MONTH IN BIKES
Love-it-or-loathe it 1980s-style bike returns for 2019
You want to see next year’s motorcycles now? Well, that’s jolly convenient...
STRUGGLING SUZUKI HAVE PULLED one further knuckle of their rectum-embedded finger out, and transformed the ‘what’s the point’ GSX-S1000 in a modern retro remake of the Katana.
It’s actually quite an authentic approach: the original was nothing more than funky bodywork on a rehash of an engine and chassis they’d had for a while, and the new one is the same. Italian designer Rodolfo Frascoli created the concept for Milan’s EICMA show last year, and it went down so well that Suzuki have made a proper production version in double-quick time. Not that they had too much to do: Frascoli merely stripped a production GSX-S1000 to provide a vessel for his vision, and Suzuki haven’t gone to a great deal more effort.
What that means is around 150bhp at the rear tyre from the GSX-R1000 K7-derived motor, in a chassis that handles it well, broadly speaking. Radial brakes, a braced swingarm and fully-adjustable forks give no cause for complaint, though the miserable preload/rebound-adjustable nonreservoir shock is unlikely to be any better than the underdamped and short-lived item found lurking in the GSX-S, given that they haven’t changed it.
What’s good about the bike benefitting from zero technical changes (besides those made for the new bodywork – subframes, brackets and so on) is that it shouldn’t hike the Katana’s price up by any meaningful amount, because beneath the sharper body, it’s essentially a three-year-old bike. And one that already heavily raided Suzuki’s parts bin from the
‘PB reckons a price around £10k seems likely; about the same as a Kawasaki Z900RS’
‘Expect around 150bhp in a chassis that handles it well, broadly speaking’
preceding decade back when it was launched in 2015.
The GSX-S has always performed well enough, but the faired version was firstly pretty damned ugly, and secondly not versatile enough to be the all-rounder it appeared to be. The naked version didn’t really cut it in the hugely competitive supernaked market, either.
The Katana should fair better: PB reckons a price around £10,000 seems likely, which is about the same outlay as the slower, lower-spec Z900RS Café (see page 63 for our test), and much less than most other retros, whilst crucially still offering proper specification.
There’s a lot to like about the styling. Suspension mods will add massive potential
Switchgear is almost as old as the original Katana Detuned GSX-R motor in Eighties clothing. We’ll have some of that