Kawasaki and Eddie Lawson
Kawasaki’s are the fast bikes of the 70s / 80s.
Eddie Lawson was the factory Kaw racer of the very early 80s.
– Kaw big 4-cyls started out with the z1 (73-75)
– z1 became a kz900 (76-77)
– kz900 became a kz1000 (77-83?)
In early 80s, kawasaki took the J motor kz1000 and gave it the green race colors and a kerker exhaust to make it look like what Eddie Lawson’s race bike kinda looked like. Kaw tried to increase sales with it, but it didn’t sell that great, so its pretty rare now. 750 were made total. Pic at the very top is the Eddie Lawson Replica (ELR) that you could buy from the dealer. They were 90hp. Same as normal kz1000.
Kaw also made a real race-ready version of the ELR, which was called the “S1”. Normal person couldn’t buy one. It was for certified racing teams only. It was almost identical to the bike the team made for racing in the 80s. They were like 150hp. Only 29 made ever. One sold on eBay a bunch of years ago for like $110K … fucking nuts.
Kaw ELR “S1”. Pic below.
Long story short, I picked up another bike below.
Its a 2003 Kaw zrx1200r, which as of right now, is the only modern version of what the KZ kinda used to be. It’s 122hp / 82tq.
I bought it in the colors which reference the Eddie Lawson Replica bike.
I dig it and got a good deal on it.
Vid about Kaw and Eddie Lawson. I love these old vids. This one is so good.
My modified 74 z1 below. Prob 100hp / 70tq now? Cool to see the similarities between the years.
There some really good info in this article about Eddie Lawson, how he was given an ELR from Kaw, and then some Jap dude offered to buy it for a $Million bucks. He turned the dude down. All his actual race bikes from circuit racing were crushed by team mechanic Muzzy. Some other good stuff… give it a read.
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Published - Oct 2, 2016
Radke and I have started out on a multi-week cross country trip. I’m riding my ’78 KZ1000 and Radke’s on an ’84 Nighthawk. Jake, on his ’16 XSR 900, joined us for most of the first week. So far we have made it to Florida and are taking a couple of days to relax with […]