Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
Rumoured new 2020 W800 model will combine elements of the W800 Street (the black bike above) with styling from the earlier W800 (the orange bike above)
We hear that Kawasaki is planning to go back to the future with another version of the retro-styled W800 in 2020: reviving the more classically-styled appearance of earlier bikes and combining it with the technology of the latest model.
At the moment, Kawasaki offers two derivatives of the W800: the naked W800 Street and the sportier W800 Cafe with dropped bars and a small nose fairing. But neither model is a direct replacement for the previous generation W800, which was dropped last year because it didn’t meet the latest European type-approval regulations.
While the current W800 Street might look superficially similar to the old model it has significantly higher, wider bars, a smaller 18-inch front wheel and shorter front and rear mudguards. In 2020, our sources say a third variation of the W800 will join the range that revives the old 19-inch front wheel along with the narrower, lower bars and longer fenders of the previous model. It will be sold alongside the Street and Cafe models, presumably carrying its own model designation – perhaps ‘W800 Classic’ would be a suitable moniker.
Internally, we know the new bike is called the W800D (or EJ800D in the American market.) That make sense, since the Street is the W800B (EJ800B) and the Cafe is the W800C (EJ800C). Although we haven’t seen pictures of the bike, our information reveals that its dimensions are identical to the previous generation of W800 – narrower and lower than the Street or Cafe models and fractionally longer thanks to the 19-inch front wheel. It’s also heavier, 226kg wet compared to 221kg for the Street and 223kg for the Cafe, which is surely due to the longer mudguards and the reapplication of classic styling elements like the tank-mounted knee pads and chrome badges.
As well as the information we’ve received, which indicates that the new model will be sold alongside the Street and Cafe models in Europe, emissions documents filed in California appear to suggest it will replace the W800 Street in that market. Where 2019’s California Air Research Board (CARB) certificate provided information about the ‘EJ800B’ (W800 Street) and ‘EJ800C’ (W800 Cafe) versions, the 2020 equivalent only lists the ‘EJ800C’ and EJ800D’.
There’s no change to the engine of the new ‘D’ model of the W800, which stays at the same 47hp at the rest of the range. It will also feature the technical upgrades already applied to the 2019 Street and Cafe versions, including the emissions-friendly engine, redesigned frame, updated headlight, a rear disc brake instead of the old drum and ABS.