Posts by tag: Katana

Suzuki February 18, 2017 posted by

Unloved Kat: 1997 Suzuki Katana 750 with 1,300 miles

If we were to ask RSBFS readers what 750cc sportbike of the 1990’s they would most like to own now, I would bet most would choose a Suzuki GSX-750R Limited Edition or maybe a Yamaha OW01 or perhaps a Kawasaki ZX7R/ ZX7RR.  A few intrepid souls might throw a Honda VFR750 or Ducati 748 into the mix but would anyone have the Suzuki Katana 750 on their list?

1997 Suzuki Katana 750 with 1300 miles

The 2nd generation Katana 750 (also known as the GSX-S) was produced at a time when Suzuki couldn’t seem to figure out where to focus its efforts.  Suzuki’s lineup included race oriented machines such as the 4 cylinder powered GSX-750R and a new V-Twin powered TL1000 series.  These were offered along with several more two other street-oriented models; the Katana 750 and the “dramatically styled!” RF900.  And to make matters more complex, new models such as the GSX-600R, TL1000R, RF600R and Katana 600 were already in the pipeline and would be introduced within the next year.  This wide variety of offerings was great for potential buyers who could find a bike exactly suited for their particular needs and price range but it also meant intense competition for development and marketing monies.  The result was the Katana lineup (and to a large extent, the RF lineup too) didn’t received the attention/development monies to keep up with the competition and regularly came in last in model comparisons.

Even though it never got much development support from the Hamamatsu home office, the 2nd generation Katana wasn’t a bad bike.  Based on the same long-stroke 750 engine as the GSX-R750 but tuned to focus more on lower and mid-range torque delivery than top speed, the Katana was perfectly adept as a street oriented sportbike with light touring aspirations.  While the competition were all moving towards pressed aluminum featherweight frames and fuel injection, the Katana frame was still steel and 36mm carbs were used to preserve low and mid-range torque while not sacrificing too much top end, and suspension/forks were standard for the time 41mm.  Styling was contemporary for the period and build quality was good (although not a match of Honda of the period).

Its important to note the Katana did have one “ace” over the competition; price.  The wide lineup meant all the major components were already available to Suzuki.  The result was that while many other 750 sport bikes were bumping the $8,000 USD price barrier, the Katana 750 was offered for barely over $7000.

Overall the 750cc Katana sold well but not spectacularly.  A revision in 1998 (the year after this bike)  with updated bodywork and improved mechanicals did help make the Katana a bit more popular but it seems like the entire model line was never a priority for Suzuki.   The 2nd gen Katana/GSX-S seems to fall into the same category as the Kawasaki ZX6/ZZR600 or maybe the Yamaha FZR’s of the same period; a sportbike not really intended for track use, bikes with a focus more on price/value than pure performance.

This particular Katana 750cc has obviously been parked for quite a while and the seller freely admits it will need servicing.  Pictures are limited but everyone looks to be OEM and intact.  Mileage is only 1300 miles since new so its really not even been broken in.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • Only 1,300 miles.
  • Has been stored since 2004.
  • Has a small dent in the gas tank where I dropped my helmet on it and a broken mirror.
  • There are a couple minor scratches. Otherwise in excellent condition.
  • Will need a new battery.

Overall it seems like it was a bike that was bought, ridden for maybe a season or two and then tucked away with “I’ll get back into riding next year”.  Obviously any new owner would need to plan for fresh fluids and rubber as well as a possible shock rebuild and maybe front fork fluids being done.  Also the seller indicates some pending registration fees in California so this one might be best suited to someone intending to take it out of state?

Okay so now the question – why should you consider this 750cc Katana? Given its lack of breakthrough technology and historical reputation against the competition of the time it seems highly unlikely that it will appreciate much in value.  I only found one other post on RSBFS for a 2nd generation Katana and that was back in 2011 for a 1990 edition so the market value of this one can’t really be known.

Essentially this is a 20 years old bike that was never broken in.   Yes it needs a full refresh  so it will take some monies to enjoy it but the stupid low price of $1200 USD and ultra low mileage makes me think you really can’t go wrong on this one – its probably worth that price in parts alone given Suzuki’s interchangeable component philosophy of the times.  This really seems like a good opportunity for someone to pick up a 750cc sportbike that can easily be brought back into daily use, especially if they are looking for a daily driver with some light touring capabilities.


