Kawasaki W175 Street Review: Who Should Buy It?

Kawasaki’s W175 is a low-cost motorcycle that evokes the nostalgia of no-nonsense riding, but does it offer enough to be relevant in the modern world?

By Aakash S Paul | Photography Sunil Chauhan | on April 26, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

When considering Japan’s contribution to the automotive world, iconic vehicles like the Toyota AE86, Nissan GTR, and tiny but fun kei cars, along with high-performance superbikes often spring to mind. Yet, there is another undiscussed facet of Japanese automotive heritage – cruisers. True, they are a smaller aspect of Japanese automotive culture, but they, nonetheless, hold significant importance. A good case in point is Kawasaki’s W series of motorcycles, and I recently had the opportunity to test ride the latest iteration of the series – the W175 Street, which is the only W bike available in India. So, the question is – why should this Kawasaki cruiser deserve your attention in a market that is predominantly ruled by Royal Enfield?

Kawasaki W175 Street Review: Design & Styling

Kawasaki offers two versions of the W175, one with spoked wheels and the other with alloys. The latter is called the W175 Street – the one we tested. Characterized by simplicity, its design is nevertheless quite effective, eschewing flashy plastic elements and overly imposing aesthetics. Instead, Kawasaki has opted for a subtle and subdued appearance, avoiding powdered black surfaces on components like the exhaust and engine, not only enhancing aesthetics but also simplifying maintenance. Despite its unassuming design, the W175 manages to turn heads on the road, with many people expressing their curiosity about this rare find. Its relatively high price and niche appeal make it somewhat of a unicorn on the Indian roads. Overall, I would say that the bike’s well-executed black-striped design merits recognition and praise.

Kawasaki W175 Street Stand View

The W175 Street gets a simple and functional semi-digital instrument cluster, featuring a prominent analogue dial, complemented by a small display within. The indicator lights on the side evoke a sense of nostalgia, adding a nice retro touch to the overall design. However, despite the usability of the entire setup, I have two minor issues with it. Firstly, I think that the setup could have been a little more aesthetically pleasing. Secondly, the buttons on the side require a press-and-hold action for any change to take effect, detracting slightly from user convenience.

Kawasaki W175 Street Speedometer

Kawasaki W175 Street Review: Engine & Performance

If you opt for the W175, it’s quite likely that you enjoy the journey more than the idea of quickly reaching your destination. However, if speed is your priority, then…well, too bad, for this bike is not built for speed. Powered by a 177cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine, its performance doesn’t quite match its capacity. While there is a good low-end punch, the power quickly tapers off as you accelerate. The W175 feels most comfortable cruising at around 60km/h. If you are on the heavier side, you will find it challenging to push this bike beyond 100km/h.

Kawasaki W175 Street front view

Yet, the engine’s sound and the way the 5-speed gearbox effortlessly shifts are undeniably charming. Most of the time, you won’t feel the need to look at the speedometer, given the brilliant feedback you get from the machine. Furthermore, the simpler construction of the engine and the lack of sophisticated electronics mean that fixing the bike will not be a hassle either.

Another aspect of the bike that’s worth appreciating is its relaxed riding position. Its upright seating posture and fairly absorbent suspension contribute to a comfortable experience on the road. Now, while you notice some of the sharper irregularities in the road, there is no denying that the overall balance is rather good. My only qualm during the test was with the narrow seat cushion, which made extended rides slightly uncomfortable. Although not a sports bike, it pleasantly surprised me with the level of grip provided by its skinny tyres. The stopping power of the front disc brake is adequate, but the rear disc, with no ABS intervention, feels somewhat lacking in comparison. Overall, riding the W175 Street evokes a sense of familiarity that you get when you hop onto an old bicycle you’ve ridden countless times before.

Kawasaki W175 Street Side View

Kawasaki W175 Street Review: Cost of Indulgence?

If you solely focus on price, performance, and features, the W175 Street might not be for you. It clearly has a lot of room for improvement in those aspects. You can easily find 150cc motorcycles that cost less and deliver more. However, for Rs 1.35 lakh (ex-showroom), what you get is a machine that harks back to the era of no-nonsense riding, delivering pure riding pleasure. It is simply great in terms of comfort and fuel efficiency for everyday use, and its exclusivity is sure to turn heads. Essentially, what you pay for is nostalgia – that feeling of being on a motorcycle where there aren’t many electronics interfering between you and the raw experience of metal and rubber.

  • Kawasaki W175 Street

Engine: 177cc / air-cooled / single-cylinder

Transmission: 5-Speed

Power: 13BHP @ 7500RPM

Torque: 13NM @ 6000RPM

Price: ₹1.35 Lakh (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)

X-Factor: A no-nonsense motorcycle with comfortable ergonomics.

•  Easy to ride

•  Charming looks

•  Smooth engine

• High price

•  Narrow seat

Tags: Kawasaki Kawasaki W175 Kawasaki W175 Street

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