Suzuki has seen fit to re-re­lease the Katana…

Hot on the heels of the Kawasaki Z900RS’S suc­cess is this…

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - WORDS: BERTIE SIM­MONDS PHO­TOS: SUZUKI GB, KAR LEE

ere are the pic­tures many of us have been wait­ing decades to see: Suzuki’s new-for-2019 Katana. At the heart of the ‘2020 Katana’ is Suzuki’s leg­endary GSX-R1000 mill of 2005-2008 vin­tage. Yup, that’s the same 999cc mo­tor that cur­rently pow­ers Suzuki’s GSX-S1000 and 1000F naked street bikes. Power from the liq­uid-cooled mo­tor is quoted as be­ing around the 150bhp mark at 10,000rpm. Suzuki says this mo­tor (and not one from the lat­est GSX-R1000) is best for this fit thanks to its long-stroke lay­out for more torque and the fact that it’s proven to be em­i­nently re­li­able. The mo­tor is aided by a SET (Suzuki Ex­haust Tun­ing) Exup-style pow­er­valve, Low RPM As­sist – for smooth throt­tle con­trol low-down in the rev-range and three-level trac­tion con­trol. This all sounds very fa­mil­iar if you’re a GSX-S1000 or 1000F (half-faired) naked bike owner. So, is this just a tarted-up GSX-S1000F then? Yes, it looks that way. The frame and swingarm look iden­ti­cal, sus­pen­sion front (43mm in­verted Kayabas) and rear (monoshock) and Brembo Monoblock calipers too. The wheel­base is also the same at 1460mm and the seat height of the Kat is higher at 825 (up on the GSX’S 810mm) while that ‘hunched-on-the-front’ look from the 1000F is the same too – al­beit the Kat looks like, well, a Kat: just a slightly fat one. In­ter­est­ingly, the low-down snatchy feel­ing some com­plain about may well have been solved by ad­just­ments to the mo­tor as well as some throt­tle cable re-rout­ing.

Now, we don’t blame Suzuki for go­ing down this route at all, as – like Kawasaki’s Z900/Z900RS – it makes sense to ‘plat­form share’ be­tween an ex­ist­ing model to make the ba­sis of the new Katana on the cheap, so to speak. The looks are al­most there: our only crit­i­cisms would be the base of the 1000F means the front-end of this lat­est Katana looks too fat and – in typ­i­cal cur­rent fash­ion – there’s not much of a rear-end/pil­lion to plonk your bet­ter half on. We can live with the flashy (and new) LCD screen/dash, the LED lights, the sin­gle (not twin) shocks and the low-slung ‘rear fender’ num­ber plate and in­di­ca­tors. That said the styling cues are pure Katana and the bike will be avail­able on launch in one colour only – that’s right, the orig­i­nal sil­ver. A range of up­grade parts will be avail­able, so with the an­nounced red pil­lion seat, red Brembo calipers, var­i­ous car­bon bits and smoked screen, you can bet your bot­tom yen that Yoshimura is al­ready con­vert­ing a GSX-S pipe to look more ‘tra­di­tional’. Price is yet to be an­nounced but ex­pect it to be around £11,000-£12,000 and – de­spite be­ing called the 2020 Katana – it is a 2019 model and should be ar­riv­ing in the UK in March/april of next year. Let us know what you think.

ABOVE: Based on the GSX-S model, the 2020 Katana will be a hoot on the road.

BE­LOW: shame there’s no ‘real’ pil­lion seat...

Front three-quar­ters gives more than a hint of the orig­i­nal ‘Kat’ look... ...and yet front-on we can see the ‘fat face’ of the base model.

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