Unloved Kat:  1997 Suzuki Katana 750 with 1,300 miles
Suzuki February 8, 2017 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:

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!


Sharp Sword: 1982 SUZUKI GS1000 KATANA
Suzuki January 2, 2017 posted by

Retro Dream: 1999 Suzuki GSX 400S Katana

Up for grabs today is something so rare that in the States most people won’t even know it exists. I know you think you’re looking at a 1000cc Katana from 1981. But in fact, this 400cc version was produced nearly 20 years after the fact! Retro was very big in Japan (and continues to be), and this smaller version of the Katana was meant to cash in on the big model’s original heyday. Unfortunately for those in the US, this was a Japan-spec model limited to home country use, with some limited exportation to Asia-Pacific countries. Small bikes rule in Japan, and so we see a great deal of attention to detail in the sub-500cc sector.

1999 Suzuki Katana 400 for sale on eBay

This 400cc model looks so close to the original that you’d be forgiven if you wrote it off as another anemic air-cooled putt-putt. Cleverly disguised to remain aligned with the retro theme, the seemingly air-cooled mill was actually sourced from the 400cc Bandit (which was actually a derivative of the GSX-R400 power plant). What looks like an oil cooler is actually the radiator. Cast wheels that mimic the originals, Tokico calipers (another nod to the Bandit/GSX-R line), as well as the cool retro piggy-back shocks round out the aesthetics.

From the seller:
1999 Suzki GSX 400S Katana located in Santa Ana, California. This bike has 2273 KM = 1363 Miles. This is a true low KM JDM original bike. This bike has a 400cc engine and is sold in Japan only. The carbs were cleaned about 10 months ago. They do need a light cleaning now because the bike has been sitting. This bike is being sold with a bill of sale only. I don’t have a title for the bike and can not get one, so don’t ask. More info is available on our website. If you overseas or Canadian buyer, you will have to make your own shipping arrangements. I can help USA buyers with the shipping, or you can arrange your own shipper. Bike is being sold as is, no returns. Ask questions and look at the pictures carefully before you bid. Again, this bike is being sold with a bill of sale only, NO TITLE.

I’m not sure what importation looks like, given that this is an 18-year old motorcycle that looks like it’s going on 40. Much of the heavy lifting has been done as the bike is already Stateside – except it is missing a title and other niceties that would allow you to register it. As with most things it’s likely verboten in California, but I imagine it is possible in other (more lenient) States. It might be some effort, but you could pretty much guarantee that you would *never* see another one like it on the road. Check it out here, and good luck!

Retro Dream: 1999 Suzuki GSX 400S Katana
Suzuki May 19, 2016 posted by

Smaller, But Still Sharp: 1999 Suzuki GSX400S Katana for Sale

1999 Suzuki Katana 400 R Side Front

Introduced in Europe in 1981, the Suzuki GSX1100S “Katana” and its littler siblings like this rare, apparently very late-production GSX400S stunned the motorcycle buying public. A quick glance at bikes available from other manufacturers at the time shows us deep in the era of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle, and the Big Four were clearly following, not leading, when it came to styling. The angular design of the Katana’s tank, a tiny quarter-fairing, that compact dash with nearly overlapping gauges, the strange, squared-off seat… it was almost enough to distract you from the fact that the bike was basically a restyled GS1100.

1999 Suzuki Katana 400 L Side

The mechanical components were very conventional: twin-shock rear suspension and the… um, familiar air/oil-cooled inline four cylinder backed by a five-speed gearbox, along with a 19” front and 17” rear wheel combination. The GSX-R that followed updated the mechanicals to match Suzuki’s radical styling but, at the time, those GS bits were deemed sufficient. And they were: the bike handled well enough and proved to be very popular. It wasn’t cutting-edge technology, but the GS was already a solid performer and that engine is powerful, reliable, and can be made to really perform with a wealth of hop-up parts and a vast resource of tuning knowledge pulled from decades of drag and road-racing experience.

