Suzuki to offer new take on old favourite after Kawasaki’s success with Z900RS
At long last Suzuki enter the retro market with a brand new Katana, plus a 900LC (not by Yamaha)
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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