The 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000R motorcycle was developed in response to the increasing success of a motorcycle racer named Eddie Lawson, who in the early 1980s turned out some impressive lap times with his 250-cc Kawasaki competition bike.
With the creation of the competition Superbike class, Mr. Lawson switched to larger street-based machines, and often put them in the winner's circle.
To commemorate these feats, Kawasaki released the 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000R motorcycle, otherwise known as the Eddie Lawson Replica, or ELR for short.
Based on the standard KZ1000, it sported the same 1015-cc double-overhead-cam inline four, but with a special four-into-one Kerker exhaust header as standard equipment (Kerker enjoying second billing on the fuel tank).
Painted "Kawasaki racing green," the ELR was also fitted with a small bikini fairing that probably did little to protect the rider, but added a competition look -- as did the blacked-out engine.
Stiffer front suspension and special "piggyback" reservoir rear shocks aided roadholding, while triple disc brakes brought the whole affair to a halt.
Relatively few KZ1000Rs were built, making them rare when new and even more rare today. But Kawasaki later revived the spirit of the 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000R motorcycle by releasing an updated replica (making it a replica of a replica) called the ZRX1100.
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1982 Kawasaki KZ1000R Pictures
The 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000R was a fine example of an early-1980s Japanese superbike. "Kerker" on its fuel tank recognized the bike's standard four-into-one Kerker exhaust header.