Suzuki has unveiled a new colour for their 2019 Katana at EICMA 2018 in Milan. The black paintjob version of the modern retro will be made available alongside the classic silver version in 2019.
Suzuki may not have been lavishing a great number of new bikes on us over recent years, but we’re very pleased they’ve been brave enough to lavish this one on us for 2019.
If you want to be critical, then you could just say it’s a dressed up Suzuki GSX-S1000, but what’s wrong with that? After all, let’s not forget that the original Katana from way back in 1981 was just a boldly dressed GSX1100E.
Let’s also not forget that the GSX-S1000 is actually a rather good bike that’s slipped under most peoples’ radar simply because it’s not bold enough to stand out. But you couldn’t accuse the new Katana of such coyness.
It’s certainly a homage, rather than a replica, but this retro bruiser is anything but bland. The firm nods to its ancestor’s chiselled nose, square headlamp and hunched flanks that wrap around the shallow profiled tank and end in less chunky haunches are all clear to see. The fact that Suzuki have used the 37-year-old font for the tank logo is a lovely touch, too.
You might wonder where it’s supposed to fit into the market, and the answer being that it’s a sporty street bike that has more in common with a naked than it does with faired superbikes – but it’s primary focus is to provide you with a comfortable everyday bike and weekend bruiser that hasn’t been whacked with the wand of mediocrity.
Its 148bhp powerplant is shared lock-stock and four SCEM (Suzuki Composite Electromechanical Material) coated barrels with the GSX-S, with dual throttle valves, a 44mm throttle body (like its GSX-R1000 sibling), and 10-hole injectors for precise atomisation.
The throttle connection and feel have been tickled to improve delivery too, aimed at reducing the aggravating abruptness of the early GSX-S models that had all the progressive dexterity of a light switch.
There’s 3-mode traction control for dodgy conditions and the lead-fisted, a slipper clutch for those off-the-leash rides, ABS through Brembo radial calipers, low rpm assist and a new full LCD dash that’s been nicked from the GSX-R1000R, then given its own interface.
Lighting is LED front, rear and indicators, and the whole shebang sits on 43mm inverted fully adjustable KYB fork and preload/rebound adjustable shock. The tyres are Dunlop Roadsport 2s in 120/70 and 190/50 sizes on 17in rims.
The only obvious demerit in this attractive retro is the lack of fuel capacity, with the short and slim tail unit, and low-profile tank presumably causing a packaging nightmare that has squeezed the tank capacity down a miserly 12 litres.
We’ll forgive that minor annoyance though because it simply gives another chance to see yourself on it reflected in the filling station windows.
2019 Suzuki Katana facts
- Engine: 999cc transverse four
- Performance: 148bhp / 80ftlb
- Weight: 215kg (kerb)
- Seat height: 825mm
- Price: £TBC
How the Katana started out…
Launched in 1981, the original GSX1100 Katana arrived in showrooms looking like some sort of personal transport solution jettisoned from the Millennium Falcon. Ignoring its 111bhp and 140mph high notes, it was all about the bold styling, with its chisel nose, lack of conventional side covers, two-tone seat, and a set of clocks that looked like a funky Swiss watch.
IF the new Katana doesn’t quite have enough 80s kitsch about it for your tastes, fear not. For a few dollars more you can pimp it out with blood-red Brembo calipers, carbon fibre engine case covers, a smoked screen, or red-flanked Katana logoed seat, heated grips, tanks and fuel cap protectors, and rim decals.
See this bike debut in the UK at Motorcycle Live from 17-25 November at The NEC.