1999 Suzuki Katana 400 Dash

Interestingly, the US actually got a smaller, 998cc engine for their “GSX1000S” when it arrived in 1982 to squeak under the 1025cc limit for Superbike racing, but it’s still a big, burly performer. But this little Katana throws that all out the window. I’m assuming the bike was intended for the Japanese home market and I’d expect the engine is basically shared with the 400 Bandit. There’s nothing wrong with the little Bandit, but the Katana’s small-block Chevy quality and a good deal of the bike’s brutally simplistic charm is gone.

1999 Suzuki Katana 400 Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1999 Suzki GSX400S Katana for Sale

Located in Santa Ana, California. This bike has 2273 KM = 1363 Miles. This is a true low KM original bike. The carbs were cleaned about 10 months ago. They do need a light cleaning now because the bike has been sitting. This bike is being sold with a bill of sale only. I don’t have a title for the bike and can not get one, so don’t ask. More info is available on our website. If you overseas or Canadian buyer, you will have to make your own shipping arrangements. I can help USA buyers with the shipping, or you can arrange your own shipper. Bike is being sold as is, no returns. Ask questions and look at the pictures carefully before you bid. Again, this bike is being sold with a bill of sale only, NO TITLE. 

1999 Suzuki Katana 400 FR

Aside from some wear on the seat fabric, the bike does look very clean and in good shape. So this little Katana is certainly rare, especially here in the US, but does that make it especially valuable? The seller is looking for an $8,000 starting bid and the bike doesn’t come with a title, not a surprise but a bit of a problem for anyone who wants to do more than display the it, unless they live in a state with a very permissive DMV. The Katana does make a pretty great display piece, and are seeing an increase in value. They’re striking and very practical, with good parts availability, decent handling, and some pretty big power available from that lump of an engine. But considering that a good 998cc Katana would likely run you less than what this seller is hoping to get, will look almost identical, and be much faster, I think the novelty actually works against it here.


1999 Suzuki Katana 400 R Side

Smaller, But Still Sharp: 1999 Suzuki GSX400S Katana for Sale
Suzuki June 17, 2015 posted by

First time on RSBFS: 1984 Suzuki GSX 750S3 Katana


Here on RSBFS we occasionally see an early 1980’s Suzuki Katana 1000 but today we are fortunate to be able to post the very rare “little brother” Katana, the Suzuki GS750SE Edition.  Suzuki created the 750cc version for people who liked the look of the larger edition but wanted something not as bulky.  An upgraded model was released in 1982 (the Mark II) and then in late 1984 came the final version, the Mark III.

While the Mark III still had the the overall design look from previous generations, the engine was a new 16-value unit taken from the forebearer of the GSXR, the GSX750E.  The new engine offered right around 84 bhp and the Mark III came with upgraded suspension both front and rear. The Mark III was also more comfortable due to a lower seat height and higher handlebars, which reduced the stretch to the grips and resulting knee bend. And last but not least (no pun intended) weight was also reduced by 16 kilos. All the changes resulted in a bike which was a big improvement over the previous version and also handled better than the UJM Suzuki GSX750.


1984 Suzuki Katana 750SE on ebay

Of course the tech improvements weren’t the only changes that put the 750se on a lot of wish lists.  The look of the bike caused a big reaction with a multi-toned paint scheme that was a big change from the all silver 1000 version.  And perhaps most noticeable of all was a new all black fairing which included a retractable/pop-up headlight.

As the folks as Two Wheels wrote, “the katana looks like it’s going fast even when its barely moving but so do a lot of bikes.   The thing about the 750SE Katana is that it looks like its on its way to future while others are just treading water in the present.”


Based on the excellent amount of information in the ebay post, this particular 750SE seems to be up for sale by a serious owner. The seller lists a lot of good details about the bike, including clearly indicating the bike bodywork scuffs and wear. The seller even provides a youtube link of the bike, usually the hallmark of a good seller..

