Is Suzuki Reviving the Katana and Gamma Names?

01/05/2015 @ 1:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS


Signs of life are starting to trickle out of Hamamatsu, as Suzuki finally seems to be working on new models for our riding pleasure. First, it was the news that the turbocharged Suzuki Recursion concept is likely to go into production, and now it’s that the Japanese OEM is reviving iconic names from its past: Katana and Gamma.

Suzuki has re-registered the Katana name & logo with both the European and American trademark offices, while the Gamma logo has been re-registered in the EU. What this means precisely in terms of future models is up for debate.

The short-lived Suzuki RG500 “Gamma” was a 500cc two-stroke superbike platform, which raises some eyebrows on how the name could apply in a four-stroke dominated world.

If it is a two-stroke model, it makes sense that Suzuki wouldn’t register the name in the USA, as the Land of the Free has made on-road two-strokes an almost impossibility.

It would be unfortunate to see the Gamma name used for a small-displacement street-bike line for Europe, though that is our best guess with the available information.

As for the name Katana, the evidence might already be in front of us with the Recursion concept. The Suzuki Katana line started life as a performance-oriented machine, and slowly saw its name watered down into the sport-touring segment.

Using the Katana name in conjunction with small-displacement / high-output turbocharged machines would be a fitting re-use of the iconic mode line.

One interesting aspect to note with the USPTO filing is that Suzuki filed for the Katana trademark back in October 2010, but only allowed it to be published in September 2014. Whatever motive the Japanese company may have for the Katana name, it has been brewing for quite some time.

Source: USPTO & OHIM

  • Daimyo

    Finally some actually new models from Suzuki.

    I loved the concept of the recursion and hopefully the actual production bike won’t be too watered down.

    The half fairing of the original 80’s katana always struck me as a good compromise between wind protection and roadster style so this might really be good.

  • Alberta Bootlicker

    The early ’80’s GS1100s Katana, GS1000s Katana, GSX1100 Katana…etc, (version depending on where you lived in the world), designed by Hans Muth, was the original supersport bike. Wes Cooley even rode one in the American Superbike Championship in 1982.

  • FranktheTank

    So…… The recursion concept is the new katana. That’s what I kind of hope.

  • Bud

    The RG500 Gamma has always been the holy grail of streetbikes for me.

    The Hans Muth Katana / 650 Katana / XN85, on the other hand…yuck.

  • Random

    Aside from the obvious interest in a super/turbo charged middleweight, the Gamma line had very interesting designs. A modern square four engine or a Horex-like cilinder positioning could be very fun, though it’s more probable Hanamatsu is working on a Ninja 300 / R3 or CBR 500 competitor.

  • Jaybond

    If there’s one prototype Suzuki bike worthy of the Katana name, it’s gotta be the In-line 6 engined SUZUKI STRATOSPHERE!! Maybe finally Suzuki will put it into production.

    And make the Recursion concept as the new Suzuki RG Gamma.

  • Sean

    Great, now I will have to buy a new Gamma to park beside my ’85 500. I am sure it will snicker at the new one.

  • paulus

    “Nostalgia branding”.
    Slapping a known (and well loved) name on a new model will move a few units… and if I were more cynical… also a few baseball caps and T-shirts.

  • MrDefo

    This is good news. I’ve been very excited about the turbo concept, and I loved the lines of the classic Katana. Will keep an eye out.

  • MM

    The Gamma name was also used for the RG250 so it wouldn’t be out of order for a new small bike to be a Gamma

  • Steven V

    “The short-lived Suzuki RG500 “Gamma” was a 500cc two-stroke superbike platform, which raises some eyebrows on how the name could apply in a four-stroke dominated world.”

    The original Kawasaki H2 was a 3-cylinder two stroke. So Suzuki wouldn’t be the first to resurrect an old two stroke name with a four stroke.

  • MikeD

    Screw this “sensible & is the right thing to do for the times we’re living” B.S, i want this :

    Suzuki should go ask his wife if he can have his Testis back from the Jar in the kitchen’s cabinet for a while and play being a top dog , an innovator and big player again in Japan Inc. Team.

    Slap me back when they grow some B@lls. Again.

  • sideswipe

    Yep, I agree with an above post that one of these monikers is likely to be slapped onto a small displacement “sporty” entry level bike. CBR300, Yamaha R3, Ninja300, KTM 390, Suzuki?