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Old September 18th, 2023, 10:34 AM   #1
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[] - 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator First Ride

We ride Kawasaki’s all-new Eliminator through San Diego County for the first time, and find its easy character and comfortable ergos make it a solid option for new riders.

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Kawasaki’s all-new Eliminator is just as comfortable on twisty backroads as it is in city traffic. (Kevin Wing/)Market research shows that many motorcycle sales are won and lost on the dealership floor. New and beginning riders value two things more than any other: engine size and seat height. Kawasaki found that entry-level riders prefer 500cc and below. Understanding that research and realizing a gap in its model lineup below the Vulcan S, Kawasaki reintroduced the Eliminator badge as a lightweight cruiser.

The 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator in Pearl Robotic White. (Kevin Wing/)Kawasaki’s 2024 Eliminator can be described as a mix between a standard and a cruiser. Derived from the Ninja 400 and Z400 streetbikes, the new Eliminator utilizes the same engine, but with a larger displacement of 451cc. The parallel-twin engine found in the Eliminator has the same bore (70.0mm) as its sporty siblings, but with a 6.8mm larger stroke (58.6mm) for increased low-end torque. Its steel trellis frame is inspired by the Ninja 400 platform but has revisions to achieve a 28.9-inch seat height and a 59.8-inch wheelbase, giving the Eliminator its cruiser stance.

The 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator lineup. (Kevin Wing/)When the Kawasaki Eliminator was originally introduced in 1985, it was a large-displacement power cruiser—a drag bike. Now, the Eliminator name returns as an entry-level, “easy rider” cruiser.

At 28.9 inches, the Eliminator has a lower seat height than the Z125 Pro (31.7-inch seat height). (Kevin Wing/)“Just Ride.” That’s Kawasaki’s motto with the 2024 Eliminator. Designed with beginner-friendly features such as a manageable engine, low seat height, agile chassis, and a neutral rider triangle, the Eliminator is aimed to be one of the easiest riding motorcycles on the market. Although labeled as “new rider friendly,” it has enough charm to please experienced riders as well.

The Eliminator’s 451cc parallel twin is derived from the Ninja 400 and Z400. To achieve a larger displacement over its cousins, the Eliminator received a larger stroke of 58.6mm. (Kevin Wing/)The 451cc parallel twin utilizes a downdraft intake in a space under the seat to improve cylinder-filling efficiency. Intake funnels on the 5.8L airbox have different heights to tune out torque valleys throughout the rpm range for smooth engine response. A lightweight flywheel enables the engine to rev quickly and the exhaust system is designed for low- to midrange power.

The Eliminator’s six-speed transmission has close gear ratios for optimized power delivery with a final gear ratio of 43/14. Further adding to the Eliminator’s ease of use is an assist and slipper clutch which provides a superlight lever pull and prevents the rear tire from hopping during excessive engine-braking.

The 41mm fork and dual shocks provided a great balance of performance and comfort. (Kevin Wing/)In an effort to reduce weight, Kawasaki utilizes the engine as a stressed member. The square-tube-construction swingarm mounts to a die-cast aluminum plate that is bolted to the back of the motor. A nonadjustable 41mm telescopic fork offers 4.7 inches of travel while twin shocks with preload adjustment provide 3.1 inches of travel in the rear. The braking system utilizes a 310mm disc with a dual-piston caliper up front and a 220mm disc and single-piston caliper slows the rear. The 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator is available without ABS for $6,649, with ABS for $6,949, and the upscale SE model is only available with ABS for $7,249.

The Kawasaki Eliminator SE ABS in Candy Steel Furnace Orange/Ebony ($7,249). (Kevin Wing/)Emphasizing the Eliminator’s cruiser looks is a stretched gas tank with a fuel capacity of 3.4 gallons and a pair of 10-spoke wheels. Where the rubber meets the road, the Eliminator features an 18-inch front and 16-inch rear wheel sizes wrapped in IRC Grand High Speed GS-23F tires. Maintaining a strong balance between form and function, the Eliminator features full LED lighting, a digital instrument panel with a gear position indicator, and has Bluetooth connectivity through the Kawasaki Rideology app which allows riders to check vehicle information, record their routes via GPS, and receive phone notifications.

