with 320mm and 270mm discs front and back give the W its stopping power. 

The 2020 Kawasaki W800 is now listed on the Kawasaki U.S. Website and pricing is set at $9,199, $600 less than the Café version. 


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