Now tell me you wouldn't buy a "New" Eliminator 1400- It would be delivered in the same setup as the Concours 14 (with all the power and shaft drive) inverted forks off the ZX10 w/ radial brakes. It would have the same type of positioning as the Meanstreak but with an aluminum frame. Gas under seat (centralized mass thing) and the tank (faux) would be the airbox.
I would buy a VMAX except for all the bad reviews I've seen about handling. I am still waiting on Moto Guzzi to bring the 940 Custom to the USofA. I like to do all day trips and modern sportbikes cause me to have back spasms. I maybe old but I still like to ride fast.
No. I'm not interested in riding with my feet far enough forward that I can't stand on the pegs. Or weak chassis. Or excessively long wheelbases. Or rakes longer than is needed for stability through a curve. Or wet weights over 600 pounds.
For what it's worth, I'm also not interested in folding my legs in half and hunching over on a bike made for a hobbit either.
Who said you'd be feet forward. Mr Max is not. Kawi's old ZL wasn't feet forward. Heck, the Magna (no matter the year) wasn't either. Those days of cool Japanese power cruisers went away because the BIG Three thought we only liked v-twins in this country. Bet that there are many who love the Yamaha Maxim X or the ZL900.
Kawasaki did it back in 87 with the ZL1000 Eliminator, which had a Ninja sourced 1000cc inline 4. I don't think they sold that well, in fact if memory serves me correctly Kawasaki only imported them one year
But why? Affraid to slip out of the norm? In the eighties when the Magna, V-Max and Eliminator came to life the bikes were down right fast and fun. They didn't turn well and the brakes generally sucked but overall they were cool. Now technology has caught up and Yamaha makes an aluminum framed cruiser in the Warrior that handles pretty good for a cruiser. The Meanstreaks brakes are great compaired to the Vulcans of the past and you can pick between shaft, belt and chain final drive bikes now. If companies would build new frames and body work then the rest of the bike could realisticly be a parts bin bike- so R&D cost could be reasonable and the price of the bikes could be at or under $10k.
The ZL was made for 4 or so years (not including the ZL600 which was made for 3 years in the 90's) and if you look at the market back then they were slow sellers for the category. But Cruiser's weren't "in" in the eighties. Now, everyone and there cousin sells some type of cruiser. Some not as good as others but the market (sorry kp) is still there. It's time to shake it up again. Remember, everything old is new again. Cycles work in cycles, too.
You answered your own question. The 750 Magna that was recently dropped was faster than any of the V-twin cruisers, better handling, better brakes except maybe the Warrior. The bike you were looking for was already available and no one wanted them.
The Magna's body goes back to '93. They quit making them in '02. A nine year run of the exact same body- only Yamaha can get away with that. The entire run goes back to '83 (twenty years on and off ain't bad). Anyway, you ever ridden a Magna- brakes like wood. Average cruiser handling at best. The only thing it had going for it was the motor.
Well, I have a Magna and when it runs it runs better than any other cruiser I've ridden. Handling ciuld be better but it's so light compared to the V-twins that it still does better with the ancient chassis. Brakes could be better but aren't as bad as the sportbike mafia makes out. Just give a real squeeze.
I imagine that the Big4 do marketting surveys before they produce new models, just like any other large corporation. Apparently their numbers say that such bikes would be ignored.
Don't think this means that I wouldn't like to see a return of the power cruisers. They are about the only kind I would buy.
The reason the 1000 Eliminator didn't do so well is that it was "Tuned for Torque" (heard that before?). If I recall correctly, it made a few horses less than the 900 Eliminator (which had a detuned 900 Ninja motor). I think the 900 was 89 rwhp, and the 1000 was about 86 rwhp (the first Vmax did 119 rwhp). The torque went up, though- and the 1000 was the roll on champ for a year or two by a hair.
But it seems to be common sense that if you make a bike with drag styling and give it a name full of bravado (i.e. "Eliminator" or "Mean Streak"), that it should be able to back it up. The 0-60 was excellent thanks to the gearing and midrange, but afterwards you had to be ready for the Vmax to jump to hyperspeed, pass you, and put a few bikelengths between you. Not an effective sales tool, in the '80's or now.
When the '83 V65 Magna came out, magazines quoted 1/4 mile times right at 11 seconds. Then in '85 the Vmax had talk of low 10's. The 900 Eliminator was typically 11.1 or 11.2's, and the 1000 was slower still. At this point is seems like all the open class bikes got slower than the previous year's bikes. But no matter how you look at it, an 86 hp 1000 is not going to woo buyers form a fire-breathing, 119 hp, 1200 that sounds like it' s got a small block in it (and is almost a second faster in the 1/4!).
I have been thinking about this for years: Kawasaki should take their ZRX and do an Eliminator version of it. They can use some Muzzy designed go fast parts, some ZZR1200 parts and probably come up with a real 150 hp .
But that engine is derived from the original, 900 Ninja, and may not have more room for improvement left in the design. I was just thinking of this a few days ago, and acecycleins's idea mirrors my own: use the ZX14/1400 Concours motor and maybe chassis as a starting point; and then build a bike that has the look and the performance to back it up. The Zx14 motor would definitely be the right engine for the job.
There seems to be two main things that any manufacturer needs to do to make a bike like this a success:
1.) Make it look GOOD. Style is critical for sales success. Many buyers (like myself) subconsciously weigh looks, performance, price, and reputation/image - then give the bike a "value" based on what each of these things means to them. For me, it HAS to look good in the garage. If I walk out to the bike and my passion about it is equal to the lawnmower, it won't be ridden. The bike has to have an appeal. Make me daydream about the next ride, and stay out an extra hour of three just staring at it. Many bikes have made me feel this, and they stayed in the garage for many years.
This theoretical bike needs to make it's target buyer have an emotional bond to it. So impart it with the look of speed, and the battle is half over.
2.) Performance. Ideally, all big v-twins would be considered "powercruisers with 100 or so hp, so this should be a musclebike, since it should have WAY over 100 hp. The claimed hp should be higher than any other naked bike, if not every other bike period. But in the real world, the highest hp bike isn't always the fastest. Make it FEEL fast, and easy to ride.
The goal here is to engineer a balanced package that is easy to launch, and gives the rider the feeling of a street legal top fuel bike. The Vmax did this, the others didn't. The Vmax is 22 years old, the others are literally history.
Make is a bike that re-aligns your chromosomes with every twist of the throttle, and looks more serious than Eastwood's stare, and it'd be a hit. I'd buy one.
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