Suzuki Katana 3.0 concept
Suzuki Katana 3.0 concept

Suzuki considers bringing back Katana

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.

Valentino Rossi's Yamaha XJR1300 big-bore tracker katana
Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha XJR1300 big-bore tracker

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.Suzuki Katana 3.0 concept

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.

Suzuki Katana 3.0 conceptHowever, 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.

Suzuki Katana GSX-1100S
Suzuki Katana GSX-1100S

Katana history

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.

  1. They have to keep the same true look but make it light with technology and I’ll buy 2.
    I have a original 1984 model 1100se which I’ve had now for 27 years and love it.
    Katana lover.

        1. I always thought that particular model would have looked great with a sharkmouth painted on the sides of the fairing.

          Younger reader probably won’t understand how radically styled the big Katanas were back then. 37 years on, almost anything sporty with a fairing has a pointy nose on it.

  2. Going by this image:
    Katanas went on for quite some time after 1980, in Japan at least.

    I always wanted a big Katana having ridden a couple. I still have the full-size aussie Penthouse poster of Karen Brown reclining on a Kat. Actually, it was Karen Brown that gave me the poster at a motor show in Sydney. I was somewhat younger then and a bit awestruck and I neglected to ask her to autograph the poster for me. We didn’t have whizzo camera phones and selfie obsession back in them days. Just a Motorola brick phone would have cost more than a Katana.

    The Katana name did get a bit diluted over the years although the grey-import 250 version did look pretty good.

  3. The tank, fairing, front mudguard and colours are the only real resemblance. A bit more work to do on the design I think.

  4. Original Katana was one of the sharpest & most beautiful motorcycles ever made. If it comes with a pillion seat, I’ll buy one 🙂

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