Life on bikes

Is a Gixxer-engined Suzuki Katana coming in 2020?

Japanese websites are convinced a relaunch of the Suzuki Katana is on its way, based on the classic 80’s design and powered by a GSX-R1000 engine.

Last year’s unveiling of a GSX-S1000F-based Suzuki Katana concept at the EICMA show in Milan set the motorcycle industry alight – were Suzuki finally going to join the retro fest and produce a new bike with classic looks?

The rumours have now stepped up a notch, following reports from Japan that more trademarks for the name Katana have been registered by Suzuki and a GSX-R1000 engine has been seen in a Katana frame at a Japanese race festival.

Although the Milan bike was on the official Suzuki stand at EICMA, the bike itself was a concept built by Italian motorcycle magazine Motociclismo. It’s thought that the very positive reactions to the bike may have prompted Suzuki to take the idea of a production bike very seriously.

Japanese website Webike has revealed that ‘Suzuki filed a trademark registration of “Katana” all at once in Japan, US and Europe. It was applied on March 12 in Japan, and April 4 in the US and Europe. The usage includes “key chains, commemoration cups, decorative items, watches, clothes”. These are in addition to the original trademarks for the use of the name as a motorcycle, which Suzuki has held since the early Eighties in Japan and 2015 in Europe. More directly relevant to a new model, the trademark Katana was also registered for use on a vehicle in the US, where trademarks must be used within three years, or they are forfeited. In other words, there’s a ticking clock and if Suzuki doesn’t release the bike before April 2021, they’ll lose that trademark in the US.

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Webike, seemingly as keen as ourselves to see a new Katana, also mentioned the appearance of a 185bhp Katana-based steel-framed bike with a GSX-R1000 engine during a festival at the Tsukuba race circuit.

The bike was entered into the festival by Team Kagayama, run by former Suzuki Works rider Yukio Kagayama, competing a racing class dedicated to historical bikes and bikes based on older machines. According to another Japanese website, Young Machine, the frame is based on the original frame of the GSX1100S Katana, with bodywork very similar to the Eighties’ bike.

Taste of Tsukuba championship: GSX-1000R Katana explained

Young Machine has created their own computer-generated (CG) images of what the next generation road Suzuki Katana could look like, and unsurprisingly, it’s not a million miles off the Milan concept. All eyes will now turn to this year’s EICMA show in November.

Suzuki Katana
© Young Machine

To add further grist to the rumours, Webike also pointed out that the bike would be a perfect way for the Suzuki company to mark its 100th birthday, which comes along in 2020.

Like retro Suzuki’s?

Take a look at the Suzuki Recursion we featured last year.



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