Suzuki looks set to return the venerable Katana model to its brand after registering the name, trademarking the Samurai sword symbol and unveiling a Katana concept.
The Katana 3.0 concept is the work of Italian designer Rodolfo Frascoli.
Rodolfo designed the Moto Guzzi Griso, Norge, Breva and Stelvio, and Triumph Speed Triple and Tiger 1050.
He also designed a Yamaha XJR1300 flat tracker concept called “VR46 Mya” which was recently presented to MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi as a gift from Rossi’s VR|46 friends.
Katana concept 3.0
Rodolfo’s concept is based on the GSX-S1000F sports tourer ($A17,490 ride away).
It is powered by the championship-winning GSX-R1000 999cc in-line four with “street tuning with 110kW (150ps) of power at 10,000rpm and 108Nm of torque at 9500rpm.
The bike is the perfect model on which to base a Katana, although the modern twin-spar frame dominates more than the original cradle.
For the concept, Rodolfo has mimicked the iconic sharp-nose fairing and blended tank/seat of the original which was designed by Target Design of Germany.
However, modern emissions targets means it gets a massive muffler and radiator which tend to clutter the clean lines of then original which was built from 1979–1980.
We’re also not sure about the tail with the remote mudguard/plate holder.
However, Rodolfo has retained the two-tone seat and front fender, bold capital-letter logos, colouring and overall sporty stance.
Compare the above concept photos with the original GSX1100S.
The Katana was Suzuki’s 1980s futuristic designed sportsbike and many riders loved it, although it was awfully uncomfortable to ride.
Unfortunately, the bike was short-lived and the name was reused and abused for a scooter and some mid-sized bikes about 15 years ago.
The GSX1100S was the fastest mass-production motorcycle in the world in 1980 and was raced in many national and international events with mixed success.
If Suzuki bring the name back, let’s hope they pay more attention to the original design and its performance credentials.
The return of the Katana would follow Kawasaki’s recent return of Z900 with the Z900RS and Z900RS Cafe Racer.