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Suzuki GSX1100S Katana, the early models

Here's some of the GSX1100S models and some facts. The list is not complete and can contain false information, although I have double-checked most of the information. Please notify me if you find some errors or/and have more information!

Suzuki 1981More Suzuki models from 1981
1981 Suzuki year code: X
A prototype of the new GSX1100S Katana saw the day in April 1980 and the model was presented later that year, at IFMA motorcycle show in Köln (Cologne), West-Germany. No motorcycle before had displayed such attention as the looks of the new streamlined Suzuki. No other motorcycle had even been designed by a design house.

Most prototypes wasn't put into production but to the show visitors surprise Suzuki informed that the bullet-formed Katana was to be released in 1981.
Another Katana model prototype was shown at the Cologne show in 1980, the GS650G.
GSX 1100 SX Katana Prototype
Overall Length: 2 245 mm (88.4 in)
Overall Width: 870 mm (34.3 in)
Overall Height: 1 190 mm (46.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1 520 mm (59.8 in)
Weight: 243 kg (535 lb.)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 1074 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 101 hp/ 8,500 rpm, 9,34 kg-m/ 6,500 rpm.

Click on the image for larger format.
The forms of Katana was drawn by a West-German design team Target Design; Hans A. Muth, Hans Georg Kasten and Jan Olof Fellström. Wind tunnel was used in forming the lines of the new Suzuki sport bike so that the combination of rider and machine would make a complete aerodynamic package, comfortable and capable for high speeds. The fairing and prominent fuel tank flow together to help airflow pass over and around the rider.

The original Target design was altered in some details in 1981 before the Katana finally ended up on the assembly line. Another prototype was shown shortly before the actual launch of the model. The 4-1 exhaust system had been replaced to a 4-2 system and aerodynamic lines slightly altered. The seat was scooped to lower its height, the fuel tank was made higher and the small top fairing was less streamlined on the SZ.

See some pictures of the GSX1100S Katana prototype and a pre-launch brochure on a separate page.

Although the model was partly redesigned to make it a bit less extream, the Katana is still rather uncomfortable to ride at slow speeds. It must be ridden fast for the comfort to appear. Don't buy a Katana for commuting if you are don't happen to work along a race track...


Suzuki 1982More Suzuki models from 1982
1982 Suzuki year code: Z
Some modifications were made to the mass production model that was finally released in September 1981 as GSX1100SZ - the "Z" at the end meaning it's a 1982 year's model. Even the engine had gained a few more horsepower since the first presentation of the model. In most countries the the effect was 111 bhp (100 bhp in West-Germany, 107 bhp in Italy). In late 1981, the GSX1100S Katana was the fastest mass produced motorcycle in the world!

Even a 1000 cc version, GSX1000S, was made to homologated the model for racing purposes to the one-liter class. By decreasing the bore by 2,6 mm the cylinder displacement was decreased to 998 cc, just below 1000 cc.

Check out the GSX1000S/GS1000SV models on a separate page.

GSX 1100 SZ Katana 1982
Overall Length: 2 260 mm (89.0 in)
Overall Width: 715 mm (28.1 in)
Overall Height: 1 205 mm (47.4 in)
Seat Height: 790 mm (31.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 175 mm (6.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1 520 mm (59.8 in)
Weight: 232 kg (510 lbs)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 1074 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 111 hp/ 8,500 rpm, 9,8 kg-m/ 6,500 rpm. 5-speed.

Click on the image for larger format.


Suzuki 1983More Suzuki models from 1983
1983 Suzuki year code: D

1983 year's GSX1100SD Katana, introduced in July 1982, had new paint scheme with orange top of the fuel tank two orange stripes on the fairing and the fuel tank. The engine was now coated black just like the rest of the GSX family. The engine hanger was now welded to the frame. New orange/red two-tone seat, new cast wheels — from star type to six spoke type. The blue/silver was a new color.

Suzuki GSX1100SD KatanaGSX 1100 SD Katana 1983
Overall Length: 2 260 mm (89.0 in)
Overall Width: 715 mm (28.1 in)
Overall Height: 1 205 mm (47.4 in)
Seat Height: 790 mm (31.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 175 mm (6.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1 520 mm (59.8 in)
Weight: 232 kg (510 lbs)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 1074 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 111 hp/ 8,500 rpm, 9,8 kg-m/ 6,500 rpm. 5-speed.

Click on the image for larger format.
A 1000 cc model was made mostly for the North American market, where it was launched in 1982. A year later also the USA and Canada imported had the 1100 cc engine. But the model was never a great success over there. The 1000-1100 cc Katanas was sold there during years 1982-1983. The USA models had yellow reflexes fastened on the sides of the fairing and the tailpiece. No 1000 cc Katanas was manufactured after 1983.

Check out the GSX1000S/GS1000SV models on a separate page.

The Katana model name was given to the GSX-F series in The United States but that was many years later. When Americans talks about the GSX-S they call the ”real Katana” or the ”original Katana”.


