Suzuki have announced a new ‘Katana’ model, inspired by the original 1981 GSXS1100S and building on the GSX-S1000 platform in an offering that takes inspiration from the original cult classic, but also goes its own way, love it or hate it, it has gone viral online.
For some this departure from the iconic looks of the original will no doubt raise an eyebrow, however the original Katana was futuristic for its time and certainly forged its own path.
The Suzuki GSX-S1000S Katana is a long way off however, and while many brands are unveiling 2019 models, Suzuki are teasing the public with this 2020 model, which is expected to arrive in Australia from Q3 2019, with full details yet to be released.
For those interested, that’s a long time to wait, especially if there’s not significant updates over the current GSX-S1000 models, which are currently available in the full faired GSX-S1000F, and naked GSX-S1000 and GSX-S1000Z.
If the Katana can maintain the same $15,490 ride-away price as these models however, it could prove an attractive option compared to the more expensive Kawasaki Z900 RS, which shares a similar retro gone modern market segment and has proven popular, although it was executed very well by Kawasaki, closely representing the original Jaffa and being an all-new model, proving an instant hit.
The big draw card will be the Katana bodywork, which is a dramatic departure from the rest of their models, and shows a futuristic nose to tail design. The ‘bars are also more tourer/naked than sport, which may be the brand hedging their bets at getting an older audience on board, while the later 750 model’s pop-up headlight is nowhere to be seen.
Apart from the aggressive front fairing which incorporates two separate running lights under the main headlight, the angular lines continue to the tiny 12L tank and through to the tail, where the bodywork flairs out below the pillion seat.
The blacked out exhaust is reminiscent of the Z model, with a swingarm mounted rear fender and indicator assembly helping keep the tail clean.
With the specifications so far directly mirroring the current GSX-S1000 models it’s fair to say that the Katana will be an all-rounder machine, although previous GSX-S1000 model’s reputation for throttle snatch at low rpm is one that continues to haunt the bike.
Having had one as a much loved and enjoyed long termer here at BikeReview.com.au it was an issue, although we did not find it quite as problematic as some riders who complain of significantly worse experiences. Suzuki have however made a point of mentioning that the Katana will feature redesigned throttle cable geometry for less abrupt power delivery off a closed throttle, which will hopefully put this issue to rest once and for all.
Time will only tell whether this new Katana can live up to the original’s reputation, with sales the final factor when it comes to success. There’ll no doubt be many on both sides of the fence, but at the end of the day all that matters is those willing to part with their hard earned to get their hands on one of these machines.
On a personal note, it’s a bit of a shame not to see a GSX-S750 based Katana at this point, as this is an amazing middle-weight machine with great throttle response and plenty of power, which was very hard to criticise and available from a very competitive price, but I also prefer middle-weight machines!
Here’s a look at the new Katana’s main features:
- Sleek, sporty proﬁle with sharp, sweeping lines
- Inspired by the original Katana, but a totally modern look
- Sharp front end and clean rear end
- Distinctive new LED headlight and LED front position lights
- Satellite rear fender extending from the swingarm
- Red logo decal inherited from the legendary 1980s KATANA
- Black upswept muﬄer
- Upright riding position
- Raised handlebars
- Two-tone seat designed for comfort and looks
- 825mm seat height
- Slim where the tank meets the seat
- 999cc liquid-cooled inline-four
- K5 GSX-R1000 derived long-stroke engine, 73.4mm bore and 59.0mm stroke, as found on current GSX-S1000 models
- Maximum output 110kW (150PS) @ 10,000rpm
- Maximum torque 108NM @ 9500rpm
- Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) system
- Suzuki Exhaust Tuning (SET) system
- Custom 4-2-1 exhaust system
- Lightweight, compact and rigid aluminium frame
- Lightweight braced aluminium swingarm
- Fully adjustable 43mm KYB inverted front forks
- Radial mount 4-piston Brembo front brake calipers
- 3-mode traction control
- Low RPM Assist
- Suzuki Easy Start System
- Back-torque limiting (slipper) clutch
- Dunlop tires with custom-designed pattern
- Antilock Braking System (ABS) standard
- Full-LCD instrumentation
- Red Brembo calipers
- Axle sliders
- Heated grips
- Carbon-fibre engine covers
- Coloured seat
- Tinted screen
- Various decals and bodywork protection stickers
Here’s what Suzuki had to say of the new Katana:
Having poured its heart and soul into forging the original Katana, Suzuki never lost its passion for the model. Fast forward to the fall of 2017 when the Katana 3.0 Concept model was introduced at EICMA in Milan. Designed by famed motorcycle designer Rodolfo Frascoli and built by Engines Engineering, this new vision of a thoroughly modern Katana sparked a ﬁre in the hearts of all.
