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.

Motorcycle Monthly - - News - Words: Ross Mow­bray

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.

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