Expensive but worth it
I have the 2011 W800 and I have done around 30000 kms on it. I ride it daily, all year round, in all sorts of weather in southern Tasmania. I have modded the exhaust, put gold emulators in the front shocks and Hagon shocks on the rear effectively lowering the bike by about 20mm. I am 6,1".
The bike has been super reliable with regular oil and filter changes, and recently a new chain and tappet spacers. I've dropped it twice, both times going at less than 15kms/h on slippery surfaces (my own fault). I just picked it up and rode it home. With 39...K on the clock it starts first time every time. I'd recommend the Bridgestone Battalax BT45 tyres - they're the best I've used so far. Wet and dry handling have been good even with 'spirited riding' on the stock set-up. Having said that - putting gold emulators in the front shocks was a great upgrade! I live on a dirt road, and commute on sealed roads of up to 100km/hr speed limit. While it's not a dirt bike, the ergonomics of the bike make it easy to handle on slippery roads - unless your silly like myself. It has enough power and handling for all legal road riding, and a fair bit more that is best saved for private roads or tracks. The bike has probably picked up a few hp from stock with a freer flowing exhaust and fuel controller but It's not a race bike. It's fun enough but not scary fast. The suspension upgrades I've made add a sporty feel to the bike and makes it an excellent commuter and tourer. I pillion my 9 yr old son on it - it does that without problems.
Purchased in October 2017 for $3,500.00.
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 ...
Purchased in March 2017.
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.
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.
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 sm...aller 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.
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,
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.
Questions & Answers
I have just purchasd a W800 from an estate with only 2400 yes 2,400 ks and it is as new 2015
O driving it home I notice a lot of vibration through the bike
What is the cause of this ??
The twin engine has a bit of vibration... isnt it great! If you are concerned- get a mechanic to check it. There is a chance some bearings are tight after sitting which your bike apparently has.
Thank you for your reply
I took it to my motorbike mechanic for a check,still there
Maybe a lighter oil to run it in would help ?
hi Gideon - well you've got the right bike, -as it may have been sitting idle for awhile may i suggest you change the oil & fuel otherwise just take her for rides for about an hour have a rest for a while & repeat this aides in the running in process worked for me from new so 2,400 is still new. check your tyre pressure too. Like I said you got the right bike - enjoy. PS: I still have mine & She likes me back-win!
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?
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?
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.
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