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What happened when you saw your first eliminator?

tmdoth Feb 8, 2009

  1. madmanncr500

    madmanncr500 Well-Known Member

  2. nashville-rider

    nashville-rider Active Member

    i peed a little then bought it.
    found it on craigs list.
  3. wuputt

    wuputt ZL-OA Co-owner Staff Member Administrator Super Moderator Technical Author Supporting Member

    The first time I saw an Eliminator was in '88. I was riding with a friend, me on my '81 KZ1100, him on my CSR1K. We stopped in a little backwoods bike shop that always had a bunch of used bikes. (my friend was looking for his own ride) I was walking behind a row of bikes and saw the fattest brand new rear Dunlop I had ever seen! I looked at the side of the bike, ZL 1000, never even heard of them. I rolled the bike out of the line and sat on it, WOW, nice low seat height. Got off, stepped back and told my bud, "I gotta have one of these!" I tried to trade my CSR for that bike but he wanted $1500 to boot. I didn't have the cash at the time but told him I would be back! I went back the very next weekend and there she still sat. I had the cash in my pocket and was ready to make the deal when I walked around back to admire the lovely behind, my jaw dropped when I stared at a totally bald Dunlop. I asked the owner who had been riding it, "my mechanic rode it home a couple times is all" I said "last Saturday that tire still had the sticker on it" Killed the deal for me then and there! I kinda just got wrapped up in life, got married, traded the KZ for a Voyager and sold the CSR to the same guy that always rode with me. Today, I can honestly say I have NEVER burned up a new tire in a week on my ZL1K but, I have gone through three in a summer!:D
  4. Rice Paddy

    Rice Paddy Active Member

    It was 1988. I was at an intersection about to cross High Street, the main drag thru town, on my bright orange 1975 RD350. Three big biker dudes pulled up to the light on High St. Two Red ZL900's and one KZ1000 .
    When the light turned they pulled away and I turned right to follow them.
    I tried for miles to catch them. Lights didn't help any because when the light turned green these guys just ripped it up. Moving thru traffic like a fat chick thru ice cream. I flogged the RD for all it was worth, I must have burned enough two stroke oil in my pursuit to be personally responsible for global warming.
    I could not even come close to keeping up. I remember seeing that big fat tire and that duck bill rear fender pulling away at a high rate of acceleration , again and again, and again.
    I've wanted one ever since.
  5. madmanncr500

    madmanncr500 Well-Known Member

    Bump bump!!! Come on newbies...time to chime in........
  6. R. J.

    R. J. Supporting Member

    :hello: I test rode one during Bikeweek 87 Daytona. I thought it was to tall. :laughing7:
  7. RLTherio

    RLTherio Well-Known Member

    I bought it for my daughter for a birthday present; a 1986 ZL600 back in August of 2013
  8. prfixer

    prfixer Senior Member Supporting Member

    I was working part-time at a Kawasaki dealership in Castle Rock, Co. The owner had gone to Lincoln to get a load of new bikes. I took one end panel off of the crate and saw the rear tire. I went down to the bank, got the $$, paid for it, and finished un-crating it.
  9. oneinoneon

    oneinoneon Well-Known Member

    I owned a gpz1000rx and an arsehole pulled out of a left turn and hit me hard,when I was released from hospital my friend drove me to Birmingham for the bike show at the nec, I was a bit down at the time and my arm was strapped up so I could not even grab the bars when I sat on the bikes,any way I did not get to the kawasaki section for a bit and when I did I saw for the first time the zl1000, some little kid was jumping all over it and I had to wait for his dad to take him away,I sat on it and fell in love then and there......
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
  10. Markovich

    Markovich Active Member

    In 1986 I was a brand new father just making ends meet. Friday night, pizza night, watching TV and this commercial comes on for the ZL900. Dude does a burnout in the commercial. Remember it? Well, I fell in love with it. Didn't have a pot to piss in at that time so I could only dream about owning one. Got my hands on a KZP a couple of years ago and modified it to my liking. I was cruising craigs list, still do, and saw a black ZL900 close to me. I showed my wife the add and said that was the bike from the commercial all those years ago and I might want to go and see it as I never saw one in person. This is wife #2. I say I will call him Saturday and she says, are you sure it will still be there then. I say Ok I'll give him a call tomorrow. Next afternoon my wife says did you call him? I said no. She says why not? I say I can't have buyers remorse if I don't spend any money. She says oh no you don't, give him a call. He says he still has the bike. I grab my wife and helmet to go see it. My plan is to take it for a test ride and just see if it is any faster than the KZ. We get there and as I expected it looked really good with 8700 miles on it. 85yo guy says he bought it because it is so fast. I'm thinking yeah right. I say can I take it for a spin and he says go out to the road. I took it out and twisted it a bit to less than 7k and come back saying this bike is stupid fast! Did the deal and brought it home. Joined up with you guys and read up on it and realized it wasn't going over 7k. Carbs not right so I rebuilt them and went to 11k like that! I thought it pulled before but now it flies. Love the scream it lets out at full song. Love this bike. :)
  11. skabootykat

    skabootykat Active Member

    when i saw one i test rode it and got a free eliminator t shirt.
  12. I was 24 years old and riding a 74 Kaw 500 triple two stroke......... Picked up Cycle World one month like I always did and there it was...the first advertisement I saw for the ZL 900.....cut the ad out like a teenager and stuck it on my wall.

