How Much HP Does A Kawasaki Eliminator ZL900 Have & What's One Worth Today?

The Kawasaki automotive brand maintains a healthy stable of reliable motorcycles like the Ninja, the Vulcan, and the Versys-X. Perhaps one of the brand's most enduring models is the Eliminator, originally introduced in 1985. Not only are iterations of this classic ride still alive and well in the modern day with the 2024 Kawasaki Eliminator available for purchase, but this bike is also one of the most affordable, beginner-friendly vehicles in Kawasaki's lineup.

While new technologies and innovations have subtly changed the Eliminator's profile over the years, the general concept has remained the same: This is a stout and comfortable cruiser bike, low to the ground and easy to get a handle on. It's great for both a night out on the town and a sunset cruise down the highway. 

Considering Kawasaki's made such efforts to keep the Eliminator a part of its offerings over the years, the original motorcycle must have been quite the catch. If you should happen into the possession of an original Eliminator ZL900 from the '80s, what kind of performance should you expect from it? Perhaps more importantly, what would it be worth to the motorcycle-collecting public today?

The original Eliminator could output 105 horsepower

The 1980s were a pretty great era for motorcycles, epitomized by music videos of muscular bikes ruling the highways. To solidify that dominance, a bike needed a healthy level of engine output, and the classic Eliminator was no exception. While the newer models are more varied in their assistive and safety features, the classic Eliminator had a need for speed.

The original 1985 Eliminator model, the ZL900, was equipped with a liquid-cooled four-stroke, four-cylinder engine. With a 908cc rating, this engine was powered by a quartet of 32mm Keihin carburetors. That kind of beef produced a maximum of 105 horsepower at 9,500 rpm, alongside 63 lb-ft of torque. All of this comes together to create a top speed of roughly 134 mph. For reference, the engine on the 2024 Eliminator only has a 451cc displacement with 31.7 lb-ft of torque. The older Eliminator sibling still has its descendants beat in terms of raw performance.

A 1985 Eliminator could score you around $4,000

Since the 1980s weren't that long ago, relatively speaking, vehicles from that era haven't had quite as much time to accumulate value as, say, a vehicle from the dawn of motorcycle development like a million-dollar 1908 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank.

According to estimates from Haggerty and Kelly Blue Book, a 1985 Kawasaki Eliminator ZL900 could fetch anywhere from $1,900 in fair condition up to $4,100 in excellent condition. If you've somehow lucked into an Eliminator in world-class condition, one that's in a perfect mint, never-been-ridden state that's meant to be displayed on a fancy stage, you could get up to $4,700 for that.

To compare again to the modern model, the current generation of Eliminator has an MSRP of $6,649, which is substantially more than the most expensive classic Eliminator's value. Don't get it twisted, a mint-condition ZL900 Eliminator definitely has value, especially if you could find a diehard Kawasaki collector to sell it to. However, you might be better off either keeping it in a personal collection or just riding it as you normally would.