Fast and Green: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica
As long as there’s been motorcycle racing, there have been riders wanting their street bikes to look like the ones they’ve seen tearing around racetracks: from café racers to modern Rossi-replica paint jobs, street riders ape the style of their heroes, although the very best examples combine a helping of both form and function.
And while more modern race-replicas are often based on track-bred, fundamentally uncomfortable sportbike ergonomics, bikes like this classic Kawasaki KZ1000R “Eddie Lawson Replica” actually work pretty well on the road. That’s really a function of the bike being based on the road-racing AMA Superbike mount of rider Eddie Lawson, which was based on the plain-Jane KZ1000J, Kawasaki’s standard 1015cc air-cooled four cylinder machine.
De-stroked to 998cc’s to make it eligible for various racing classes, the R also featured an oil-cooler, 4-into-1 Kerker exhaust, upgraded suspension components, and adjustments to the steering-head angle to sharpen up steering. These relatively simple changes led to a bike that felt very different than the machine on which it was based. And although their more humble roots make them far more comfortable than modern race-replicas, bikes like the ELR pay the price in terms of handling: a 544lb dry weight makes them a real workout to hustle through the corners.
Of course, the bike’s actual performance is overshadowed a bit by a liberal application of Kawasaki’s lurid green paint and racing stripes!
While the description suggests this bike needs some work, looking at the pictures that have been included, I get the feeling the seller is a bit of a perfectionist, since this looks very clean and complete.
From the original eBay listing: 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica for Sale
32,034 original miles. Last registered in July 1992. I purchased this bike with the intent of doing a total restoration. Having sat for 22 years I cleaned the carbs and changed the oil and filter.
Engine runs strong with no strange noises. All electrics work, lights, signals, horns, and gauges. I replaced the fork seals and fork oil and installed a new rear tire. I have cleaned and painted the wheels, foot peg mounts, battery box, forks, and other little parts. Besides needing a total restoration it is missing the chain guard, air box and needs a battery. I just don’t have the time needed to tackle a project of this size. It’s not perfect by a long shot but the basics are there to restore it to what it once was.
I encourage you to contact me directly with any specific questions that you may have about this bike or for additional pictures. Bike is available for viewing during the auction and is located in Northern California. Call and we can arrange a time. Bike is registered in California and title is clear and in my name.
This isn’t a low-mileage garage queen, but the seller’s assertion that it “needs a total restoration” might be a bit of an overstatement: he mentions that everything works and the engine runs well. From the photos, it looks to be in great shape, and the missing bits shouldn’t be any problem: chain guard? Who needs that? And the airbox can simply be replaced with cool-looking, if somewhat controversial individual filters. These are already pretty collectable, with only 750 original examples built, and are quickly becoming valuable, especially in such decent, original condition.
I’m not obsessive about “patina” and I can appreciate restored and even-over-restored motorcycles with the best of them, but there is something cool about a bike that looks lived-in, one that looks like it’s been used as intended, but well cared-for. Has a few battle scars to show for its 32,000 miles. This bike sounds it just needs a couple weekends of work to make it roadworthy and provide plenty of miles and smiles before that “total restoration” is really necessary.