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Suzuki Katana reborn | Manufacture News | News

The legendary Katana name returns with this new model based on the Suzuki GSX-S1000

SUZUKI STOLE THE limelight at this year’s Intermot Show in Cologne when it unveiled a modern reinterpretation of what is arguably the firm’s most iconic and recognisable model, the Katana.

We had hoped Suzuki would revive the legendary Katana name on a radical turbocharged twin, but it became obvious at Intermot that to get the new model to market quickly, demanded lateral thinking.

So, despite promises of a ‘brand new bike’, the new Katana – officially a 2020 model but likely to lob in 2019 – is a rebodied version of the existing GSX-S1000 supernaked.

And it’s a good starting point; it has a 110kW, updated version of the legendary 2005 GSX-R1000 K5 engine mounted in a capable aluminium beam frame, fully adjustable KYB upside-down forks, Brembo radial calipers and three-mode traction control. And of course the new Katana inherits all those things. It also inherits the same wheels and exhaust as the GSX-S1000, but the similarities end when we get to the bodywork.

Based on the Katana 3.0 concept bike shown last November, the 2020 Katana is an unusual move for Suzuki.

Last year’s concept wasn’t an in-house project, but done by Italian firm Engines Engineering, and designer Rodolfo Frascoli, with backing from Italian bike magazine Motociclismo.

Suzuki was taken with the idea and saw its existing GSX-S1000 as the fastest way to turn a prototype bike into reality. It is actually a mirror ofthe process that created the original Katana of the late 1970s, when Suzuki employed German design studio Target to do a makeover on its powerful but ungainly looking GSX1100E.

However, while that original Katana captured its era’s fascination with the future, the new one taps into a 1980s-inspired, neo-retro zeitgeist. There’s no doubt the result is far more attractive than the GSX-S1000 it is derived from, but its shapes are a familiar call-back to a past era rather than a radical thrust into the future. The Katana is expected to hit showrooms around the middle of next year.