Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Kawasaki KZ1000R

Wed, July 7th, 2010

1982–83 Kawasaki KZ1000R 'Edddie Lawson Replica'
Despite its standard 4:1 Kerker exhaust, the KZ1000R is little different from the garden-variety KZ1000J on which it was based. Not that that's a bad thing, just don't expect superbike-level oomph.
The Eddie Lawson Replica was designed for all-out corner strafing, not casual riding. The steering head was steep and the suspension was rock hard. Those changes were conventional racetrack thinking in those days, but highly detrimental on the street.
There are few motorcycles that capture their era as perfectly as the ELR. With its bright green livery, clean lines and GPz bikini fairing, it is the quintessential Kawasaki superbike.
The second generation Z motor was nothing if not bulletproof. The ELR added an oil cooler, which only made it moreso. I applied slightly less than my usual deduction for age because the ELR was an instant collector's item; the majority were babied and stored properly, and should still be in good shape today.
All the things that made the ELR different from the KZ1000J made it less of a practical street bike. The racy scooped saddle was hard and locked the rider into one position and the ride was punishing. Today, ELRs are much too valuable for daily riding or regular commuting.
I am of the right age to fully receive the ELR's full message.
The ELR is not really all that different from an ordinary KZ1000. But, as Miles Kington said of the admittedly minor differences between men and women, 'Vive la difference!'