2020 Kawasaki W800 First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Kawasaki announced a new W800 variant, the third model in the line joining the W800 Cafe and the W800 Street (offered in markets outside the U.S.). We expected a third variant for a while now, as it had shown up in various certification documents, but what’s odd is this W800 model is supposedly the “base” model, with more retro-styling to resemble the original 1966 Kawasaki W1. To be honest, I was kind of hoping for a scrambler variant, and it’s a little curious why the W800 didn’t come out first ahead of the Cafe and Street variants. Product strategy aside, let’s take a look at the new 2020 Kawasaki W800.

The W800 uses a 19-inch wire-spoke wheel up front, compared to the 18-inch wheels of the Street and Cafe variants. The larger wheel provides a more vintage feel, but isn’t as sporty as the other W800 variants, prioritizing light turning and straight-line stability over handling. The W800’s handlebar is set at a relaxed position, higher than the Cafe’s forward-leaning position, but not as upright as the handlebar of the Street.

While the Cafe and Street models had blacked-out engines, the W800 proudly shows off its engine with bright silvery chrome. The front and rear fenders, handlebar, foot controls, mirrors, headlight mount, fork, chain cover and oil filter cover provide further chrome highlights. Further adding to the vintage look are large, round orange turn signals.

The fuel tank has similar knee pads as the W800 Cafe but receives a chrome W badge. The W800 also gets a tuck & roll ribbed two-person seat with white piping around the edge and a center stand. As one final touch, the W800 also uses a different typeface on its round dual displays, because “why not?”

Otherwise, the W800 is mechanically similar to the other variants. They all share the same fuel-injected 773cc Parallel-Twin engine with a 360-degree crankshaft and a balancer shaft to dampen vibration. No performance figures were provided for the U.S. model, but in Europe, Kawasaki claims a peak output of 46.9 hp at 6000 rpm and 46.4 lb-ft. at 4800 rpm. The twin peashooter exhausts are reminiscent of the original W1, but meet modern emission requirements and are tuned for mid- to high-range performance. The engine is mated to a five-speed transmission, and an assist & slipper clutch.

The chassis consists of a double-cradle frame, a 41mm gaitered fork and dual spring preload-adjustable rear shocks. A single 320mm front disc is paired with a two-piston caliper while the rear wheel uses a single 270mm rotor. ABS is standard.

Other features include a 31.1-inch seat height, a claimed 496.1 pound curb weight, and a circular LED headlamp.

The 2020 Kawasaki W800 is priced at $9,199, compared to $9,799 for the W800 Cafe. The U.S. will only get the Candy Cardinal Red paint option while Europe gets a Metallic Dark Green version. At the moment, there is still no word about availability for the W800 Street (juxtaposed with the W800 below) which is offered in other markets including Canada, despite getting emission certifications with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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  • Laci Ludas Laci Ludas on Oct 29, 2019

    "2020 Kawasaki W800 First Look" Look what ? I have never seen one in store or on the road ever.

  • KLRJUNE . KLRJUNE . on Feb 04, 2020

    How tall is the rider on the bike in the photos? Does the bike fit a 6 footer?