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Suzuki posted by

Sharp Sword: 1982 SUZUKI GS1000 KATANA

In ancient Japan, the Katana was known as the samurai sword. Smaller than the long broadswords of the day, the Katana changed the art of Japanese warfare; quick to draw, the lighter blade could strike quickly before the enemy could react. When victory depended upon response times, the Katana became the weapon of choice. Sadly, such artistry was eradicated by the rise of firearms technology. But for a period of time, the Katana sword ruled the battlefield.

1982 Suzuki GS1000 Katana for sale on eBay

Like the samurai sword, the Suzuki Katana could be written off as a bygone relic of past times. With its air-cooled four cylinder lump displacing 1000cc and breathing through CV carbs, this twin-shock, mild-steel backbone chassis beast would soon be decimated by giant leaps in performance and technology: liquid cooling, fuel injection, single shock suspension with rising rate linkages, aluminum perimeter frames. But for a meteoric moment, the Katana ruled a world that had never seen the likes of its power and beauty.

Using a new design language penned by creator Hans Muth, the Katana oozed angular lines and purposeful design. But it was not simply cosmetic; the tiny front fairing and upright windscreen reduced front end lift by a considerable amount (decades before GP machines started using wings). The power plant was more narrow than its predecessors, and churned up an estimated 108 ponies - a magical number in 1982. The riding position was forward canted, expecting a committed rider. The result was a machine that looked like no other, and performed like no other.

From the seller:
MUSUEM BIKE SOLD AT FIXED PRICE,
RARE UNCRASHED LOW MILES TIME CAPSULE SUZUKI KATANA 1000
1882 MODEL, DRY TANK, ZERO RUST AND SHINEY INSIDE,
THE CARBURETORS WERE DRAINED OF ALL FUEL BEFORE STORAGE IN 1984. THIS BIKE WAS KITTED WITH FACTORY YOSHIMURA REAR SETS, YOSHIMURA OIL COOLER KIT, YOSHIMURA EXHAUST SYSTEM, THE REAR SHOCKS ARE S&W 13"LONG. IT HAS THE ORIGINAL DUNLOP 391 RACE COMPOUND ELITE TIRES STILL. THE SEAT IS SWEET WITH NO RIPS OR TEARS. SOME ONE INSTALLED FLUSH STYLE TURN SIGNALS AND THE STOCK REARS TURN SIGNALS ARE INCLUDED IN THE SALE. THE BIKE HAS 19,559 ORIGINAL MILES

Suzuki produced several Katana models in varying capacities and with different interpretations of the same, angular design (including a pop-up headlight version in 750cc). In an ironic twist, the US saw the smaller of the two one-liter models: The original 1000cc version in the US was actually a de-stroked GS1100 motor to comply with the 1025cc limit for SuperBike racing (Wes Cooley, for one, had good success racing the the Katana). Markets outside the US had access to the original 1100cc motor.

More from the seller:
The Fuel tank has two scratches, not dented or dinded, see photos*** this is the only flaw on the whole paint of the bike. Clear Oregon title from a dealer. You will never get the opportunity to find a better specimen of Suzuki race history to own. check out the specification card on this bike in the photos. NOTE I have never started this bike since I received it from the Sale. It's a museum piece not a toy for children or commuters

Katanas have steadily risen in value over the years. Perhaps it is the 35 years that have elapsed since this iconic form stunned international audiences. Perhaps, despite the instant-relic status a year or two later (think 900 Ninja or even Suzuki's own groundbreaking GSX-R), the Katana continues to impress because it made a statement. It changed the nature of warfare - if only for a brief moment - to impress with looks as well as brawn. This example, while emerging as a museum denizen, actually has nearly 20k on the clock. It certainly is not fully stock. The seller is looking for $9k OBO. You can check out all of the details here, and then jump back to the comments section and let us know what you think. Good Luck!

MI

9 Comments

  • A weird history – in Japan, because of the strange way that Japanese law dictated big capacity bikes, we had 750cc version as a top model. 1100 was rare, as it had to be first exported and then re-imported back into Japan to be legal. And there was a strange rule regarding the height of the handlebars, so original 750 JDM version had super weird raised handlebar that looked really stupid. I believe the 1000cc homologation model is the rarer one. I had one in early 90s, paid $1500 for it. I think it’s one of the best looking bike still. It was so popular in Japan that they did ‘re-issue’ in the 90s with 400cc and 250cc engine.

  • My 2 cents…your mileage may vary. This bike is the classic “buyer beware” story that’s extended to a group of 80s/90s Japanese bikes. Not truly rare in the same way homologation bikes like the RC45 were, but desirable as part of a nostalgic wave as middle aged riders recapture their youth with bikes that had or wish they had.

    This one in particular poses challenges both in the hyperbole of the description, and the fact it’s sat for 30+ years with limited explanation on storage. “Museum Quality” is usually code for a near mint quality original bike but in this case means it was just taken off the road and stored presumably inside. No guarantees (and apparently no texts either). At over 19K miles and with the overall condition shown in the pics, it’s clearly been well used. Yet given the storage time likely needs a complete mechanical refresh to be useable again. And that’s the crux of the problem with this bike. Not original or low mileage enough to be truly a future museum piece, and not maintained well enough to be useable as is. If you wanted to ride it the freshening would stretch into the several thousands of dollars easily.

    They were polarizing bikes back in the day. So if you loved them, all my previous commentary is likely moot. But if I were laying down 9 large (plus refresh) on a bike that I’d hope holds value or appreciates, I can think of many more models that could be had now in much more original condition or immediately rideable. Again just my point of view.

  • Thanks to Joe H. on Facebook, who notes that this bike just sold at the Mecum auction for $3,750: https://www.mecum.com/lots/LV0117-262962/1982-suzuki-gs-1000sz-katana/

    dc

    • Seems like a fitting price. Auctions more often than not provide real-world valuation. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yep, same one I saw in Vegas and I passed on it then.

  • “Has sat since 1984” yet has flush mount turn-signals? Right…

  • In the early ’80s when I was in college and racing RD400s and riding a GS750, CycleWorld had a drawing for one of these. I forget how many hours I spent filling out 3×5 cards with the requisite verbiage but the postage was $150, which I could ill afford. Man, I so wanted one of these, but after all of the great bikes I’ve had since I’ll just admire this one.

  • I have had four of these bikes and sorta laughed out loud when I saw the price. The auction price is about right. I have a few bikes that John Wilson at Akron GS works did for me, one immaculate that I just sold for $10k and another that I kept as a daily rider with similar mileage but 1000 times better condition. This bike looks to need a refresh that is going to be upwards of $3k to do it right. Just my opinion, but auction is spot-on.

  • Sheesh, some people and their definition of “museum piece”….20K miles, non-stock and corrosion everywhere…plus a recent public knowledge auction sale price (if correct) of $3750, and an asking of $9500?!?… C’mon buddy…this big Kat should head back to the litter box to finish it’s business.

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