Kawasaki W800: Road Test In Images

Can this Japanese beauty deliver an authentic British twin experience?

The Kawasaki W800 is an authentic lookalike of the Norton, Triumph and BSA twins that dominated the scene in the 1970s and 80s. It even gets an old-school, air-cooled motor. So, are the similarities only skin deep, or does the W800 truly manage to evoke the nostalgia that one associates with classic British twins?

The 773cc motor uses a 360-degree crankshaft, just like the good ol’ Brit bikes. It might be putting out only 52PS and 62.9Nm but the Kawasaki W800 shoots off the line to reach 100kmph in 6.24 seconds. This lumpy engine is rather tractable too, surging forward like a diesel engine, with dollops of torque at your disposal.

If you settle down to cruise at 100kmph, you will get 29.68kmpl on the highway. With 15 litres on board, you can look at going around 440km. 21.24kmpl of fuel efficiency in the city is par for the course for a motorcycle of its size and capability.

What adds to the experience of riding this Kawi is the lovely symphony from the peashooter exhausts. The 360-degree crankshaft results in a barky, buzzy and beautiful exhaust note. 

The easy-going nature of the engine pairs nicely with the relaxed steering geometry, long wheelbase and low-slung setup. The W800 doesn’t like being hustled from one corner to another and would much rather be ridden calmly.

Riders will also appreciate that despite weighing 224kg, it doesn’t feel all that heavy. The heft is evenly distributed along its 1,465mm wheelbase with ample leverage offered by the wide beach bars. Since you won’t be hustling through bends, the lack of cornering clearance will not be a bother either.

The suspension tune is plush but not wallowy. Mid-corner bumps are absorbed to a great extent, with the rider rarely losing composure and control over the bike in such scenarios. The stock tune is good enough for two-up riding as well, with the rear units never really bottoming out.

With a rather simple braking setup and a hefty kerb weight, the big Kawi takes 50.72m to come to a dead halt from 100kmph, which isn’t bad but isn’t great either. Thankfully, the brake bite is good, lever feedback is decent, and there is enough progression in the system to give you confidence in the brakes.

Keeping with the retro theme, the W800 gets a twin pod instrument cluster but with a small digital inset that displays only the odometer, trip meter, and clock. There’s no fuel gauge here, only a low fuel indicator, which doesn’t provide much assurance if you are looking to go for miles on end.

Despite looking period-correct, the switches aren’t up to the usual standards of Kawasaki, making it feel rather un-premium. The overall fit and finish levels too have dipped as crude welds are the last thing we expected to see on a Kawasaki motorcycle.

The W800 is quite a nice, relaxed motorcycle that will make you enjoy all the small joys in life. It doesn’t like to be hustled, expecting you to ride sedately and in a matured way. Is it worth the Rs 6.99 lakh (ex-showroom India) price tag though? That’s a hard no. It does excel over the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 in certain areas, like cruiseability and tractability, but not by a big margin.

More on Kawasaki W800 Street

Kawasaki W800 Street

Kawasaki W800 Street

Rs. 7.09 Lakh Onwards
Ex-showroom, Delhi
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