Milan Show: Kawasaki W800

Old is the new new?

It's the first time we've seen the new Kawasaki W800 in the flesh and looking at the spec' it's odd that we find it so appealing.

With 1970s steering geometry, power outputs and weight distribution, the W800 doesn't pretend to be anything other than retro. Twin shocks? Chrome? Single front disc? Time warp.

But it's going head-to-head with Triumph's amazingly popular Bonneville and the new W800 (the old 650 version is now only available on the secondhand market) looks set to be super-competitive in this growing, silver-haired market.

We won't believe claimed torque and power figures until we see the two rival bikes on the same dyno but that would be missing the point. It's not about power or speed. This movement is about style.

In its favour, the W800 is more petite than the Bonneville and that bevel-driven over head cam twin is physically much, much smaller than the famously fat Triumph motor.

If you've reached a stage in life where jail-bait top speeds and sub-ten quarter mile times don't matter this could just be the tonic you need...