Judging from the roll-out, Suzuki really wants us to like its new 2020 Katana. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to Japan for a bike launch, probably because I never have been. For this one, they spared no expense – flying a bunch of us to Tokyo, shooting us via Shinkansen bullet train to the Kyoto Brighton Hotel, and renting out the Arashi Yama Takao Parkway for us to ride up and down upon unmolested for a day. When we weren’t cleansing ourselves with the remote control Toto Washlets in every room (the bidet, it turns out, is for saps), we were touring the local temples and noshing expensively on the Miyazaki beef. They kept dragging us away from the hotel, though, to visit a guy who forges katanas, to tour the new Suzuki factory in Hamamatsu and the Suzuki Museum.
A suspicious mind might think all the hoopla was to divert attention from the idea that the new Katana is not much more than a GSX-S1000 in new clothes. Which is pretty much the case. But, like, what’s so wrong with that? The original Katana of 1981, which has achieved cult status especially in Japan, was really nothing more than a reskinned GS1100 – which was a fine motorcycle but maybe a bit lacking in the personality department. That “Universal Japanese Motorcycle” term largely reflected that in the ’70s, nearly all Japanese bikes followed a typical round-headlight, naked-bike pattern. They all looked alike. The first Katana represented a radical departure. To its credit, Suzuki stepped outside its comfort zone for design advice, landing upon one Hans Muth and his Target Design studio in Germany.
Read the full review here: https://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/suzuki/2020-suzuki-katana-review-first-ride.html
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