Suzuki 1984More Suzuki models from 1984
1984 Suzuki year code: E
1984 year's GSX1100SE was techically identical with the SD. Only the color scheme was new. Two colors were available, red/silver and silver/blue. The tailpiece was now black instead of dark blue.

See GSX1100SE Katana brochures scans on a separate page.


The 750 cc version of Katana got a whole new chassis and looks in 1984 but the 1100 cc version never got the full floating rear fork and the pop-up headlight.

Apparently the 1984 GSX1100SE was sold during even in 1985 and 1986 in Japan. In Europe, 1984 was the last year to import Katanas. Not many Katanas found their way to Europe in 1985. But the model was still popular in Japan (and still is).
Suzuki GSX1100SEGSX 1100 SE Katana 1984
Overall Length: 2 260 mm (89.0 in)
Overall Width: 715 mm (28.1 in)
Overall Height: 1 205 mm (47.4 in)
Seat Height: 790 mm (31.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 175 mm (6.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1 520 mm (59.8 in)
Weight: 232 kg (510 lbs)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 1074 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 111 hp/ 8,500 rpm, 9,8 kg-m/ 6,500 rpm. 5-speed.

Click on the image for larger format.

Suzuki GSX1100SEGSX 1100 SE Katana 1984
Overall Length: 2 260 mm (89.0 in)
Overall Width: 715 mm (28.1 in)
Overall Height: 1 205 mm (47.4 in)
Seat Height: 790 mm (31.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 175 mm (6.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1 520 mm (59.8 in)
Weight: 232 kg (510 lbs)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 1074 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 111 hp/ 8,500 rpm, 9,8 kg-m/ 6,500 rpm. 5-speed.

Click on the image for larger format.


Suzuki 1987More Suzuki models from 1987
1987 Suzuki year code: H
The Katana got silver body and silver engine again in 1987 with the GSX1100SAE, now looking like the first edition. The technical data unchanged since 1982.

Also, a limited edition with red-coated frame called GSX1100SBE Katana was launched. 500 units were made to meet the demands on harmonizing the special model for Yokohama racing in Japan. Except for the frame color, the SBE was similar to the 1984 year's model.
GSX 1100 SAE Katana 1987
Overall Length: 2 260 mm (89.0 in)
Overall Width: 715 mm (28.1 in)
Overall Height: 1 205 mm (47.4 in)
Seat Height: 790 mm (31.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 175 mm (6.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1 520 mm (59.8 in)
Weight: 232 kg (510 lbs)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 1074 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 111 hp/ 8,500 rpm, 9,8 kg-m/ 6,500 rpm. 5-speed.

The picture shows the GSX1100SZ.
Suzuki GSX1100SBE KatanaGSX 1100 SBE Katana 1987
Overall Length: 2 260 mm (89.0 in)
Overall Width: 715 mm (28.1 in)
Overall Height: 1 205 mm (47.4 in)
Seat Height: 790 mm (31.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 175 mm (6.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1 520 mm (59.8 in)
Weight: 232 kg (510 lbs)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 1074 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 111 hp/ 8,500 rpm, 9,8 kg-m/ 6,500 rpm. 5-speed.

Click on the image for larger format.


Suzuki 1990More Suzuki models from 1990
1990 Suzuki year code: L
Suzuki Motor Company celebrated 70 years in business. The anniversary Katana model GSX1100SL was released in 1990, as a 1000 units limited edition . Some changes were made: the brake pad material was changed from asbestos to metal and the brake lever was now adjustable. The seat got a belt around it. The SM models had ”1100” or ”1100 Limited” stickers attached to the side scoop. Otherwise it's not easy to see the difference between SZ and SL models.
Suzuki GSX1100SL KatanaGSX 1100 SL Katana 1990
Overall Length: 2 260 mm (89.0 in)
Overall Width: 715 mm (28.1 in)
Overall Height: 1 205 mm (47.4 in)
Seat Height: 790 mm (31.1 in)
Ground Clearance: 175 mm (6.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1 520 mm (59.8 in)
Weight: 232 kg (510 lbs)
Engine type: Air and oil-cooled 1074 cc inline-4, DOHC, 16 valves. 111 hp/ 8,500 rpm, 9,8 kg-m/ 6,500 rpm. 5-speed.

Click on the image for larger format.


Suzuki 1991More Suzuki models from 1991
1991 Suzuki year code: M

The 1000 units of the special edition GSX1100SL Katana were were sold very soon (a story tells that all of them were sold the very day the model was launched). To meet the customers demands Suzuki continued to mass produce the Katana and released in Septemer 1990 the GSX1100SSL . The model was similar to the SL except for the color, now red/silver. No new models were launched until GSX1100SR in 1994 (see next page).

Another Katana model, GSX250SS, was launched in 1991. The 250 cc model was followed in 1992 by the the first water-cooled Katana, the GSX400S.






More:
The Final Edition

More: GSX1100S Katana pages


More: GSX1000S Katana


More: All Suzuki models

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