    I watched as the original swelled up with fenders, bigger seats, pull back bars and I didn't get it. THey nailed my interpretation of the perfect bike in 85 / 86 and it never sold...something wrong with my taste I guess.

    Wife and kids come, you know the deal. Fast forward to 2000 and me and my young son are roaming a local bike shop and boom...he has two black ones....one for 3500 and one for 4500...not to be at that point.....couple of kids to go through university first.....etc....but my yearning has been reawakened .....damn......

    Finally, 2015, I spent a couple of weeks in the hospital after a scary operation and realized that "someday" was a scary word. Too many things in our lives we are going to do "someday" that never get done. Too much time to think in a hospital bed does this to you.

    I was always going to have a ZL "someday" ..... I got it done last year after my hospital stay and am glad I did.

    Even my wife loves the big grin that it puts on my face...that grin that is actually the effect of g forces on my wrinkled face but whatever........

  13. 1 red zl9

    1 red zl9 Well-Known Member

    Did the paper work on a 2 year note then came papers for the insurance at the end and heard $1280.00 for full coverage a year to drive it out of there.:wtf:
    Had a decent driving record for being 25 years old so I got up and looked at the bike again on the floor then went back to give the salesman some more money. Was within inches of not buying but Sooooo glad I did. Had the baddest bike in town (Near Andrews Airforce Base). To this day still have that bad a$$ just south of the real jets and rockets!! :headbang:
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  14. jim

    jim Member

    I was riding a Suzuki 650 and wanted something more exciting... My buddy's uncle owned a bike shop so I stopped in for a visit. Fell in love as soon as i seen it - there was nothing like it in the entire shop. A black beauty ZL900, with that fat-ass back tire. He asked me if I wanted to take it for a spin, i couldnt resist. First thing i noticed was it was like sitting on a horse! The in-line 4 is wider than i thought (Im not a large guy). I could not believe the power response with the smallest pull on the throttle. I was hooked - the salesman knew it. I bought it same day and never looked back. Still own my Eli. After 30 years she still gives me a thrill! Doubt I will ever own another bike to match this - I wont even try.
    R. J., kvalheim and markus56 like this.
  15. oFLiUF

    oFLiUF Member

    Last year on in a fit of drunken inspiration I decided I need a motorcycle license so off I go to the closest driving school and 2 days later I look like a power ranger and torture a 250 trainer... few weeks later I graduate to the 650 trainer - a busted up Suzuki tourer type... Nope! I'm not riding one of those things! I need something low and slow with a bunch of cool factor. The Virago look good...
    So here I am looking through the local craigslist-like site drooling over a bunch of Viragos contemplating a bank robbery (damn those things are expensive!). Along comes a buddy of mine and says "THIS is your bike!".
    "Wut?! A Kawasaki? Dafuq's that? I thought those guys only make crotch-rockets and crappy ugly a$$ Vulcans". But it's cheaper than a Virago. Let's have a look.
    A couple of phone calls later, a trip to the bank for a loan and a 70 mile bus ride later I'm looking at a bit rusty, a bit dirty, but still beautiful 600 Ellie. At first all the rust and gunk put me off but once I heard that roar I... well I'll say it like it was: needed a new pair of pants due to unplanned stickiness about the front side. FF 20 min and a pant filling back seat ride (as a rule I NEVER ride someone else's bike) later all trembling and scared 5#17less I had my "low and slow with a lot of cool factor". Low and cool at least... Once I got out on the freeway I cursed my friend for tricking me into even thinking about this bike. Picture a pair of 18-wheelers and one of them is overtaking the other... Interesting bit: out here big a$$ trucks have a hard coded speed limit of ~55mph and you can imagine how long an overtake actually takes... "Right!", methinks, "I'm on a bike. It's a 3-lane road... I CAN do this!"
    Here's an exact description of the next 5 minutes or so: Look in left mirror - there's a car moving in to overtake behind me, roll on, "What tricks?", "Wait a second! There was a car behind me!", check speedometer, "170?!?!" (that's kph =~106 mph for you guys beyond the water), "Right blinker! Right blinker!", stop, install new pair of pants (for real this time), stop shaking (about 4:30 minutes), left blinker, proceed within speed limit. I must point out that up to that faithful moment the fastest I had ever gone was ~20mi slower. In a cage. And I never planned to go any faster. EVER! Oh well...

