Kawasaki W800 Cafe, THE ORIGINAL ICON

Hi everybody , it's Peter, and in this review I'm gonna go over the Kawasaki W 800. Now this one happens to be a 2019 model. We're filming in 2023, but I wanted to go over it because we have it here and it's the cafe model. Now the cafe model may not be for everyone. It's a little more low slung where we'll talk about the handlebars, but I haven't had the chance to review the non cafe model yet, but I will this year. So make sure you subscribe if you wanna see more about that in this review, I'll try to answer as many questions as I can, but if I don't, feel free to subscribe because I have the opportunity here at Jim Gilbert's Power Sports to come back to these vehicles again and again to make sure that you get the answers you want, both in the comments section and in future videos. 

I wanna thank Jim Gilbert's PowerSports for giving me access to this bike. Let's get going with the review. So I spent a lot of time talking about Kawasaki's retro bikes. Recently on this channel we talked about the Zed 900 Rs, which I bought the Zed six 50 Rs and we're talking about this W 800. Now a couple things to keep in mind that Zed 900 Rs was modeled after the first Zed one, which was really the introduction of Superbikes to the Kawasaki lineup. But that original Zed one doesn't happen with the original version of this bike because this bike, or at least the original version of this bike, is where Kawasaki started to introduce their more high power motorcycles. They were a two-stroke company with very small mo displaced motorcycles until the original version of this came out. So while the Zed 900 Rs Zed six 50 Rs are modeled after 1970s bikes, most of those bikes are modern sport bikes underneath this one blends things a little differently.

From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript... enjoy...

This is a true classic bike made modern and it does not have a full modern bike underneath. While it does have some upgrades like brakes, like lighting and a few other things that make it very suitable for today's world, it really is that classic bike feel as much as you can get from a brand new bike. Now like I mentioned, this 2019 model is a little different than the 2023 model. 2023 is a little more upright seating position, but the overall mechanics here are basically the same. So let's walk through this bike in detail to show you some of those unique things that maybe some of the other reviews aren't showing you. So what you're looking at right now is what Kawasaki calls a vertical twin. Now, parallel twins are currently in many of their bikes and this is exactly that, a parallel twin. The difference with most of the parallel twins on the current lineup is that they're slanted a little bit more forward.

So this is the vertical twin engine to match that look. You'll also notice no radiator out here. These fins, they actually work this, all this area here is actually air cooled just like the original bike. So you have a very old fashioned type powertrain here. Now you do have this little plastic cover covering up, uh, what used to be carburetors. This is a fuel injected bike. Now a lot of people kind of wonder about that. One of the big reasons for fuel injection in a modern bike is simply that the fuels today are different. They can gum up carburetors quite a bit. So fuel injection is both useful for emissions, which

This does have some sensors in here for emissions and that kind of thing, but it's also because modern fuels are a little different than the traditional older fuels and they can gum up your carburetor, which fuel injection you don't have to worry about. And that does give you some modern um, tips. Like you don't have to run the choke or anything like that, you just start it and go, which is nice. But the overall feel and sound you can tell this has traditional looking exhaust that are low slung and that gives you that traditional sound. And this is actually one of a few bikes by Kawasaki that is sound tuned. Another key bike would be that RS 900 that is sound tuned to sound just right. So let's take a closer look at couple little features in here that are retro and we're gonna walk into some of the modern features as well. 

So when you're making a true retro bike that you want to evoke the spirit of the older bikes you do things that are not currently done anymore, look at this long brake lever. It comes all the way down here. Usually they try to shorten that up I guess for weight savings for looks for who knows what, but really long brakes lever here on a fully round rubber coated foot peg. And you still have a fully round rubber coated foot peg on the rear as well. So you've got that classic look in a lot of the areas here, including the upper, uh, you know, tank here. I guess it's a little off screen right now or not the tank but the uh, covers there. So a lot of metal frames sort of exposed there. Very classic look. Now let's take a look a little further back and look at a couple of classic and modern pieces.

So the very modern of your screen, you can just barely see that muffler. Looking up from here, the classic bike of the Z 900 Rs, which is again a modern sport bike, doesn't have the dual shocks. It puts that back, uh, horizontal backlink rear suspension up there, which is a more modern sport bike. But this one you have dual shocks, one on each side of course, uh, to give you that nice classic look and a little different style. I mean because they're dual, they have a little thinner springs than the single one. Uh, so you have that true kind of original look. You've also got a couple little things that I like. There's a little hook down here. There's a little hook right over here. That's how we used to strap on luggage on a former or on the former bikes. Now you still have something like that on the uh, ninja 400.

