2020 Suzuki Katana Review
There are few names in motorcycling with as much clout as “Katana.” We’ve spent the last couple of months with this new machine to find out if it lives up to the name.
Photography by Kit Palmer
Reviving a name synonymous with a class-defining legend is a high-stakes game. If the model falls short of expectations, it can ruin a carefully built legacy at best, and cost a company massive dollars at worst.
We’ve seen this in the car game many times. Those who remember the butt-ugly Ford Mustang (it was really a Ford Capri) of the late 1980s can attest to the damage that model did to what is one of Ford’s greatest manufacturing exploits.
Reviving old monikers isn’t so common in the bike sphere—Kawasaki’s Z-range probably topping the old-bike-is-new game—but the Katana is something different.
The 1981 Suzuki GSX 1100 S Katana is widely regarded as one of the greatest sportbikes of the 1980s, and was a prequel to one of the company’s all-time hits in the 1985 Suzuki GSX-R750. The Katana stunned the world with its 1980’s video game-style bodywork, all sharp and boxy-looking, and a performance that really announced Suzuki’s arrival into the 1980s—the decade that would redefine what a superbike should be with bikes like the GSX-R750, Yamaha FZR750R OW01 and