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Intermot 2018: Suzuki Katana 1000 unveiled

GSX-S1000-based Katana retro roadster brings back the 1980s

Submitted by Alan Dowds - editor on Tue, 02/10/2018 - 10:56

2019 Suzuki KATANA 1000

IT WAS a proper no-brainer for Suzuki of course – and one look at the success of Kawasaki’s Z900 RS roadster would have confirmed the wisdom of a retro Suzuki. And what better legendary machine to ape than the mighty Katana from 1981?

The GS1000-based machine was wildly ahead of its time in terms of design and style, and even though it wasn’t the best bike around (Kawasaki’s Z and GPz range killed it on most fronts), it had an impact that’s stuck through the decades.

2019 Suzuki KATANA 1000

Like the original then, this new version is based on a current roadster – the GSX-S1000. That’s a pretty decent base of course: a GSX-R1000 K5 motor serves as the foundation for the 150bhp powerplant, and the GSX-S chassis is more than solid enough: twin-spar beam alloy frame, GSX-R swingarm, USD forks, radial Brembo front calipers. It’s a little on the porky side – and the Katana has actually added mass (up 6kg to 215kg). But we’ve spent plenty of time on the GSX-S1000 and it’s a very capable naked beastie to build upon.

2019 Suzuki KATANA 1000

Much of the Katana story centres around the styling and design then. And it does pay homage to the old bike in a pretty decent manner. The Katana logo is on show, on the dash as well as on the graphics, and the fairing/tank cover do a great job of echoing the old style, while staying on the modern side. We like the dual tone stepped seat too.

2019 Suzuki KATANA 1000

In tech terms, its hard to see what will feel much different from the GSX-S. There’s a slower-opening throttle linkage, which we’re not sure is a good thing. What’s definitely sub-optimal is the teeny 12 litre fuel tank. The GSX-S motor is good on fuel, but with such a small tank, you’ll be stopping for fuel every 90 miles. We expect there's a good reason for the small capacity, but it does seem like an obvious handicap. Hmmm.

2019 Suzuki KATANA 1000

The riding position looks a tad more upright, so the Katana could be a bit of a wheelie tool, and more usable/comfy round town.

2019 Suzuki KATANA 1000

We’ll be riding the new bike as soon as we can: more when we get it.





Having owned a Kat in the early 90's I was seriously looking forward to this - the potential was there for this to be so good and then Suzuki went and put those sit up and beg bars in that hole that they have formed between the tank and the fairing. The legend has just been murdered - For shame .....

It's not supposed to be a replica of the original but a modern bike that takes styling cues from it.
And for me it succeeds.......far more important is how it rides though......and pricing.

If they are going to name the bike after a classic at least they should make some effort to make it like its namesake i.e. make it a sports bike for a start. Kawasaki have been paying homage to its own 80's classics for years and getting it right consistently. As for how it rides? It will be exactly the same as a GSX 1000 S - that's because it is a GSX 1000 S with Katana styled body work.

Why/how would they make a sports bike that looks like a Katana?
Have you noticed what sportsbikes have looked like for the past 30 years? A Z900 might have been sporty in 1979, but Kawasaki are not going to make a ZX10R that looks like that!

This is not a retro. It's a modern bike which takes the name and styling cues from an icon.

And given that a GSX-s1000 rides quite nicely, why would they try to consciously avoid that with this model?
Given how hideous the 'donor' bike looks, this is a worthwhile addition to the line up.

12 litre fuel tank is a stupidly retrograde step. Ugly lump of a rear guard - why do manufacturers follow one another like sheep with these wretched things.
Handlebars are wrong, should be lower and flatter.
I shall take even more pleasure from my GSX-s1000 naked knowing it has no imminent threat.
They should have spent their money updating the GSX-s instead of turning it into a transvestite.

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