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.
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