Mmm…Check This Suzuki GSX1100SD Katana Race Bike

04/17/2017 @ 6:09 pm, by Jensen Beeler31 COMMENTS

I am young enough that most of what I can remember of the 1980s is skewed by the forming mind of a child, thankfully. New Coke, ponytails to the side, Cabbage Patch Kids…Alf – it is all a bad dream as far as I am concerned.

The 1980s were a pretty good decade for motorcycles though. Two-strokes still reigned supreme in grand prix racing, and some of America’s best two-wheeled heroes were riding them.

The only rider-aids that were available were things like handlebars and footpegs. Even then, racing a motorcycle was a pursuit full of perils.

Mirroring this notion on the production side of things, the superbike was just starting to be born in earnest, with consumers able to buy fire-breathing monsters that tested the limits of chassis and tire design. A healthy dose of male bravado was involved in riding a motorcycle like a Katana.

If the current trend in the custom world is to re-invent these machines, then we are all for it.

In that vein, motorcycles from the 1980s are coming into their own in vintage racing as well, though depending on where in time various organizations delineate  a motorcycle being “vintage” in its design.

On the other side of the pond, the Classic TT at the Isle of Man is an event worth watching, and the bike we see here is ready for the Endurance Legends 4-Hour Race at Donington Park later this year.

It is a Suzuki GSX1000SD Katana, built by the Team Classic Suzuki outfit – a special factory racing team support by the Japanese manufacturer. It drips with an iconic 35-year-old design, with some modern world thinking as well. It’s tasty AF.

This #7 machine will be piloted this year by riders James Whitham, Steve Parrish, and Michael Neeves – some high-profile names in British motorcycle media, who know how to ride a motorcycle at speed, as well.

These riders might be a little “vintage” themselves, but still wouldn’t mind seeing this Katana doing the business at a race track. Until then, here are some obscenely high-resolution photos for you to drool over.

Source: Suzuki Racing

  • NortNad

    that is gorgeous, & I love the detail everywhere

  • Dustin Nisbet-Jones

    Fantastic build and I think it’s cool that they picked a floppy beast like the 1100 Katana for their classic racer of choice. I will definitely follow their pursuits with this thing!

  • n/a

    Comparing this to the Vyrus based on styling – I’ll take the Vyrus.

  • The Blue Rider

    Shit yeah. Put some bags where the number plates are. Instant race-tourer!

    (OK maybe not, but it’s awesome either way)

  • Jon B.


  • Krylov

    The Japanese custom market appears to be there already with beefed/beautied up four-cylinder 80ies rides by Kawasaki, Susuki and Honda: Think AC Sanctuary, Bull Dock, Bagus!, Auto Magic, Spec Engineering, etc.
    A lot of these bikes are shown e.g. on

  • Hasse Owenius

    Oooh, Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge :-O

  • EzGoingKev

    CR’s not FCR’s???

  • Fivespeed302

    Sploosh! (Obscure Archer reference)

  • Sam Miller

    So many nice touches like the gold heat foil on the frame down tubes and titanium everywhere makes me wonder why they left the mirror mount on the front master perch clamp.

  • Mickey

    That’s what I thought too. Did flat slide racing carbs exist in the 80’s? There might be something in the rules.

  • LeDelmo

    I wonder why Suzuki doesn’t bring the GSX1100 back into production.

  • Dustin Nisbet-Jones

    What about the GSX1150, GSX1200 and now GSX1250 — ie. the Bandit?

  • RD350

    Love this bike … but its those Dymags that I would kill for.

  • PeteN95

    Sweet, one of my all time favorite bikes, I owned two. Here is my racer and first street bike. It had 33mm Mikuni smoothbores, a Bassani pipe, and a wicked weave around the back straight at PIR!

  • j davis

    And yet, not a piece of safety wire to be seen.

  • Jack Meoph

    Rin Suzunoki gets her dream bike.

  • Brett Lewis

    Danger Zone! (Archer and Top Gun reference, although the bike isn’t a GPZ – same era)

  • SuperRetard

    Nobody should be riding a Kan-O-Tuna!

  • Fivespeed302

    They actually drew in a Katana in one of the episodes. I think Archer was walking into a Mexican bar (or some other 3rd world Spanish speaking country) and there was a row of bikes, the GSX1100SD was parked first.

  • Fivespeed302

    Good catch. My Zero has the same thing, I wish I had the time and money to deal with it.

  • Fivespeed302

    I think he meant one that wasn’t ugly.

  • Imnotgaybut10eurois10euro

    She’s running a bit rich on #4 though………

  • Fidel Cash-Flow

    bleh, the 80s was not a good time for cars or bikes. I think the only exception was the Countach and F-40.

  • azboy

    The attention to detail is incredible, wow. Even the battery box is art.

  • Eric

    Mmm, Katana! Hans Muth’s masterpiece, with upgrades, tasty! I narrowly missed getting one back in 1991, and I still think about the one that got away. I got to ride it, and it was a charismatic beast, truly one of a kind. Thanks for sharing this!

  • John DuPree


    But, umm, where’s the front motor mount?


    yes hte ’80s style is boxy but this bike is fantastic! good job props to Suzuki et al! interesting to see if it wins!

  • Kevin Tweedy

    Wow that is a beautiful machine

  • properjob

    Great photos, but we really, really need more text telling us about the work that has gone into it.

  • Anteater