Kawasaki W800

Raymond

likes to play with old motorbikes
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This thread is really just an excuse to make occasional posts about my 2014 Kawaski W800 SE, Polly to friends.

This time, it's tyres. Bike came with Dunlop TT100s, which were fine but wore out too fast for my liking. Since then have fitted a succession of Avon RoadRiders and IMO these have been a great improvement - good grip, good handling and last nearly twice as long.

But this time, with the rear down to about the limit, decided time for a change. After a lot of thinking and research - as if - bought a pair of Kenda K761, through the village tyre shop as usual. This is Polly with the rear K761 fitted:


PICT2552.JPG



After taking the photo, pulled the front wheel out and carried it down the road for similar fitment.

Have a Kenda K761 on the rear of the Honda NX250 since having the wheel rebuilt to 17" and I've been pleased with that so, uhm, give it a go on the Kawasaki.

Now it so happens the rear on the XS650 is nearing replacement. And there's not a lot of life left in the front either. Bike has Maxxis, fitted by the PO, so now I suppose I will have to think about what to fit next. Replace the Maxxis with more of the same, go to Avon RoadRiders, or another pair of Kenda K761?

Opinions welcome . . .
 
Maybe not quite the same, but I had good luck with Avon Roadrunners on my 650 Special. The only reason I switched was because of vanity. I couldn't get the Roadrunner in 100/90-19 and went to 90/90-19. It worked just fine, but it looked like I could get my arm between the fender and tire. As a matter of fact, I crashed with those tires, not because of tire failure, but because I ran out of lean. I had it heeled over far enough to hit hard parts. "Look Ma, no brakes!" I'm a bit less aggressive these days.
 
I have run the Avons on my previous Harley Sportster 1200 and now on my 1977 xs650 and there amazing. Track strait thru
any cracks or holes ect,grip like a cat on the back of my couch and wear well.The Dunlops are terrible.
I have recently purchased a brand new 2021 Kawi w-800 Standard or Classic . Dont have yet ,on order but I will definitely
be switching over to the Avon Roadriders also.Im glad to hear they have a size to fit that bike. Otherwise Metezler is a good option.
 
I suppose Kenda K761 a bit similar to Pirelli MT60?

Here's Polly with the Kendas now fitted at both ends:

PICT2555.JPG



Went shopping in Galashiels - still one of the few legit reasons to go out. First impressions of the Kenda tyres? Well, they are brand new so was being very careful, thinking about release compound and that. The bike feels more 'up on its toes' so to speak. They may be a slightly higher profile, or that might be an illusion. Seems to tip into corners quicker too. Bit unsettling till you start to get used to it so, to gain familiarity, took a longer route home with some interesting country roads - bends, hills, dodgy tarmac, etc.

After a few miles, as I started to think less about release compound, confidence grew. I think they're gonna be good tyres.
 
I found the exact same results after removing the Bridgestones on the XS and replacing with Avons.
Bike felt taller and leaned into corners quicker which initially freaked me outa bit but I soon got used to it
and actually liked it.Felt more like a sport bike.
 
Anybody use Michelin Pilot Road 4s or 5s? I replaced the original Dunlops on the FJ with a set of 4s and got significantly better feel and mileage out of them. I noticed the "do it now" bars are showing on the rear, I'll probably put a set of 5s on it later this Spring.
 
Saw a brand new one sitting on the dealer floor in Gainesville GA the other day. Didn't think they were still making them. Although it might have been NOS
 
The W's seem to have been rare or occasional visitors to the N American market. The W650 made a brief appearance, one year only I think, around the turn of the century. And it appears that Big K has decided to dip a toe in the water again this year with the W800. So it was probably a rare sighting of a proper genuine new bike.
 
Looks like I may not get the bike I ordered for 2021. Apparently Kwai is not delivering any more 2021 bikes to north amarica due to COVID. Some bikes were delivered last month but that’s it now. Kari is going to hold off till June and start production on 2022 model year. I’m bummed, I really wanted the Blue classic model. Guess o will get my deposit back
 
Looks like I may not get the bike I ordered for 2021. Apparently Kwai is not delivering any more 2021 bikes to north amarica due to COVID. Some bikes were delivered last month but that’s it now. Kari is going to hold off till June and start production on 2022 model year. I’m bummed, I really wanted the Blue classic model. Guess o will get my deposit back

Not sure what it might be worth to you to take another color but they're offering a screaming deal on this one, $3000 off list

https://www.gainesvillemotorsports....Cafe-Gainesville-Motorsports-6907092?ref=list
 
That’s an amazing deal for sure!
Only problem is the look of a bike is very personal, and I love the classic blue on the 2021. I have a dealer 10 minutes from me that has 11 2020 models. But I don’t like red especially on a vintage lookin bike and never was interested in the bobber or fairing style units. Guess I gotta wait it out. Maybe the 2022 will be even better with hopefully better tires an shocks!!
 
