Check out our Retro 2023 Kawasaki W800 Review 

Now at first glance it might just seem like a classic styled bike, but there's actually a lot more to it than that. I love the chrome!

Hey everybody, it's Peter and this is the Kawasaki W 800. This thing is super cool and we're gonna get into that as I do a complete in-depth review of this motorcycle. And I'm here at  Jim Gilbert's Power Sports, where the best thing for you is if I don't answer every question you have about this vehicle here in this video, you can let me know in the comments below and make sure you hit subscribe if you're interested in this vehicle because if you let me know in the comments what you want to know about it or tell me about your experiences with it, I get to come back and do more videos of the same vehicle over and over again to make sure that we build our nice database of information here to get the questions that you wanna know about this bike answered.

So I wanna thank Jim Gilbert's PowerSports. Forgive me access, let's get going with this review. So I wanna be clear right from the very start, I'm a fan of what this is. It's not something that I've currently bought or even, I'm not sure if I would buy it, but I love that it exists. So I was talking to my kids this morning telling 'em about the motorcycle that I was gonna talk about today and it's kind of like, and the way I made it makes sense to them is this is kind of like taking a 1960s Mustang and just bringing it to the showroom floor in a brand new vehicle. Except it's exactly the same except for things like modern breaks and a couple other modern things. So let's talk about the modern pieces of this before we get into what is truly retro modern breaks.

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

The breaks are better. Abs brakes, we're gonna focus on them a little bit better. The other modern piece is fuel injection. Now there's this whole debate about oh it should still be cared, this and that. Reality is for emission's sake, it has to be fuel injected. This one is, and I think that's a good thing because I remember following bikes like these on like, you know, bike ride, like motorcycle rides and that kind of thing. And you never wanted to behind these things cuz you could barely breathe when they started going, you know, if they weren't tuned exactly perfectly. So the fuel ejection is gonna help you out in cold starts, in warm weather, in altitude changes and all that kind of stuff. But the best thing is this is all still old school stuff. This is a really unique engine. We're gonna talk about that a little bit later in the video.

But overall this is unique bike as well. I've done a review on one of these in the past. It was the cafe version and it was a 2019 model that I reviewed just a few months ago. So it was an out of date, uh, you know, vehicle instead of a brand new one like this. But that was the cafe model and I wasn't a huge fan of the CD position. It was a very leaned over, hunched over position. It has a nice little cow out front, it looks super cool, but for me it's not something that I would ride. And the issue I really had with it is I kind of felt like it was a kind of a mixed bag of things. This is not a modern day sport bike. So crunched over in a modern day sport. Tuck for me didn't feel like the right mix of this, although it certainly had that retro look.

This is a comfortable bike that can be used for everything. It's an 800 cc engine, actually 773 cc engine, but it's a bike that beginners could ride. It's not overly powerful. And the nice thing about this engine is it feels like it would probably go forever because it's never pushed to the limits. There's a style here which like I said we'll talk about that makes it nice and easy to ride. Um, you know, and just kind of easy on the engines. Never high pressure or anything. There's nothing too crazy about this, but it's a lot of fun. And for guys like me who grew up on bikes in the eighties with chrome fenders and other stuff like that and you know, I was driving seventies bikes that uh, my dad had and stuff like that. The chrome fenders kind of brings you to a time when motorcycling was cool, not just because it was really fast and really high performance, it was just fun to be out on two wheels and that's what this does.

It's kind of like that Harley kind of feel fun to be out on two wheels without some of that Harley kind of look. So classic looks but still practical. So let's dig into some of the details that make this bike really unique, especially we'll get to this engine, it's really unique as well. But let's just start with an overall view here. So as we take a close up of the entire bike in one shot here, you're gonna notice a few things that you probably won't see on camera but that people do notice when they walk in. This bike looks to some people to be longer and it really is a lot of the modern sport of your bikes. They kind of make 'em a little bit more compact for handling. It's not that this doesn't handle, but you should be able to tell this is not gonna handle like a modern sport of your bike.

Uh, something like the um, Z650 RS is more powerful than this has a smaller engine, but it is really a modern sport bike with an older style tank where this is older style the whole way through. So that longer wheel base was more common in previous bikes. You'll also notice if you see it up close that the wheels are larger. These are larger than 17 inch wheels that you tend to see on a modern sport bike. So the pers perspective of all of this starts to change. What you gain here is the look of the old tires with modern rubber compounds that you still have some good grip on over like that. And like I said, we keep climbing back to this engine, I'm gonna work my way to the engine but we're gonna start over here at the front brake and work our way back.

