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Suzuki Katana White 2010

They had done a lot of design In fact they recruited a company called Target Design, owned by a man called Jan Fellstrom, based in Germany. Suzuki had the engine, now they wanted the style and stay ahead of the competition, or failing that, set it apart. The whole package of engine, frame and style was rather anodyne. In fact its solid square front headlight was often considered ugly.

The fact was, even though the GSX1100E dominated the superbike niche, it still looked like just about any other motorcycle out there. The GSX1100E combined what was then a massive engine with real world handling, and with a voluntary 100bhp limit loosely in place between all the bike manufacturers of the time, Suzuki decided to look at design. All through the seventies it was all about power and engine size, at least as far as the Japanese manufacturers were concerned, rather than all round ability. It was really the first Japanese bike to combine power, (it was the fastest at 140mph and 11.5 second standing quarter) with handling. The fact was that at the time Suzuki were wearing the mantle for the "best" superbike with their GSX1100E.

I couldn't decide if I liked or loathed it, it was just so radically different to look at than other bikes at the time. I lived not far from Pinewood Studios in the UK at the time and thought it was some exotic machine destined to appear on a James Bond movie.  I remember the first time I saw one of the Katana range.

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