Every motorcycle manufacturer has legendary models, business cards and respected series that are popular year after year. What models do you remember when you mention the Suzuki brand? For me, these are GSX-R, Boulevard, Hayabusa and, of course, Katana.
The 2020 Suzuki Katana is a legend that sparks genuine interest with a direct reference to the 1981 GSX1100S Katana.
What will this bike be like?
Legend of the past
The first Katana made a splash and entered the market as one of the fastest motorcycles in the world. Its design is considered revolutionary for the time. It was the result of a collaboration between the Japanese manufacturer Suzuki and the team of Hans Mut, who was previously head of BMW’s design department. With his submission, the Suzuki GSX1100S Katana appeared – a sports tourist with a body kit. The motorcycle is a philosophy and look that is inspired by the spirit of the traditional Japanese samurai sword. This reflects the silvery coloration and the chopped fairing lines that represent the edge of the blade.
New “sword” in old traditions
The Katana was unveiled at the 1980 Cologne Motor Show. The manufacturer closes the time loop by making an obvious update to the original on the same principle. As in the 80s, an independent designer hired by Suzuki took over the job.
Italian specialist Rodolfo Frascoli, already known for his Griso Moto Guzzi, Norge and Stelvio, Triumph Speed Triple, and Tiger 1050, has worked on the Suzuki GSX-S1000. Note that this is the Suzuki GSX-S1000 again! The project was developed in collaboration with engineer Alberto Strazzari.
The Suzuki GSX-S1000 has been praised and deemed worthy for the foundation of a new legend, and even considered an underrated bike. Indeed, the company is simultaneously repeating and rewriting the history of its beloved model.
Much in common
The new Katana uses a modified version of the 2005-2008 GSX-R1000 liquid-cooled four-stroke inline engine that’s 999cc and nearly 150 horsepower. The long-stroke engine hides lightweight aluminum pistons and rings created using the finite element method, which makes them rigid – resistant to external influences.
To ensure smooth and controlled engine response, the engine is equipped with a dedicated throttle control mechanism.
The power unit is located slightly lower, which stabilizes the motorcycle in motion. The 4-in-2-in-1 exhaust system is constructed from stainless steel for quieter engine emissions. In the middle of the pipe is a Suzuki Exhaust Tuning valve that controls flow to the catalyst and exhaust chamber to balance performance and emissions control.
The six-speed transmission has vertical stepped shafts like the sports versions to reduce the overall length of the engine.
Everything new is well forgotten old
The modern Katana 2020 is more of a typical urban naked. The design of the motorcycle has become more … how to put it better … compressed, concentrated, dense. The motorcycle is visually smaller. Note that the handlebars are closer to the rider and higher in level, although the seat is designed for medium height so that more users can be hit.
The gas tank has been redesigned, yes, it now allows a wider steering radius, but … I’ll tell you about the tank separately, this is the only fly in the ointment in this story.
Due to the aggressive design in general and the short tail, the bike really does feel small. It can also accommodate a passenger. The motorcycle, by the way, even returned its angular fairing of a pointed shape and a square headlight in the image and likeness of the first.
The aluminum frame is lightweight, the swingarm is also aluminum and cast. Add in the KYB adjustable suspension – an inverted 43mm telescopic fork and an adjustable mono shock at the rear.
The braking system is provided by a set of 310mm double discs paired with two Brembo four-piston calipers at the front, while the rear brake is a Nissin single-piston caliper.
The bike is shod with lightweight six-spoke TRP alloy wheels and Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart 2 tubeless tires, designed specifically for the 2020 Katana. Sounds tempting, huh?
So, what about the electrical? The motorcycle has a three-level traction control and the ability to disable control altogether in order to shift the responsibility entirely to itself. In addition, there is a digital instrument panel and LED optics. The bike is equipped with the Bosch ABS system.
It is logical that the silvery color of the fairing symbolizes the brilliance of the polished blade. For the consumer market, two more designer models were created – black and red. Personally, I am impressed by the traditional silver. On the tank we see the Katana symbols. All sorts of design gizmos are available to users – tinted windshield, colored seat, red Brembo calipers, carbon fiber front fender and other carbon fiber covers, as well as many decal options.
A spoon of tar
Let’s go back to the gas tank. With all the positive image of the motorcycle, which, with its characteristics, is well controlled, nimble and obedient, all such a good fellow from a whole piece … the manufacturers fought for its weight and shape, in the end they received 215 kilograms of steel fury, sacrificing the volume of the tank. I don’t know how to say, the tank is only 12 liters! 12! On the vast expanses of Russia – 12 liters, this is not serious.
The manufacturer calls not to be intimidated, and to look at the fuel consumption – an average of 5.3 liters per 100 kilometers. On the other hand, it is enough for a typical city dweller of a megalopolis who does not seek to travel to long distances.
If we talk about the price, then according to the latest data, it fluctuates within a radius of 13,500 to 14,700 dollars, which in terms of our wooden million rubles, plus or minus a couple of hundred thousand.
Katana by Icon
Created by the Icon team, this bike became famous as a bike in 30 days. In fact, the story was like this:
Suzuki invited the Icon team to upgrade their new Katana. Typically, the Icon team takes bikes to work and spends 12 to 18 months on a total upgrade to present something unique in their style. But the time was given only … 30 days! And that’s what came of it.
As a result, the Icon team completely revised the suspension (which they always do), made an additional hole in the gas tank, conjured up the exhaust and naturally gave out an original look with retro references.
As you can see, such a young, but already quite sensational Suzuki Katana 2020 has become an interesting project, on which quite a few specialists have worked. The bike looks interesting, has decent fittings and will be good for the urban jungle.
For the rest, I propose to admire another solid video from the Icon team with the redesigned Suzuki Katana 2020 in the main role!