Uh, so they still use them on some bikes but they don't use them on many bikes anymore. And that's just a little area there designed to do exactly that. Take your, take your luggage that you put here on the rear seat and tie them down. And of course you gotta be aware of the spring here, but you can still bring your strings up here or your uh, bungees or whatever you want and put something on the seat. You've got that handle there as well. So in that section you've got a lot of retro, but down here modern and you really want modern brakes of retro bike. They had terrible brakes. So not only do you have full disc brake in the rear disc brake in the front, but you have abs front and rear. So you've got a modern braking system that makes this safe to ride in the modern world. Unlike the old fashioned uh, brakes, that really didn't bring you down to speed very much. The other thing you're looking at here is a classic styled tire. So again, you still have that modern rubber, you still have the ability to lean this bike over much more so than the older bikes, but you have a very tra classic

Tread pattern with the spoked wheels. Very much a classic look while still offering decent handling. Take a look at the back here, you can see that back tire there you have your rubber mounted, uh, signal lights. So these are sort of carryover parts. They probably would've looked better on a chrome angle here if you were really going with full retro. But they do give the overall look of a classic bike because this is not an l e D tail light. It has a nice shape to it with some chrome around here. And the signal lights as well are uh, sort of the incandescent lights. So you have that nice typical classic look from the rear. If somebody's watching your lights, they look, you know, not so modern with the L E D but still very bright, very safe and up to current standards and safety measures.

Moving to the gauges here, the instrument cluster, very nice blend of modern and retro. So modern key here because it's a modern ignition, uh, switch there same as the rest of the Kawasakis. However, in here you have a real blend of modern. So on something like the Zed 900 Rs, the Zed six 50 Rs, which again modern retros, they fill in this inner area with a screen that gives you gear indicators, fuel gauges, uh, temperature gauge, all those kinds of things that a modern motorcycle would have while still giving you relatively classic gauges. This one of course modeled after sixties bikes. So you still have very clear dials here, very clear tachometer as well. But you have all the modern warning lights built into the gauges here. And you can see down here, let's just see if we can zoom in. Oh, let's be real careful here. 
Let's try to zoom in a little bit. So if we zoom in there, there we go. You can see your odometer there. There are not a lot of functions in this odometer. We get the key tag outta the way compared to a modern Kawasaki. You have uh, few more options. So this one is the trip A and that's it. It doesn't say trip A, it just says trip and it has a clock and it has your odometer. Most of the time there's trip a, trip B, there's fuel efficiency information, all kinds of other information in that in a typical modern Kawasaki. But you still have just the information you need with nothing extra in that real classic look. So I'm gonna show you the handlebar shape and the writing position here in a second of this cafe model, which again is not my personal favorite.

It's a little more leaned over. The current model is not available in the cafe model anymore, but it does have uh, a little more upright riding position. But the controls here are the same and you've got some nice things. Now the 2023 has a slipper and assist clutch. I don't remember if this is or is not. It feels a little heavier to me. So I feel like this may not be the slipper and assist clutch on the 2019 model. Uh, but you do still have the reach adjustment here. Now the reach adjustment on the clutch is five different settings. The reach adjustment on the brake on the other side is four settings. So just a little interesting there. But you've got classic looking switch gear here as well. They don't just carry it over from something like the current ninjas or something like that. You've got your high beam, low beam, a modern bike will have a flash to pass but this doesn't. And this whole section is narrowed down just sort of like the older bikes would have your signal. Again, a little more traditional look works the exact same as uh, modern bike but a little more traditional look and there's a smaller horn button down there. Everything kind of in black, no different colors or anything else. So very modern look down there. Let's

Just take a look on the other side and then I wanna show you the handlebars. Throw aside. I wanna point out again, just the kill switch, the start switch and then there's that brake lever there with that four position adjuster. But you can look at the grips here as well. A little bit more modern or sort of retro style. The modern bikes have a little bit more uh, character, a little more pattern in their grips where this is just a traditional look. Now let's take a look at these cafe style handle bars because when I sit on this bike, you're gonna see a different riding position than you'll see on the 2023 models. So this cafe model really brings it back to that sort of early sixties racer and the handlebar is very different where it traditionally comes in here and kind of pops up and out. 
Putting this way fur way closer to the rider. This one rolls forward has a sharp almost uh, tighter than nine actually it is tighter than 90 degree, uh, entrance out here. And of course the same thing on the other side, making the hand grips come a little bit curled back towards you and wa leaned forward. So I'm gonna show you what it looks like when I sit on this bike and you can sort of see the difference between something like this and the current version, which is a little more upright, a little more comfortable. So as I sit across this bike, you're gonna see a few things that I like these retro style bikes. They're nice and flat back here instead of coming up like the modern bikes, that gives you a nice easy step over like this. And again, because this is the cafe racer, I'm leaned quite a bit forward. 
Now this bike to me should have a relaxed riding style and that's what the 2020 threes have. But if you like this cafe style, it's a very sporty feel. So a couple things I like here, although you have traditional tank, you have these tank pads here allowing you to really grip that tank with your legs there. And it's actually kind of a comfortable riding position for a leaned over bike, but it's very modern day super sport feel on this retro style bike. Now this seating position does give you a special seat as well. It gives you that little bit of a extra bump up here. So you can get real tucked in and lean in on the 2023 model. You're gonna have a little bit more of a flat seat and a raised handlebar. So you'll sit, uh, a little more square sitting a little bit more upright.

