Suzuki Katana Review (2019)
What Is It?
The Suzuki Katana is a funky retro naked bike which pays homage to the 1981 GSX1100S Katana. It's powered by a liquid cooled 999 cc inline four engine, producing 147.5 bhp at 10,000 rpm and maximum torque at 9,500 rpm.
- Seat Height: Average (825 mm / 32.5 inches)
- Weight: Heavy (215 kg / 474 lbs)
- Economy: Average (40 mpg / 7.1 l/100km / 14.2 km/l)
- Range: Average (110 miles / 177 km)
- Power to Weight: High (0.688 bhp/kg / 0.513 kW/kg)
- Top Speed: Very high (155 mph / 249 km/h)
What Is It Like?
Suzuki Katana 2020
I'm a man child of the 70's, tall and chunky and I've been riding bikes for around 25 years now.
I wanted a bike earlier but life, marriage and kids delayed that for a few years. I've now owned six bikes over the years from an MT350 to cruisers to a Z1000 and a Fireblade.
I love cruisers and have a gorgeous Shadow VT1100 I use for touring across Europe (my steady love) but it's always nice to have a little bit of "wild" on the side.
Why did you choose the Katana?
I really wanted the original Katana when it first came out but I was too young. Always loved the look and now I can get that look with modern engineering based on the GSX-S platform with added bits from the GSX-R parts bin and the fabulous K5 engine.
What's good about it?
The bike is rare in that it is far better in the flesh than in the pictures and I love the looks. There's lovely smooth power delivery combined with a very comfortable riding position.
I've had the bike from new since January and clocked up just over 1,500 miles so early days yet but I can't find fault. Also I have to admit I do enjoy the admiring looks and banter whenever I park up.
What could be improved?
Not much. Much is made of the "snatchiness of the throtle" on her GSX-S sister but I haven't found it an issue at all.
The rear hanger is a bit "marmite", people either love or hate it (I love it). The only thing really is the fuel tank could be a bit bigger to improve the range but it's not a big deal as this is more of a weekend blast machine for me.
What's the economy like?
A lot is made of the small 12 litre fuel tank but I am getting about 125 miles from her between fills.
Any mods or upgrades?
Not much is needed, the stock exhaust sounds nice and grunty. I did add heated grips, the official red wheel tape and saddle, a couple of red Puig parts and a small bag for the pillion seat.
How is the engine?
Simply lovely. There's tons of power delivered smoothly and predictability.
How does it handle?
I find she handles beautifully. There's a bit of wind buffeting around legal speed limits but she is naked so that's expected. She is calm at slow speeds plus lovely and smooth through the twisties.
What are the brakes like?
Brilliant. The front Brembos are really strong and the rear Nissin unit is good. It's a real eye opener when I get back on the cruiser lol.
Is it comfortable?
Yes. I'm 6ft tall and ahem "full bodied" but found it very comfortable. You sit with a slight forward lean over the bars and the longest day I did was roughly 350 miles with no issues.
How reliable have you found it?
Very. I have had no issues in the 8 months I have had her.
To sum up
Simply lovely. The Katana is a great machine, reliable, fast, smooth, comfortable and much prettier in the flesh.
- Sean C, 2020
Gear & Accessories
Suzuki GSX-S1000 - Popular naked bike the Katana is based on.
Add Your Review
Do you own this bike? We would love to hear anything good, bad, unexpected or that you have changed plus anything that a prospective new owner might find interesting or useful.