The 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe oozes old school charisma and genuine character. It’s also bundled with modern features. From its unique brown, silver and black color scheme to its peashooter exhaust, it pays homage to the W1, which first appeared in 1966.
The W1 was one of Kawasaki’s first steps to becoming a manufacturer of large displacement motorcycles and is part of the heritage of the brand that has led us to enjoy well known models such as the Z10, the Ninja range and the new beast, the H2.
Although the W800 Cafe is no match for their super sport range in terms of performance, it is still a very capable bike in its own right, and features a 4-stroke vertical twin motor that produces 773cc of displacement, with strong low to mid-range torque.
The addition of fuel Injection on this bike helps deliver clean, efficient power delivery and the ride is smooth and modern. The motor is matched to an easy to shift 5-speed gearbox for simplicity.
The rich engine pulse is a feature of this motor and helps remind the rider that they are piloting a fine twin-engined machine. This here is perhaps the reason this bike is so easy to fall in love with.
Everything about this bike is simple and designed for the rider to focus on and enjoy the riding experience. There’s no need for anything unnecessary on the W800. There’s a speedo and a tacho so you can monitor speed and rev range but that is about it.
There is no fuel gauge, just a simple light comes on to tell you when you need to give the bike a drink. Indicator lights let you know when your blinkers are on. No distractions, just you, the bike, and the open road.
Handling is assisted by the all-new double cradle frame that forms the backbone of the W800. Utilising a sturdy 50mm square section backbone and a stiff lightweight swing-arm, this helps gives the Kawasaki a stable and well balanced ride.
Larger diameter front fork suspension with stiffer springs front and rear complement the new frame and keep the Cafe racer pinned to the road. The most satisfying part of this ride to us here though is the capability of the bike.
Because it feels so light and nimble, the suspension and frame combination provides a great deal of confidence for the rider to throw into the corners. It’s got good lean angles, and good braking capability (ABS standard) further enhance rider confidence.
On the road between Somersby and Kulnurra on the Central coast we found ourselves having a ball as we threw the W800 into tight and sweeping bends, the Kawasaki teasing us that it could do more each time we tasked it with another corner.
The 18-inch black accented rims, front and rear, that it rides on help create a true vintage feel, while the classic silver front fairing that houses the LED headlight on the W800 gives it a real retro stance, which really provides a huge part of its character.
Silver W graphics on the brown fuel tank are eye-catching, and a silver fuel tank lid is perched atop the tank and features an old school key lock for security. Black leg pads grace the side of the tank so you can grip tight when cornering.
It all adds to the cafe racer attitude. The peashooter muffler design is integral to the design, look and feel of the W800 too. Not only is it simple and elegant but the long tail pipes add to the old school look of the bike.
That said, if we owned the 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe , we’d be off to the accessory store to get a little louder. Kawasaki does offer a range of aftermarket items to customise your new ride too.
And let’s face it, with such a cool bike, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to personalise it, especially given it only comes in one colour. We’d love to see Kawasaki add some more classic colour options in the future though.
Pricing for the 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe starts at $13,500 ride away. The bike offers exceptional value for a very cool, very retro, well-rounded cafe racer.
Our test bike was provided by Kawasaki Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe, contact your local Kawasaki dealer.