Suzuki has just unveiled its latest incarnation of its iconic Katana for 2019 at Intermot in Cologne – and Steve Parrish was on hand to pull the wraps off the new machine which shares a surprising amount with its sportier GSX-R1000 sibling.
The original Katana is an iconic machine – and since its launch in 1981, it’s stayed in the hearts and minds of riders across the world, which is why Suzuki has finally decided to produce its new Katana.
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Of course, we all expected it was on its way, particularly after Suzuki showcased its Katana 3.0 concept at EICMA in 2017. But work was already underway in the background for a new production model – with famed motorcycle designer Rodolfo Frascoli and Engines Engineering joining forces to create the new model, from the bones of Suzuki’s GSX-R1000.
Admittedly, the new Katana is a bit of a departure from the original machine – but thankfully there are still enough similarities to set the hearts racing of bikers far and wide. The new model takes styling cues from the original machine and the latest concept, consequently bringing the Katana’s design into the modern era. In particular, it comes with an immediately recognisable Katana-style rectangular headlight – but it now comes with stacked LED lights, as well as new LED running lights. It also comes with LED tail lights, a new number plate hanger which extends from the swingarm and hugs the rear tyre, while housing the bikes indicators.
Despite drawing inspiration from an ‘80s legend, the new Katana is underpinned by thoroughly modern engineering. In fact, its frame is the same lightweight, twin-spar aluminium unit that’s used across the GSX-S1000 series – which has been designed for nimble handling and top road performance. That’s not all, there are also KYB fully-adjustable 43mm USD forks up front and a rear shock which is adjustable for rebound damping and spring pre-load, while Brembo monobloc front brake calipers with 310mm floating discs and Bosch ABS is on hand to help you stop.
Its engine is Suzuki’s famed inline four-cylinder engine that began life in the GSX-R1000 K5 – although it’s been revised and modernised for street-based performance. The 999cc engine, which is renowned for its torque and midrange (as well as top-end) power, uses a long-stroke design (73.4mm x 59.0mm) for a broad spread of power across the rev range – with peak power output of 150bhp at 10,000rpm, and peak torque 108Nm at 9,500rpm.
There’s also a three-mode traction control system (that can also be turned off) which allows riders to get the best out of the bike no matter the road and weather conditions. It’s a clever system which works to continuously monitor front and rear wheel speeds, throttle position, crank position, and gear position sensors – and quickly reduces engine output when wheelspin is detected by adjusting ignition timing and air delivery. And, the new Katana also comes with an LCD dash, which shows tacho, odo, trip meters, gear position, water temperature, fuel range, average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption, fuel gauge, clock, lap time, and battery voltage – in addition to the aforementioned rider modes.
And if you fancy upgrading your Katana – there will also be a range of Suzuki accessories available, including a tinted screen, a coloured seat, carbon engine covers and coloured brake calipers.
No official news yet on price, but we reckon it’ll come in at somewhere between £1000 and £1500 more expensive than the GSX-1000R that it’s based on. Regarding availability, Suzuki has said it’ll be available in Spring – so we speculate the bike will be making it across to British shores sometimes between March and April. Either way, we can’t wait to ride it.
For more information, visit: www.suzuki.com/gb
ENGINE: 999cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, in-line four
POWER: 150bhp at 10,000rpm
TORQUE: 108Nm at 9,500rpm
SUSPENSION: (F) Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped (R) Link type, coil spring, oil damped
BRAKES: (F) Twin Disc Brakes (R) Single Disc Brake
SEAT HEIGHT: 825mm
KERB WEIGHT: 215kg
FUEL CAPACITY: 12litres