SUZUKI has unveiled a new Katana set for public release late next year — and it looks downright awful.

Just like Kawasaki’s truly ugly Z900RS, the 2019 Suzuki Katana fails to capture either the spirit or the look of the much-loved original and instead takes a pretty bland modern model and drapes it with some styling cues from history to create a forgettable piece of machinery.

The Katana name deserved either a hyper-performance version of the GSX-R1000R or a thoroughly retro-styled bike with twin shocks, right-side-up forks, and a finned engine on show.

Instead, we got this:

Here’s what Suzuki has to say about the bike …

  • New model: Katana (GSX-S1000S)
  • Styling design inspired by iconic 1981 GSX1100S Katana
  • 999cm3 long-stroke, inline four cylinder engine
  • Maximum output 110kW (150PS) @ 10,000rpm
  • Maximum torque 108NM @ 9,500rpm
  • Brembo radial mount brake calipers, dual 310mm discs
  • Lightweight BOSCH Anitlock Brake System weighing only 640g
  • Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tyres with exclusive inner structure
  • Distinctive LED headlight, position lights, indicators, taillight and brake light
  • Satellite rear fender design extends from the swingarm
  • 43mm KYB fully adjustable inverted front forks
  • Full LCD brightness adjustable multifunction instrument cluster
  • Low RPM Assist
  • Suzuki Easy Start System (one touch engine starting)
  • Aus Availability: Q3, 2019 –Final specs and pricing TBC
2020 Suzuki GSX1100S KATANA.

On October 2nd, 2018 at the International Motorcycle Show (Intermot) Cologne, Suzuki Motor Corporation unveiled the 2020 Katana.

Forged to perfection and polished to a magnificent radiance with sharp lines and design cues paying homage to the iconic 1981 GSX1100S Katana, the new Katana is destined to create a new legend.

The Katana symbolises Suzuki’s uncompromising commitment to craftsmanship and dedication to creating distinctive beauty including paying due respect to tradition while at the same time aiming to incorporate the latest advances in styling and technology.


At the heart of the Katana’s powerful performance is a long-stroke 999cm3 inline-four cylinder engine producing 110kW (150PS) power at 10,000rpm with 108Nm of torque at 9,500rpm. Both the induction roar and exhaust note are tuned to heighten the visceral senses, whilst also contributing to performance and combustion efficiency.

 Power is transferred to the tarmac through a back-torque-limiting clutch, Suzuki’s three-mode traction control system and new Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tyres featuring an inner structure designed exclusively for the new Katana.

The compact, lightweight twin-spar aluminium chassis is engineered to provide agility, ease of control and a fun-to-ride character riders will enjoy. It is also aimed to perform best in real world riding conditions on public roads, in city traffic, on the highway, or on rural and twisty roads.

43mm KYB inverted front forks give a ride that is sporty yet plush. They feature fully adjustable damping, rebound, compression and spring preload. A single KYB rear shock features adjustable rebound damping and spring pre-load.

310mm Fujico disc brakes are paired with Brembo radial mount Monobloc front brake calipers featuring four opposing Ø32mm pistons to provide powerful braking performance. The BOSCH Antilock Brake System (ABS) control unit is extremely compact and light weighing only 640g.

Distinctive styling points abound. The LED headlight and LED front position lights accent the sharp lines of the cowling that covers the custom-designed instrument panel.

A black and grey two-tone seat features a stepped design that maintains the sleek profile of the Katana while ensuring a comfortable riding position and positive footing for the rider. Passenger comfort is also a priority, with the seat strap design ensuring secure grip.

The Katana introduces a small rear fender supported by the swingarm that hugs the rear tyre. Moving it, along with the rear LED indicators and license plate holder, to this position eliminates parts extending from under the seat to give the tail section cleaner lines and a tougher, lighter new look.

The 2020 Suzuki Katana is expected to arrive in Australia during the third quarter of 2019 with final specifications and pricing being announced closer to launch.

The Postman

8 thoughts on “2019 Suzuki Katana unveiled — and it’s horrible

  1. When I read the headline to the Article I could not help but read the article to see if you really held the line on your statement or whether it was click bait. And what a pleasant surprise!!! I totally agree!!! Most of those tribute bikes do not come even close. I remember seeing both the Kawa and Susie when they came out and thought they were out of this world, fresh of some race track. Nowadays bikes are like a christmas tree with all this plastic and glitter hanging off it, serving no practical purpose. the naked bikes aren’t even naked anymore!!!
    For a properly done retro bike I’d like to suggest the 650 variants by royal Enfield. Nothing else comes even close

  2. To an old fart like me, today’s machines in the latest rocketship style look like they’ve been designed by a committee. That ruddy great gap above the rear wheel seems like someone forgot something. The new Katana’s fairing looks like it was fitted by a schoolkid. I was never really wild about the original Katana’s looks. But compared to the new apparition, it was bloody beautiful! What a mess!

  3. Decision makers in the Suzuki marketing department and the design shop need slapping. Or at least their canteen pass marked ‘No deserts’. Seriously, they have missed point of the Katana completely. Colour scheme and name notwithstanding, it looks bugger all like the original. And nor is it retro – it’s a thoroughly modern bike, and looks like it. No doubt its another perfect bike to ride, but almost devoid of any character – unlike the original GSXs and Kats. The original Kat, for all its faults, made a huge statement when it was released, and their popularity now seems to be going through the roof. This tribute nonsense is an insult. Yes, Kawasaki should hang their head in shame as well for the Z1 RS. Both companies have these iconic bikes on which to base true retro machines, and they have numerous examples (Triumph, Moto Guzzi) to see how it’s really done, and yet they give us, well, bikes that are basically new age UJMs. How uninspiring. My only hope is that Honda are monitoring the worlds response to the Kat and the Z1, learn the lessons, and release a decent retro version of the CB750Four. Or maybe even (be still my heart) the CB400Four. I wont even mind if it’s liquid cooled, just make ’em at least look like the originals.

  4. I would’ve liked an 1100 or even bigger engine in keeping with the theme of the original, but don’t forget the original was closely based on the GSX1100, the handling feel wasn’t vastly different. The weight was about the same, it still needed muscling through corners even though the steering was sharper and performance was better. The thing about the big Kat was the feel of it and the exclusive aura around the bike. To use a Hayabusa as a base would’ve been an even better concept in my books.

  5. “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.” I respect your right to say it’s ugly, but I disagree. Perhaps my judgement is swayed by my respect for the originals, but I like it. Retro looks, draped over a modern chassis/suspension/brakes/engine…what’s not to like? 😉

  6. The bike looks good apart from the satellite rear fender and the handlebar position is too high.

  7. Actually thought it could be a lot more sporty. I like the idea and like most bikes after an extra five grand on extras it might be a bike to look out for.

  8. Quite like it (and I did ride original Katanas when they were new) but can’t take the trend to “satellite rear fenders” – bloody horrible!

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