Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica

A mean machine in its day, the Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica is a collectible classic today.


| January/February 2007



Kawasaki KZ1000R - bike parked on concrete

The 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica. The ELR's notched seat makes it look lower than it actually is. At 30.5in, it's only a 1/4in lower than the bike it's based on, the KZ1000J.

Photo by Gary Phelps

Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica
Years produced:
1982-1983
Total production: 750
Claimed power: 79hp @ 8,500rpm
Top speed: 128mph (period test)
Engine type: 998cc double-overhead cam, air-cooled inline four
Weight (dry): 247kg (543.5lb)
Price then: $4,400 (est.)
Price now: $8,000-$11,000
MPG: 36.6 mpg (period test)

“What makes it stand out is its color. The green paint is a perfect example of what used to be cool — it’s like a time capsule. Back then a Kawasaki was a Kawasaki; it was green, and it didn’t look like a Yamaha or a Honda. Back then, the color made the bike.”

As a well-known classic motorcycle restorer and the proprietor of Bator International, Glenn Bator regularly buys and sells some very exotic bikes like Indians, Mondials and Vincents. But here he is, excited about a 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R. “It brings back memories of high school — I used to watch guys riding bikes like this, and I lusted after them,” Glenn says of the collectible classic Kawasaki motorcycle.

But then, this isn’t just any 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R — it’s a limited run, special edition Superbike, named after Eddie Lawson, four-time winner of the 500cc World Championship during the 1980s, the 1981-1982 AMA Superbike champion and the 1984 AMA Pro Athlete of the Year. Lawson retired from full-time motorcycle racing in 1990, but came back in 1993 to win the Daytona 200 for the second time.

During his Superbike career, Lawson raced Rob Muzzy-tuned Kawasakis. Kawasaki was justifiably proud of its star rider, and in late 1982 came out with a performance street bike with Superbike styling — the KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica (ELR), a bright green street version of Lawson’s bright green 1981-1982 Superbike. Only 750 were built.

ELR Beginnings

The origins of the Eddie Lawson Replica go back to 1972 and the Kawasaki Z1 903cc Four. The double-overhead cam roadster was a star performer of the time, and it wasn’t just fast in a straight line; it also handled well over twisty roads. Handling was a weak point of Japanese motorcycles of the late Sixties and early Seventies, and the performance of the Z1 surprised many riders.

lynchknot
2/27/2014 3:12:14 AM

I had an Eddie Lawson Replica. It was number 6 of 750. It was purchased at Costa Mesa Kawasaki. I raced it in the AMF at Willow Springs and Riverside raceway. I should have kept it as it's worth much more now and well, I miss riding it.






bike on highway

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