Fat Kat: Suzuki Katana “GSX1230” Restomod

Suzuki Katana Restomod

Andy Harriman’s 1230cc Katana…  

In 1980, the Suzuki GSX1100S Katana came flashing across the motorcycle world just like its sharp-edged namesake, revealing a whole new vision of what a superbike could be. While the angular lines and geometric planes of Hans Muth’s design were not to everyone’s taste, the Katana would influence the shape of sports bikes for years to come.

It was a revolutionary time in the industry, when manufacturers were pushing the bleeding edge of performance and design with every model year, experimenting with everything from monocoque bodywork to forced induction, liquid-cooling, aluminum chassis construction, and much more. Though GSX-R would quickly surpass the Katana in outright performance both on the track and strip, the Katana remains iconic of the era.

Suzuki Katana Restomod

Andy Harriman of Beduff, England, has owned many big Suzukis over the years, but never a Katana…until now. The bike you see here started with a 16-valve GSX1100EFE mill — a brute of an engine introduced in 1984 and rated at 124 bhp. This one has been built into a 1230cc monster by none other than Chris Tombleson of the UK’s Grumpy 1260 Suzuki Parts & Performance, based out of Bexwell Aerodrome.

Suzuki Katana Restomod

The big-bore EFE engine was matched with FCR flat-slide carbs and a Racefit one-off titanium pipe — trick!

Suzuki Katana Restomod

Meanwhile, the frame was braced and decluttered. Up front, there’s an Öhlins front end with billet yokes, while Öhlins rear shocks and a JMC swingarm keep the rear end planted.

Suzuki Katana Restomod


The cockpit is outfitted with drag bars and LSR master cylinders and clutch perch. The tank includes an aircraft filler and Pingel race fuel tap, and the rider sits astride a lush suede seat.

Suzuki Katana Restomod

Then here’s the livery — quite unlike any we’ve seen on a big Katana. Says Andy:

“Inspiration for the paint: I like Suzukis in blue and kind of a number board at front. And yellow wheels is how it should be, Barry Sheene and Kevin Schwantz rocked the yellow wheels.”

Suzuki Katana Restomod

Andy has nicknamed this brutish restomod the “Fat Kat,” and he’s quite happy with the overall build:

“It rides spot-on, which is nice. Happy with the build, got the kind of a Pro Street look. Thanks to Briggo for his input and Grumpy for building a great engine and setting the carbs 😁”

Suzuki Katana Restomod

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more distinctive, more badass air/oil-cooled Katana than this one. Now we just need to hop across the Pond and beg Andy for a test ride.

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  1. Henry Gutierrez

    All those bikes are bad ass. I used to have a 83 1100 Katana. I sold it back in 2000. Mine was stock just had a Yoshimura pipe. I kick myself in the ass overtime I see rebuilds. I miss it

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