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Suzuki to bring back Katana sportsbikes?

An evocative name in sportbikes history looks set to return...

suzuki, katana, re-born

Suzuki has got plenty of evocative badges in its history books. Hayabusa, GSX-R, RGV, Gamma and Bandit all pluck enough heartstrings for a symphony. But Katana might just be the greatest of all, and now there’s a hint the name might be making a comeback.

Documents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office show that on 8th February this year, Suzuki filed a new application for the mark ‘Katana’ along with the famous Japanese character mark and sword badge  that adorned the bikes that bore that title.

The sharp-edged, Hans Muth-styled GS and GSX machines that would bear the Katana name from the early 1980s still immediately spring to mind at a glimpse of the logo. Just last year another Katana concept emerged at the EICMA show, too, albeit one that was created at the behest of Italian magazine Motociclismo rather than the Suzuki factory. But surely the machine most likely to gain the name in production will be the long-anticipated turbocharged parallel twin derived from the 2013 Recursion concept bike, which is expected to finally reach production next year.

The 2013 Recursion also had some Katana styling cues and the production derivative will be dubbed a ‘GSX’ machine by dint of its four-valve-per-cylinder, 700cc DOHC parallel twin engine. The engine was shown under the name ‘XE7’ in 2015 and will replace the SOHC 588cc twin that powered the original Recursion concept bike. Also turbocharged, the XE7 motor should be good for significantly more than the 100hp that was claimed for the 2013 concept bike’s smaller turbo engine. Rumour has it that the factory designation for the upcoming production bike is GSX700T, but you’ve got to admit that ‘Katana’ makes for a rather more emotive title.

It’s impressive that the name has managed to retain its aura, since Suzuki spent much of the 1990s trying to wash it away in a sea of blandness. First there was the jellymould GSX600F, sold under the Katana name in America. And if that wasn’t bad enough, here in Europe there was the indignity of the AY50 ‘Katana’ scooter.

We sincerely hope Suzuki’s new plans are to return the name to a bike that really deserves it. However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time that a revival of the Katana trademark rights has raised hopes – Suzuki also filed for ownership of the name back in 2010, but no new Katana-branded bike emerged as a result. It also re-trademarked the Gamma name and logo in 2015, but again, we’re still waiting for a new production machine bearing that title.