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Kawasaki W800

Kawasaki W800

4.7 from 7 reviews

See the Best Naked Bikes in 2019 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.

Great Retro Bike

I have owned my W800 for a couple of years and done a few k's on it now. Mine is not the latest model.
The newer model has ABS and slipper clutch + a few other goodies. Even without this, mine is a great bike.
It is a bike that you can fall in love with. It isn't the fastest. Nor am I. Having said that it is more than capable of losing your licence for you if you chose to ride over the speed limit. Importantly however, the bike feels great to ride at the speed limit. The bike is comfortable, reminiscent of older brit bikes. But unlike a older brit bikes it doesn't leak oil and (touch wood) mine has never broken down. Like an older brit bike it is easy and no drama to do the servicing myself. The bike does have a lovely vibe through the bars to let you know you are riding a 60's technology inspired twin.
The older models do not have the ABS of the latest ones, however the single disk front/drum rear stop sufficiently without savage braking of some bikes that make ABS more relevant.
One criticism is the lack of fuel guage, or even a reserve switch, however a light on the dash warns that fuel is running low, and a trip meter means that I have never had issue with running out of fuel. I have read thad fuel range from the 14 litre tanks is approaching 280km however I usually need to stop, fuel and stretch my legs before that distance.
The W800 doesn't have a name starting with T on the badge, however a little bit of reading about this bike and the new bonnevilles, you realise that this one is more true to original models heritage than the other one.
The bevel drive has a lovely whine to let you know that it is there.
Aesthetically the bike is beautiful.
It is possible to (lightly) tour on the bike, a seat bag works perfectly for an overnight trip. There are even hook down points built on the bike.
I love mine and can see it sitting in the shed under a cover for many years to come, taken out for a leisurely ride through the country on a nice day. For this, the bike is perfect.

Purchased in March 2017.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Mileage 5,000 km
Acceleration / Power
Fuel Efficiency
Gear Shifting

Kawasaki w 800 se

Just brought one new in late January 2019, she is getting the 1000 km service as I write & i have to wait until tomorrow to go, well just riding. What a wonderful bike to just ride, everything just falls to hand, the seating position is good & the view from the seat, across the deep paint & water-based decals to the old style clocks & the headlight that juts out is a thing to behold, like wow & then you smile about it. Very much a lightweight bike easy to ride; gearbox is all good, positive neutral finder a plus, clutch & front brake have adjustable leavers, front brake needs a little more pressure than previous bike but breaks in over time according to the dealer (whom also owned one for 6 years). it takes about 10,000 km to break in properly according to other owners, with 54000, 60,000 & 75000 km each & you can just sit around the bike & just look @ her before of after the ride & just smile, more smile per ride than any other bike I've owned & I thought that my mighty gs 500 was The bike so with this w 800 I am glad to be proven wrong, most definitely a keeper. Brought from West side Kawasaki Tamworth NSW who have treated me more like a person than just a customer, & the patience showing me how the bike works etc when I just wanted to get out there & ride was good. the first 1000 km tells you that I am smitten with her, hope she loves me forever, ha ha ha.

Purchased in January 2019 for $13,500.00.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Acceleration / Power
Fuel Efficiency
Gear Shifting

Excellent to modify

One of the easiest bikes to modify to improve look and handeling. Great comeback of the classic W. This bike will give anyone who enjoys a project a lot of options. Easy tune ups and installations of improved parts. I have replaced mudguards, food pegs, mirrors, speedo, handelbar, leavers... You name it. It's looking now better than one of these customs that you buy in a shop. Great project bike for someone who once to get into it... and yes it rides well too.

Date PurchasedSep 2007

W800 : a realistic assessment

I read a lot before I got this bike. However, the problem with motorcycle reviews is that the riders tend to go into la-la land as soon as they turn on the ignition. You ask a guy about an old Ducati and he waxes lyrical about it. However, in reality, the electrics never work. "It's the romance of the bike" as the saying goes.

Obviously, there's little romance about the W800 but there is a little. It is a semi-retro bike which is in the process of going out of production. It's based on a pretty popular W650 which was fundamentally just a smaller bike and has been pretty successful in the earlier part of this century.

The biggest difference between the two bikes is the W800 is fuel-injected and it is a big difference, as I found out. Fuel injection is digital which means that the fuel is on and off. Carburettors are analogue, which is far less binary. Crucially, acceleration is also analogue. It's a steadily increasing thing. So is deceleration and you dont want a motorcycle to suddenly stop when you back off the throttle.