The digital instrument panel provides a gear position indicator, Bluetooth indicator, current and average fuel consumption, maintenance reminders, and smartphone notifications along with all the other standard information. (Kevin Wing/)Swinging a leg over the Kawasaki Eliminator for the first time, what’s instantly apparent is just how manageable this motorcycle is. The 28.9-inch seat height gives confidence knowing it is easy to keep the bike upright at a stop, regardless of the surface beneath. With an inseam of 28 inches, I find there are very few motorcycles that allow me to plant both feet flat on the ground. This is one of them. Rolling away from a stop is easy and repeatable with the help of the assist and slipper clutch. The tractable engine ensures the bike won’t get away from the rider but is lively enough to make the ride exciting.

Pulling away from a stop is easy and repeatable with the help of the assist and slipper clutch. (Kevin Wing/)Cruising down Pacific Coast Highway in Oceanside, California, the low-end power provides enough torque to lug the bike at 3,000 rpm and short-shift it from one light to the next. It can easily pull away from a stop in second gear without abusing the clutch or risk stalling. Plus, the engine can carry fifth gear at 25 mph comfortably. The 451cc parallel twin has just enough chuggability to act like a cruiser around town, but can equally perform in the upper rpm range on backroads and highways like a standard.

Feeling the ocean breeze on the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator. (Kevin Wing/)Power delivery is extremely smooth and predictable. Utilizing throttle-by-wire, the system is precise and intuitive; even the tiniest throttle adjustments are reciprocated at the rear wheel. In the twisties, it’s evident this bike is derived from a Ninja 400. Rev the Eliminator out high into the rpm range and it continues to put the power down. Its quick-revving nature makes the bike sporty and willing to attack corners. Neutral ergonomics further enhance its agile chassis on twisty pavement. But, because of a low stance, ground clearance becomes an issue if the Eliminator is leaned too far over.

As sporty as the Eliminator is on canyon roads, its low ground clearance can hold it back if ridden too aggressively. (Kevin Wing/)The Eliminator has a claimed curb weight of 390 pounds (SE ABS model), but feels even lighter in motion. Cutting through traffic or carving up backroads, the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator requires minimal handlebar input to initiate lean angle and stays planted and controlled on the side of the tire. Suspension is balanced and offers the perfect combination of comfort and performance. At my weight of 125 pounds, the suspension components managed to absorb the bumps and holes on the road while still providing plenty of holdup on fast corners or under hard braking. Of course, a large bump or crater can get the bike unsettled, but let’s remember, this is a cruiser. And not once, despite a few large imperfections on the surfaces traveled, did the twin shocks bottom out.

Headed for the hills on the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator SE. (Kevin Wing/)Hopping back and forth from urban landscapes to winding backroads, the Kawasaki Eliminator’s performance remains constant. The only component that shows any weakness in the twisties is the front brake. Getting a little too ambitious on the binders coming into corners reminds you that this is a cruiser. Leave plenty of space to slow down and flow from corner to corner; the brakes provided ample stopping distance at slower speeds.

A single 310mm disc and dual-piston caliper handles braking on the front end. The 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator is available with or without ABS in Pearl Robotic White and Pearl Storm Gray. (Kevin Wing/)Banging gears up and down on backroads was a good test of the six-speed transmission. The gearbox is exceptional. A very short throw enhances the riding experience when shifting up or down, and the Eliminator seamlessly goes from one gear to the next without any stickiness or resistance. The Kawasaki Eliminator’s transmission features an easy neutral finder system that does not allow the bike to shift from first to second at a stop. This makes putting the bike in neutral at a stop effortless without fail and is something beginners will adore and experienced riders will appreciate.

