The wait is finally over. The Suzuki Katana is back. Breaking cover at this year’s INTERMOT show, the 2019 Suzuki Katana takes an old classic, and makes it new again.
True the to concepts we have seen in previous years, the new Katana is a stylish modern take on the iconic lines from the the 1980s.
Essentially a Suzuki GSX-S1000F with new bodywork, the new Katana isn’t perhaps all-new, in the truest sense of the word, but the bike evokes strong emotions for those who remember its past; and for a new generation of rider, the 1980s styling fan is just now becoming a thing, making this a well-timed launch.
When we first saw the Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe, we had no word that the retro-modern machine was coming to the USA, though it seemed far-fetched that the repurposed Z900 wouldn’t see the shores of North America.
Sure enough, Kawasaki USA just sent us word that the Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe will be coming to the United States in limited numbers, as a 2018 machine.
Sharing the same 948cc inline-four engine as the Kawasaki Z900, the Cafe model takes the venerable streetfighter and adds a retro look to it. The Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe is part of a two-pronged retro approach, with the Kawasaki Z900RS already seeing a strong response from enthusiasts.
When we first heard that Ducati was bringing back the Supersport line, we were excited. The original SuperSport wasn’t exactly the best selling model for the Italian brand, but Ducati created some loyal enthusiasts with the half-faired sport-touring machine.
The new Ducati Supersport does a good job of tapping into the ethos of the old model, but visually it draws too close to the Ducati 1299 Panigale Superbike, rather than the lines of yore.
Here, Oberdan Bezzi plays another one of his “what if” games, drawing an air-cooled Supersport model (based off the current Scrambler platform), complete with the more classic half-fairing design.
One of the less-publicized motorcycles on display at this year’s EICMA show was this Suzuki Katana concept, which has since been making the rounds on social media.
Rightfully so, we would say, as the “Katana 3.0” is a very intriguing idea into how Suzuki can revitalize one of its most iconic names.
A creation by the folks at Motociclismo, with the help of designer Rodolfo Frascoli and Engines Engineering, the Katana 3.0 concept isn’t the “official” concept that many had hoped for from Suzuki.
However, the fact that Suzuki hosted the concept inside its EICMA display is a sign that the Japanese manufacturer is certainly listening to the feeback the bike generates.
You would have to be living under a rock not to notice the heritage theme that has taken the motorcycle industry by storm.
That being said, Suzuki’s hibernation, as we like to call the company’s complete withdrawal from the two-wheeled space during the recession, is a lot like living under a rock.
Finally seeing the daylight, the Japanese brand is a bit late to the post-authentic retro game, and finds itself having to scramble to stay relevant. That is to say, this is how we read the fact that Suzuki has only one new machine for 2018: the SV650X.
Kawasaki made an impression at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, debuting the new Z900RS standard. The premise was simple there: take the potent Kawasaki Z900 street bike, and dress it in retro clothing.
The effect was something that looked incredibly like the Kawasaki Zephyr of old, but with modern brakes, suspension, traction control, and even a slipper-assist clutch. Now we see that Team Green plans on already expanding the line, debuting today the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe.
Basically the Z900RS with a bikini fairing, this modern café racer should be a perfect fit for those riders that want an older looking motorcycle that doesn’t run like an older looking motorcycle.
For the 2018 model year, Ducati is updating the Scrambler Desert Sled with another color option, one that the Italian brand calls “Shining Black”. As boring as that name sounds, it might be the best retro Scrambler paint job that we have ever seen from Borgo Panigale.
We know that up until this point, the Scrambler Ducati brand has been all about its bright green AstroTurf faux lawns, pristine giant yellow container boxes, and post-authentic marketing calls with skateboards, wide-brim hates, and semi-homeless millennials.
But, the new Desert Sled color scheme (we would have called the color “Shag Carpet Sexy” or “Dr. McNasty”) screams back to another part of the 1970s – a time when souping up passenger vans and living in them was an acceptable thing for non-creepy men to do.
Still, we love the effect that is done with the all-black paint, contrasted with the warm red/orange/yellow rainbow colors. It gets us excited about the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled all over again.
Now, the only question is how hard would it be to wedge the Scrambler 1100’s engine in this off-road chassis? Not too hard, we think.
After much teasing, Honda quietly debuted its Neo Sports Café concept at the Tokyo Motor Show today. Releasing nary a detail about the simple but modern motorcycle design, we are left to draw our own conclusions about the machine.
We had hoped that the Honda Neo Sports Café would lead to a retro-styled version of the Honda CB1000R, much in the same vein that the new Kawasaki Z900S is a hipsterfied version of the popular Z900 street bike.
It’s not clear if Honda intends to produce the Neo Sports Café concept, but its design is intriguing, especially when you consider the now ancient four-cylinder engine that resides in its chassis, which is of course derived from the previous generation Honda CBR1000RR.
As expected, at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Kawasaki unveiled a new retro-syled model based off its popular Z900 street bike, thus creating the 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS.
As the core of the bike is the same four-cylinder, water-cooled, 900cc engine that is found on the Kawasaki Z900, but Team Green has completely revamped the styling to have a more heritage look and feel to the “RS” model.
Peppy motorcycle meets trendy aesthetics, the Kawasaki Z900RS truly lives up to its “Retro Sport” moniker. Equipment includes LED lighting, new spoke-looking wheels, and a revised exhaust design.
The paint scheme is meant to mimic the design found on the 1972 Kawasaki Z1, one of the Japanese brand’s more classic motorcycles, while appealing to the features that modern motorcyclists rely upon.
Set for sure for the European market, it will be interesting to see if Kawasaki brings the Z900RS to the USA. We would expect so, but stay tuned for more information.
Announced today at the AIMExpo, Yamaha is bringing the XSR700 to the US soil, as the tuning fork brand sees an opportunity for the twin-cylinder heritage model in the land that brought hipsters their skinny jeans.
The choice must have been an easy one for the folks at Yamaha Motor USA, with the Yamaha FZ-09 and Yamaha FZ-07 selling well here in the United States, and the XSR900 already being critically acclaimed by the US moto media.
Adding the Yamaha XSR700 to the 2018 model lineup seems like an obvious no-brainer for Yamaha, and we are happy to see it finally coming to the United States of America.
Are you ready for another flavor of Triumph Bonneville? We hope so, because the British marque is teasing a new model: the Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster.
Set to debut on October 3rd, Triumph’s social media channels are boasting that the new Speedmaster will have “classic custom style” and “class leading capability” – along with “British attitude” which either means a stiff upper lip, or passive-aggressive social graces…we can’t be sure.
In seriousness though, we can assume from the name and attributes that the new Speadmaster will be getting the same liquid-cooled upgrades that we have seen come to the Bonneville line in past few model years, following in the footsteps of the Thruxton and Bobber.