Now obviously the fuel injection has been made to be progressive to some degree by various feedback systems around the bike that smooth out the on-off nature of the throttle response. However, the problem remains and is most apparent when the bike is decelerating, accelerating and just meandering around in low revs.

The problem would seem to be worse if you put some loud unbaffled exhaust pipes on the bike. I can only say "seem" because I've never ridden a W800 with original pipes but I assume that the restrictive nature of the original exhausts richens up the mixture when the throttle is backed off or if the bike is coasting, and this smooths out the ride.

As I've subsequently found out post-buying the bike, there is a significant industry involved in addressing the fuel injection problem of the bike. The "fixes" revolve around modifying the mapping of the fuel injection or the less invasive approach of fiddling with the temperature feedback to the ECU.

So after all of that, what is the bike like? Well after the fix, it's great. It's an upright seating position that is perfect for legal riding i.e riding under the speed limit. The motor is pretty smooth, although there will always be people who want some sensory feedback to tell them that they are legends.

Personally, I dont like the original tyres which remind me of how old car tyres used to react when they came into contact with melbourne's tramlines.....well not that bad.

I like it. I'm old and I dont jump off planes or surf wild breaks. It's very relevant to know these things when you're reading a review of a motorcycle. I was originally a little disappointed about the rideability of the bike when I got it because of the fuel injection issue. However, it has been sorted out about 70% by the cheaper less-invasive mod and I can live with it now. I can always put the original pipes back on and it will probably ride like a dream and sound like a sewing machine. It's a question of balance, of priorities.

Date PurchasedMar 2017
I forgot to add. The sitting position is perfect for someone who is taller than about 172cm, which is pretty short. The quality of the bike appears to be pretty good. The guy who had it before me didn't spend his time polishing it but there's no traces of rust after 5 years.If you're interested in buying one of these, you will need to plug up the clean air system. This dumps air into the exhaust manifold on deceleration. It is meant to burn spent petrol before it goes out the exhaust - to stop pollution. It needs plugging with an ordinary marble and that is the fix that i was looking for in my first post. If you buy one, message me and I'll put you onto the experts.Just an update, I have removed all the mods. It still has the staintune pipes. After a few thousand km, the bike is running better. It had only done 4000km in 5 years. It was hardly run in. I'm happy with it now and would add another half star if I had that option.

Great, authentic 'classic' bike

I have owned mine for about 6 months now and am loving it. Ill admit, I was very nervous laying down a large sum of money on a new bike but I have not had any regrets thus far. Its very reliable, comfortable and well made. Unlike a new Bonnieville, every think is chrome and metal as it should be! Its not the fastest out there but it is very capable with lots of torque and the ability to pull away in any gear. Its not about speed with this - its all about the look and feel. I've had many strangers come up to me and have a chat about it.

Ive used it literally every sunny day since Ive had it and have had no issues what so ever. Gets about 180 klm in city traffic to a 12 litre tank (leaving more left over for reserve).

Buy this bike if your like me and would love a classic but dont have time for the repairs and maintenance.
Style, quality, reliability, solidness (very few plastic parts), easy to enjoy
Quiet exhaust,

1 comment
Thought I would update 5 years on. Still love the bike. I've had no reliability issues what so ever. Only things I've done is change the oil, filter, brakes and tyres. Still happy I got it.

Simply gorgeous

Bought one in NZ, sept 2012. A simple bike for simpler times. Works best at a unhurried speed, with no destination in mind. Screen, panniers will spoil the look in my opinion and there are better suited bikes around. But if you just want something that makes you smile everytime you ride it and have strangers stop to compliment you on your bike, this is it. A keeper.
Useful torque means no need to constantly change gears around town.
Not built for speed or touring in comfort.

The best executed retro ever!

I have had my W800 since January and it is the most enjoyable bike I have ever owned.Kawasaki got the retro look and feel almost perfectly,the only dissappointments are the overly quiet mufflers hiding that beautiful 360 degree parallel twin sound and the cheap looking cover on the left side injector body but both these problems are easily fixed with after market replacements.

They managed to get maximum torque down to 2500 RPM which makes this one of the easiest to ride bikes ever and if you're doing at least 70 KPH there is no need to drop out of top gear so you can relax like you would on a cruiser but if you feel like a bit of spirited riding it's relatively light weight and good handling mean you can keep up with most bikes on a winding road so you get the best of both worlds in one bike.

