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
Suzuki - Katana
The original Katana has maintained a legendary status since its launch in 1981, with a design
that remains as impactful now as it did then. It influenced the styling of the 2005 Stratosphere
concept and more recently the Katana 3.0 concept, which debuted at EICMA in 2017.
Taking styling cues from the original machine and the latest concept, the new Katana moves
the design into the modern era. The immediately recognisable rectangular headlight is updated
with stacked LED lights, as new LED running lights are adopted to accentuate the bike’s sharp
At the back LED tail lights sit in an angular seat unit, immediately eye-catching thanks to the
repositioning of the number plate hanger, which now extends from the swingarm and hugs the
rear tyre. It also houses the indicators, with the whole design further highlighting the clean
look of the tail section, atop which sits a one-piece seat that further pays homage to the
original Katana in its design. Seat height is 825mm.
Issue No: 2W-SM-1018-005 Issue Date: 02/10/2018
The positive riding position, enhanced by one-piece ‘bars, sees riders perch behind a fuel tank
and top fairing that are also immediately recognisable as Katana, boasting retro appeal but
with a modern twist. Classic red Suzuki lettering adorns the tank and mimics the original but
follows aggressive new lines, while the fairing, too, takes the ‘80s bike’s angles and
exaggerates them for a purposeful-looking front end. The bike is finished in the classic silver.
Despite drawing inspiration from an ‘80s legend, the new Katana is underpinned by thoroughly
modern engineering. The frame is the same lightweight, twin-spar aluminium frame that is
specific to the GSX-S1000 series, designed for nimble handling and superior road-holding
performance. The frame is as light as the frame used in the current GSX-R1000.
Fully-adjustable 43mm USD front forks and a rear shock adjustable for rebound damping and
spring pre-load come courtesy of KYB, and Brembo monobloc front brake calipers are shared
with the current GSX-R1000, biting 310mm floating discs. ABS is provided by Bosch.
Power comes from the famed inline four-cylinder engine that began life in another legendary
Suzuki - the GSX-R1000 K5, but heavily revised and modernised for street-based performance.
Renowned for its torque and midrange as well as top-end power, the 999cc engine uses a
long-stroke design (73.4mm x 59.0mm) for a broad spread of power across the rev range, with
peak power output 150PS at 10,000rpm, and peak torque 108Nm at 9,500rpm.
A three-mode traction control system - that can also be turned off - allows riders to exploit
the bike’s performance in various road and weather conditions. It quickly reduces engine
output when wheelspin is detected by adjusting ignition timing and air delivery. This helps
ensure smoother traction control operation and less-noticeable intervention.
Riders can quickly and easily identify their current traction control setting on a new LCD dash,
which also shows tacho, odo, trip meters, gear position, water temperature, fuel range,
average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption, fuel gauge, clock, lap time, and battery
Arrival, Pricing, Ordering
We expect the arrival of Katana in spring 2019, we will bring you updates and more specific
details as we get closer to this time. We will also bring you information on pricing and how to
order along with that more detailed timing.