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What is a cruiser? Much rather, what paints a picture full of freedom, the open road, leather jackets, and brotherhood better than a cruiser? With your feet slung forward, a tall handlebar in front of you, and a growling twin-cylinder between your legs, the answer should be pretty apparent already. But along the way, considering how people’s wants and needs have changed over the years, could the definition have shifted slightly? The Kawasaki Eliminator is not a new name, nor is it the first time it is making an appearance in the Indian market. If memory serves well, the Eliminator nomenclature was seen quite a few years ago, in early 2001, on a 175cc offering during a brief collaboration with Bajaj. What Bajaj went on to do with the platform is another story entirely, so let us not dive into that right now.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand: we have a blacked-out cruiser, or at least what Kawasaki wants us to believe is a cruiser. What raises suspicion is the fact that, upon mounting the motorcycle, you can immediately feel how light and manoeuvrable it feels, unlike the traditional heft that a cruiser entails. Secondly, it gets a 451cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine derived from the Ninja, and that really shows. This is no long-stroke thumper that will feel compliant while pottering around on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Swing a leg onto the motorcycle, and there is a brutish playfulness that radiates through you as you thumb the starter and the Japanese parallel-twin engine roars to life. The engine itself starts out smooth, but there is a noticeable buzz as the revs build, especially from 5000 rpm to 9000 rpm. This can be felt in the handlebars as well as the footpegs. Can we dismiss this as part of the whole cruiser experience package? Maybe not so soon. The seating ergonomics feel pretty comfortable, even with the low seat height and upright seating position. With regard to pillion comfort, I think that is a different story altogether.

Looking at the Eliminator, it does have quite a few visually appealing design elements, like the exposed bits of the chassis right below the tank, the sharp rear end, and the overall proportions. The one thing that does put me off is the weird, boxy number plate holder. I am pretty sure the motorcycle would be better off without it. The round LCD instrumentation feels very dated in this day and age where manufacturers seem to be packing all sorts of tech into the cockpit. That being said, it features a clean, easy-to-read, and well-laidout display. The switchgear feels decently premium too, with the exception of the key switch, which felt slightly flimsy.

The Kawasaki Eliminator feels decently tractable enough at low speeds, but try to chug along at 40 kph in fourth gear and it starts shuddering. It shows its true capabilities as soon as you whack open the throttle, and by experience, it is clearly of Ninja heritage. The amount of power on tap is extremely exciting, and that, complemented by the fact that it handles so well, is what makes me forgive all the little things I’ve pointed out thus far. It tips into corners beautifully, and the suspension is set at a very sorted halfway point between comfort and sportiness.

Given its fun-inducing nature, show it a bit of enthusiasm, and it will reward you equally. As I happily found out, the front wheel lifts into the air pretty obligingly, and that’s the Ninja DNA perking up right there. It feels like a young, free-spirited ride, and as far as most cruisers that I have ridden to date, it is such a breath of fresh air. It may seem to stand apart from the crowd, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, that is all the more reason to own it — to stand out from the crowd by getting away from it.