Read on for some additional pics and highlights of the info the seller includes in the ebay auction details:


  • Fires up quickly and runs smoothly with no smoke, leaks or unusual noises.
  • Brakes and suspension work well and all lights and electrical systems work as they should.
  • Bike is fitted with a ‘Big Crank’ AGM battery and the charging system works properly.
  • Stock clip-ons have been replaced but originals are included in the sale.
  • Air box has been replaced with aftermarket pods but originals are included in the sale.
  • Instrument cluster gauges and warning lights all work as they should.
  • Also include NOS Suzuki OEM LH and RH side plastic covers



  • Cosmetically there is some work needed…the bike has 30+ years of scratches and marks on the bodywork and frame.
  • All of the paint is original, but every panel would need to be repaired and painted to be nice.
  • The tank is clean inside but it has a couple of shallow dents that will need to be repaired prior to painting.
  • Both side covers are cracked (common for this model) but a NOS set of OEM Suzuki covers are included in the sale.
  • Front fairing has numerous scratches and prior repairs but it will clean up fine with preparation and paint. 
  • The fairing mirrors are specific to this model and often missing or damaged – the ones on this bike are very nice.
  • No rips or tears in the seat and all of the helmet locks and seat removal locks work as they should.



  • Front brake lines have been replaced with aftermarket braided lines.
  • Rear mufflers have been replaced with mufflers from an unknown make and model bike – they are in good condition and sound fine but I would replace them with an OEM system or a nice aftermarket 4-1.
  • OEM LH and RH engine covers – will need painted or powder coated gold (used).
  • Replacement fairing screen with no cracks or breaks (used).

So now the question becomes, what is this Katana 750SE worth?   Well this one is the smaller 750cc model and needs some refurbishment by a new owner but it is a rare SE/3rd generation which according to the seller was never imported into the states.  Prices for the early 1980’s Katana are definately on the rise lately;  the last early 1980’s Katana we had on RSBFS went for over $8000 USD.

The condition and somewhat high mileage on this one should be taken into account but bidding is only at $1,500 USD and the auction is a no reserve listing.  Personally if I had room I would give serious consideration to picking this one up as a bit of an investment project and I think a smart collector might want to consider doing the same.


First time on RSBFS:  1984 Suzuki GSX 750S3 Katana
Suzuki May 1, 2015 posted by

Edgy Styling: 1982 Suzuki GSX1100S Katana for Sale

1982 Suzuki Katana L Front

Introduced in 1981, the GSX1100S “Katana” was styled by Hans Muth, formerly of BMW and appeared to have been sculpted by someone wielding its namesake. So much for “conservative German design”!

1982 Suzuki Katana R Front

The new bike was powered by Suzuki’s 1074cc, air/oil-cooled four-cylinder hung in a relatively conventional twin-shock frame. While the technology under the skin was far from cutting-edge [pun!], the look certainly was, with a slippery design shaped by wind tunnel testing, a relative rarity for motorcycles at the time. And in spite of it’s almost shockingly edgy style, it did sell well, and helped set the stage for every modern sport bike that followed.

1982 Suzuki Katana Dash


That fairing was designed for piercing the air, instead of protecting the rider, allowing for higher speeds. Even the gauges are compact, with dials that virtually overlap to save space in the dash that needed to tuck in behind the small screen.

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Suzuki Katana for Sale

I purchased this Katana in 2008 in a very sorry state.  The bike had sat outside for a long time, but it was mostly complete and only had 4535 miles.  The bike received a full frame up restoration starting in 2009.  The bike was disassembled completely, the frame was powder coated silver and the bike was reassembled – the fairing frame, side stand, fuse holder and other black parts were powder coated black.  The reassembly included numerous new OEM fasteners, and many new OEM parts including pegs, mirrors, grips, cables etc.  The engine was in excellent condition which was to be expected given the low miles – it received a valve adjustment, new external gaskets and carb insulators.  Oil and filter have been changed every season while I have owned the bike.  A ‘Big Crank’ AGM battery in the stock size was fitted.  The ignition and charging system is stock. The bike always starts easily and runs very well.  No nasty noises, smoke or leaks – it pulls strongly from low revs and is smooth at all speeds.  I would not hesitate to ride it any distance. The bike has never failed to start for me or ever left me stranded in the 7 years I have owned it.

1982 Suzuki Katana Rear Suspension

Take a look at that original eBay listing: the seller describes the bike in plenty of detail, and includes a video of the bike running. I happen to really like the wire wheels on this bike, and the seller is correct that there is a historical precedent: the factory GSX1100SXZ race bikes and road machines sent to New Zealand and Australia featured wire, instead of cast wheels.

