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Suzuki's Katana large-size motorbike Image: Nikkei xTech

Suzuki revives Katana large-size motorbike

By Kaoru Kubono

Suzuki Motor Corp will release the Katana large-size motorbike for the first time in about 19 years.

Suzuki will launch the new model of the Katana in the European market by the end of May and aims to release it in the Japanese market later this year. The weight of the new model is 215 kg, which is 35 kg lighter than that of the previous model. The company improved traveling performance through the weight reduction, planning to highlight its ride comfort.

For the new model, Suzuki developed an in-line four-cylinder engine with a displacement of about 1,000cc by using engine technologies developed for meeting the Euro4 emission standards of Europe. While the previous model was equipped with a 1,100cc in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine using an air-cooled oil cooler, the new model comes with a mainstream water-cooled system.

Though the displacement of the new engine is about 10% smaller than that of the previous engine, its output was improved by 50% to 110kW. The maximum torque of the new engine is 108N·m. With the smaller displacement, the mass of the engine was also reduced.

Moreover, the frame of the new Katana is made mainly of aluminum materials while that of the previous model mainly uses iron. The aluminum frame seems to account for most of the weight reduction of 35kg. Aluminum frames are becoming common in sports motorbikes. The manufacturing costs for them were lowered because of the advancement of processing technologies, enabling to apply them to popular cars.

20% thinner outer panels

The outer panels of the new model is 10-20% thinner than those of the previous model mainly because of the advancement of processing technologies. Most of the outer plates of the previous model were made by injection molding of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polypropylene (PP) resins.

In the past, it was not possible to maintain the shapes of outer panels, which have large surface areas, without making them thicker than estimations. With the advancement of manufacturing technologies, it became possible to make stronger outer plates by using the same materials.

This is the first time that Suzuki has employed a swing arm mount rear fender. An arm is extended from the axle of the rear wheel to attach a license plate, brake lamp and direction indicator. In the case of the new model, it is fixed on the axle part on the left side of the rear wheel. It is rare that a Japanese motorbike manufacturer employs this method.

The vibration of the rear wheel part is especially strong, making it difficult to use a swing arm mount. Still, with consideration for a designer's opinion, Suzuki was resolved to realize it. At the time of designing the motorbike, the company focused on the rigidity balance around the fender. It designed each part so that it controls the transmission of vibration in the aim of preventing parts from being damaged.

The new Katana measures 2,125 (L) x 830 (W) x 1,110mm (H), and its wheelbase is 1,460mm.

© Nikkei xTech

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I bet this will be just as legendary as the old Katana. Bold move from Suzuki.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Meh...where's the clip-ons? This looks like a naked streetfighter not a Supersport like the original Katana.

I've got on order my retirement present an MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro, 160kw baby, haulass compare to this Katana's 110kw. What is Suzuki thinking, this ought to be a hero bike, like the original Katana.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Nice to see some good news from the bike industry. Now end the defacto ban on 2-stroke engines larger than 125cc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now end the defacto ban on 2-stroke engines larger than 125cc.

Can't see it happening, not with Euro4 etc, and soon Euro5. But yes, I totally concur, an RGV250 (with banana swingarm) is worth more now than when new (if you can convince an owner to part with it).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Truly is a shame that they don't make air/oil cooled bikes anymore.

There is the trusty old Yam 400cc single and the lovely Kawasaki W650/400/800

There is a market still for motorcycles to look like (I think) they should.


2 ( +2 / -0 )

Moreover, the frame of the new Katana is made mainly of aluminum materials while that of the previous model mainly uses iron.

Really? Wouldn't an iron frame be extremely brittle; not to mention heavy?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Never like Suzuki bikes. They always felt a bit odd. The Honda CBR-600 sports will never get overtaken as the ultimate sports bike.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

aluminum is brittle and hard. iron/steel is softer and more flexible, so such a frame is more comfortable to ride on, but may flex when hard-rounding corners. same in bicycles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Looks similar to the GSXR1000 frame to me, a bit beefier for straightline performance.

Can't see myself throwing a leg over one of these. Sport, I'd go for Yamaha R1M. Adventure, I'd go for Honda Africa Twin. Cruise, an Italian (which i already own a few of).

This bike comes accross a lot like a Suzuki parts binraid with a bit of bling, but won't get my heart racing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now that is sexy. Retro done right, looks just like the original. I hope they bring it to the states.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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