Kawasaki’s out of the blocks early this year, and has released limited info on not one but two new 2024 models.
2023 Kawaski Eliminator 450
First up is a new entry-level custom cruiser, the 450 Eliminator, which puts a 451cc parallel twin engine into a low-slung cruiser chassis, with retro styling.
The original Eliminator was a 1000cc hot-rod muscle machine, aimed at the US market, but Kawasaki has a long heritage of smaller twin-cylinder machines, with the 454 Limited and later the EN500 Vulcan, which used the ER-5 roadster motor.
The 450 Eliminator has good genes then, and it looks set to be a solid hit for the Japanese firm. There’s not much in the way of spec so far: the bike will be launched properly later in the year. But expect an A2-licence friendly power output around 47bhp from the motor, with a sub-200kg mass.
There’s an 18-inch front wheel and 16-inch rear, and a single front brake disc. One figure Kawasaki has announced is a rough price: around £6700, and it will be in stores next January.
There’s more than a passing resemblance to the Honda CMX500 Rebel, which has been a good performer for the big H, picking up plenty of sales amongst novices, stylish urban commuters and other suitable candidates.
2024 Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja
The other 2024 bike from Kawasaki is also a middleweight – but it bears little relationship to the Eliminator. The new ZX-6R Ninja is an update to the long-running 636cc supersports bike, and it cements Kawasaki’s place as the only firm selling a proper 600-class sportsbike in Europe and the UK.
The only real competition is Yamaha’s R6 RACE which, as the name suggests, is not a road-legal machine any more, Yamaha having given up trying to meet ever-tougher emissions regs which stifled power, added mass, and seemed a little pointless for a bike which often ended up on a race track anyway.
The new ZX-6R gets a modest overhaul to the top end of the motor, with new camshafts, revised exhaust headers and a new intake tract design, all of which helps it make 127bhp@13,000rpm, while still meeting the Euro emissions regs which have killed off all the other 600cc fours.
That modified engine lives behind new bodywork too, with subtle aerodynamic winglets and double-layer front fairing panels. There’s a general updating of the tech on the middleweight Ninja, so it gets new LED lights and a colour LCD dashboard, as well as a medium-spec set of rider aids.
Three-level traction control, a quickshifter, riding power modes, Bluetooth phone link, shift light and ABS rounds off the tech. On the chassis front, there’s Showa suspension at both ends, with Separate Function – Big Piston Forks and rear monoshock, Nissin brake calipers and round brake discs, and premium Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV road-sport rubber.
The new ZX-6R will be in the shops in October this year, with a choice of Kawasaki green or a neat stealth black/grey paint scheme. The price is fairly decent as well: £10,599.
More info: www.kawasaki.co.uk