For anyone with a passing interest in cars, you’d know that this week is one of the biggest weeks on the calendar as the main European motor show event kicks off in Paris. Even though this year’s event is notably smaller with several brands opting to sit out the show, the show floor was still awash with plenty of new metal such as BMW’s seventh-generation 3 Series, Renault’s autonomous limousine concept, and a whole range of Kia Ceed hatchbacks and wagons. Exciting. But none made as big of a wave as the reveal that took place nearly 500km away in Cologne where Suzuki dropped a bomb at the International Motorcycle Show with the debut of an all-new Katana.
The Suzuki Katana is still probably the coolest and most appropriate name for any vehicle since SR-71 Blackbird, and, like the spy plane, the Katana’s unmistakable shape still looks perpetually ahead of its time no matter which decade you come from. Thankfully Suzuki didn’t opt for evolving the bulbous designs of its ‘90s predecessors – which motorcycle fans have collectively denied its existence like that one friend who starts getting a little grabby when drunk – and opted to steer right into the retro trend, drawing straight from the ‘80s original.
Though the more devout fans would bemoan the new Katana’s fixed LED lights instead of the original’s pop-up item, and the use of touring handlebars that somewhat jars with ‘80s clean and sleek aesthetic, there is no denying that it is a rather faithful rendition, even the colour choices is limited to just one; silver.
As for power, Suzuki assures that it has the legs to keep up with its modern counterparts with the use of a 999cc inline-four derived from the GSX-R1000 superbike. With a longer-stroke for better torque delivery, the Katana’s mill chucks out 110kW and 108Nm of torque. As expected of a motorcycle of its segment in this day and age, the Katana will come fitted with a three-mode traction control to suit varying road conditions.
Whether or not veteran motorcycling enthusiasts will accept the new Katana is a moot point. The original’s performance was a product of its era. The new Katana only real challenge is to become the bedroom poster child to a new generation of motorcyclists. Considering that it is not only able to stand out in a world of brutalist designs exemplified by the likes of the Kawasaki H2R, Yamaha MT-10, and Ducati Diavel, but single-handedly cut through the buzz from Paris, it looks like a job well done.
*Update: Chris Wee of Piston.my clarified that the pop-up headlight wasn’t part of the original GSX1100S Katana’s design but was used on a later, smaller engined and rarer variant.