Suzuki Katana returns
It’s been on the cards for the last two years and now the latest bike to carry the iconic name has arrived.
Suzuki has launched its new Katana model at the recent Intermot show in Germany, with the bike based heavily around the current GSX-S1000 going on sale in 2019.
The original Katana – an iconic machine launched in 1981 – has long been a staple of iconic Suzuki machinery, prompting the Japanese factory to use the model’s name in its latest attempt to win some of the modern-retro market buyers.
Of course, we all expected that the new Katana would appear in Germany after Suzuki showcased its Katana 3.0 concept at EICMA in Milan, 2017. That bike might have been ‘just’ a special to gauge public reaction but it was clearly easy to build and a relatively cheap way to get a Katana model back on the road.
In fact, while that concept machine was being shown to potential buyers, work was already under way for the production model – with famed motorcycle designer Rodolfo Frascoli and Engines Engineering joining forces to create the bike with the GSX-S1000 as the starting point.
Admittedly, the new Katana is a bit of a departure from the original machine – but thankfully there are still enough similarities to set the hearts of bikers far and wide racing. The new model takes styling cues from the original machine and brings the Katana’s design into the modern era.
In particular, it comes with an immediately recognisable Katanastyle rectangular headlight – now with stacked LED lights, as well as new LED running lights. It also comes with LED tail-lights and a new number plate hanger which extends from the swingarm and hugs the rear tyre while housing the bikes indicators.
Despite drawing inspiration from an 80s legend, the new Katana is underpinned by thoroughly modern engineering. In fact, its frame is the same lightweight, twin-spar
aluminium unit that’s used across the GSX-S1000 series. There are also KYB fully-adjustable 43mm USD forks up front and a rear shock which is adjustable for rebound damping and spring pre-load, while Brembo monobloc front brake calipers with 310mm floating discs and Bosch ABS is on hand to help you stop.
Its engine is Suzuki’s famed inline four-cylinder engine that began life in the GSX-R1000 K5 – although it’s been revised and modernised for streetbased performance. The 999cc engine, which is renowned for its torque and midrange (as well as top-end) power, uses a long-stroke design (73.4mm x 59mm) for a broad spread of power across the rev range – with peak power output of 150bhp at 10,000rpm, and peak torque 108Nm at 9500rpm.
There’s also a three-mode traction control system (that can also be turned off). It’s a clever system which works to continuously monitor front and rear wheel speeds, throttle position, crank position, and gear position sensors – and quickly reduces engine output when wheelspin is detected by adjusting ignition timing and air delivery.
The new Katana also comes with an LCD dash, which shows tacho, odo, trip meters, gear position, water temperature, fuel range, average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption, fuel gauge, clock, lap time, and battery voltage – along with the rider modes.