I'll show you what that seating position would look like. Again, more like this, more comfortable, more traditional for this bike. Now this is not in any way a super sport bike, but it can give you the feeling of those sixties racers, which is what it started out as. Let's look at the front end of this bike as well cause it's got some mix of modern and retro as well. So take a look at the front wheel here again, that retro style to the tire here. Again, decent handling but not modern super sport in any way. But you do have a single disk here, obviously large vented. So again, not up to typical superbike standards with the dual disks, but a single disk here to give you proper stopping power and AVS brakes. That's what this little panel here is. It's the sensor for the AVS brakes. You also have these sort of shock covers here. A modern bike with right side up shocks like this would have a little shield up, up in front of here, uh, to keep sort of the, the dust and everything and the bugs and everything that you're gonna hit up here from breaking your shock seals. But this gives you that retro look while also protecting those shock seals there. We're gonna move up a little higher and take a look at this faring with this headlight.

Taking a look at the front faring here, it's that typical sixties, even seventies kind of style where it's very kind of small and bulbous but it does give you a little extra wind protection. Also gives it a really clean front end. One thing we like about it is if I grab the key my pocket here and stick it in the ignition here, you will see at least a little bit of l e d lighting here. Now it's not fully lit up, uh, because of uh, the bike has to be started because of indoors. I'm not gonna start at the bike today, but you have multiple sort of areas there which will light up for high beam and low beam to give you proper lighting. So you have safe brakes, you have safe lighting here. Again, the traditional not on chrome stalks, rubbery type things. Again, it's durable just to me that's the one thing they could've touched up to make it look a little more retro there. 

Uh, but typical incandescent bulbs. So you have the bright light here, which gives you that safety, but again, that retro look, which I quite like. So let's talk about who this bike is for. Well first of all, this cafe racer style thing, definitely a style piece because that that tucked over position is looks really cool with the retro leathers and that kind of thing. For me. I think this bike is better suited in the 2023 model where you sit a little more upright. The non cafe model, which was available before you sit a little more upright. You have a little bit more level seat in here, but you've got that cool retro style. Without the retro maintenance. If you've ever had a retro bike, you're gonna spend as much time maintaining it as you are riding it. Whereas this gives you a fully modern under warranty bike that functions like the previous bikes. 

Gives you that really cool sound. It looks super cool everywhere you go. People are gonna ask you What year is this? How old is it? That kind of thing. They're gonna talk about the bike, but you know, you have something that's reliable that you can take out all the time. To me, this is a super cool bike. It's not for everyone, but if you're just a weekend cruiser and you know, you just do your typical riding, nothing too extreme on the sport bike side, this thing is gonna be a lot of fun for you. You can take your gear along just the way we always used to by strapping stuff back here. You've got that cool retro look. If you want the cafe model, you've got that fun tucked in kind of position to sort of do that sixties kind of sporting feel. And on the road this is all the sport bike most people are ever gonna need.

But again, it's not really a SWT bike, it's the traditional, comfortable, fun motorcycle of the past and it's just super cool. So if you wanna know more about this bike and if you wanna see the more traditional upright version, make sure you subscribe to this channel. Cause I will be coming back to this and doing more videos on it. But if you have questions that maybe I didn't get to in this video, again, thanks to Jim Gilbert's PowerSports, I'm able to bring this bike and other bikes just like it back on video to make sure I get them again. Now again, this is a 2019 model. We're sitting here January, 2023. This is for sale right now. So if you're interested in this bike, give, give them a call, reach out to them. There's a link in the description here where you can connect with them and you can get this exact bike, which is a pretty cool bike in this version like that. Thanks everybody for watching.

Full Financing 0 Down