2024 Kawasaki Eliminator 500 SE Review – Moody looks and mild manners for easy going fun


  • Low seat height
  • Light weight
  • Smooth motor

At a glance

Power: 45 bhp
Seat height: Low (28.9 in / 735 mm)
Weight: Low (390 lbs / 177 kg)


New £5,999
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The original Eliminator was one of the more bonkers bikes in Kawasaki’s mid ‘80s line up, a drag strip inspired straight liner powered by the firm’s flagship Ninja 900 mill that could hit 60 mph in under 3 seconds. Fast forward 40 years and the evocative name is back, only this time on an A2 friendly half litre machine aimed squarely at new riders and those moving up to a first big bike. First impressions of the Eliminator 500 centre around the long, low and lean profile, with all components blacked out save for the light lenses, downpipes and brake discs.

The shallow fuel tank, bob-tailed back end and letterbox brake light flow with the horizontal lines to echo that ¼ miler heritage, whilst the stripped back style leaves nothing to the imagination. Seat height is s super low at just 735mm, which should make it easy for even the most vertically challenged to get both feet flat on the floor, however optional parts are available to either raise or lower this by 30 or 20mm respectively to achieve a tailored fit.

The riding position is surprisingly neutral, almost identical to the upright Kawasaki Z400 naked, which combines with a low kerb weight of 177 kg to make the Eliminator feel inviting, manageable and unintimidating. Controls require a minimum amount of effort, in particular the clutch, which doesn’t need much more than a single finger to operate.

2024 Kawasaki Eliminator 500 static shot on side stand

Off the line it allows you to feed in the power smoothly for a carefully measured launch, and won’t make your hand ache when slow manoeuvring. This gives the rider a chance to focus on the technical aspects of making progress, such as road position and observation, rather than getting bogged down with machine control.

Whether a step up, down, or sideways, the Kawasaki Eliminator 500 SE is a solid option. The low- slung styling, whilst giving it drag bike kudos, belies a mild mannered, forgiving motorcycle that will build confidence and help sharpen skills. Rubber mounted bars and dampened pegs, combined with the upright riding position, make it good for a full day in the saddle and there’s just enough performance to put a smile on your face.

It's a bike you’d be happy to ride every day, but whilst the straightline muscle bike looks won’t appeal to everyone, they’ll be right on the mark for those that they do. The Eliminator SE has a list price of £6,399, whereas the ready to be accessorised  Standard model retails at £5,999.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The low centre of gravity makes for predictable and confident handling at both high and low speeds, aided by 18” front wheel that likes a gentle push on the bars to encourage it to turn in. It’s a reassuring feeling, letting the rider know exactly who’s in control. A high tensile tubular steel trellis frame, inspired by the Ninja 400, keeps the Eliminator composed through the turn, and by mounting the swingarm directly to the engine via a die-cast aluminium plate, Kawasaki’s engineers have created a remarkably stable chassis with a relatively light weight.

Although basic, the 41mm forks and twin rear shocks work well to keep the Eliminator in check. There’s no adjustment to be made, other than to rear preload, but even when you haul the anchors in hard, the Eliminator grinds to a stop without pitching into a drama. Lumps, bumps and undulations are readily absorbed, and there’s no propensity towards crashiness or bottoming out.

Ground clearance is a bit limited though, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to scrape a footpeg - whether that makes you wince or smile will be down to individual attitudes.

2024 Kawasaki Eliminator 500 cornering quickly

Front brake is a single 310mm disc and twin pot caliper, with all the bite required to stop the Eliminator in its tracks. Lever action is light and progressive, providing feedback and feel throughout its operating stroke. The 240mm rear disc, again with a dual piston caliper, can be used gently enough for accurate slow control, but squeeze them both together and the stopping power won’t leave you wanting.

