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Kawasaki W175 vs Royal Enfield Hunter 350 Retro Roadsters Compared

Is the small Kawasaki bike even half as good as the Royal Enfield?

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Never bring a knife to a gunfight. You’re inevitably going to get slaughtered. And that confuses us quite a bit about Kawasaki’s decision to get the small W175 to our country as it unfortunately has to go up against the Royal Enfield Hunter 350

Slow And Unexciting

Just a measly 13PS and 13.2Nm from a 177cc air-cooled motor? Commuter much, you would think. And you would be right. Thumb the starter and the W175 brings out the emotion of being lax and carefree, which would be nice at 60-70kmph, not 25-30kmph. It is a slow motorcycle. And let’s not even bring the Hunter’s performance superiority here, as that is a given. The small Kawi is even slower than a few 125cc bikes and that is saying something.


Kawasaki W175

Royal Enfield Hunter 350










30-70kmph (3rd gear)



40-80kmph (4th gear)



If you do ask the W to hustle, the taller gearing makes it extremely difficult to attain triple digit speeds. And you wouldn’t even like it at those speeds because it makes an extreme racket and it is so buzzy beyond 65-70kmph that you are forced to slow down and enjoy the slow life. 


Kawasaki W175

Royal Enfield Hunter 350







And it isn’t like riding the W175 at a relaxed pace is helping it eke out phenomenal fuel efficiency. Despite having a smaller engine, the fuel efficiency is on par with the more powerful Hunter mill. With the Hunter, you can easily leave it in fourth gear and roam the streets comfortably. You could do one better and ride the W175 in fifth all day but you will be one of the slowest things on the road.

Thankfully, clutch action is light and precise, and being 60kg lighter than the Hunter has its benefits while commuting. It can easily manoeuver through tight spots, a boon on our jam packed roads. 

Far From Smooth Sailing

The ride on the W175 gets boaty. Confused? Well, it keeps bobbing and bouncing around, making the ride very unpredictable. Slow down the pace and it does work better but you will still end up bottoming out the rear twin shocks over some huge bumps. The Hunter is definitely firmer and can send some serious shocks back up your spine. But on the W with its classic-al approach, you expect suppleness, mushiness, which sadly isn’t there.

The seating posture also does the rider no favour. Since the footpegs are high set, larger riders don’t quite find it natural to spend long hours in the saddle, which too has extra soft foam padding. This causes more fatigue. Some of the shorter members of our team actually preferred the Hunter’s spirited stance more but the same soft seat issue arises here as well. Thankfully, you can get the GMA Touring seat to mitigate bum soreness to a great extent.


Kawasaki W175

Royal Enfield Hunter 350







Both motorcycles aren’t particularly good stoppers but the more advanced rear disc brake setup helps the Hunter shed speed a tad bit quicker. We aren’t big fans of the thick brake lever, though, as it reduces brake feel, and hence modulating braking force becomes a bit challenging.

Simple But Sweet?

Both bikes take a different approach to retro and it is surprising that Royal Enfield’s Hunter is the modern looker of the two. Kawasaki’s traditional approach hasn’t worked entirely well. Yes, this Cherry red colour does look a lot more attractive than the full dark version, but the bike doesn’t look old school, it looks old. We were met with a few “Is this a new Bajaj Calibre?” during our test.

Kawasaki is particularly renowned for its build quality and fit and finish levels. The W175 sadly doesn’t match those standards. Exposed wiring, unruly welds, and cheap plastics don’t quite do justice to its premium proposition. The only neat item on the bike is the plastic tank grip that provides brilliant traction.

The W175’s traditional approach to motoring means it doesn’t have an ounce of modern elements. No LEDs, trusty halogens handle the illumination duties. The console is a rudimentary semi-digital console, with a handful of tell tale signs. Single-channel ABS only is a downer. Overall, you get a sense of simplicity from the W175, which might not be quite as appreciated in this day and age.

Half The Bike?

Kawasaki’s most affordable offering carries a price tag of Rs 1.47 lakh and in this Candy Red colour option, the asking price is an additional two grand. And this is despite the complete bike being made here in India. It has very few redeeming qualities and considering its direct competition is available for around Rs 17000 more, Kawasaki will find it difficult to find many suitors for the bike. If only the Japanese bikemaker focused its energies and did something to make the Ninja 300 or Ninja 400 more accessible, it would have paid off better. This ultimately is a bike that would have been okay for 2003, not 2023. 

Kawasaki W175 Video Review

Kawasaki W175
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