The Katana’s main headline is the engine. The 999cc inline-four has been unbolted from the GSX-R1000K5 and produces 150PS (110kW), which, with the bike weighing 6kg less than the GSX that provided it, is plenty for all but the most demonic of riders. Throttle control is a tad lumpy lower down, with the Katana’s torque bouncing through the transmission just a little, but once you get out of town the power delivery is excellent. Pin the throttle and the Katana becomes eager, with the low-down torque excellent at higher speeds. In fact you find yourself trying to stay lower down the rev range at times to access that torque and haul the bike around. That means that on a longer cruise the Katana can be happily left in top gear for all but the most strenuous of accelerations.
The handlebars sit high and the seat is tall, meaning the riding position is a bit more upright, perfect for the taller rider like me, although it might leave someone of shorter stature feeling a little perched atop the bike. The steering though is sharp, and grip plentiful, meaning you can gun the throttle on corner exit to use the excellent torque and pull the bike away with little worry about slip. The brakes also come from the GSX and feel a mite snatchy at the front, adding to the Katana’s slightly fidgety feel around town, but the rear brakes are much more malleable on the pedal.
The ride is firm, but not uncomfortable, and suits the overall feeling of the bike. It isn’t going to rattle your fillings out over the roughest of English tarmac and it’s also not going to lollop down the road like a wounded rabbit should you hit a large bump at speed. For such a slimline seat there is relatively little vibration through the backside, although some still remains on a longer ride.