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Kawasaki W175 Street: Road Test Review

Authors Image

Pratik Bhanushali

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Introduction

Kawasaki W175 Right Front Three Quarter

Time machines don’t exist, or at least, we have not seen one yet. But artefacts are one of the direct ways to get a taste of what the past might have been like. Or maybe, you could just ride a Kawasaki W175 Street. It comes with alloy wheels and tubeless tyres, unlike the other variant that gets spoke units. So, how different is it? Well, to find out just that, we rode the bike for a few days in and around Mumbai and did a speed run to Pune. And here’s what we’ve come back with.

Styling and Quality

Kawasaki W175 Right Front Three Quarter

When I received the bike for this road test, I approached the W175 Street as just another ordinary motorcycle as there was no standout factor to its design. I am yet to be convinced otherwise. However, there were multiple occasions when some passersby looked at the bike with curiosity. Some wanted to click a picture of it whereas a few even walked from the other side of the road to have a close look at it. All these happenings were quite unprecedented. But when I asked a few of those people about what they liked in the W175 Street, one common answer was that it looked like the old Bajaj-Kawasaki Boxer. So, in a way, Kawasaki seems to have pulled off the retro-essence part decently.

That said, the W175 Street’s form is very plain Jane. It has a round headlight, slim build, and a simple structure overall. Ideally, this should resonate with people who prefer a simple setup. The blend of a lightweight structure, simple design, and overall ease of usability are balanced quite well. Moreover, a basic structure like this doesn’t have much to break in case there’s an accidental fall or a crash. Hence, easy does it.

Kawasaki W175 Fuel Tank

In terms of quality, the W175 Street seems decent. The paint, plastic panels, and the switches match what one would expect on a commuter motorcycle. But the fuel tank shakes left and right without applying much force and felt very loosely mounted on the frame. Then, in just the first 150-200km of riding, the rear number plate assembly had come loose and was rattling. Even the seat cover doesn’t feel grippy. Overall, the W175 Street seems to miss the premium finishing that other bikes from Kawasaki get.

Ergonomics and Comfort

Kawasaki W175 Right Side View

A single-piece seat, flat tubular handlebar, and centre-set footpegs – all these elements combine to offer an upright and neutral riding posture for the W175 Street. You sit with your back straight and hands resting easily on the handlebar, with the foot peg in a position that allows you to grab the tank with your thighs whenever needed. Even flat footing on the W175 Street is easy as the seat is wide enough to provide adequate under-thigh support but narrow enough at the same time so it doesn’t obstruct your feet from landing easily on the ground.

The seat foam is adequate and you can spend an hour riding the bike without much discomfort. However, after a while, you might have to move around to adjust your bottom and get comfortable again. But that’s not a deal breaker in any sense. As for the suspension setup, both, the front and rear springs are soft and absorb bumps a fair bit. Even during hard landings, the springs don’t bottom and the bike maintains its composure.

Performance and Handling

Kawasaki W175 Left Front Three Quarter

The Kawasaki W175 Street uses a 177cc, single-cylinder engine that pushes out 12.8bhp and 13.2Nm. It’s linked to a five-speed gearbox and the overall response from this motor is quite likeable. While the power figures may not sound like a lot, it’s enough to get you through the city traffic and maintain a decent pace on the highway as well. The maximum speed we saw on the W175 Street’s speedometer was around 100-110kmph but that too felt like a stretch for the bike.

Its petite frame and peppy engine make for a lovely commuter. The motor is fairly tractable too. But when you take off in the first gear, the engine seems to shudder at the first few thousand revs. However, once on the move, it functions normally and you can slice through the traffic at low speeds even in a gear higher. The gearbox, meanwhile, is decently responsive but in certain instances, it refused to shift from the first to the second and needed multiple shifts. This got slightly irritating after a while. Not to mention, the majority of power from this motor is accessible at the lower and mid-range, which suits the W175 Street’s character. But if you try gunning for three-digit speeds, the motor’s limitations and reluctance to the same is very evident.

Kawasaki W175 Right Rear Three Quarter

Being light on its feet has worked in W175 Street’s favour. From getting it on and off the stand, to switching lanes, and even slicing between bumper-to-bumper traffic, the W175 Street requires a meagre amount of effort. This would make it a good first motorcycle, regardless of your age and experience. The bike’s fairly stable on the highway but being a little careful is what we’d recommend since a heavy blow of wind could affect the momentum. What came as a slight surprise though was how the bike handled around the ghats during our ride to Pune. It was oddly stable around the turns and switching directions was a breeze.

The bike comes with a single front disc and rear drum brake with a single-channel ABS. Although predictable, the W175 Street takes a little time to come to a full halt. Its front brake feels a little spongy and could do with a better bite. Meanwhile, the rear brake cuts down the speeds effectively but can lock if stomped on a little hard. However, if done carefully, it’s fun to brake-slide the W175 Street’s rear. And speaking of the differentiating factor, the alloy wheels with tubeless tyres – make the W175 Street Street look slightly better than the spoke wheel model. Not to mention, it will also be easier to patch the tyre in case of a puncture.

Features and Technology

Kawasaki W175 Instrument Cluster

The features list on the Kawasaki W175 Street is still the same. It gets bulb illumination all over, single-channel ABS, fuel injection, side stand sensor, and an analogue console with an LCD inset. The cluster gives you all the necessary information, including the speed, odometer reading, trip meter, fuel level, and time as well. While the setup is fairly neat and suffices the need, it feels incomplete when you look at the bike’s asking price. There’s a shortcoming in the ‘wants’ section, which can include a fully digital console or the current setup with a gear position indicator and a USB charging port too.

Conclusion

Kawasaki W175 Left Side View

The Kawasaki W175 Street packs decent performance, has the ethos of a commuter motorcycle, handles well, gets a likeable suspension setup, and looks retro if that’s what you like. But it needs betterment in areas of build quality, features, and braking as well. It’s easy to ride, looks simple and also has a fairly minimal approach in terms of the bodywork.

Kawasaki W175 Front View

Then comes its fuel efficiency of around 40kmpl, which is decent and should get you through your daily commutes with ease. So, what is the deal breaker if everything seems in place? Well, it's asking price of Rs. 1.35 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Considering the overall value for money, the price tag still feels high and is a limiting factor. But if you are a hardcore Kawasaki fan and want a commuter from this Japanese brand only, then the W175 Street would suit you. But if you are open to other options, the segment has more than enough names for you to go through and come to a rather rational choice in terms of pricing.

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

Kawasaki W175 Left Side View
Kawasaki W175 Right Side View
Kawasaki W175 Right Side View
Kawasaki W175 Head Light
Kawasaki W175 Fuel Tank
Kawasaki W175 Right Front Three Quarter
Kawasaki W175 Left Front Three Quarter
Kawasaki W175 Right Front Three Quarter
Kawasaki W175 Left Front Three Quarter
Kawasaki W175 Instrument Cluster

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