The 1981 Suzuki GSX1100 Katana is not just a motorcycle; it’s a work of art that embodies the vision of its designer, Hans A. Muth. Muth, employed the help of fellow Target Design directors Hans Georg Kasten and Jan Olof Fellström presented Suzuki with a radical design created through wind tunnel testing. The Katana’s radical and futuristic styling turned heads when it was first unveiled, drawing its inspiration from the Japanese samurai sword, which is reflected in the sharp lines and angular contours of the bike’s bodywork.
Underneath its striking exterior, the GSX1100 Katana packs a punch. Powered by a 1,074cc four-cylinder engine, Suzuki made the Katana the most powerful and fastest bike available at the time, with an engine producing 111bhp. It delivers impressive performance on the road with a 83.3 kW (111 hp) and 112 Nm of torque, as you can see it’s potency was unmatched.
The Suzuki GSX1100 Katana is not only renowned for its design, it also offers a range of features that enhance the overall riding experience. Suzuki aimed to make as many components as possible small and tucked-in for improved aerodynamics. This design approach was unique and contributed to the bike’s futuristic appearance.The ergonomically designed seat provides comfort during long rides. The advanced suspension system ensures a smooth and stable ride. The bike’s aerodynamic fairing reduces wind resistance, allowing for higher speeds without compromising stability. With the Suzuki GSX1100 Katana, you get a perfect balance of style and functionality.
One of the standout qualities of the Suzuki GSX1100 Katana is its exceptional handling.
While the frame was similar to the GSX1100ET, the Katana featured a slightly different steering head angle for increased stability at speed. The riding position was also significantly altered with low-set clip-on handlebars and rearset footrests
The bike’s well-engineered chassis and suspension allow for precise control and maneuverability. The GSX1100 Katana features an advanced suspension system, with front telescopic forks and rear swing-arm suspension, enhancing both handling and comfort. The suspension offers customisable settings, including adjustable preload and damping, allowing riders to personalise settings for different loads and road conditions. Some Katana models are equipped with an anti-dive system in the front forks, which reduces front-end dive during braking, resulting in increased stability and control.
- Engine Displacement: 1,074cc
- Horsepower: 83.3 kW (111 hp)
- Torque: 112 Nm (83 lb-ft)
- Top Speed: 220 km/h (137 mph)
- Weight: 238 kg (525 lbs) (dry)
- Fuel Capacity: 22 litres (5.8 gallons)
- Seat Height: 775 mm (30.5 inches)
- Wheelbase: 1,515 mm (59.6 inches)
- Suspension: Front telescopic forks, rear twin shocks
Dual front disc brakes
Single rear disc brake
- Transmission: 5-speed
Front – 120/90-19”
Rear – 130/80-17”
1981 Suzuki GSX1100 Katana is a timeless masterpiece. The design was such a cult classic that it led to the production of other capacities, including 250, 400, 550, 650, 750, and even a New Zealand-specific model, the 1000.
It’s bold, radical design and exhilarating performance continue to captivate motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide. It doesn’t matter if you’re a collector, or a rider in pursuit of a thrills, the Katana delivers on all fronts. Come and explore the legend up close at the Naked Racer our distinguished motorcycle garage, where you can witness this iconic machine firsthand.