The original Suzuki GSX1100S KATANA caused a sensation when it launched in 1981. It won the hearts of riders around the world and forever changed street motorcycle trends. The impact was so great, the KATANA continues to influence motorcycle designs even today.
Having poured its heart and soul into forging the original KATANA, Suzuki never lost its passion for the model. The legend of the KATANA lived on within the company as successive generations of designers and engineers anticipated the day they might get to work on new version.
Fast forward to the fall of 2017 when the KATANA 3.0 CONCEPT model was introduced at EICMA in Milan. Designed by famed motorcycle designer Rodolfo Frascoli and built by Engines Engineering, this new vision of a thoroughly modern KATANA sparked a fire in the hearts of all.
Listening keenly to the feedback from EICMA and excited about the potential demonstrated by the KATANA 3.0 CONCEPT, Suzuki felt this was the right time to introduce a thoroughly modern version of the legendary KATANA. Development began soon after, with a team of designers and engineers burning the midnight oil in Hamamatsu until satisfied they had brought together all the elements necessary to create a new legend with the 2020 KATANA.
Each of the styling features and performance components that distinguish the KATANA underwent many iterations to achieve the desired level of refinement and functional beauty. Overall, the development process came to closely resemble the arduous process of creating the Japanese sword from which the model’s name is derived.
The KATANA product concept is;
“Forging a New Street Legend”
The KATANA was developed to be a sporty-looking standard street motorcycle that takes lean, mean retro flair and evolves it to offer thoroughly modern styling and performance. Built to deliver the exciting ride one would desire in a current 1000cm3 class motorcycle, the KATANA is also designed to provide easy control over that power and a comfortable riding position.
In paying due tribute to Suzuki’s legendary KATANA while updating both the looks and level of performance to a leading standard for today’s street scene, the KATANA reflects Suzuki’s ongoing commitment to fine craftsmanship and its willingness to sweat every detail to get them right.
Major features of the KATANA
Sleek, sporty profile with sharp, sweeping lines
Gives the distinctive design of the legendary KATANA a totally modern look
Sharp front end and clean, taut-looking rear end
Distinctive new LED headlight and LED front position lights design
Unique satellite rear fender extending from the swingarm
Red logo decal inherited from the legendary 1980s KATANA
Two-tone seat designed for comfort and good looks
Custom black upswept muffler
High-performance 999cm3 liquid-cooled inline-four engine
Inherited from the GSX-R1000 and custom-tuned for the street
Precision fuel injection system
Advanced engine control management
Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) system
Suzuki Exhaust Tuning (SET) system
Custom 4-2-1 exhaust system
Lightweight, compact and highly rigid aluminum frame
Lightweight, ruggedly braced aluminum swingarm
Fully adjustable Ø43mm KYB inverted front forks
Radial mount 4-piston Brembo front brake calipers
3-mode traction control system
Low RPM Assist
Suzuki Easy Start System
Back-torque limiting clutch
Tubeless Dunlop tires with custom-designed pattern
Antilock Braking System (ABS)
Comfortable upright riding position
Informative full-LCD instrumentation
The 110kW (150PS) inline-four engine that powers the KATANA is directly inherited from the one that has long earned popularity and a solid reputation on the GSX-R1000.
However, a few minor modifications were implemented to realize even smoother throttle response and a wider torque band, as well as to optimize the induction roar and exhaust note.
Engine design - outline
Power is supplied by a four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 999cm3 inline-four engine. It is a street-tuned version of the legendary 2005-2008 GSX-R1000 engine designed to provide smooth throttle response and immediate, controlled acceleration. The result is exciting and thoroughly satisfying performance with characteristics that make it easy to control.
The reasons Suzuki chose to use the GSX-R1000 engine (from 2005-2008) are as follows:
Its long stroke design delivers broad low-to-mid range power and torque that is well suited for street riding.
Its crankshaft/gearbox layout allows the use of a frame design that runs straight from the steering head to swing-arm pivot. This results in realizing a lighter weight main frame design.
The 2005-2008 generation GSX-R1000 won a number of racing championships around the world. The engine has great reputation in the market, it is reliable, and it delivers plenty of power.
The engine features a long-stroke design with a 73.4mm bore and 59.0mm stroke.
The long-stroke design allows the combustion chamber to be compact. This makes it possible to regulate the compression ratio while maintaining a flat-top piston shape. The result is a broad power range delivered smoothly across the entire rev range.