In the realm of neo-retro, there are machines more or less retro or modern, depending on the perspective one chooses. Kawasaki W800 opts retro in style and even in his conduct with an old world charm still very nice and sought after by lovers of bucolic walks which ultimately only the atmosphere account.
Those find riding a two-Special Edition versions of the W800, will delve into the past with a particular attention to design and finish, as well as sensations that feel like the 70s.
A Style of Yesteryear …
The sacrifice of the Kawasaki W650 on the altar of anti-pollution standards had been late before the W800 resumes valiantly torch grafting injection instead of carburetors.
The arrival of the “Special Edition” insists a little more about the spirit of yesteryear that can accommodate even the sauce Cafe Racer in a few details. Only the front disc brake job done in this idyllic picture but then the drums are gone and safety, this is actually not worse.
For the rest, the Kawasaki is almost more English than the original! At the heart of the W800 beats the vertical twin 8-valve air-cooled, with its pretty rod which drives the single camshaft and injection system cleverly concealed in false carburetors.
Our Special Edition, chromium mingles with matte black engine, the glossy black is reserved for wrapping items. Here, the black color is everywhere. The spoked wheels, the exhaust manifolds to the silent “sausage”, the fork tubes, fenders, T, handlebars, etc..’s All black except for a few small chrome accents and two-tone tank with its deep red color.
We note in passing specific badge affixed to it, a shield reserved for the W800 Special Edition. The rear brake drum, the tank is protected at the knees, the saddle is striated (it lacks a piping), fork gaiters protect joints, the dashboard has two dials needle, etc.. even the tire tread are retro!
Only the witnesses and the small digital display (time + counters) betray the modernity of this machine. Pity declination “Cafe Style” proposed shows some gaps. Certainly, there is a fork head and a contoured like “car to the old” saddle, but the controls are not remote and the handlebar does not yield its place to bracelets to claim that name.
For … An Old Steering
The charm of the W800 is in the atmosphere it exudes unbridled. With this handle to the old and a fairly straight back in the saddle, the handling of the W800 is disconcerting ease off weight of 217 kg (with full tanks) that do not necessarily suspect the light on his stand. Even with small legs with both feet on the ground is easily placed on the machine that offers a very natural position.
Around 4,000 r / min, which keeps playing with the 5-speed box, you can enjoy the best of this Kawasaki letting himself be the sound of the twin. The pictures are also particularly sound with this optional exhaust that accompanies us without too much excess on each stimulus, just enough to stick to the spirit of “retro”.
Of course you can get all the reports and even block the needle end of the tachometer, but it is not the purpose of the W800. With its beautiful maneuverability and flexible engine that does not almost reluctant to turn at low speeds, you find yourself around town or simply to enjoy the scenery through.
In any case, the suspension too soft resent passages curve too fast and footrest touch quickly, so as to walk quietly into the wind. Even the consumer wins with an average that is around 5 liters per 100.
Braking smells piloting “old school” also with a front brake which must be assisted by the rear brake to be effective. The rear brake is also useful as effective on the W800.
Finally to use, if the deployment of the stand is not very convenient, we appreciate the small passenger handles that can be used to cinch bag and tank cap with a lock unlike its main competitor, the Bonneville.
Faced with its main competitor what the Triumph Bonneville in all its variations, the W800 says an attention to detail that should vibrate the most nostalgic of us fond of neo-retro bikes. Of course, modernity has been there to improve the reliability and braking, but for the rest, we must recognize that the magic easily. We left quickly carried away by the vertical twin with his friendly tone.
The W800 Special Edition attracts the curious who are willing to engage in conversation time for a break. En route, driving requires some anticipation and treat its trajectories to hold a good pace. His favorite exercise is to wander across the countryside and villages, taking advantage of the flexibility of the engine and a very easy grip .
The W800 is available in Euro 8599 and the 8899 Special Edition only 300 euros or more. The choice of one or the other is more a matter of taste than finance. In competition, the Triumph Bonneville SE is about 400 euros more but offers a slightly higher as well (865 against 773 cm 3) engine and Thruxton (the Cafe Racer) has the advantage of being equipped bracelets and slightly remote control as it should.
– The style of yesteryear successful
– Taking into easy hands
– Reduced consumption
– The handling of the stand
– The sound without this exhaust
– The style of “Cafe Style”
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