Suzuki to of­fer new take on old favourite af­ter Kawasaki’s suc­cess with Z900RS

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents -

At long last Suzuki en­ter the retro mar­ket with a brand new Katana, plus a 900LC (not by Yamaha)


Al­most four decades af­ter the launch of the orig­i­nal GSX1100S Katana, Suzuki is to launch a new one: the 2020 Katana. The de­ci­sion to re­launch the leg­endary sil­ver su­per­bike came af­ter the pos­i­tive re­ac­tion to the Katana 3.0 Con­cept model shown at the 2017 EICMA show in Mi­lan. We sus­pect the suc­cess of Kawasaki’s Z900RS mod­els played its part too.

The 3.0 Con­cept model was de­signed by Rodolfo Fras­coli and built by En­gines En­gi­neer­ing. The new 2020 Kat is an in-house cre­ation, un­like the orig­i­nal that was styled by An­glo-ger­man de­sign house Tar­get De­sign.

In its bumph Suzuki say “…the de­vel­op­ment process came to closely re­sem­ble the ar­du­ous process of cre­at­ing the Ja­panese sword from which the model’s name is de­rived.” How ar­du­ous is bring­ing an old de­sign up to date?

The new bike is based around a re­tuned, fu­elin­jected GSX-R1000 mo­tor (from 2005-’08 era) and a black painted alu­minium chas­sis that runs beams from the head­stock di­rectly to the swingarm pivot, with monoshock rear end (swingarm from 2016 GSX-R1000) and 43mm up­side-down KYB forks. Brakes are ra­dial­mounted Brem­bos. Kerb weight is 215kg.

Sadly air-cool­ing, as per the 1100S, was out of the ques­tion due to ever more strin­gent world­wide emis­sions leg­is­la­tion. Power is claimed to be 147.5bhp at 10,000rpm, with max torque of 79.6lb-ft at 9500rpm. If you’ve rid­den a mid-noughties GSX-R1000 you’ll know what a mon­ster of a mo­tor it is.

Styling is more faith­ful to the orig­i­nal, even down to the two-tone black and grey seat, al­though the in­stru­ments are fully dig­i­tal rather than the clas­sic ana­logue dou­ble-dial of the proper Kat. Suzuki have also taken note that many of us orig­i­nal Katana own­ers aren’t as young, or in­deed sup­ple as we once were, so rather than ape the 1100’s low-slung clip-ons they’ve opted for the com­fort of high ’bars in­stead – and that’s no bad thing.

On sale date and pric­ing are yet to be an­nounced, but we sus­pect the af­ter­mar­ket in­dus­try will al­ready be on the case with tasty, light­weight, cat-free pipes, tail ti­dies and a host of styling up­grades. Full test as soon as we can get one.

It’s 1982 again, but with high ’bars for old peo­ple

Ex­pect other man­u­fac­tur­ers to wheel out re­booted oldies

Next up from Suzuki? B120 for the modern age

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