Kawasaki retro: End of 50-year era

  • A half-century masterpiece is no more
  • W800 ‘Final Edition’ – last of the line
  • Limited classic for last year of sales
Kawasaki has announced the end of is W series of four-stroke vertical-twin motorcycles
THE ‘FINAL EDITION’: Kawasaki has announced the end of its W series of four-stroke vertical-twin motorcycles. Image: Kawasaki

Some 50 years since its launch, Kawasaki has announced the end of is W series of four-stroke vertical-twin motorcycles: the W800 ‘Final Edition’ marks the end of an era.

With a limited number available for the 2017 season, fans and enthusiasts across Europe will have the last chance to experience the contemporary descendant of the famous W series that first emerged from the Kawasaki factory in Akashi, Japan, in the mid 1960’s.

Kawasaki has announced the end of is W series of four-stroke vertical-twin motorcycles
CLOSE-UP ON A CLASSIC: The big-twin W series – what ‘real’ motorcycles used to look like. Image: Kawasaki

Suitably named the W800 ‘Final Edition’, the last model in the line is resplendent a Candy Brown and Candy Sunset Orange paint scheme.

The W800 with its authentic retro look and feel is considered by many to be a modern classic. The clean and simple lines of the air-cooled four-stroke vertical-twin engine displaces 773cc with a bevel-gear camshaft contributing to the carefully considered heritage engineering approach and stunning visual appearance.

Attention to detail gives the W800 an exquisite quality and nostalgic beauty complete with its distinctive tank badge resembling that of the original W series.

The family tree of the W800 and the W series can be traced back to 1966 when Kawasaki introduced its ‘great grandfather’; the W1. Equipped with a robust and reliable 650cc engine and aout 38kW, the W1 was the first large-capacity high-performance four-stroke under the Kawasaki banner and turned out to be a manufacturing milestone – especially in the American market where it helped to set the foundation for the brand in a huge motorcycle-hungry market.

Kawasaki has announced the end of is W series of four-stroke vertical-twin motorcycles
GOING, GOING… GONE: Kawasaki has announced the end of its W series of four-stroke vertical-twin motorcycles Image: Kawasaki

In 1998, with the lines and the engineering essence of the original W1, Kawasaki introduced the W650. It was enthusiastically embraced by a new legion of fans, young and old, to prove that true style never really goes out of fashion.

Selecting retro overdrive, the Japanese bikemaker then introduced the W800 in 2011, extending the W family line still further. All generations of the W series possess authentic quality and classic beauty and Kawasaki has concentrated on delivering a mixture of high-tech with heritage in a seductive retro package throughout the modern W series.

HIGHLIGHTING THE HERITAGE

Now, however, the line must end as the current machine will not meet future European motorcycle regulations.

Celebrating more than 50 years of the W family, Kawasaki hopes this last-in-line ‘Final Edition’ will again highlight the heritage of the W800 and be a fitting end to the series.

Morihiro Ikoma, corporate planning director for Kawasaki Motors Europe, told The Corner in a media release: “It’s never easy to say goodbye to an old friend, especially one as iconic as the W800. Paying homage to the W series with this Final Edition is a fitting end to a long and successful line of machines.”

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