So let's take a look at the front wheel here. We'll get our way to the brakes here, which are quite large by the way. So overall you've got some cool things going on here. First of all, you've got the chrome fender, you just don't see that anymore, but it's not just the modern style chrome fender. You have that little support bracket that runs across here. Again, gives it that classic look. You've got the classic looking tires, but you can tell they're modern rubber even just by feeling them. They're not sort of one, they're not aged out, cracked out everything else, but you've still got good grip on the rubber. So the rubber compound is more modern, but this is a Dunlop tire. It is a 190 19. So 19 is the diameter here. Now 19 inch rims is often used on some dirt bikes. The adventure bikes go up to 21, but 17 inch rims are usually the traditional front tire size here. This is a 19, it's also that 100 usually uh, a lot of sport bikes would have a one 20 width tire. So a little bit narrower, a little bit longer diameter. All again that full retro feel, full retro look. And of course you can see the spoked wheels and spoke rims and that kind of thing. Where there's a difference here is this break, it is a single break so it's very uh, similar to the uh, original, you know, bikes from this, from the era that this looks like it belongs to. Um,

But you do have some nice things in here. So the older brakes used to have this as a solid piece of metal and you'll still see that on the backs of modern brakes. But on the front bike you have a floating caliper here because it's gonna be doing most of your braking here. So you've got these little rings in here with a separate piece of metal inside there. And that basically allows this break to function like a modern break. It's gonna expand and contract a little bit. It will keep it from warping by being a separate thing. So fully modern braking system ventilated here. Not the highest spec performance that we have on all the other bikes which often have a dual um disc. But certainly more than you're gonna need for a bike with this power of this size and this types of riding.

This is not designed to go 250 kilometers an hour in the jam on the brakes. The other thing is here, this little ring here is your abs ring. So you do have anti-lock brakes front and rear on this. So a lot of that extra safety while still keeping the extra the uh, old fashioned look here. So I really like what they've done here as far as bringing an important piece of better brakes cuz the old classic bikes, if you want a classic bike you're gonna have to deal with terrible brakes. Now you've got up-to-date brakes, which makes it much more safe, much more fun to ride when you know you're safer. So now I wanna focus on the engine here because the engine is really what makes this, like I said, that classic car that's just brought into the showroom as is with fuel injection added.

So this is the way engines used to be made. So this is an air cooled engine. You can see the air, the vents here, they actually, or the fins here, they actually do cool the engine fins here around the headers there. So you've got an air cooled engine, 773 ccs. This is a 800 ish cc bike that would be appropriate for newer riders, even brand new riders. Um, because it's not all about power. And the reason it's not all about power is because this design right here is just sort of that classic design. So this is a bevel gear and shaft, uh, driven cam shafts. Uh, they just don't do this anymore. And the reason is there's rotating parts here. They can't travel at the speeds that a modern sport bike would want, um, you know, to do so they stopped doing this design but it's in addition to the classic styling here, this shows you that this is a classic style but also a classic design.

So this is not going to be able to put out, you know, 150 horsepower, something like that. The, I think it's around 50 or so. The torque number is just a hair less than that. But again, good balance of horsepower and torque in this engine that makes it fun to drive. And you've got that classic feel classic sound as well. You can see the exhaust there, classic styling but also gives you that classic sound. So really all you're doing is adding a fuel injector instead of a carburetor to help with emissions, which I think is a good thing. But it's fully classic engine here. It's a twin cylinder engine here and everything about even the side here, like I can kind of wrap around here into each individual cylinder is sort of almost separated there. Whereas a current modern day twin is all one casing right together.

So you've really got not just a style difference here, but the way this works is just like the old bikes as well. But with that reliability, and again because there's not high compression ratio, because there's not high revs, fast moving parts reliability on this kind of thing should be fantastic. The only reason they don't do these anymore is because you have all these moving parts that you know there. These, this is a shaft that spins and bevel gear and that kind of thing. So what you end up with is something that can't travel at modern day motorcycle engine speeds. So they just don't, they just make it travel at the speeds. It's comfortable doing that and that makes it kind of a classic bike. That's a lot of fun. So working our way to the back here, we're gonna do the sort of the general overview before I focus on a few more modern pieces here as well.

