2020 Kawasaki W800 First Look: Upright and Shinier
Following up on last year’s introduction of the W800 Cafe, a standard 2020 Kawasaki W800 is delivering the W800 into the retro scene.With roots in the 1966 Kawasaki W1 four-stroke twin—which started life as a BSA-licensed design—the 2020 Kawasaki W800 brings traditional British styling into the 21st century. Let’s check out what differentiates the W800 from its café-going brother.
1. Ergonomics lead the differences between the W800 and W800 Cafe. Rather than the Cafe’s competition-style low bars that are painted black, the standard W800 gets a chromed handlebar that sweeps up and to the rider. This puts the W800 rider in an upright position, rather than leaning forward over the four-gallon fuel tank. Further, the Cafe’s faux solo seat—it does accommodate two—is replaced by the W800’s semi-stepped bench seat with a tuck-and-roll finish.2. To slow down the 2020 Kawasaki W800’s handling, it is fitted with a 19-inch front wheel. The Cafe has a pair of 18-inch hoops, compared to the 19-inch front on the standard W800. Of course, wire-spoke wheels are retained for the classic look. Era-appropriate bias-ply Dunlop K300 GP tires are mounted on the rims. ABS is standard on the W800, just as it is on the Cafe version.3. Silver is the color for the SOHC vertical twin, which puts out 46 ft/lbs of torque at just 4800 rpm. Rather than the contrasting black/silver look of the W800 Cafe, the standard W800 is pure silver, as part of the overall effort to brighten its look. Oh, and what looks like pushrod tubes instead house a bevel gear to drive the overhead cam—well done, Kawasaki. The dual Keihin 34mm throttle bodies are tastefully hidden behind a cover, so you don’t have the visual indignity of not having carburetors. The five-speed transmission is mated to an assist-and-slip clutch—much better than what the W1 had.4. Chrome fenders adorn the W800. That’s in contrast to the painted fenders on the W800 Cafe.5. The Café’s bikini fairing is a no-show on the W800. That’s as it should be. The 2020 Kawasaki W800 is pure naked retro goodness.6. Instead of the plain racing-inspired paint on the tank of the W800 Cafe, the standard W800 gets flashy. The W800 has a Candy Cardinal Red paint job, with a chrome W tank emblem and sweeping silver racing stripe.7. If you’re budget-minded, you will be happy to discover that the W800 is $600 less expensive than the Cafe. MSRP on the 2020 Kawasaki W800 is $9199.
Our first segment introduces you to the new Arch 1s. This latest, slightly more sporting American V-twin, adds to the original KRGT1 coming from the boutique manufacturer based in Hawthorne, Southern California. Senior Editor Nic de Sena rode through Malibu with Gard Hollinger, who co-founded Arch Motorcycle with his friend, Keanu Reeves. The 1s is a unique ride for sure, and Nic explains what makes the bike really stand out.
For the entertaining story behind Arch Motorcycle from Gard Hollinger himself, you must listen to his podcast episode on Motos & Friends HERE
The guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—visit your local dealer or suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In our second segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with multiple Emmy award-winning writer, Producer, Director, and actor, Thom Beers. the former Chairman & CEO of Fremantle Media North America, responsible for American Idol and America’s Got Talent.
Thom’s fertile imagination led to most of the really big reality TV shows such as ‘Deadliest Catch’ (now in its 17th season!), and many others. Of course for us in the motorcycle world, you’ll be interested to hear the genesis and story of how he started the first real fabrication reality show ‘Monster Garage’, that showcased Jesse James, and then how that led to ‘Biker Build Off’ and the ‘Zombie Choppers’ movie.
You’d imagine that most of Thom’s time is spent sitting behind a desk and on his phone. Not so. His intense stories of capturing much of the content for these shows make for some hair-raising listening.