Suzuki Katana – Classic Racer

Cape Town – To look at it one would never think that this shape is 35 years old.Hans Muth's Target Design draughted this machine in an incredibly short 3 months after flagging sales of the technically brilliant but conservatively styled Suzuki GSX1100 saw the company take a new direction.European buyers wanted more modernity so Muth was tasked with overhauling Suzuki's image.

No stranger to motorcycle design,Muth succesfully penned the R90 and R65 for BMW and it's here (notably the faired R65LS) where the German connection to this Japanese legend comes clear.What he delivered was something from the future,with revolutionary aerodynamics and optimal ergonomics (when you're going fast).Interestingly the big Kat was never seen on it's home island with national laws relating to engine sizes prohibiting the 1100's sale.Only the 750cc and smaller capacity versions were available.


This is no ordinary Katana though.Owned by regional contender and this years motorcycle club chairman David Bolding,the bike was bought in it's original trim in 2001 and then converted to race speck by Julian Neethling after Adrian Blou cut,bent and braced the frame according to Harris frame specifications.Approximately 100 hours have gone into the bike and development has never stopped.

In 2002 the bike ran it's first full season and went on to win for 5 consecutive years.Back then the Classic Bike Championship held regional status so David (and the bike of course) received provincial honours in 2007 for their efforts.After that the Kat was put in semi-retirement,under the curatorship of Racebase Motorcycles,only to be seen when David's commitments to the regional superbike timetable didn't clash.


The 2nd leg of the S.A. Tourist Trophy held recently at Killarney International Raceway was one such an occasion where he ran a personal best of 1:19sec during qualifying….in the business that's called 'very quick'.

Spec. LIst

Ohlins rear,MP Valve front with Showa internals poached from a Ducati 916.
Brembo brake and master cyl. with custom calliper mounts.
Kawasaki ZZR1100 pistons.
Keihin race carbs.
Electronic quickshifter.
Custom s/s oil cooler with special oil feeders.
S/S 4-into-1 headers
Suzuki GSXR 750 wheels machined to fit.
180 section rear conversion.
Rearsets by JJ engineering.
Regina chain/Renthal sprockets.
Steering damper
Custom billet triple clamps and sprocket cover.
Custom crank case cover.


With thanks to Racebase Motorcycles.

Want more?..Check out the Katana story.



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