2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe Review

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By John Burns

2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe

Editor Score: 74.5%

Engine 15.0/20
Suspension/Handling 10.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 7.0/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Instruments/Controls 4.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 7.0/10
Value 7.0/10
Overall Score 74/100

Oh dear, it’s kind of like one of those deals where you nag a person to do a thing for years, then they do the thing, and you sort of wished you hadn’t encouraged them. Suggesting someone take accordion lessons. Encouraging your wife to take up the krav maga. We always asked Kawasaki why they weren’t cashing in on the “classic bike” market along with the other OEMs, given that they’ve been selling the W800 in other markets since its 2011 upgrade from W650. But now that the W800 is here I kind of agree with their decision not to import it. The W800 is a perfectly nice retro motorcycle, but it’s retro in a way things like Triumph‘s “Classics” and some others aren’t: The Kawasaki feels kind of old instead of just looking that way.

Exhibit A would be the Dunlop 300K tires it rides upon. They look like real old-fashioned tires from the ’60s. And they ride just like them on rain-grooved freeways, too. I haven’t been so sketched out since riding that giant BMW Adventure a few weeks ago in deep sand. Squeeze the bike with your knees, hold on lightly and don’t panic even though it feels like you’re riding with a flat tire; you’re probably not on the verge of wiping out (on the BMW, I wiped out a few times just as I’d convinced myself I wasn’t going to; that’ll mess with your psyche). The only reason I didn’t pull over to check tire pressures was because Ryan Adams told me he’d already pulled over to see …read more

Source:: 2019 Kawasaki W800 Cafe Review


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