Kawasaki W800 Model Joins 2020 Lineup

800cc standard to complement W800 Café in the Retro Classic category.

Kawasaki expands its “W” series with the addition of the W800 standard model for 2020. Look ma, no café fairing.
Kawasaki expands its "W" series with the addition of the W800 standard model for 2020. Look ma, no café fairing.Kawasaki Motors Corp.

When Kawasaki rolled out the W800 Café last year, we thought it a bit odd there was no base model—you know, one without the café accents—to accompany it in the series. Here was an obviously accessorized bike but no stand-alone standard model to compare it to.

Well, Kawasaki's remedied the situation for 2020, now announcing the addition of the "all-new" W800 standard. Don't let that "all-new" phrase throw you though—just like the W800 Café, the W800 rocks a feature set that's firmly rooted in the past. It mimics the simplicity of its Café-d out brethren, sporting that same 773cc air-cooled vertical twin, five speeds, spoke wheels, and tube tires, all there to pay homage to its 1960s predecessor, the famed Kawasaki W1.

Retro redux: Like the W800 Café, the new W800 is an homage to the legendary 1960s-era Kawasaki W1, complete with spoke wheels and air-cooled vertical-twin engine.
Retro redux: Like the W800 Café, the new W800 is an homage to the legendary 1960s-era Kawasaki W1, complete with spoke wheels and air-cooled vertical-twin engine.Kawasaki Motors Corp.

2020 Kawasaki W800 Vs. W800 Café

If you're familiar with the retro-chic of the Café model, you'll know the basics of the straight-up W too. Both 800s are carefully crafted to reference the past without sacrificing (much) modern comfort, and both incorporate a new steel double cradle frame with a stout 50mm square-section backbone, updated coilover dual shocks out back (adjustable for spring preload), an assist and slipper clutch, and an LED headlamp. The new W800 brings a larger 19-inch front wheel to the mix and slightly larger fuel capacity, but otherwise they're nearly identical, spec-wise. And both share that coolly classic engine design and clever component arrangements that will continue to set them apart in the modern classic category.

Fork gaiters, tank pads, steel fenders, bevel gear cam—no classic touch was left unturned in the making of the new 800. We happen to think it looks better than the Café.
Fork gaiters, tank pads, steel fenders, bevel gear cam—no classic touch was left unturned in the making of the new 800. We happen to think it looks better than the Café.Kawasaki Motors Corp.

The aforementioned 773cc air-cooled vertical-twin engine has four valves per head, and is fuel injected so there's a reasonable mix of old and new going on here. Kawasaki says the configuration offers plenty of low-midrange performance and torque, and we'd have to agree after testing it in the W800 Café. Dual 34mm throttle bodies are positioned to maintain a straight line from the airbox to the cylinders, while subthrottles help keep noise down and provide better engine response. The bevel gear cam is the cool detail here, and a sweet complement to the cylinder head with a silver cover that contrasts nicely against the blacked-out engine, while the fuel-injection parts have also been tastefully hidden to keep the engine bay looking clean. A five-speed transmission with chain final drive transfers power to the ground, and the retro vibes carry through to the rear as well, with skinny, long twin peashooter mufflers punctuating the classic look and tuned to wring out the sound of the signature vertical-twin 360-degree crankshaft configuration (which was also used in Kawasaki's original W1). Same as on the Café.

Ergonomics on the W800 are more relaxed than the Café model, with an easier reach to the bars and what looks like a comfier seat too.
Ergonomics on the W800 are more relaxed than the Café model, with an easier reach to the bars and what looks like a comfier seat too.Kawasaki Motors Corp.

The overall look is nicely balanced, with stout 41mm fork tubes wearing gaiters, chrome tank emblems, and knee pads on the richly painted tank—even the large LED turn signals get orange lenses to lock down the classic styling. The ergos are more upright on the W800 than the Café, with a long, comfortable tuck-and-roll seat with ribbed padding to sink into, and a front edge shaped to ensure an easy reach to the ground. Thumbs-up for the adjustable clutch and front brake levers that’ll allow riders to fine-tune their positions.

We can send another round of kudos to Kawasaki for nailing the throwback styling on the W800 (as it did with the W800 Café), while still managing to tastefully fold in some modern features. In fact, we’re digging the looks of this base model even more than its Café roommate, and either way, it’s cool to have your choice of Ws, the W800 or the W800 Café.

A tuck-and-roll bench saddle offers plenty of room for rider and passenger, and you can also swap in any number of accessories to have it your way.
A tuck-and-roll bench saddle offers plenty of room for rider and passenger, and you can also swap in any number of accessories to have it your way.Kawasaki Motors Corp.

Kawasaki says it has released a number of KGA parts (that’s Kawasaki Genuine Accessories to you and me) to go along with this new ride, so riders can trick out their W800 as they see fit. Among the choices are chrome brackets and engine guards, grip heaters, luggage rack—in fact they seem identical to the accessories available for the W800 Café. Kawasaki says even the seats are interchangeable, making the Café perch an easy swap for riders looking to sport things up a bit.

Another bonus is the price: The new 2020 Kawasaki W800 will ring in at a suggested $9,199, or $600 less than the Café model, but is available only in Candy Cardinal Red.

2020 Kawasaki W800 Specifications

Engine 773cc, SOHC, air-cooled, 4-stroke vertical twin; 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x stroke 77.0 x 83.0mm
Compression ratio 8.4:1
Fueling Fuel injection w/ dual 34mm throttle bodies
Transmission/final drive 5-speed/chain
Wheelbase 57.7 in.
Rake/trail 26°/3.7 in.
Seat height 31.1 in.
Front tire 100/90-19
Rear tire 130/80-18
Front suspension 41mm telescopic fork; 5.1-in. travel
Rear suspension Dual shocks adjustable for spring preload; 4.2-in. travel
Front brake 2-piston caliper, 320mm disc w/ ABS
Rear brake 2-piston caliper, 270mm disc w/ ABS
Fuel capacity 4.0 gal.
Curb weight 496 lb.