Click here for an CycleVIN Motorcycle History Report on this 1982 Suzuki Katana 1000 Project. Additional photos are available here for your perusal.
In the late 70s and early 80s, Japanese manufacturers were selling standard bikes as fast as they could make them. And while most of the bikes were technically sound, they all started to emulate each other, creating the UJM (first coined by Cycle magazine). Some considered it efficient, others considered it boring. Either way, it’s why bikes like the Katana are very important in the history of motorcycles.
Suzuki’s Marketing Manager in Germany told his Japanese management, “we had the most technically advanced bikes, but their design was uninteresting!” In response, Suzuki hired a three person team called Target Design, led by the ex-chief of BMW’s styling, Hans Muth, to update the ‘company image’. This was his first creation, which was an immediate showstopper at the Cologne Motor Show in 1980. In fact, the fairing might remind you of a similar Muth creation – the BMW R65LS.
Bennett’s summed up the Katana quite simply: “Before 1979 motorcycle design was simple…and then Suzuki launched the Katana and everything changed. It’s impossible to overstate the impact this bike had at the time, even if it was more about the conversations than the sales figures…The first Japanese bike with an aerodynamic, frame-mounted fairing, first with proper racing clip-on bars and the first one to break the traditional look of a motorcycle. Journalists at the time were convinced it was too futuristic for the public to understand it, but Suzuki countered that by also playing the oldest trick in motorcycling’s book – making it the most powerful and fastest bike you could buy.”
The bad news is that it has been sitting for quite a while – but that’s reflected in the reserve. As you’ll see in the photo album up top, there are non-OEM flush mounted turn signals and a bit of cosmetic wear/corrosion.
This Katana is reasonably clean and would be a perfect candidate for a full restoration as it is mostly OEM with the exception of the front turn signals and, of course, the Kerker. Also no longer stock is the windscreen, which has been color-matched to the bodywork.
Currently located at our location in Santa Monica, California, this Katana was last registered in New Hampshire. NH does not require titles for motorcycles over 15 years old, however it has the paperwork you need if you want to get one in that state – a bill of sale, registration, and VIN verification. It is currently offered on a bill of sale with proof of ownership and a receipt from when the owner purchased it in 2004.
We hope this goes to someone who’s willing to bring it back to its former glory. Don’t hesitate to let our White Glove service know if you’d like help sourcing parts or even restoring this classic that deserves to be ridden again.