Suzuki reintroduced the Katana to its lineup in 2019. The revival was more than a design exercise though. Suzuki leveraged the GSX-R1000 K5’s trusty 999cc inline-four, borrowed the 2016 GSX-R1000's swingarm, and replicated the GSX-S1000F dimensions. While the potent package delivers more performance than most throwbacks on the market, the Suzuki faithful still has a soft spot for the original GSX1000S Katana.

One such fan also happens to be a client of Japan’s AC Sanctuary. The Tokyo-based custom shop is known for its detail-oriented builds, and with a GSX1000S Katana on the lift, the team delivers a razor-sharp rendition of the ‘80s icon.

Gallery: RCM-500: Suzuki GSX1000S Katana

To update the Katana to modern handling standards, the builders reinforced critical areas of the frame for more rigidity. AC Sanctuary then retrofitted the chassis with an Ohlins front end and dual remote reservoir shocks. The rear suspenders mount to a revised swingarm pivot for additional agility, but the Oz Racing Gass RS-A forged aluminum wheels lower unsprung weight for even quicker side-to-side transitions.

Of course, the GSX1000S Katana isn’t as fast by modern standards, so the team rebuilt the 40-year-old inline-four to RCM spec. New machined velocity stacks, carburetors, and a full titanium exhaust system help the engine produce more power as well. With more grunt at the business end, the brakes needed an update too, so AC Sanctuary installed top-of-the-line Brembo GP4RX calipers at the front. Paired with a Brembo RCS master cylinder and Sunstar discs, the new braking system provides modern-day performance and response.

With the chassis and engine sorted, the team fabricated all-new bodywork. The hybrid paint and carbon transfer finish highlights the RCM-500 Katana’s sharper angles. Suzuki may have revamped the Katana with more power and new colors in 2022, but the AC Sanctuary GSX1000S proves that it isn’t easy to outdo an original.

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