Former two-stroke GP racer Nobuatsu Aoki who raced against Mick Doohan features in a video riding the upcoming Suzuki Katana, claiming it delivers power in a similar way.
The remake of the ‘80s icon will arrive in Australia in the third quarter with pricing yet to be announced. However, Suzuki Australia is currently taking $1000 deposits for the limited-edition model.
GP racer rides Katana
Interestingly, Nobuatsu who finished third in the 500cc GP championship in 1997 to Mick, says the bike reminds him of his GP machines. Or at least we think so. It’s a little confusing, or may simply be lost in translation.
This is what he has to say about the power delivery:
The power at full throttle is important, but very little time is spent full power.
Much more of your time is spent just easing open the throttle from the fully closed position.I ’d rather feel the smooth pickup you’d expect from a two-stroke or GP machine.
When the engine kicks in and the chain tenses, it’s important to have a mechanism that gradually increases the load to the rear tyre.
The Katana seems to have such a system, but it hides it.
Nobuatsu is filmed riding the bike on a slippery, wet, Japanese road strewn with leaves so he comments on the traction control and ABS and says it gives “great confidence”.
For a racer who spent his career with his head down and bum up, Nobatsu says he enjoys the upright stance of the Katana which is far removed from the original.
I like the riding position built into the Katana … the positioning of the handlebars feels natural the first time out, testifying to the value of the Suzuki tradition.
A proper engine in a proper chassis. And the riding position is fantastic. I was surprised how easy to ride it is.
The next month, a second “Glass Sparkle Black” version was unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan.
Suzuki Australia spokesman Matt Reilly says they are only taking orders for the bike online, “offering customers a premium buying experience along the way in the lead up to arrival in the third quarter of next year”.
“Australian pricing is not yet 100% confirmed and difficult to accurately forecast given the timeframe to the Katana’s Q3 2019 arrival,” he says.
“However, we have been advising customers that we are working very hard to secure the bike for under $20K ride away with 12 months’ registration.”
Deposits cost $1000 and if you change your mind after three business days, Suzuki Australia will only refund $450.
The remaining $550 takes into account the “reasonable administrative costs Suzuki will incur as a result of your cancellation”.
The first 50 customers to order a Katana also receive a Katana-themed Arai QV-Pro helmet, valued at $995, with their bike delivery.
Online customers can nominate their preferred authorised Suzuki motorcycle dealer for delivery as well as arrange finance and insurance quotes and trade-in valuations.
Printed brochures are also available at Suzuki dealers.
If you can’t complete the online order, you can do it at the dealership.
Matt says online ordering was launched at the Australian MotoGP in October.
“We have had a fantastic response to the online ordering system, receiving a greater number of orders than we originally expected within the first week of it being live,” he says.
“To say customers are excited about this new bike is a massive understatement.”
The 2019 Katana has several styling cues from the old Katana including sharp lines, sports screen, half-fairing, stepped two-tone seat, stubby black exhaust and rectangular headlight.
Modern styling changes and features include full LED lighting, a remote rear fender and a massive catalytic convertor underneath.
The biggest change is straight bars instead of clip-ons, so it might be ergonomically less painful to ride.
Power comes from a long-stroke version of the fuel-injected 999cc inline-four engine from the GSX-R1000 with 110kW at 10,000rpm and 108Nm of torque at 9500rpm.
That’s significantly tuned down from the GSX-R1000 which has 150kW at 13200rpm and 117.6Nm at 10,800rpm. It’s porkier too at 215kg compared with 202kg.
Features include a back-torque-limiting clutch, Suzuki’s three-mode Traction Control System, Fujico disc brakes with Brembo front brake calipers and ABS, and new tyres with a tubeless inner structure designed exclusively for the Katana.
Suzuki makes a point of saying the seat is comfortable, probably because the old Katana was notoriously uncomfortable. However, the seat is fairly high at 825mm.