The 2020 Kawasaki W800 Street is an interesting motorcycle, designed to both look and feel like a 1960’s Kawasaki W1. This is achieved with a 773 cc SOHC air cooled vertical twin (much like the W1’s 650cc vertical twin) that pushes out 51 crank HP and 44 lb-ft of crank torque, but has a designed slightly offset firing order that gives the feeling of pulsing power through the seat and a great classic, rumbling exhaust note.
The W800 Street is available in Canada and Europe only, and is the most “relaxed” of the three currently available W800 series bikes globally. It features some modern amenities such as ABS, fuel injection, shift assist and a slipper clutch, but has a retro feel through dual side mount rear shocks, a classic telescopic front fork setup, and a “tuck and roll” classic seat.
Based on feedback from racing activities, the Assist & Slipper Clutch uses two types of cams (an assist cam and a slipper cam) to either drive the clutch hub and operating plate together or apart.
Under normal operation, the assist cam functions as a self-servo mechanism, pulling the clutch hub and operating plate together to compress the clutch plates. This allows the total clutch spring load to be reduced, resulting in a lighter clutch lever feel when operating the clutch.
When excessive engine braking occurs – as a result of quick downshifts (or an accidental downshift) – the slipper cam comes into play, forcing the clutch hub and operating plate apart. This relieves pressure on the clutch plates to reduce back-torque and helps prevent the rear tire from hopping and skidding. This race-style function is particularly useful when sport or track riding.
Kawasaki has long had a reputation for building great-sounding bikes – a characteristic inherent in the Kawasaki engine architecture – but it is only recently that effort has been put into crafting a specific auditory experience through careful sound tuning of either the intake or exhaust system.
Designed specifically to allow riders to enjoy their motorcycles aurally as well as physically, the carefully crafted auditory notes can be the key components of the street riding exhilaration offered by models that have benefitted from sound tuning. Sound tuning can include conducting sound research, designing intake and exhaust system components based on an acoustic test carried out in a sound room, and careful consideration of every detail of a system’s components to ensure a balance of performance and the desired sound.
ABS (Anti-lock Brake System)
Kawasaki ABS systems use front and rear wheel sensors to constantly monitor wheel speed. Should information from either of the sensors indicate that wheel lock has occurred, the ABS ECU directs the pump in the ABS unit to modulate brake fluid pressure (releasing and reapplying pressure so that traction can be regained) until normal operation resumes. ABS offers rider reassurance that contributes to greater riding enjoyment.