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Help with bike choice: Kawasaki W800 or Honda CB400

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by DJY, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Kawasaki W800

    24 vote(s)
  2. Honda CB400

    11 vote(s)
  3. somethine different? (feel free to further confuse me and offer an alternative)

    2 vote(s)
  1. Ok all,

    Firstly, thanks to everyone for making me welcome. Over the last few weeks I've been reading lots, learning lots, and found this forum a great resource! I'm a big believer in contributing too - and whilst I don't know what I'm doing yet, I have certainly paid some money to become a member already, to ensure that this forum keeps going!

    Ok now... as some of you may have been reading / noticing... I'm a 42yr old guy average height, fairly solid build (probably the wrong side of 100kg just), fairly level headed (I think), who has very recently done the Stay Upright Learners Course. That day was great... covered lots, and I learnt a heap... but must admit I walked away thinking concurrently... that I can do this... but oh sh#t there is so much I don't know... and not sure I will be on the roads just yet! So I'm going into this process as open minded and realistic with my own skills (or lack of) at the moment.

    Which brings me to my first bike.
    I know I should just buy a older 3rd or 4th hand bike... learn on it... develop my skills... patiently get braver... then in a couple of years upgrade my bike.

    BUT I'm really conflicted at present. I'm not overly mechanical, and so buying a bike with a history (and no warranty), plus having to then get extra checks / services / maybe replace parts / tyres etc is all complicated to me.

    SO I'm torn between buying a Honda CB400 which everyone says is practical, forgiving, reliable, and a good bike to learn on, and the Kawasaki W800. I fell in love with the look of the W800 when I saw it in person! WOW great looking bike! I am drawn to the more retro / vintage / classic bikes... and I'm sure eventually / one day will end up on a Triumph - but need to be realistic at present, and obviously comply with the LAM restrictions.

    Here in the ACT the Kawasaki W800 is on the LAM list!
    Pegs were in a good position, slightly more forward than the CB400 which felt good, nice upright position, and even a skinnier fuel tank (than the CB400) which to me as an amateur / learner was noticeable.

    The CB400 has a wide fuel tank, comfortable sitting position, nice half length rear brake pedal, pegs more back under my bum, still with a fairly upright position - but slightly different to the CB250 that I used for my learner course.

    So a poll please!!! Help me out!
    Heart / Aesthetics and go with the Kawasaki W800 or
    practicality of the CB400?!?!!

    I appreciate many of your thoughts / comments in other threads... but I thought rather than hijack those any longer... I should separate my dilemma and even get a poll going!

    Thanks in advance

    David (aka DJY)
  2. I vote Kawasaki, but that's mainly because of my widely known pathological loathing of Hondas :D.
  3. When choosing a bike you should always go with your heart. Personally I think you should broaden your horizons though. There are quite a few LAMs approved bikes on offer and some, I believe, would provide a much better riding experience than the ones listed. Of course you wont know that unless you take a few for a test ride. Good luck with your search.
  4. Any suggestions you want to throw out there for me then?
  5. The best suggestion I could make would be to test ride as many bikes as you can before making a decision. I would also include a couple of bikes that are completely different to what you are looking for just to give some perspective. The list of bikes to test might look something like this:
    CB400 and W800 - Obviously because these are of interest to you.
    Suzuki SVF650 - The v-twin engine in these bikes are awesome. Sure the top end is restricted for LAMS compliance but you still get all that bottom end torque from the 650 twin. They sound great too if you put on a decent exhaust.
    Kawasaki er-6nl - I don't know much about these but see quite a few on the roads. I figure there must be a reason for that.
    Honda CBR250R - Yeah I know, a 100kg middle age dude on a micro crouch rocket will look ridiculous, but you need to ride one anyway. Trust me on this.
    Yamaha WR250X - Again, not your cup of tea, but will give you some perspective, and a smile on your face I'm sure.
    These bikes are just suggestions for you to test ride and you shouldn't limit yourself to only testing these. Also I am not suggesting that you should choose any of these over the the bikes you nominated. In fact, if you do still choose the CB400 or W800 after riding a few different types of bikes then you should at least be quite comfortable with your decision.

    BTW, if I had to go back to riding a LAMs bike then my choice would be a Suzuki DRZ400e.
  6. Hi there
    Thanks for the detailed other options! I appreciate the time you've taken.
    I did have a brief look at the Suzuki...
    and yes I have seen a few ER-6NL/n on the road too! Quite a smart looking bike! I also spent some time considering the GS500 too. My first glance at that wasn't detailed - but the other weekend did spend some time crawling over it and chatting to people about it.

