The Triumph Speed Twin fulfilled most of my requirements but there was a reason I didn’t go ahead with it.
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Picked up the Katana earlier this month.
I sold off my lovely CBR650F almost 4 years ago. Ever since then, the itch to get another bike was slowly, gradually building up I guess. The Car upgrade happened, but 2 wheels > 4 and I knew something had to give. Post Covid, the realization dawned that we don’t have that long a life anyways. So might as well.
The question was which bike next?
- Almost my entire old CBR650F gang meanwhile upgraded to Huge ADVs (Mostly Africa Twins and a couple of 1250GSAs). But somehow, wasn’t a fan of ADVs in general. Think they are a bit Overkill. If at all I’d want something with Offroad prowess, I’d probably go for something lighter. Like a CRF500L Rally. Which doesn’t exist.
- Sport Tourers still appeal to me. But wasn’t sure if I’d still be comfortable with a semi-committed riding position (Poor fitness). Also, I think I was growing old and bikes with fairings didn’t appeal to me anymore.
- No Cruisers. Nuff Said.
- No Luxury Tourers (Goldwing. K1600GTL). Can’t afford. Not 50yrs old yet.
- Which left me with Nakeds / Standard bikes. These started appealing to me in the last few years. Upright / comfortable riding positions. Ability to Commute. Granted the windblast will be an issue at highway speeds. But I guess I won’t be doing those high speeds anymore on a motorcycle anyways. But since the previous bike was a 650, the urge was to get something bigger. Not that I needed it.
The silly pricing aside, big bike aficionados are spoilt by choice these days compared to even 7 or 8 years ago. In the Naked / Standard segment there were the below options:
- Modern Nakeds – Z900, BMW S1000R etc.
- Retro-ish Nakeds – Most Triumphs, Kawi W800 etc.
In retrospect, selling off a bike which I loved so much (CBR650F) felt like a bad idea. The idea now was to retain the bike which I was about to purchase forever. This means the bike needs to age well ie; should look good 10 to 15 years down the line. This seemed to rule out all the modern nakeds. So retro it was:
- There are some Sexy retro nakeds sold outside India which I’d have bought in a jiffy if offered here. Honda CB1100RS, Honda CB1300 (UJM, but still retro to me).
- The Kawi Z900RS is a lovely machine. But Kawi botched the pricing when they launched it here the first time. And I don’t think it will be any cheaper in case they decide to bring it back.
- Honda CB1000R – Now this one was seriously on my consideration list. I love the Neo-sports cafe theme in general and I loved what they did with the update to the CB1000R in 2021 (teardrop-shaped LED headlamp, Black Edition). Plus I’m a huge Honda fan and did have a very satisfactory ownership experience with the CBR650F.
- BMW RNineT – #3 on my consideration set. Love the design, I think the boxer engines are a novelty and are hence cool. However, wasn’t entirely sure if I could afford BMW maintenance in the long run. So this was out.
- Triumph Speed Twin – #2 on my consideration set. I think Triumph has done a great job with the entire Bonneville lineup. The Speed Twin appealed the most to me. Really thought about this one for a fair bit. But I guess I wasn’t a fan of Parallel twins as much as I tried. Granted the 270 crank twins sound good but I guess the CBR650F inline4 experience spoiled me. So grudgingly, the Speed Twin was out. Despite ticking most boxes.
- This brings me to the Katana. I’m generally a fan of 80s Jap superbikes. Including their Square headlamps. When Suzuki brought back the Katana in 2019, I was instantly a fan. I could care less about the fact that it was just a regular GSX-S1000 in fancy bodywork. When Suzuki brought the updated version to India, I knew this was it. 12-litre tank be damned. I don’t think I ride that long anyways without the need for a break. Just had to improvise.
Aryan Suzuki (Hoodi, Near Whitefield) is the only dealer in Bangalore. No fluff. Was offered a 1.5L discount on OTR which I gladly took. So now it was 15.75L OTR. The 14.5L OTR price in other states is a steal. Booking and Delivery experience was pleasant. Hoping after-sales is the same.
So here’s my bike. I preferred the Silver instead of the Matte Blue (which also looks cool). I happen to fit a bunch of accessories (sourced from Europe) while taking delivery – Tail Tidy, MRA windscreen, Fork Sliders, Cotton Reels, Radiator Protector, Handlebar risers, and Frame sliders. So, apologies if my bike doesn’t look stock.
Side view. Enough Ground clearance (140mm). Haven’t scraped any speedbumps so far. Even though I live in Bangalore. Seat height is a tad high though. I’m 5’9 and barely flatfoot with my riding shoes.
Front 3/4ths. Best angle for the bike I guess.
Rear 3/4ths. I prefer the conventional license plate mounting. Others prefer the Standard issue Tyre hugger arrangement which the Katana normally comes with. I need to do something about the Chicken Strip.
Stock Seat is fairly comfortable. And pillion seat isn’t a joke.
Stock riding position is fairly comfortable, but these risers make them even more so. I need to hit the gym I guess.
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