With the global pandemic wreaking havoc with retro bike racing plans, Team Classic Suzuki decided it needed something to do to while away the hours. A lockdown project was in order, and what the Suzuki Vintage Parts-sponsored outfit came up with is very special indeed.
It’s an homage to the legendary Katana of the 1980s, built around a 2008 GSX-R1000 World Superbike racer. It uses a frame and inline-four engine from Alstare Racing, the company that built Suzuki’s WSB machines back then.
To that Team Classic Suzuki attached a bespoke, oversized swingarm and a custom subframe from Wellingborough-based Alpha Performance Fabrications. This allows for the use of an old-school twin-shock rear suspension setup just like the old Katana, with some deliciously gold dampers supplied from Öhlins.
The 200bhp one-litre engine was fully refreshed, treated to an Alstare WSB-spec manifold, a Racefit exhaust and Yoshimura EM Pro electronics. The latter will make the bike more “manageable,” Team Classic says - despite the stuff it’s built from, this is intended as a road bike.
The Katana creation has the same Dymag CH3 three-spoke wheels used on TCS’s XR69 replicas, along with modern brakes from Brembo. The rear pegs were designed from scratch, while the nose is a genuine new-old-stock Katana part from the Suzuki Vintage Parts Programme but widened by an inch.
At the other end, TCS took one of its race seat units and tweaked it to fit the tank, which was carried over from the WSB machine. The finishing touch is the original model badge and red Suzuki logo found on the real Katana.
The result is a fabulous-looking bike which, it must be said, references the old Katana in a much more graceful way than the machine Suzuki currently sells under that name. A shame it’s a one-off, really.