So obviously we've got the modern brakes here, the disc brakes again, a bike like this would've had drum breaks at the rear probably back then. Uh, these are ventilated disks again, fully modern system with the abs ring in there so it has abs in there as well. But the overall style here is not just styled like an old bike, it works like an old bike. You've got the shocks on both sides. So none of this horizontal backlink suspension that centers the mass and brings it low in a modern sport bike. You've got some pieces that come up here. It's going to ride like an older bike. Now you do have modern suspension components which is gonna make it ride better than an older bike, but you still have the overall feel of all that as well as the look. And you can see, you know, the bump stops up here like everything is just kind of old style.

You still got the chrome fender in here. We're gonna talk about some pieces up there that you can't see as well from the angle we're filming at. Uh, you know, you've got the uh, hydraulic disc brake or hydraulic uh, brake fluid right there. So you've got some of the extra modern pieces built in, but very classic feel even in the frame design here. You haven't got the real high tail there, you haven't got uh, you've got extra things here. The way they build these um, foot pegs on is not done for purely lightweight areas. You've got um, you know, the extra overbuilt areas like they used to do with bikes, rubber mounted, round style, um, pegs there as well. So just overall very cool. Again, it's not just style to look like an old bike, it actually works like an older bike tucking in a little closer here.

I wanna show you a couple cool things. They used to always put these on bikes. There we go. You can see that little hook down there and there's a little hook over here. That is how we used to mount luggage. We didn't have hard bags on the side with clean slick mounts. What we used to do is just take our bungee cords or whatever we had and strap them around onto the seat. So you do have those little pegs there. You can also see this handles here. Um, this handle here if one, I guess a passenger could use it, but it's also to help you put it on the standard center stand that this bike comes with. So you have a side stand and a center stand. We'll get to all those a little bit later. So those are cool things at the back end here.

There's another cool thing at the back end that I wanna show you. Let's just move the camera a little bit further back. So back here you see that chrome fender come out well beyond here. Now of course a modern bike has these kind of weird looking plastic fend. This is chrome, this is real. This is when bikes were designed before the word the words fender eliminated or kit were even known. You've got the cool styling to the uh, lights here that has that sort of spread like the old lights used to have. They're fairly large signal lights and they've

Got of that, it's hard to describe almost like a diamond type pattern inside there. This is the way the lenses used to look on the brake lights. On the signal lights. So the, the whole feeling here again while you get modern lights is very classic the overall feel here. They're nice and solid mount. There is still some rubber mount, some flex there, but they used to be mounted all chrome, that kind of thing. There's still mounted very solid like that, so that's pretty cool. And then no 17 inch wheel on the back either. So you have the 19 on the front, you have an 18 on the back and it's about a one 30 width here. So not overly wide, uh, wider than the front though. And uh, you know, again that classic look with the spoked wheels and this classic tread but the modern rubber.

So very cool design details here to not just make it look like an old bike to put actually be an old bike produced today. So the one thing that classic bikes did better than most modern bikes is they made a really comfortable place to sit. First of all, this is a soft cushy seat with some nice pattern to it. It's got those, you know, bumps in there that are really good. But this is a wide seat. And again, it's it's level. It's not just like a single seat here and then another little joke of a seat on the back. You wanna take two people on this, you can do that. That's how motorcycles used to be. Take yourself, take a friend, not a big deal Sitting across it again, nice thing to swing my leg over there. It's not a huge high leg swing. It's very easy to get on.

My feet are flat on the ground on this easily. I'm about six feet tall, but you could be much shorter than me and easily reached to the ground, which is how things used to be sitting up here. The overall seating position is excellent. So if you see me sitting here again, very casual, very relaxed, you know, there's no wind protection here but older bikes didn't have that. You don't really need it. You're not going, you know, 150 kilometers an hour all day long. That kind of thing. Couple little things I really like. The side of the tank here has these extra rubbery plasticy type, um, tank pads here that protect the tank. When you look down, it looks like a classic motorcycle. These are extra styling pieces with little emblems on there. Again, not the best for aerodynamics, maybe not the best for you know, the way the shape of the tank looks in a modern tank.

