Kawasaki W175: more than meets the eye

Everything seems to be going retro lately – from fashion to music, there seems to be a sense of nostalgia. This has extended to motorcycles as well, with the latest case being the Kawasaki W175 – a 2020s motorcycle with a small capacity air-cooled engine, rear drum brakes and a simple halogen headlight. Don’t fret, there’s more to the W175 than meets the eye.

The new W175 is the smaller sister of Kawasaki’s retro W800 motorcycle. While the W800 is nice to drive and look at, its rather high price puts off many potential customers. That’s exactly what the W175 aims to do, a more pocket-friendly option with the same charmingly retro experience as the W800.

And to that end, the W175 gets almost everything right. The round, chrome-plated halogen headlight, teardrop-shaped fuel tank, boxy quarter panel, swept fenders and sleek taillight all evoke the ritzy W800. The only concerns are that it may seem a bit too small and sparse, and failing that, it also looks too basic. I’m sure the Candy Persimmon red livery with its gold detailing would do this bike more justice. Still, you can’t fault Kawasaki, as there’s a certain beauty in the W175’s simplicity.

In keeping with the retro theme, the smaller W sibling gets a basic analogue instrument cluster with a small digital display showing fuel level, odometer, trip meter and clock. The cluster has a nice vintage font with the W logo in the middle and is flanked by warning lights and buttons to control the digital screen. The switchgear, on the other hand, is nice to use and also of good quality.

Now there’s one area where the W175 falls short. It is content with a single disc brake with single-channel ABS, a halogen headlight and a single-pod cluster. Whilst some may argue that it is not necessary for a retro motorcycle to have fancy features, one can’t help but think that Kawasaki could have thrown in a few more things considering that it costs 2 lakh (on the road, Mumbai) for the W175. A rear disc brake, dual channel ABS, tachometer and USB port would have been welcome additions at this price point.

Climb atop the W175’s accessible 790mm throne nonetheless, and you’re in a very commuter-like position. They sit nice and upright, the handlebars are easy to reach, and the footpegs are set forward, making the overall riding position comfortable. However, the seat is narrow and the padding is flat, so it can get uncomfortable after riding for a while. Due to its compact dimensions, it can get tight for taller riders.

The W175 is powered by a tiny 177cc, air-cooled, two-valve, single-cylinder engine that puts out a modest 13 hp and 13.2 Nm. While those numbers are well below the competition, the Kawasaki makes up for its lack of grunt by being a featherweight. Weighing in at just 135kg, the W175 is a full 40kg lighter than the Royal Enfield Hunter 350. This really shows in its performance specs. Although the W175 has 7 hp and almost 14 Nm disadvantage compared to the Hunter, it reaches 60 km/h from a standstill in 5.26 seconds, which is just under the 4.95 seconds of the RE.

Even in terms of in-gear acceleration, the W175 does 20-50 km/h in 3.69 seconds and the Hunter in 3.39 seconds, while the Kawasaki is just about a second behind in the 30-70 km/h run the Royal Enfield is located. Only after 80 km/h does the 177 cc engine of the little Kawi run out of breath and it takes another 10 seconds to reach 80-100 km/h.

Unlike foreign markets, where old-school carburetors are used for fuel delivery, in India Kawasaki has given the W175 fuel injection to meet emissions standards. The engine itself is a refined unit and has a lovely fruity tone. It’s not a slow-revving thumper like your typical RE, but on the move this engine has a very relaxed nature that suits the character of this bike well. It’s not what you would call fast, but it does have a strong midrange. The engine is manageable and pulls cleanly from the lower speed range despite the somewhat high gearbox. Some buzz creeps in at higher revs and it has a hard time hitting triple-digit speeds, which is to be expected from an engine of this size, but it’s no deal breaker.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Kawasaki proved to be a light sucker in our tests, returning 48.2 cpl on the highway and 43.76 cpl in the city. These numbers are higher than the Hunter’s 39.84 cpl and 30.61 cpl on the highway and in the city, respectively.

The gearing is good and smooth for the most part, but on a few occasions it would hesitate to upshift. Clutch actuation is smooth, which makes operation on the road child’s play. As for the brakes, they have more than enough stopping power, stopping the W from 60 km/h in 17.52 m. Still, the presence of a drum brake at the rear is a little too old-fashioned at this price point.

Kawasaki has also managed to strike a good balance between ride and handling in the W175. Underpinning it is a simple, tubular, semi-double cradle frame suspended from a telescopic fork and twin shocks. The smaller W corners effortlessly and is fairly composed. Because it runs on thin Ceat tires, they have a lot of grip and give good feedback to the driver.

The W175 is one of those bikes you buy with your heart, not your head. There are many bikes on the market that give you more performance and features for a similar price, but that would miss the point. Priced between 1.47 lakh and 1.49 lakh, the W175 costs around €13,000 more than another neo-retro Japanese motorcycle, the Yamaha FZ-X, while costing just €1,000 less than the retro Royal Enfield variant Hunter.

The W175 will appeal to those who want a simple, carefree and authentic retro motorcycle riding experience. You may have to do without certain modern features and shell out a surcharge, but the experience is definitely worth it.


Hey, I am Sakib Hossain Sojib, an entrepreneur known as an SEO Specialist, Digital Marketer, Blogger, and Content Creator. I have a team of researchers who guide and review products for our audience to help them by providing valuable information to help our audience makes the best decisions for their needs. I love to take care of my cars. So, I like and enjoy car maintenance and automotive research. The provided content is based on my learning, research, and understanding of the topic and its concept. Our extensive experience in the industry allows us to offer unique insights and perspectives on the latest trends and products. We aim to educate and empower our readers by providing them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their needs.

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