Restyled Kawasaki W800 Black Edition Combines Stealthy Elegance With Desert Sled Cues

With its blacked-out colorway, red upholstery, and utilitarian headlight, this bad boy is an ominous presence, for sure.
Custom Kawasaki W800 14 photos
Photo: AJ Moller Photography via Ellaspede
Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800Custom Kawasaki W800
Since Hughan is the marketing manager at Ellaspede, you might feel inclined to think he rides something along the lines of a wild one-off. That’s not really the case, though; the lad spent several years with a mostly-stock Yamaha XS650 from the seventies as his daily. When Hughan finally decided to go down the custom route in 2019, restraint was one of his top priorities.

The Aussie wanted something that wouldn’t require as much maintenance as the classic Yamaha, but he wasn’t prepared to give up the retro looks. After a thorough search on the web, Hughan came across a 2015 MY Kawasaki W800 Black Edition, with two previous owners and less than 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) under its belt. Sure enough, it didn’t take long for him to hit the “buy” button on this Japanese stunner.

He spent about a year with the vintage-looking Kawi in stock form, then it came time for the bespoke sorcery to take over. The transformation began in the cockpit, where you will now find a low-rise tracker handlebar equipped with Biltwell Kung Fu grips and underslung mirrors.

As far as instrumentation is concerned, Hughan fitted a digital Danmoto dial with both speedo and tachometer functions. Front-end lighting comes from a rectangular Hella spotlight, which was modified to suit its new purpose and mounted on the lower triple clamp. This setup makes the headlamp area look intentionally barren as a nod to old-school desert sleds, and it’s completed by LED turn signals from Daytona’s inventory.

Rounding out the fresh hardware up north is a tailor-made fender, but the aftermarket goodness continues at the back. There you’ll see an LSL rear fender with built-in LED lighting, as well as a minimalistic license plate bracket from Ellaspede’s proprietary catalog of bolt-on parts.

Attached to the unmodified subframe tubing, the rear-end blinkers are identical to those found at the front. Hughan may have left the W800’s skeleton as it was, but he trimmed the seat pan and used the original foam to shape a much sportier saddle. This unit is considerably slimmer than the standard part, sporting UV-resistant red vinyl upholstery.

Down low, we notice a unique stainless-steel exhaust fabricated by the Ellaspede squad from scratch, and it snakes its way into a single muffler on the right-hand side. Street-oriented rubber with a pinch of off-roading capability was a must, so the motorcycle got treated to a pair of Mitas E-07s measuring 110/80 up front and 140/80 at six o’clock.

Unsurprisingly, the factory W800 fuel tank was retained, but it’s been stripped of its badges to keep things looking nice and clean. As Hughan was dealing with a Black Edition model, there wasn’t much for him to do when it came to the paint job, save for finishing the newly-installed items in a mixture of gloss- and satin-black.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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