Anybody use Michelin Pilot Road 4s or 5s? I replaced the original Dunlops on the FJ with a set of 4s and got significantly better feel and mileage out of them. I noticed the "do it now" bars are showing on the rear, I'll probably put a set of 5s on it later this Spring.

I used Michelin Road Pilot 5s (or maybe they were 4s...hmmmmm?) on my Honda ST1300 and they were good. I also used a pair of Metzlers - which seemed to wear out faster (the ST is an absolutely ferocious eater of tires - so much weight, speed and engine torque).

My present fleet (three XS650s and the BMW R100RS) all use the same size tires and I seem to have settled on Michelin Pilot Activ (note: no "e") tires front and rear. They are modern tires, but since these bikes need an old-fashioned size (4.00-18 rear and 3.50-19 front) the available choices are somewhat limited. The Michelins are, at least available here in Canada from FortNine (the same Montreal company for which Ryan F9 works) at a reasonable price and since all of my bikes use the same size, I can buy in bulk and know that somebody, someday is going to need the tire.

On the Kawasaki W800, one of my riding buddies has one and he loves it. The bike runs well and has strong torque (substantially more than the XS650 IMO) - but I don't know how it would compare to the R-E Interceptor as I have never ridden one (or even seen one in-person). Given that the rated HP on the R-E is a bit less than the XS650 and the weight is about the same, I would guess that the Kawasaki with its 150cc extra displacement would be stronger.

Pete
 
The W800 weighs in at around 80 pounds more than the RE. Both have modern features, electronic ignitions/fuel management, ABS brakes with the classic look.
That's true though that there is pretty strong aftermarket presence for both the RE and the Bonny while pretty non-existent for the Kaw
I've at my age been considering a lighter more nimble ride than my 600+ pound V-rod, with ABS brakes and a few bikes have piqued my interest, the RE and Triumph included. Though a 3-4 yr old Triumph 800 Triple appeals more than the twin in any of it's styling schemes.
However as I already have way too many project bikes eating up my time and financial resources I'm really going to have to pass on this, though it is a struggle at that price.
 
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The thing with power Pete is it’s never enough it seems. I used to be on that train with everything I owned, makin it faster, quicker ect. But I’ve settled down over the last few years and jus want to enjoy the ride and outing. The things that are now important to me are looks obviously first then sound, ride, handling, reliability, ease to work on. I did look at the Tryumph and interceptor ect and I jus like the look , sound and quality build of the W800. I think they nailed it for what a new vintage bike should be.
Is it perfect, no. Needs better tires and headlight is to modern , these things r easily changed. But it’s really close. !!
 
I was very excited by the arrival of the RE Interceptor, obviously a competitor for the W800. And at a very attractive price. So, I've read a number of reviews & watched a number of vids comparing them. I think it was Ride magazine who came to the conclusion that they are both good bikes. They felt that anybody buying either bike would get a good machine for their money. But the Kawasaki is better made, better equipped, comfier, liable to last better and therefore the additional cost of the K is justified.

BTW, the weight comparison, there is much less than 80 lbs difference. It's always hard to compare manufacturers claimed weights - does the quoted figure include fuel, battery, oil, spark plugs, air in the tyres? I jest. But Cycle World quotes 30 lbs heavier for the K and AutoX quotes 21 kilos - take your pick.

There isn't a huge aftermarket, probably negligible in N America. There's a few people supplying bits in Europe and I think there's a fair-sized aftermarket in Japan, eg Wemoto.

Agree with XS650D that LED headlamp is off-putting.
 
The thing with power Pete is it’s never enough it seems. I used to be on that train with everything I owned, makin it faster, quicker ect. But I’ve settled down over the last few years and jus want to enjoy the ride and outing. The things that are now important to me are looks obviously first then sound, ride, handling, reliability, ease to work on. I did look at the Tryumph and interceptor ect and I jus like the look , sound and quality build of the W800. I think they nailed it for what a new vintage bike should be.
Is it perfect, no. Needs better tires and headlight is to modern , these things r easily changed. But it’s really close. !!

Yup- I am the same. Even with the ST1300, I never actually opened it up. In the old days, I would have but now....happy to just doodle along and enjoy the ride.
 
One only has to dip ones toe in the water.
Of the two, and I have ridden both, I would prefer a second hand Kawasaki to the Royal Enfield.
That’s not to detract from the excellence of the RE.
 
The one comparison I read said the RE felt more confidence inspiring in the turns, and the motor was livelier, but the W800 gave the more convincing high-torque riding experience closer to the actual Brit bikes it emulates. The RE is a modern 270 degree twin biased to revs, while the W800 is the usual 360 degree motor we all know and love/hate. One owner said the oem tires were downright hazardous and that the handling of the bike was immensely improved with new rubber. There is already an 800cc+ big bore available for the RE.

Fit and finish and dealer network were strongly in the W800s favour.
 
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