    I'm starting to think that there are several bikes that would serve / suit me well.
  7. By all means have fun and take as many bikes as you can for a ride but I think you've got the right selection to begin with. Svf650... you'll probably find it severely uncomfortable with those clip-ons. CBR250R is as old as the hills, it might've been a great bike but it's really time to let it go. ER-6... I had the regular non-LAMS one. It was OK but I like W800 much better. Yamaha WR250X is a different proposition altogether... but at the end of the day it is a 250cc that is priced like a 600.
    You sound like a perfect match for W800, you like the looks, and you have a rare opportunity in that it is LAMS in your state, unlike anywhere else. It should be on top of your list in my opinion.
  8. Thanks mate!
    I'm just grappling with the money, the no skills / experience versus the heart.
    I think the W800 is at the top of my list... and as someone very wisely said on another forum... I don't need permission from experienced riders. ;)
  9. The 400 has twice the revs and cylinders, and the 800 has cubes.

    The CB isn't exactly light either, so compared the W800 it's not like that's really in it's favour as the "smaller" bike.

    Since you can get, the 800 sounds like a good idea to me.
  10. Hi David,

    If I were in your position, I would get the W800, it is a great looking bike and one that you could be happy with for years.

    Good luck with whatever you decide, and I hope you enjoy a new bike some time soon.


  11. Go with your heart mate.

    The W800 will do everything you want it to do, hold it's value and should be really reliable. Every time you take the cover off your bike your heart should sing a little bit and while the CB is probably a great choice too you'll always regret the sensible option.
  12. Ridem both and then think about where and why you want to ride.

    I've done around 30k on a cb400 as a commuter over the past 2 years. Very pleased with my choice and for a brief fling in the hills around Melbourne its heaps of fun with a fabulous engine and very forgiving handling. I havent ridden the W800 but the wraps are pretty good and it looks great.
  13. I did!
    Decision made.
    [insert big grin here]

    thanks to everyone in this thread and others that have given me great information about both bikes, options, tit bits, facts, and things to think about though! My Netrider member status came through, so now I'm a paid up member, and will pick up my bike in the next few days! Probably won't be able to get it until Sat though... now the next big decision... do I ride it home myself or get it delivered!!!
  14. #14 MrJimmyC, Feb 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    Congrats mate. Hope you enjoy the ride.
  15. Great work!

    Now, being one of the people who convinced you to go down this route, when do I get a test ride?
  16. LOL Good one!
    Thankfully you are in Melb... so I can insert an excuse to bide me some time? grin
    I think I want to ride it home from the dealer... so I am the first one to ride it on the road. Only hiccups there are... possible weather forecasts - showers and rain for the next four days!?!?!?!!

    So first ride in traffic, first ride in rain, and first ride on new bike!?!?!!
    Oh yeah and at this stage it is likely to be Saturday in one of the busier industrial / shopping suburbs in town?!?!!
  17. Are you buying the one on the floor in Canberra Motorcycles Fyshwick? I was over there on business this week and dropped in for a gander.

    Sweet looking bike!
  18. The one on the floor - was the demo.
    I thought they had one more out the back...
    but it turns out they had TWO!

    When I raced back in on Wed afternoon... there were THREE shiny new W800 lined up inside! One of those was mine! ;)

    I gather they originally ordered five, but only received four.
    Someone bought one sight unseen virtually I think. Or at least on day one!
    The floor bike - which has been outside on display the last couple of weeks was bike No 2 and has become their demo ride I gather.

    Mine they only uncrated Mon or Tues (presuming bike 3), and I gather they uncrated Bike No 4 soon after.
  19. I'm probably too late but you'd still be the first one to ride it on the road if you had it delivered. They're unlikely to ride it to your place - They'd put it on the back of a truck/ute/van.

    Have fun with it. It's a beautiful bike!
  20. You aren't too late yet djay!

    I am still planning on riding it home myself though. You are indeed right - they would have delivered it on the back of a ute / truck. But I do like the idea of riding it home myself! I need to ride it sometime... so why not today! I am both very very excited and very nervous - so slow and steady for me. Look out Canberra cars... very slow nanna rider will be on the road in an hour or two.