Katana Australia invites all Katana enthusiasts to meet up on the weekend of March 4-6 to celebrate the 35th Anniversay of the Suzuki Katana with like-minded enthusiasts on the banks of Lake Hume.
The Year Was 1981
Musically we had these on the charts – Screaming Jets – Johnny Warman, Star Hotel – Cold Chisel, and the Mentals singing ‘If you leave me can I come too’
At the moves it was Gallipoli, Mad Max 2, Puberty Blues, Cannonball Run, Stripes, American Werewolf in London.
1981 was also the year that the motorcycle industry was polarised at the Cologne Bike Show when the Hans Muth, Jan Fellstrom and Hans Georg Kasten designed Suzuki 1100 SZ Katana was unveiled. People either loved it or hated it.
Some journalists in the day dubbed this creation as the ‘Humped Back Spaceman’, but there is no denying that the Katana certainly got people talking.
Once in production the Katana was, at the time, the fastest mass produced motorcycle on the planet.
Those of us that were just hitting the highways around that time were gobsmacked with its futuristic Star Wars like design, a unique look that still can draw a crowd almost 35 years later.
It was a time that you bought a bike then set about making it yours. Aside from maybe a paint job, the dollars were saved to buy clip-ons, rear sets, 4 into 1 exhaust’s, Oil Coolers, engine crash bars and plenty of spit and polish to make our steeds stand out from the crowd. Except, the Katana came with most of the accepted mods as standard apart from a 4 into 1, oil-cooler and crash bars, it had it all going on straight from the showroom floor.
The SZ of 1981 had a very simplistic all in one instrument gauge which was later to be called the Ying and Yang, as the speedo and tacho moved in different directions.
The Katana is a long bike with a sizeable reach to the bars and those not built like a Gorilla sometimes struggled with the comfort levels. But once up and rolling through your favourite set of bends, comfort was the last thing on your mind.
The Katana stayed in the Suzuki line-up until the release of the game changing GSX-R in 1985. But, the Katana run did not end there….
While in 1981 you opt for a 750cc version or the big-bore 1100, it was around this time that a capacity ceiling of 1000cc was placed on Production Bike categories around the world.
This led Suzuki to release what is dubbed in some circles as the ‘New Zealand Model’. Essentially a 1000cc version with wire wheels and 32mm slide carb,s instead of the 1100’s 34mm C.V. units. As you would expect, this particular Katana is rare and eagerly sought after by collectors.
The range of Katana’s also grew with the addition of a 650 shaft drive model while in 1984 Suzuki released the revamped GSX750SE complete with pop-up retractable headlight.
1991 saw the release of the Baby Kat, Suzuki’s GSX250S. With a six-speed box transferring a quite impressive for its 40 horsepower, 17-litre fuel capacity and digitial ignition the Baby Kat was good for 108mph (147km/h) and low-mid 14-second quarter miles.
The Katana proved to be so popular especially in Japan they re-released the bike to eager Katana lovers in 1994 with the GSX100 SR and then again in 2000 with the GSX100 SY, such is the cult status of the Katana throughout Japan.
Unfortunately, later models were severely restricted to 180km/h and also had assisted clutches that saw a drop in fuel capacity from 21 litres down to 19 litre. It doesn’t take much fettling however to let these restricted Kat’s run free back to their full potential.
To say the Katana is a land mark point in bike design and performance really is an understatement. With Katana Owners Clubs in Japan, U.K., U.S.A., France , Canada , Thailand , Norway, Sweden, Ireland, let alone an active group here in Australia, Katana love is still celebrated around the globe.
35th Anniversay of the Suzuki Katana
Katana Australia invites all Katana enthusiasts to meet up on the weekend of March 4-6 to celebrate the with like-minded enthusiasts on the banks of Lake Hume.
Ebden Albury Wodonga – March 4-6, 2016
Accommodation is available at…..
The Boathaven Holiday Park
33 Boathaven Road
(just 10 minutes from Albury/Wodonga)
Acommodation bookings ….1800 352 982…don’t forget to mention Katana Australia
This is also the venue for the 35th Anniversary celebrations!
Meet some awesome people and welcome overseas guests from faraway places as Japan and France and there are more international guests talking about winging their way Down Under for the Suzuki Katana 35th Anniversary celebrations at Ebden.
Katana Australia would like to thank Mick Hone Motorcycles for their continued and top level of support.
Katana Australia looks forward to sharing some stories and couple of coldies with you and your Katana…. Come along even if you don’t own a Katana… You won’t be disappointed!
Words and Images provided by Shaun Roe and edited by Trevor Hedge
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