2020 was a weird year for everyone, including race teams. Still, if you’re Team Classic Suzuki, your specialty is right there in your name. Classic bikes need building if you want to race them, so that’s exactly what TCS spent its 2020 lockdown period doing. The result is the Katana you now see before you.  

As you might expect, it’s much more than meets the eye at first glance. For a start, it’s based on a 2008 GSXR1000 machine. The engine came directly out of an Alstare GSX-R1000, which TCS says was then “fully refreshed by Team Classic Suzuki’s Nathan Colombi.” While it didn’t go into details, we’ll assume that means a full rebuild, and not just a quick going-over with a bottle of Febreze and a feather duster.  

Other choice bits include an Alstare WSBK frame that matches the dimensions of the regular road-going GSX-R1000 K8, Alstare WSBK exhaust headers, Racefit link pipe and end can, factory radiator and oil cooler, aluminum water and oil pipes, and a EM Pro kit to manage the electronics. Suzuki’s Vintage Parts Program supplied a new old stock Katana nose cone, which was widened by one inch to fit this application. A new, slim, LED taillight unit from TCS was modified to fit the WSBK fuel tank exactly. Custom carbon panels were fabricated, and Racefastener provided all appropriate fittings and fasteners to put every single detail over the top. 

Gallery: Team Classic Suzuki Katana Lockdown Custom Build

We haven’t talked about the suspension yet, though. There’s a full, if unspecified Öhlins front and rear suspension on this bike, including a twin shock rear setup meant to evoke the OG Katana. To make that work out, TCS contacted Alpha Performance Fabrications to create a bespoke subframe and oversize swingarm. As a finishing touch, TCS used a set of Dymag CH3 wheels, which it’s used before on its XR69 replica bikes. Installation of Brembo discs, calipers, and brake pads was a no-brainer.  

Finishing touches include TCS-designed aluminum rear sets, as well as a brand-new saddle from Italian company Race Seats, emblazoned with the Katana logo. Judicious application of the Team Classic Suzuki and Katana logos elsewhere added those little accents that visually pull this build together.  

If you’re an original Katana fan, you’re probably already in love. We hope that there’s a good video of this bike being ridden in anger at some point in the not-too-distant future, complete with well-recorded audio. What did you do with your lockdown, and was it as cool as this? If so, congratulations on a job well done. 


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