    Once I got back to my city I rode past a girl colleague of mine and being the dumb horny moron that I am, I decided to pull up next to her and do the "cool" routine. Two mistakes in one day... Once I dusted off and got the bike up I proceeded to the closest office and left her (Ellie - the girl didn't even look at me while I was doing my best tumbleweed impression down the road) there till I found a mechanic to check the damage and assess my purchase... And wait out my riding course graduation.
    Well it's been one week of riding, one month of wrenching ever since. Best mistake I ever made!

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    R. J. and markus56 like this.
  16. basket case

    basket case Well-Known Member

    First one I saw was a black 86... Scrounged the cash...it was gone. Friend of a friend had an 85 red ...took 10 minutes to buy it....That sound! Wow...22 years...only bike I'll ever have owned. The power was strong with that one! Never ride another bike. Time has taken it's toll on me.(cancer F'd me up) . Ride on! Keep the faith!
    R. J. and oFLiUF like this.
  17. ZLrider

    ZLrider Senior Member

    Although my story isn't that exciting, it is probably unlike any other here. Honestly I'd never seen or heard of an Eliminator before working for a guy who had one a few years ago. Was doing some foundation repair at his house and saw the 600 sitting in his garage. Always been a Kaw fan and was riding a KZ650sr at the time. Such a beautiful bike, so different. Seemed odd as hell to me that it was 600cc. Had no idea it was Ninja based. Asked the guy if I could throw a leg over it and he said sure. Fit me like a damned glove. I told him if you ever decide to get rid of it let me know. He said he'd had it since new and even though he basically just took it around town once or twice a year he didn't think he could part with it.

    The next year I was also working on his foundation and he was preparing to load up the Eli for it's trip to an independent shop for it's annual tune up. I asked him if he wanted help getting it on the trailer. He said no thanks, so I went about my work. Then I heard a weird high pitched sound, kids playing I figured. It grew louder and I soon realized somebody was screaming for help. I ran around the front of the house to find Bob in terrible pain. He was using a board to load the bike and it slipped off. The 600 went down on top of him and the angle iron that the trailer was built out of had impaled one of his legs, the other obviously was busted pretty bad. His legs were on the the trailer, but the rest of him was on the ground.

    The Eli although unscathed was at such a crazy angle.......I said a little prayer and somehow managed to get the bike upright and off the trailer, freeing his legs. He said take me to the hospital, but he needed an ambulance. I got his legs free, but was afraid I'd make things worse trying to move him and he was bleeding pretty bad.

    The next spring I got a phone call. Bob said if you still want the bike come and get it. Even though he was really attached to the machine he knew the time was right it was going to a good home.

    I never saw another Eli before or after except for Bill's and another guy named Clint's who used to be a member here. So there you go. In my entire life I've seen a total of 3. They seem to be crazy rare in these parts. There are so many things that make this bike special, so many reasons to like it, but there are a few things about it where I think Kaw dropped the ball on.

    First is where the hell is my kickstart? Bike batteries are pieces of crap. Unless I have a brand new one under the seat, never feel the confidence in this machine that I had in my previous rides. If the battery was weak in the 650 if was an inconvenience, nothing more. I also miss a center stand big time. Can't even check my damned oil without being some sort of acrobat. To be a bit nit-pickier, I also found space in my KZ to carry a nice little cache of spare parts and a decent assortment of tools. Another reason I lack a lot of confidence in this machine, I still have my little collection of spare parts, but it sits in the garage on a shelf now. Just trying to be honest, overall this is a wonderful machine, but my comfort level with this bike would go up dramatically if it had a kickstarter. My days of bump starting a bike are over.

    One more thing I want to emphasize, be careful loading a bike onto a truck or a trailer. Even if you've done it a 100x it is still a bit dicey. Have somebody there to help you. If I'd not been there when Bob got trapped, he may have laid there for hours, might have bled to death.
  18. 87kawzl

    87kawzl Supporting Member

    Cool story, hope the guys legs healed up.

    Get yourself a deka battery, it will last for years.

    Toss a tool bag on your forks, or get a small backrest bag. I don't have an airbox and strap a tool roll to the battery box.

    Use one of those extendable mirrors to check oil level while you sit on the bike.

  19. ZLrider

    ZLrider Senior Member

    Last I saw Bob he was getting around OK. The worst thing about the whole deal is he's a trucker and had just come back to work from a broken leg he got falling off an icy trailer. Poor guy was almost in tears at the time, having not been off crutches for very long.

    Thanks for the tip on checking the oil. I got one of those mirrors, but never thought about using it. duh! I've heard Deka batteries are good, but for some reason I don't think they're available in Indiana. I'll have to look for one on line. I get 2 seasons out of a battery and then done. Even though keep it in climate controlled garage and on a trickle charger.

    I have a tail bag that is OK, but don't like how it looks, so don't use it unless need to haul something. What kind of fork bag do you have?
  20. 87kawzl

    87kawzl Supporting Member

    I don't have an airbox and strap a tool roll to the battery box behind the pod air cleaners. But I thought a fork bag would work for ya.

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