Motorcycles

Kawasaki draws the curtain on its W series with limited W800 Final Edition

Kawasaki invested in a modern classic long before the scene evolved into a global trend and now completes this circle with the W800 Final Edition
Kawasaki invested in a modern classic long before the scene evolved into a global trend and now completes this circle with the W800 Final Edition
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The blackened Special Edition W800 is part of Kawasaki's 2016 line-up
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The blackened Special Edition W800 is part of Kawasaki's 2016 line-up
The standard 2016 Kawasaki W800 is an equally beautiful motorcycle
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The standard 2016 Kawasaki W800 is an equally beautiful motorcycle
Apart from the standard and special black W800, Kawasaki also offers a Cafe Racer version for 2016
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Apart from the standard and special black W800, Kawasaki also offers a Cafe Racer version for 2016
Kawasaki Final Edition W800 is characterized by its special Candy Brown and Candy Sunset Orange paint scheme
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Kawasaki Final Edition W800 is characterized by its special Candy Brown and Candy Sunset Orange paint scheme
Kawasaki W800 Final Edition will be available in 2017 in limited numbers
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Kawasaki W800 Final Edition will be available in 2017 in limited numbers
There is no difference between the Final Edition and the standard Kawasaki W800 other than the special color
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There is no difference between the Final Edition and the standard Kawasaki W800 other than the special color
Kawasaki invested in a modern classic long before the scene evolved into a global trend and now completes this circle with the W800 Final Edition
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Kawasaki invested in a modern classic long before the scene evolved into a global trend and now completes this circle with the W800 Final Edition
The 1966 650 cc W1 twin was a very important model in Kawasaki's history, helping establish the Japanese manufacturer in the US market
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The 1966 650 cc W1 twin was a very important model in Kawasaki's history, helping establish the Japanese manufacturer in the US market
Kawasaki first introduced the W650 in 1999
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Kawasaki first introduced the W650 in 1999

After almost 20 years Kawasaki's range of modern classics is set to complete its full circle in 2017. The newly-announced Final Edition of the W800 twin-cylinder roadster will be available next year with a special paintjob in a limited production run to commemorate the end of an era.

When Kawasaki introduced the W650 in-line twin in 1999, the motorcycle world was in a very different position than today. The neo-retro craze that has taken over markets all over the world was at the time practically non-existent – even the most iconic of all modern classics, Triumph's Bonneville, would not arrive until 2001.

Yet for Kawasaki, the seemingly out of place W650 was a long overdue tribute to the original W series of the 1960s, and most notably the 1966 W1. Despite – or perhaps exactly because of – its uniqueness, the W650 remained in production until 2011 when Kawasaki rolled out its successor, the W800. Same recipe, same tech and just a few more cubic centimeters were employed to freshen up a model that by then looked a bit left out of the classic game, which was dominated by Triumph's ever evolving Bonneville twins.

Kawasaki W800 Final Edition will be available in 2017 in limited numbers
Kawasaki W800 Final Edition will be available in 2017 in limited numbers

The twin-cylinder engine of the W800 is characterized by the bevel gear assembly that controls the single overhead camshaft, and dominates the aesthetics of the engine's right side. With distinctly undersquare dimensions, the 773 cc fuel-injected motor produces just 48 hp (35 kW) of power, but the bike's strong point is none other than its 60 Nm (44.2 lb.ft) torque peak at just 2,500 rpm that makes for a very pleasant ride with solid acceleration.

The latest press release from Akashi, Japan talks about the end of an era, marked with the introduction of the very last W series model. It is a W800 with absolutely no changes in its powertrain or running gear, and just a special Candy Brown and Candy Sunset Orange paint scheme to ensure that the Final Edition will be unequivocally identifiable from a distance. This last fact is what will probably make the 2017 W800 a passion object, as it will be distributed in limited numbers before the model family goes out of production for good.

No talk of pricing, production volumes, or specific geographical distribution is to be found in the press release. All that Kawasaki discloses is the limited nature of the Final Edition, garnished with a subtle hint about "fans and enthusiasts across Europe" enjoying the last descendant of the W series. So is this a European-only model? We'll know for sure when the time comes for the last W800 model to roll out of Kawasaki's production line sometime next year.

Source: Kawasaki

2 comments
wanderkip
The W650 was actually truer in form to early Bonnevilles, then the new Triumph version itself! Lighter and simpler, with great attention to small details like wheel hubs, exhaust and engine aesthetics. My 650 is constantly mistaken for a vintage bike, even by other motorcyclists. I love riding the classics, but there's also something "magical" about never having to worry about electrical gremlins, oil leaks and lost parts from vibration that strand you by the roadside. Hope we see more bikes like this in the future.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
So, where can I pick one up in the States? Oh, wait... NOWHERE! WTF?