News Riding

Go retro in 2020

The Suzuki Katana, Kawasaki Z1 900 and a Triumph café racer may be motorcycles you lusted after when you were young, or even not so young, but for some reason they were out of reach.
Now’s your chance to get those machines with retro looks but modern reliability and performance.

Let’s start with the 2020 Suzuki Katana (above), which pays tribute to the 1980s bike of the same name.

“The original Katana had a connection with the GS1100E while this new Katana is built upon the proven, extraordinary performance of the long-stroke GSX-R1000 engine and the solid stability of the GSX-S1000 chassis,” reads the description on Suzuki’s website. “The Katana’s chassis provides easy control over the GSX-R-based engine and adds a comfortable riding position. The Katana’s dramatic bodywork rests upon a twin-spar, aluminum alloy frame, and superbike-type braced swingarm that provides great road holding performance.”

The new Katana is powered by a fuel-injected 999cc inline-four engine that pumps out a claimed 147 horsepower. The bike also features a torque-limiting clutch and Suzuki’s three-mode Traction Control System.
MSRP: $13,499. Color: Metallic Mystic Silver or Solid Black.

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Kawasaki, meanwhile, offers several modern retros for 2020, including the Z900RS, Z900RS Café and the W800 standard.

The Z900RS harkens back to the legendary 1972 Kawasaki Z1 900 superbike with its classic styling that includes the iconic teardrop gas tank.

The 2020 Kawasaki Z900RS ABS features a 948cc, liquid-cooled, inline-four, 16-valve engine; a six-speed transmission; chain final drive; inverted telescopic front fork with 10-way adjustable compression and 12-way rebound damping.

Color: Candytone Green. MSRP: $11,199.

The 2020 Kawasaki Z900RS Café with its café-racer style front cowl shares most of the same specs as the Z900RS ABS.

Color: Lime Green/Ebony. MSRP: $11,799.

Kawasaki’s new-for-2020 W800 has the look of a 1960s standard machine.

Kawasaki says the new W800 as well as the earlier-introduced W800 CAFE are throwbacks to the1966 Kawasaki W1 650 that “represented Kawasaki’s quest for speed and was a true competitor to the well-established Western manufacturers. Preserving the authenticity of the famed W1, the W800 CAFE and new W800 motorcycles have been modernized for trailblazers and their pursuit of timeless performance.”

The new W800 with its standard style, vintage look and lots of chrome boasts an air-cooled 773cc vertical twin engine, bevel gear-driven camshaft and a long-stroke 360-degree crankshaft.

The bike comes in one color: Candy Cardinal Red. MSRP: $9,199.

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Another retro café racer with modern performance is the 2020 Triumph Thruxton.

“The name Thruxton is an internationally acclaimed motorcycle racing icon, born from incredible success at the Thruxton 500 and the Isle of Man TT, inspiring a whole generation of fanatical teenage cafe racers,” Triumph says. “Designed and developed to evolve the legend further, the new Thruxton RS combines all the original cafe racer design DNA and pure original style while pushing forward the level of modern capability and performance.”

The British machine boasts a 1,200cc parallel twin engine with a claimed horsepower of 104 at 7,500 rpm. It has a six-speed transmission, fuel injection, a Showa 43mm fork up front and fully adjustable Ohlins twin shocks with piggyback reservoirs in the back.
Braking power is handled by Brembo four-piston radial monoblock calipers and dual 310mm Brembo floating discs up front and a Nissin two-piston floating caliper and 220mm disc in the rear.

MSRP $16,200.

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From India comes the 2020 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 that is truly styled like the cafe racers of days gone by. The bike is powered by an air-cooled, 648cc parallel twin that puts out 47 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. Claimed dry weight: 437 pounds.
The Continental GT 650 features clip-on handlebars, rearset footpegs and a humped seat. Add to that a 41mm non-adjustable fork with 4.3 inches of travel, dual preload-adjustable coil-over rear shocks with 3.5 inches of travel, 320mm front and 240mm rear brakes with ABS and you have a modern café racer with an MSRP of $5,999.

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