If you’ve watched the Katana global unveil at Intermot a little over a month ago, you know how much of a disaster the thing was. Staged on an asepticized, plain white platform, without any bells and whistles, but quite a bit of fumbles, the most anticipated reveal of the show took place during a pizzaz-free presentation. Then the North American unveil happened and it looked like Suzuki had some catching up to do.
Suzuki looked like it was trying to make up for the drab Intermot unveil of one of its most exciting recent models, the revived Katana. Not only was the German stage a blank canvas left to its own device, the unveil itself was a prank show-worthy bit during which the tech in charge of pulling the curtain miserably failed at the simple task, followed by a cringe-y, never-ending stumble trying to fix his mistake to finally have the Suzuki exec toss the cover for him.
For the bike’s North American debut at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, the company went all out, combining all the smoke of an Aerosmith show with a Japanese card played to the max with taiko drummers and a samurai demonstration that gave a more appropriate tone to the event. The presentation was much more in line with all the marketing efforts Suzuki had put towards teasing the new model and that revolved around the flight of Japanese swords and drums clichés. It was a little tacky, but Suzuki stuck to its drums.
Of course, we already knew what the bike looks like—the first unveil might have been a bit of a mess, but the model has been exciting enough to get all the attention it deserves. The International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach was the occasion for the company to give the Katana a more appropriate welcome. The American debut didn’t bring anything new to the table—it was only an excuse to celebrate the model once more with a different audience.
The visitors were even allowed to compare the original and the new design side by side thanks to a loan from the Barber Motorcycle Museum of the very first-generation Katana. The model can be expected in the showrooms in 2019 as a 2020 model.