Suzuki Katana WorldSBK Lockdown Project: More neo, more retro, all fascinating

What happens when you take a Suzuki GSX-R1000 WorldSBK, dress it in retro Suzuki Katana clothing and add contemporary accessories? Wonder no more... 

Team Classic Suzuki Katana


How did you spend your (multiple) lockdowns? Perhaps you perfected that Banana Bread recipe, made the most of your rationed daily outdoor routine or perfected your work-from-home family life balance.

If you’re anything like us then we’re sure you also put in some time to fettle your motorcycle in preparation for the summer… Team Classic Suzuki certainly did. And the result is this very intriguing take on the Suzuki Katana, which has been turned into the ultimate nostalgic neo-retro racer that we just can’t stop looking at.

While the revived Katana hasn’t perhaps been the roaring success Suzuki were hoping it would be, in the hands of Team Classic Suzuki - who have had time to kill due to the broad sweep of road race cancellations - it takes on an entirely different lease of life.

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Not only has the design been tweaked to be truer to the 1980s original, it also features some of Suzuki’s newest traits. But what is most intriguing is what you’ll find underneath - the platform of the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000 campaigned by Team Alstare in the WorldSBK Championship. In short, there is a lot going on here!

Team Classic Suzuki certainly know their way around a Katana. It built a racing version of the naked to compete in the European Classic Endurance Championship, but for this latest rendition it has morphed those unmistakable design quirks around a 200bhp, honed WorldSBK-spec GSX-R1000 K8, complete with custom oversized swingarm, bespoke Alpha Performance Fabrications subframe, trick Ohlins suspension and Yoshimura EM Pro electronics.

The refresh comes courtesy of Nathan Colombi, who has finished the ‘reboot’ by tweaking the design to be both truer to the original and bang up to date with Suzuki’s current design language. 

That means the brushed aluminium-style paintwork and graphics scream classic, while the most eye-catching element of the Katana silhouette - the chunky rectangular headlight - is now arranged in a similar style to that of the recently launched GSX-S1000.

Is this a hint that the Katana is coming up for a facelift? Time will tell, but as an example of blending Suzuki’s Superbike heritage into a slightly mind-bending ‘back to the future’ look piques our curiosity… and we are all for that.

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