But they're there for the style. So when you're sitting on this, you really, really feel like you're on a classic bike but you've got that reliability and they do a lot of things in the instrument cluster here to make it look classic as well. So let's start taking a look at some of those things and you can really kinda get the feeling for what it's like to ride this bike. So let's start by taking a look at the gauges here. Now I'm filming at a little bit of an angle just to get some of the studio light glare away from these, these of course are flat pieces of glass and that's the classic style and of course you're gonna see um, some glare on that in a studio light, but outside it's not gonna be an issue. You can see you've got the really classic kind of font there, basic gauges here.

And what I love about is you turn this thing on. Usually you see something like ultra-modern other than that sweep there, there's no modern like display or anything else in here. You have your odometer, you push a button here in the center, you can go to the trip odometer and then you go back to the clock and that's it. Odometer trip, a like just trip odometer and the clock. So that's literally all you get in here, which is again that classic bike feel. Now you do have a couple extra warning lights in here. You have the oil light, the engine light and the abs light is currently lit. That is going to be something that you have on a modern bike because you need that information to here you can see the red line is 7,000 rpm. So for a motorcycle quite low. And again this is all about sort of that it's not designed to over rev, it's not designed to be, you know, a modern sport bike.

It's just designed to be something that is cool. It is a true classic bike made in a modern factory. So pretty cool there. Let's look at the switch gear here as well cause you've got a good mix of old and new here. Take a look at the left side handlebar. What I love about the way Kawasaki approaches this bike is they do give some modern things, but let's just start with what's not modern. They could easily carry this section over from another Kawasaki bike and you know, call it what it is, a part spin kind of lighting and accessories things. But if you look here, the way this um, signal light is or signal switch is hooked up, it's just that classic metal with the plastic. It's very much feels like the classic bike. It's not, you know, quite to the same fit and finish standards of a modern Kawasaki, but it still feels great to touch but it functions like an older bike and this overall section is much narrower around the bar than the modern bike.

So they don't just do carryover switch gear, the horn button here is a round button, like they would've been the smaller headlight button. That to me is a little less ergonomic than they're more modern uh, bikes. It's a little easier to hit this but it works very well. So you've got that pretty cool retro piece that really fits that classic look and it's one of those things that you don't notice on video, but when you sit on the bike and put your hand next to it, if you've driven older bikes, you right away notice this is different than a modern bike and it's familiar for an older bike. Now over here you go full on modern. So you've got the adjustable levers here and this one has, oh is it? Okay, there we go. Yeah, five settings. I thought it was seven. I've read the one, I thought it was a seven.

But there are five settings of reach adjustment here. So you can push this out, you can spin this around and this is your clutch lever so you can set it out for various, uh, widths or or various, uh, longer grips there, which is pretty nice to have. Now the clutch itself is a slip and assist clutch. So again, like the abs brakes give you some of that modern safety technology. If you were to whip through a downshift, they bring this into racing. But in on the road where it makes sense is if you don't really rev match properly and you just dump that clutch on a downshift, in theory the rear wheel could, you know, overspeed the engine, that kind of thing. Or it could really, you know, when that happens, really what happens is your rear wheel can skid uh, by locking up or just slowing too fast in the quick release of your clutch.

Now what the slipper and assist clutch does is it allows the clutch itself or allows the um, wheel itself to continue to roll and the clutch will slip. The benefit is that it also slightly lessens the clutch pull. Now I'll tell you right now this clutch pull is not as light as many of the other slipper and assist clutches on the other bikes, but it does have that. So as a safety feature, you have it but you still have a heavier feel of an old bike but not as heavy as it could be. So kind of cool the way they mix that, uh, in again with these adjustable levers and the slip and assist clutch. Let's take a look at the driver's side or the uh, throttle side for just one second and look at the switch gear there. So throttle side, again, styling of the grip is very similar to the older style bikes.

Not super massive or anything like that, but again, feels familiar. And same thing with the switch here, a little bit smaller switches, not carry switches, carryover switches from other more more modern bikes. And again, that round start button which matches that round horn button. On the other side you also have the front brake lever, which is reach adjustable. There are uh, four settings here, five settings on the clutch. That's just kind of what they do. Uh, but you can't see it on the shot there but it is adjustable so you can get comfortable on this bike no matter what. Both in seating position as well as reach to the levers as well. Very good system there. Taking a look at the front of the bike here, I kind of like what they've done. Again, you've got these oversized signals that would be very large for a motor bike.

