Thursday, October 25, 2018

Suzuki Katana and the whole 1982 Canadian streetbike line

I've been looking at the various original Katana fan sites and finding things to disagree with. No they did not appear in showrooms in 1980, that sort of thing. I recall seeing the shocking showbike in the magazines in probably late 1980, Crazy thing! They'll never produce that bike, too bizarre. After all, the previous oddball failure from Suzuki- the RE-5- was fresh in people's minds.
  But then, amazingly Suzuki did produce it and we saw a  prototype 1100 in Canada in November 1980 when it rolled into the gas station in Kingston, Ontario, the rider/tester looking for a Suzuki dealer because the front brake lever was coming back to the bar... that anti dive never really worked well...
  We Canadians got the 1100, a 750 and the 550, even more weirdly styled- with orange calipers and brake disc edges, the bikes appearing in the showrooms after being shown at the January motorcycle show. 
  I bought the first Katana in Kingston, a 750, in late February 1982, but did not pick it up till early May. I also picked up this Suzuki pamphlet, folded out left to right, the important part of the 1100 styling was displayed in 9x24" format- big enough to be a poster. On the back was the the streetbike line, featuring the 1100 and 550 Katanas. Not even a picture of the 750. I've seen pictures online of a 750 apparently sold in some markets with no windshield, not the case in Canada. We got the whole bodywork of the 1100 with different paint, the front fender and tailpiece were all-silver, the seat all-blue smooth vinyl. not quite as attractive I thought, as the 1100. The tach featured a redline of 9500 compared to the 9000 of the 1100.
The fairing of my early-production bike was fibreglass, later I acquired a 1983 model, that fairing was injection-molded. I assume the tool wasn't ready yet? I don't know when Suzuki changed over.
Other markets got the rubber fins located under the fairing, Suzuki refers to them as "wing-cowling". We never got them on Canadian bikes- but they were available in the parts book!
As far as I know, this pamphlet was the only 750 Katana promotion from Suzuki. I never saw any magazine test of the 1982 750 Katana and only a 550 comparison test (including the Katana) in Cycle Canada. 
Folded out again vertically and the rest of the 1982 lineup was revealed. I did not include that part of the pamphlet in this post. No price list but a reader Drew found one from 1983 with a very similar model lineup. Attached below.

Thanks, Drew!


Canajun said...

The 1100SZ is still one of my dream bikes.

Mister G said...

I've been riding them ever since. Bought an 1100 in 1986, and it's been my main ride ever since. Very little left stock or original on the bike after 30 years, and it's closing in on 295,000 km. I don't see any reason to replace it! Found my original 750 in the nineties and brought it home. It's in the basement being restored. Thanks for the comment!