The build quality for a bike in this price range is outstanding and I think Kawasaki went out of their way to give retro enthusiasts a high quality product.
The authentic retro look and feel and build quality, great fuel economy, if it's any thing like theW650 - good resale value.
Overly quiet mufflers.

1 comment
Still have my W800 after six years and still very happy with it. I put Staintune exhaust pipes on it and a decent left injector cover from webike and it looks, sounds and performs just the way I want. The paint is still perfect and it still looks like new and I'm always getting congratulated on the great "restoration" lol. If you like classic British twins from the sixties but don't want the hassles that go with keeping them on the road this bike is for you.

Questions & Answers

I will probably change to Pirelli Sport demon in the next few days but I am considering Pilot Activs. Anyone got any thought about whether either are an improvement on the TTs?
2 answers
I got 12,000 KM out of the original TT100s and then fitted Pilot Activs. I got 18,000 KM out of them and have just fitted a new set because I found they get good wear, they handle great, and unlike the TTs, the rear tyre keeps it's round profile as it wears. I never ride in the rain so I don't know how they perform on wet roads but being Michelins I assume they would be up to scratch.Thanks for your response. I still havent got new tyres. The wear figures that you gave arent surprising. The TTs are meant to be sticky and soft. The roundness of the tyre is interesting. The softness of the TTs might explain them wearing flat.... Both my TTs are original so are 7 years old. The front one has age cracks and is noticeably low on tread. The rear surprisingly is less worn. I've only had the bike for 18 months so I'm not sure what "good" TTs are like. I'm starting to think that I am going to replace the front only with a TT.....but I might change my mind in 5 minutes.

How does this bike handle short hwy trips (as a daily commute -25km each way)? Maximum speed I’ll be going is the legal speed - 100 to 110 Koh. Good for lane splitting in slower city stuff? Cameron
4 answers
Excellent, especially with different tyres (I'm not a fan of the Dunlop TT OEM tyres). Longest journey for me in a single day is over 650km with small holdall (3-4 days away). Longer legs are doable but quite tiring due to vibrations, lack of wind protection. Still get off the bike with a smile at how capable it is.I agree with the lack of wind protection and also the upright riding position makes higher speed a little breezy. However the speed limit is ok. I find it pretty light steering for a bike that weighs around 200kg dry.... I think that what it is. It has a low centre of gravity or it feels that way. I dont like the TT tyres either and I'm getting Pirellis this week.It's great for day trips but for a long trip over several days with luggage you would be better off with a purpose built tourer with panniers. It's maximum torque is at 2,500 RPM so it's great in traffic and it's slim enough to lane split with ease. As a bonus you'll get 25 KM per litre or 70 MPG on the open road and not much worse in traffic if you use the torque correctly and don't rev it hard, which you don't really have to with it's long stroke engine.

Has anyone experienced high frequency vibration through the throttle grip? I'm putting it down to pump cavitation because I can't think of anything else. It doesn't do it every time strangely enough & I keep getting fobbed off with, "well it's a parrallel twin what do you expect".....& it's painful.
3 answers
If you mean when you turn the ignition on and the throttle moves it's just the ECU adjusting the injector idle setting but if you mean while actually riding I get a bit of h f tingle in my hands but nothing like the old British bikes without balancers. W800s also have weights inside the ends of the handlebars to reduce vibration so check that the spot weld hasn't broken. If it's only happening on the throttle grip you might check the cable for too much or too little free play or wear in the grip twist tube over the handlebar. If you join the W800 group on facebook there are a couple of W800 mechanics who might be able to help further.There are some factory modifications that have to be done to the throttle slides and associated wiring. If you get your VIN number and call a Kawasaki dealer, they can tell you if they have been done. There is a relatively small amount of vibration just under 3000rpm, but the bike generally gets smoother above that. The bike can suffer from typical fuel injection problems - especially if the pipes have been modified. Some owners have removed in the inlet plastics into the airbox with the view to improving air flow. The bike has been designed to meet european emission targets and can run lean in the "closed loop" when the oxygen sensor in the exhaust comes into play - you might want to investigate if that is still fitted if someone has changed the pipes. I own a V-twin and it's noticeably smoother - with a carbie - than the W800 but these bikes are nothing like the old english twins.Cheers both I'll see fb for more info


Kawasaki W800
CategoryNaked Bikes
Release dateJan 2012
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