Few Kawasaki bikes are more evocative than Eddie Lawson's 'sit up and beg" KZ1000 racer; or to be more precise, his KZ1000S1. Sure, Kawasaki went on to make 'Eddie Lawson Replicas" in 1000 and 1100cc form for the road but, if you knew the right people, you could by an actual AMA KZ1000S1 superbike back in the day.
Only 30 (based on the Z1000J) were handmade in Japan and the first four were allocated to the USA race team of Lawson and Dave Aldana, plus later, Wayne Rainey, leaving 26 of these rare beasts in stock to be ordered at your "local Kawasaki dealer". (Note: some say 37 were made and seven came to Europe but that myth is disputed daily).
Retail cost was set at $10,999 when a KZ1000 road bike was $3800 in comparison. If (and that is a big IF) you could get hold of an S1 it featured different brake calipers and solid rotors, a Randy Hall designed underbraced swinging arm, CR carburettors and an oil cooler amongst other performance jewellery including the stunning Kerker four into one exhaust. Power out of the crate was anything from 116 to 126 horsepower, well shy of the 146 of the Lawson and Aldana / Rainey bikes that also ran exclusively larger special pistons.
Of course, Lawson's bike differed with items like the mentioned pistons but also billet KR500 brake calipers and tapered exhaust headers compared to the constant diameter of customer pipes. Nevertheless, it was possible, for a small window of time, to buy an out of the crate racer at a dealer and compete successfully in AMA Superbike.
And how much is an original KZ1000S1 worth now? Six figures at least as the few that have been sold achieved more than $100,000... but what price can you put on owning a bike 'just like Eddie’s” ?
issued: Monday, October 24, 2022
updated: Monday, October 24, 2022
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