So, Suzuki has unveiled their new machines for 2019, at the Intermot show in Cologne including the much spoken of 2019 Katana.
2019 Suzuki Katana
Katana. It’s a name that been used by Suzuki in the past on bikes ranging from the GSX1100S that introduced the title to the AY50 scooter that bore the badge right into the 21st century. Now it’s back and appearing on a machine that’s hoping to recapture the excitement of the original.
If the new Katana looks a little familiar, that’s partly because it’s a very clear homage to the sharp-edged original but also because it was previewed a year ago in the Katana 3.0 concept bike. Unusually, that concept was created not by Suzuki but by Italian firm Engines Engineering and designer Rodolfo Frascoli, but it grabbed enough attention for Suzuki to rapidly turn it into a production machine.
The turnaround from concept to production is remarkably fast, even though the new Katana is officially a 2020 model and won’t go on sale until well into next year. But Suzuki has been able to do it so fast by basing the new machine heavily on the existing GSX-S1000 naked sports bike. While the Katana looks very different to that bike, its mechanical components are all but identical.
The engine is the same 999cc four-cylinder, making 147.5hp and tracing its roots back to the legendary 2005 GSX-R1000 K5. It’s not the turbocharged twin that many hoped would be used to revive the Katana name, but it’s arguably closer to the spirit of the original GSX1100S Katana that went on sale in 1981.
The Katana’s aluminium frame is again borrowed from the GSX-S1000, as are the wheels, brakes and suspension. Even the exhaust system is identical, although it’s notable that Suzuki’s PR material makes no mention of the GSX-S, instead choosing to draw parallels with the GSX-R1000.
The Katana’s spec includes three mode traction control, LED lights front and rear, fully adjustable 43mm KYB inverted forks and Brembo radial brake calipers, but apart from the lights and the new LCD instrument display, it’s all the same kit that’s already fitted to the GSX-S1000.
As usual, there’s a range of extras including an optional screen, carbon bits and even red-painted brake calipers, but there’s just one colour option – silver. It’s a Katana, after all.
Will this be the bike to reverse Suzuki’s flagging fortunes? To do so it’s got tough competition to beat, including the similarly retro-flavoured Honda CB1000R and the more performance-oriented Yamaha MT-10 and BMW S1000R.
2019 Suzuki Katana spec:
Expected in dealers
April 2019 (est)
147.5bhp (110kW) @ 10,000rpm
79.7lb-ft (108Nm) @ 9,500rpm