Sinister A Suzuki Katana Restomod By Db Customs
The word ‘iconic’ gets thrown around too easily sometimes, but there’s no disputing the Suzuki Katana’s claim to it. Its radical looks might not have won everyone over when it first hit the scene in 1981, but it went on to build a true cult following. So if you’re going to build a Katana restomod, you’d better do it justice.
Darren Begg sure knows how to treat the Katana right. He runs dB Customs out of Ottawa, Canada, and has a knack for building jaw-dropping 80s restomods and race bikes. Not one to sacrifice function for form, he also has a tendency to drown his bikes in well-judged performance updates.
Built for a client, this sinister Suzuki Katana is positively dripping with style. Darren’s brought it up to date with major changes to the bodywork, engine and chassis—but it hasn’t lost any of its retro charm.
The project started out with a 1982-model Suzuki GSX1100S Katana, but very little of the original bike remains. For starters, the engine’s had a full overhaul. It’s now running 1,216 cc Wiseco pistons, with Ray Mancini at Xtreme Motorsports responsible for reworking the head.
Other upgrades include oversized stainless steel valves, Webcams camshafts, and Hayabusa rods with custom spacer plates. There’s also a new ECU from NWT Electronics, and a Dynatek Dyna 2000 ignition with new coils, all made to work with Accel wires. Take a peek behind the front wheel, and you’ll also spot a new Setrab oil cooler.
The Katana inhales through a row of Yoshimura TMR-MJN carbs, and out through a Racefit titanium exhaust system. (You can get an earful of it here [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj_nEq0H8pI].)
Darren gave equal attention to the frame. It’s been braced in all the right places, and mated to a reinforced Suzuki Bandit 1200 swingarm. It’s also running a full complement of Öhlins suspension parts; upside-down forks for the front, and burly piggyback shocks for the rear.
For the wheels, Darren settled on a pair of lightweight aluminum hoops from Dymag, with Avon Spirit ST tires. Twin Brembo brake calipers sit up front, with a single Brembo unit sitting on a custom-made bracket at the back. Both sides run with new braided stainless steel hoses.
All of the Katana’s bodywork looks more or less original, but much of it has been swapped out. Darren kept the original fuel tank—but modified it to accommodate a new filler cap from Newton Equipment.
The front fairing and side covers are new-old-stock parts, fitted with a titanium coated windshield from Ohno-Speed in Japan. A pair of carbon fiber fins sit just below the headlight nacelle—those are from Magical Racing, also in Japan. A carbon fiber fender finishes off the front.
Darren sourced the bike’s new tail cowl, plus its headlight and taillight, from Unicorn Japan. The seat is a bolt-on part from Daytona and AC Sanctuary—two of the best names in the classic Japanese sportbike scene. A tail tidy from Ohno-Speed keeps the back end of the bike clean, while offering a discreet place to mount the license plate.
Darren went all-out on the rider cockpit too, starting with a set of custom-machined yokes. The clip-ons are ABM touring bike items, sitting a little higher than the usual race bike fare for added comfort. They’re fitted with a Yoshi throttle, Driven Racing grips, Brembo levers, and switches from NWT Electronics.
A Koso RX-2 gauge cluster sits front and center, while Rizoma bar-end mirrors flank the bike. Darren finished the bike off with slim Koso LED turn signals and Sato Racing rear-sets.
A menacing black paint scheme drives the point home, punctuated only by a handful of red and white accents. Those period correct Suzuki and Katana logos aren’t stickers either—Darren’s go-to paint shop, Sketch’s Ink, laid the entire livery down by hand.
Kitted to the nines with a flawless stance, this icon looks even better than the day it rolled off the factory floor. Long live the Katana!
dB Customs | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Darren Begg
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