The IRC Grand High Speed GS-23F tires provided excellent grip on the roads traveled. (Kevin Wing/)Further illustrating the Eliminator is a standard in cruiser clothing, Kawasaki says the rider triangle of its Z400 is nearly identical to that of the Eliminator. The Eliminator has a slightly lower seating position, a higher handlebar, and a similar footpeg location. All these attributes make the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator comfortable for all-day riding. At 5 feet, 8 inches, I never felt the need to get off the bike and stretch my legs. For those taller or shorter, Kawasaki Genuine Accessories offers two additional seat options: high seat (30.1 inches) and low seat (28.1 inches). Standard seat height is 28.9 inches.

The Eliminator’s neutral riding position pays dividends in the twisties. (Kevin Wing/)The Kawasaki Eliminator SE builds on the standard Eliminator with Candy Steel Furnace Orange/Ebony two-tone paint, a color-matched headlight cowl, a two-pattern stitched seat, fork boots, and a waterproof USB-C outlet. The 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator SE ($7,249) is only available with ABS.

A 130mm LED headlight is fitted on all three Eliminator models. The upscale SE model features a color-matched headlight cowl. (Kevin Wing/)
Specific to the Eliminator SE is a two-pattern leather seat with top-edge stitching. (Kevin Wing/)Kawasaki took its already existing Ninja 400 and Z400 streetbike platform and reworked it for customers wanting cruiser styling while infusing new-rider approachability. As the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator enters the market, it is sure to compete with models such as the Honda Rebel 500 and Royal Enfield Meteor 350. Its flexible engine, agile chassis, approachable seat height, and accessible price point make the Eliminator a strong contender in the lightweight cruiser class.

A quick stop to check the waves and we were on our way. (Kevin Wing/)
Maintaining the long and low styling of a cruiser, Kawasaki designed the tailsection to pay homage to the Eliminator lineage. (Kevin Wing/)
It was fitting to have the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator launch at the Mission Pacific Hotel in Oceanside, California. In the background you can see an exact replica of Maverick’s Kawasaki ZX900 parked next to the original Top Gun house from the 1986 film. (Kevin Wing/)
Whether the roads are straight and slow or twisty and fast, the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator is a blast. (Kevin Wing/)
The 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator in Pearl Storm Gray starts at $6,649. (Kevin Wing/)2024 Kawasaki Eliminator Specs

MSRP:$6,649–$7,249Engine:DOHC, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke parallel twinDisplacement:451ccBore x Stroke:70.0 x 58.6mmCompression Ratio:11.3:1Transmission/Final Drive:6-speed, return shift/sealed chainClaimed Horsepower:N/AClaimed Torque:31.7 lb.-ft.Fuel System:DFI w/ 32mm throttle bodiesClutch:Wet, multiplate slipper/assistEngine Management/Ignition:TCBI w/ Digital AdvanceFrame:Trellis, high-tensile steelFront Suspension:41mm telescopic fork; 4.7 in. travelRear Suspension:Twin shocks, spring preload adjustable; 3.1 in. travelFront Brake:2-piston caliper, 310mm disc (w/ ABS)Rear Brake:1-piston caliper, 220mm disc (w/ ABS)Wheels, Front/Rear:10-spoke; 18 in./16 in.Tires, Front/Rear:130/70-18 / 150/80-16Rake/Trail:30.0°/4.8 in.Wheelbase:59.8 in.Ground Clearance:5.9 in.Seat Height:28.9 in.Fuel Capacity:3.4 gal.Claimed Weight:386 lb. (non-ABS) / 388 lb. (ABS) / 390 lb (SE ABS)


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Old November 27th, 2023, 02:29 PM   #2
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Looks like this won the best lightweight bike at Same engine as new ninjette, for what it's worth.
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Old November 29th, 2023, 05:54 PM   #3
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