Love-it-or-loathe it 1980s-style bike re­turns for 2019

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS -

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

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