I don't know if you can see the pattern developing on my hand from that angle, but that again is due to the pattern in the lens here that helps it spread. So you have that really classic look and you can tell these aren't l e d, they're kind of glowing, brighter and kind of dimming off. Uh, unlike the L e d that's instant on, instant off. So classic look here, but they didn't go classic headlight. And I'm a fan of this, I think, um, modern l e d headlights are so much better, especially compared to classic lighting. There's no point to go with an in-between light here. Let's just go full l e d, which they do. I don't know if it'll show the high beam. Nope, because it's engine's not running won't go to the high beam, but modern L e D light here, high beam will be up the top there.

So really good job here with giving you that retro look with the modern safety of that modern L e d headlight. So before we talk about who this bike is for, a couple little things. One thing that just came up when the headlight was on, because this is a fuel injected bike. When the fuel is low, you're not switching that uh, to the reserve tank. You actually have a fuel light in here because there's no fuel gauge. Again, it looks like the classic one, but I did notice in that display, the one that shows the odometer, the triple odometer and the clock, it was also flashing the word fuel. So again, couple little minor tweaks in there that just help you on a more modern bike, really like that as well. So who should buy this? First of all, if you want a classic bike but you don't wanna be fixing it every weekend, you wanna be riding it.

This is a classic bike and it's classic in feel the whole way around because this engine is designed and built exactly like these older style engines. You have the full classic feel, the whole classic sound. The way this thing's tuned for sound, it sounds, looks and feels exactly like a classic bike because it is, it's not designed with the latest technology, it's designed with older technology. So that makes it really cool. Obviously if you're looking for a bike that's classic. Um, this gives you that in a modern package. And the bigger thing is in a safer package you've got those a b s breaks in there. You've got the modern l e d headlights, um, you know, and all your components are up to date even though

The, the shocks here are the older style. You've got modern components in here, so they're gonna work. You're not buying a bike with worn out shocks, worn out brakes, worn out tires as well. With modern rubber here you've got a lot of things kind of in that modern size, modern way. And if you run into people, they're gonna sit there and say, what year is this bike? They're gonna be shocked to hear that this is a 2023 because it really is classic in every way, not just in the style of the tank but in every piece. They're not trying to run modern. So that's a good thing. Where I think this bike may also appeal to a few people outside of the people that are obviously looking for this bike is this is a really nice comfortable bike that's not crazy fast that has some style, has some appeal.

It's not as nimble as the modern sport bikes, but it's in no way a difficult bike to ride or maneuver on. Uh, the weight is positioned a little bit differently. Like they could certainly, you know, move this forward and put the shocks forward to position a little bit lower center of gravity and they do that on their retro sport bikes like the Zed 900 and Zed six 50 rss, the RS models. Uh, but you know, you have some weight higher up so you do feel it, but it's not a heavy bike, not a hard to maneuver bike. So if you want something that's comfortable, something that's comfortable for yourself and a passenger, something that's great for zipping around town, not all about outright performance, but just about fun riding everywhere. This thing's fantastic, it's really, really good for that. So the fact that Kawasaki makes this, and again they also make those retro sport bikes, the RS lineup.

So the Z900 Rs and Z650 Rs, those bikes are gonna be modern sport bike classic looks. This is gonna be classic everything, classic feel. It's unrefined in the right way to make it feel like a modern or like a classic bike without the hassles of maintenance. So comfortable, good for a passenger, great for a round town, country, roads looking cap, capable of highway driving, but most of the time you're gonna be zipping around riding it for fun, parking it outside your, you know, favorite coffee shop, going for coffee, that kind of thing. It's a conversation piece when people see it. And if that's the kind of thing you're looking for, you really can't do better than this. And there's a history of this bike, which is a whole other video, but why it is like it is, you could talk about the way the engine look, why does that look different?

How does it work? Those are things you can talk about and it makes it fun. You're out there riding it instead of repairing it. You've got some modern emissions so whoever's following you is not choking. Uh, but other than that fully retro bike, very, very cool bike. I'm a big fan of it. So let me know what you think. Again, I can come back to this bike. If there's something that you wanna know more about, let me know in the comments. Make sure you subscribe if your interest in this bike, cuz we'll come back to it again and again. And I wanna thank  Jim Gilbert's Power Sports for giving me access to this, uh, and all of their lineup to make sure that I can give you guys as much information as we can. Just keep building a database. And again, if you've ride, if you ride this bike, let me know when the comments, what you think of it, uh, tell other people here, uh, what it rides like, and, uh, why you enjoy it. Thanks everybody for watching.

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