1982 Suzuki Katana Tank Detail

Early Katanas are still available for very reasonable prices, but I can’t imagine that this will continue for much longer. While overshadowed by the later GSX-R, the Katana was a serious high-performance machine with a truly distinctive style that has stood the test of time. Even better than a time-capsule, all-original example, this ground-up restoration was built to be ridden, but still manages to stay true to the spirit of the bike.


1982 Suzuki Katana L Side

Edgy Styling: 1982 Suzuki GSX1100S Katana for Sale
Bimota February 25, 2015 posted by

Hand-Built Italian Style: 1983 Bimota SB4 for Sale

1983 Bimota SB4 R Side

In an era of mass-produced sportbikes, it’s easy to miss the details that made bikes like the Bimota SB4 so special. Virtually every modern manufacturer makes concessions to mass-production, and machines that, at first glance, look gorgeous can get a bit ugly in the details. MV Agusta’s F3 675 is a beautiful sleek, wasp of a motorcycle, but the stock clip-ons are obviously a cost-saving measure… But these early Bimotas, although far from perfect in terms of performance as-delivered, feature an attention to detail that is virtually extinct.

1983 Bimota SB4 Tank

Powered by the durable and tunable 1075 air-cooled Suzuki GSX four-cylinder and five-speed transmission, the SB4 continued Bimota’s tradition of fitting reliable Japanese engines into state-of-the-art frames. That frame was made from chrome-moly tubing with machined aluminum side-plates and helped the bike achieve a svelte dry weight of about 405 lbs. The SB4 rolled on 16″ modular wheels fitted with radial tires, another pair of exotic features on a bike from an era of bias-ply tires.

1983 Bimota SB4 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Bimota SB4 for Sale

Bimota SB4 1100cc

model year 1983

VIN 00229

Built alongside the HB2 was the SB4 using Suzuki’s 1100cc Katana power plant, this is the rarer fully faired model painted up is the one off stunning Bimota race colours and is in amazing excellent condition throughout

Ride and collect! Bulletproof investment.

Bike is currently located in Stowmarket, England but i can get them delivered all around the World at cost, no problem.

We can supply US contact as reference.

1983 Bimota SB4 Swingarm

Bidding is active and currently sits at $7,600 with the reserve not yet met. With just 272 built, the SB4 is exceptionally rare and offers a great value with top-shelf construction and a distinguished pedigree. If you’re looking for a bike that has real potential to appreciate, these early Bimotas are pretty hard to beat.


1983 Bimota SB4 L Side

Hand-Built Italian Style: 1983 Bimota SB4 for Sale
Suzuki February 5, 2014 posted by

Storage Wars: 1982 Suzuki Katana 1000


Presumed abandoned in a rental storage locker, this ’82 Katana 1000 comes to light courtesy of the winning bidder of the unit at auction. Not much detail and certainly no history given the circumstances, so this is a chance buy at best. However Katanas are the “in” classic these days, and prices are rising fast. With good looks, great power and not many clean survivors, this might be a good opportunity to pick one up! Bike is located in sunny Southern California.

1982 Suzuki Katana 1000 for sale on eBay


From the seller:
For sale is a very rare GS1000SZ. This is not an 1100. As far as I know it is a matching numbers 1000s. Engine number is GS10X102217. The odometer reads 36,600. I bought this from a woman about 5 weeks ago who bought it in a storage auction. The bike is in absolutely great condition. The bike has great compression and sounds strong. It had been sitting for a number of years but the systems were in good shape, meaning that the owner had been running it while in storage. I emptied the tank. Put new fuel in the tank. Took the carbs out and cleaned them (didn’t take them apart because they would then have to be synchronized) and the bike fired right up. The brakes work good but I would flush them just to make sure.


More from the seller:
Please take a look at all of the pictures. I like motorcycles but I don’t collect them and am not an expert in them. I’m a car guy. I need a bike I can ride without worrying about damaging it. This is a very nice, historic bike and it should go to a collector who appreciates these motorcycles. I understand they built just a handful of these for racing purposes. It’s almost flawless. I broke one f the mounting plastic studs on the drivers side small cover while removing and accidentally dropped the gas cap which put a scratch on it. Other than that, the bike is in great shape. The paint on the gas tank is flawless. The front fairing doesn’t have any chips or scratches that I can see. It probably will need new tires since they’ve been on the machine for so long.



Storage Wars: 1982 Suzuki Katana 1000