Listening keenly to the feedback from EICMA Suzuki felt this was the right time to introduce a modern version of the legendary Katana. Development began soon after, with a team of designers and engineers burning the midnight oil in Hamamatsu until satisﬁed they had brought together all the elements necessary to create a new legend with the 2020 Katana.
The Katana was developed to be a sporty-looking standard street motorcycle that takes lean, mean retro ﬂair and evolves it to oﬀer thoroughly modern styling and performance.
Built to deliver the exciting ride one would desire in a current 1000cc class motorcycle, the Katana is also designed to provide easy control over that power and a comfortable riding position
At the heart of the Katana’s powerful performance is a long-stroke 999cm3 inline-four cylinder engine producing 110kW (150PS) power at 10,000rpm with 108Nm of torque at 9,500rpm. Both the induction roar and exhaust note are tuned to heighten the visceral senses, whilst also contributing to performance and combustion efficiency.
Power is transferred to the tarmac through a back-torque-limiting clutch, Suzuki’s three-mode traction control system and new Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tyres featuring an inner structure designed exclusively for the new Katana.
The compact, lightweight twin-spar aluminium chassis is engineered to provide agility, ease of control and a fun-to-ride character riders will enjoy. It is also aimed to perform best in real world riding conditions on public roads, in city traffic, on the highway, or on rural and twisty roads.
43mm KYB inverted front forks give a ride that is sporty yet plush. They feature fully adjustable damping, rebound, compression and spring preload. A single KYB rear shock features adjustable rebound damping and spring pre-load.
310mm Fujico disc rotors are paired with Brembo radial mount Monobloc front brake calipers featuring four opposing 32mm pistons to provide powerful braking performance. The Bosch Antilock Brake System (ABS) control unit is extremely compact and light weighing only 640g.
Distinctive styling points abound. The LED headlight and LED front position lights accent the sharp lines of the cowling that covers the custom-designed instrument panel.
A black and grey two-tone seat features a stepped design that maintains the sleek profile of the Katana while ensuring a comfortable riding position and positive footing for the rider. Passenger comfort is also a priority, with the seat strap design ensuring secure grip.
The Katana introduces a small rear fender supported by the swingarm that hugs the rear tyre. Moving it, along with the rear LED indicators and license plate holder, to this position eliminates parts extending from under the seat to give the tail section cleaner lines and a tougher, lighter new look.
The 2020 Suzuki Katana is expected to arrive in Australia during the third quarter of 2019 with final specifications and pricing being announced closer to launch.
2020 Suzuki Katana GSX-S1000S Specifications (TBC)
ARRIVAL: Q3, 2019, Australia
CLAIMED POWER: 110kW@10,000rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE: 108Nm@9500rpm
CLAIMED WET WEIGHT: 215kg
FUEL CAPACITY: 12L
ENGINE: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, forward-inclined parallel four-cylinder, four-valve per cylinder, DOHC, 73.4 x 59mm bore x stroke, 999cc, 12.1:1 compression, 44mm throttle-bodies, Suzuki Exhaust Tuning (SET), 4-2-1 exhaust system
GEARBOX: Constant mesh, six-speed
CLUTCH: Back-torque limiter wet multi-plate
CHASSIS: FEM designed alloy frame, alloy braced swingarm
Rake: 25 degrees, Trail: 100mm
SUSPENSION: 43mm KYB fully adjustable telescopic forks, 120mm travel, KYB rear shock, link type single shock, rebound and preload adjustment
BRAKES: Bosch ABS system, Brembo radial-mount four-piston calipers, 310mm rotors, 220mm rear rotor with Nissin caliper, Nissin conventional master-cylinder
WHEELS & TYRES: Cast alloy six-spoke 17in, Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 120/70-17in (f), 190/50-17(r)
Seat height: 825mm
Overall height: 1110mm
Overall length: 2125mm
INSTRUMENTS: Multi-function LCD display