By Dennis Chung
Last month, during EICMA, Kawasaki announced a pair of new retro bikes in the W800 Cafe and W800 Street. At the time, Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. announced the Cafe version would be coming to the States, leaving people to assume the Street version would not be making its way to these shores.
That assumption now looks to be premature, as both the 2019 Kawasaki W800 Street and W800 Cafe have been certified by the California Air Resources Board. Approved on Nov. 19 but only published today, the CARB executive order certifies two motorcycles for the 2019 model year, bearing the model codes EJ800BK and EJ800CK. We can confirm that Kawasaki uses EJ800 as its internal model code for the W800, with B standing for the Street version and C for the Cafe model (the K at the end is the industry-standard letter representing the 2019 model year.)
The CARB certification doesn’t guarantee that the W800 Street will join the Cafe model in the U.S., but it does indicate that it was being considered. Having said that, it’s highly likely that both versions will be offered in the U.S. market and it’s just a matter of time before the Street is announced. Kawasaki did something similar last year, announcing the 2018 Z900RS in December and waiting until May to announce the Z900 RS Cafe.
Both versions of the W800 are powered by the same fuel-injected 773cc SOHC parallel Twin, paired with a five-speed manual transmission and twin peashooter-style exhaust. They also share the same frame, suspension and brakes.
Where they differ is in the Cafe’s fairing and the riding position, plus some minor styling changes. The image overlay below illustrates the differences.
The W800 Cafe uses clubman-style …read more