OE tyres are IRC Grand High Speed, which although not a mainstream brand in the UK, didn’t give any cause for concern on dry Spanish roads. The 130/70 18 front and 150/80 16 rear is an interesting combo, but one that suits the Eliminator perfectly, allowing it to roll around that low centre of gravity to thread a course through the twisties.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

With all this talk of user friendliness you might expect the Eliminator’s performance to be somewhat staid, but the Ninja 400 derived parallel twin is eager to deliver. An increase in stroke has increased the capacity from 399cc to 451cc, and although the 44.7 hp power output is the same there’s a boost in torque of 4.2 Ib.ft to 31.4 lb.ft (42.6 Nm), reaching its peak at 6,000 rpm. That gives it plenty of bounce off the bottom end and just enough mid-range poke for a well planned single carriageway overtake.

Throttle response is instant and accurate, which Kawasaki says is a result of setting the oval throttle valves at an angle to allow for quicker response whenever you give the right-hand grip a twist. Wind it wide open and it’ll spin up to the 9,000 rpm red line with enough gusto so as not to leave you hanging about, but tickle it around town and it’ll deliver exactly what you dial in. Thanks to a fully machined balancer shaft the motor itself is largely vibe free and will only send a tingle through your toes when pushed to the limit.

2024 Kawasaki Eliminator 500 engine isn't the drag racer of yore

The featherlight clutch deserves a special mention and owes its ease of use is to Kawasaki’s Assist and Slipper Clutch system. Developed from Kawasaki’s racing experience, it has two functions - reducing spring load during operation at normal engine speeds, and compensating for enthusiastic, or accidental, downshifts by preventing rear wheel lockups. Although it’s smooth and quiet for the most part, the Eliminator has a cheeky intake growl to herald each shift as you charge up through the six-speed box. Every gear snicks in satisfyingly, with just enough pressure on the toe to provide feedback. It’s just as positive going up or down, and neutral, when needed, is easy to find.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Eliminator 500 looks and feels well put together. We couldn’t spot any issues with paint finish or component quality, and all controls, from gear shift to switchgear, have a premium feel.

2024 Kawasaki Eliminator 500 seat

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Head-to-head in a two lane blacktop shootout, the Eliminator’s closest competition is the Honda Rebel 500, which has similar performance figures but carries an extra 15 kilos of weight. Although 2024 prices and spec are yet to be announced it’s likely to put a slightly bigger dent in your wallet.

The Triumph Speed 400 on the other hand, undercuts the Eliminator by a cool grand. OK, it gives away a few performance points in terms of both power and torque, but early accounts reckon it to be the full package.

2024 Kawasaki Eliminator 500 headlight

Royal Enfield’s 650 Super Meteor is another potential dueller, although being a feet forwards cruiser it’s likely to appeal to a different sector of the market. Pricewise it’s a bigger investment, but still within the ballpark.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

LEDs front and rear illuminate the Eliminator, with that single headlamp providing an impressive spread of light from an element about a quarter the size of a garden pea. In keeping with the minimalist design, the compact LCD binnacle gives a clear and concise readout, highlighting all the info you’d need on the go.

The Eliminator is compatible with Kawasaki’s Rideology App, which connects via Bluetooth to send GPS logged ride data to your phone. This includes speed, rpm, mpg and so on, mapped to your journey, so you can kick back at any time and analyse your route. It’ll also flag up on the speedo when you have incoming calls and messages.

2024 Kawasaki Eliminator 500 screen and clocks

The SE model adds metallic matte carbon paint, a headlight cowl and fork gaiters to the standard Eliminator, which enhances the look even further. It also gets a textured seat and bar mounted USB-C socket, although the latter feels very much an afterthought. Among the additional extras available are a grab bar, which given the size of the pillion seat could be essential for regular passengers, a luggage rack and frame sliders.

Although we’re likely to see less of them in the UK, the standard Eliminator makes a great blank canvas for customising. No doubt there will be some juicy aftermarket bespoke bling hitting the shelves soon.


Engine size 451cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel twin
Frame type High tensile tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 735mm
Bike weight 177kg
Front suspension 41mm conventional forks, non- adjustable
Rear suspension Twin shock, preload adjustable
Front brake 1 x 310mm disc with two-piston caliper. ABS
Rear brake 240mm single disc with two piston caliper
Front tyre size 130/70 x 18
Rear tyre size 150/80 x 16

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £84
Annual service cost -
New price £5,999
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 4 years

Top speed & performance

Max power 45 bhp
Max torque 31.4 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

New model for 2024.

Other versions


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