Kawasaki W800 (2011-current): Velvet sensation from the past.

Engine: The parallel twin, air cooled, fueled by injection 773 c.c. engine, delivers 48 bhp/6500 rpm and 6.11 Kgm/2500 rpm torque, claimed values.
     Actually, at least 1500 to 2000 rpm will be needed according to the selected speed at the gearbox, in order to obtain smooth acceleration. The lowest power band area up to 4000 rpm is adequate for urban rides.

     Acceleration is constant throughout the power band. Increasing the revs, thrust provided is also increased, acceleration is smooth though. Rev limiter intervenes at 7400 rpm. Top speed is close to 190 Km/h, indicated figure.
     ItĘs a minor detail, however despite the maximum torque figure delivered at 2500 only rpm, the W will not normally start with second gear engaged.
     Consequently engine operation is distinctive for a twin air cooled motor, providing instant usable thrust, no weak areas or bursts on the power band, delivered in a smooth, whispering and decent operation mode.
     Riding position: The saddle height is low, 790 mm. The seat is also narrow, making the W convenient for short riders. In case that a rider will be sited at the front of the saddle, stepping a foot on the road will be restricted by the position of the riderĘs pegs.
     The saddle is elevated at the rear, which will please tall riders. A large space is provided for rider and pillion.
     The width and height of the bike are relatively small, the width of the handlebar is the only exception to that. This is designed deliberately, in order to provide decent leverage while changing direction.
     The length of the bike feels relatively increased if the W will be used for commuting, otherwise it doesnĘt result to a problem.
     The bike feels heavy, 216 Kgs nominal curb. Rider is placed slightly in, mostly over the W.
     Riding position is neutral, upright and relaxed, riderĘs arms are naturally stretched to the front.
     On the road: Suspension feels soft, front and rear. A 39mm fork is equipped at the front, twin shock absorbers at the rear, the latter may be adjusted to spring preload in five increments.
     Factory fitted tyres are Dunlop Road Master T100GP, with dimensions 100/90-19 at the front and 130/80-18 at the rear. They consist a very good choice, given the character of the bike.      
     Urban rides are trouble free and comfortable on the W. Agility is superb.
     Filtering is relatively good. Actually the height of the bikeĘs handlebar and mirrors is the same with carsĘ and SUVsĘ mirrors respectively. However it will be only the relatively wide handlebar that could limit filtering.
     Steering lock is quite good, maneuvering the bike around cars will be easy.
     Street imperfections are absorbed very sufficiently. The big wheels and the soft suspension contribute to this. As a remark, the twin shocks provide inferior damping over street imperfections compared to the fork.
     On B-roads, the W is a pleasant agile bike to ride. Riding is actually relaxing, comfortable and lighthearted.
     At a faster pace, agility is gradually transformed to stability, providing neutral rides and confidence to the rider, which is not bad at all. This transformation is due to the bikeĘs inertia mainly. Riding position is good, up to a nimble pace.
     At the fast pace riding position feels inappropriate, very relaxed. Feedback to the rider is relatively good, some flexibility will be felt on sweepers, mainly due to suspension. Rider will not be provided with adequate confidence.
     On the highway rider has to lean to the front a little, at a speed greater than 140 Km/h., in order to counteract the effect of air pressure. On high speed riding, inertia and slow steering geometry are evident, the W will not change direction easily.
     At a speed higher than 120 Km/h the bike feels lighter, some weave is noticed at 140 Km/h, which result in nervousness above 160 Km/h.. Rider will not feel confident then. Its obvious that W is not designed for such riding.
     On dirt roads, W is a magnificent bike, providing comfort which could be compared only with on-off bike category standards. This is due to the wheel dimensions and soft suspension. The pattern of the tyres provides good grip.
     A 300 mm disc brake is equipped at the front, two piston caliper, a drum brake at the rear. The disk brake provides good stopping power, its very linear, providing relatively good feedback to the rider. The drum brake is relatively powerful, providing relatively good feedback to the rider.
     Actually on average friction factor roads brakes are powerful enough to lock the wheels if rider wishes to. On high friction roads braking power is really usable, very good indeed.
     Consequently these brakes are considered to be an advantage for the W, between the best of both worlds. It is logical for a rider to assume that a zx-r family braking power should not be expected.
     Reliability-quality build: Its early to make any valid comments concerning WĘs reliability. Quality build though is excellent.
     Model history: Although the W800 was introduced in 2011, the W650 was manufactured from 1999 to 2006, featuring a 675 c.c. engine, fueled by a carburetor.
     Comments: There are two hooks at the rear which make loading of the bike easier. Vision through mirrors gets blurred quite often due to engine vibrations, although these vibrations donĘt get tiring for the rider. A kick and a centre stand are standard equipment.
     The letter W stands for the W1, KawasakiĘs first big bike, back in 1966. It was also the first Japanese bike with such a great engine 650 c.c., so Kawasaki became one of the few manufacturers around the globe for large engine capacity bikes at that era. Later versions of the W1 were the W2, W3 etc. creating a W “myth” over a period of 45 years.
     Generally speaking motorcycle beauty is not objective, although WĘs design is prominent, full of fine details, which will definitely attract the attention of a biker. A retro bikes admirer will hear his heart pumping the first time he will be close to the W.
     The design of the W features some touches of Triumph, BSA, Norton and W1 own design. The chrome, twin silencers, fluffy saddle, old fashioned round indicators, the tail light support, two-tone paint, the plastic reservoir protectors, the headlamp, mudguards, instruments, pillion handgrips, alloy and spoke wheels, the humble pillion footrests, the use of steel instead of plastic in many parts, combined with the simplicity of the concept, produce an excellent result. The dark green metallic paint refers to British Racing Green, that is not really accidental. On the contrary W seems to challenge the British rival.
     The only contemporary element concerning the design is the discreet LCD display in the speedometer, providing odometer, tripmeter, and clock indications.
     A café racer style saddle, a sporty bikini fairing and a traditional windshield are optional factory equipment.
     Few decades ago, motorcycles should provide adequate rides on various kinds of roads. This is accomplished superbly on the W, although some compromise is asked at the fast pace, mainly on the highway and much less, on B-roads.
Price: 8990 Ňuros

+ Design-quality build

+ Various fields of use-user friendly

+ Homogeneous, up to nimble pace of riding

- Fast pace

More, specifications

Thanks to TEOMOTO SA, L. Kifisou 29, Aigaleo 12242, Athens, tel.:+302103410684, fax:+302103410723 for the bike test.


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