QUICK FACTS

•  Must change whole front end. NO GS parts with GSXR conversion

•  '93-'95 GSXR 750/1100 forks bolt right up to your Katana and clear faring

•  GSXR 1100 forks too wide for fairing cowl (modifications)

•  Late 80s, over 2000 forks GSXR forks too short

•  Honda 954 triples add ride height and work great with '93-'95 GSXR 750

•  GSXR 5.5" wheel fits your katana swing arm with 5/8" offset sprocket from the Katana parts page.

•  '92-'95 GSXR 1100 speedo correct gearing and fits katana speedo.

•  Low trail numbers can kill, make sure yours are safe.

• GSXR conversion drops bike 3" & 25lbs, Kickstand, header?

Katana Frame

     The 1982, 1983 750, 1000, and 1100 Katana frames are the same save one fact. The 750 Katana frames lower motor mount is about 1" closer to the forks than the 1000 and 1100 big brothers. All the cosmetics fit the same, the swing arm is the same and putting an 1100cc engine into a 750 is easy. It is far better to implant an 1100 plant then spend money on gofast parts for your 750cc, IMHO.

     The differences between the 1982 and 1983 frames are this;
1. Foot pegs (rears are not interchangeable between years) Fronts are but you also need to swap out the brake pedal and shifter
2. Front motor mounts changed in '83 and don't go through the frame as the '82s did to accommodate crash bars
3. The '83 has a kickstand safety switch mount by the kickstand

Bracing

     There are many opinions out there on what needs to be done to the Katana frame to keep it from bucking you off in a corner once you have loaded her up with new radials, better suspension, a decent swing arm and gobs of power. The reality is, if you are pushing your kat to its limits on the street, you have much more to worry about then the frame. Minor bracing and an updated swing arm will improve your experience greatly.

   Bracing means you lose your airbox and it is good opportunity to relocate your battery. I tuck a lithium battery up under the side covers under the rear of the tank. There is just enough room with the right battery.
     Here is a katana frame bracing diagram from www.robbynitroz.nl, I have found "D" and "E" bracing is plenty of support for road riding. In this diagram the bracket for the battery has been removed. I weld in another stronger brace in its place.
frame bracing pic
750 frame with 1100 engine

711 Engine Conversion

     The 750 frame is identical to the 1000cc and 1100cc frames accept for one difference. The lower motor mounts on the 750cc frame are about 1 inch closer to the rear of the engine than its big brothers. Transplanting an 1100cc engine into a 750 frame is not a problem. You can easily make a new lower motor mount plate.

Forks & Triples

     One of the most common upgrades for the Katana is the suspension. It is always nice when you can corner better and stop safer. Updating the suspension gives the katana a much more aggressive look and can makes it safer to ride. Not only is there considerable weight savings, you have better brakes and a larger footprint holding you to the road.

     If you have not seen a Katana upgraded with new suspension, have a look on the customs page. I have found for my bikes, the upgrades makes riding the old katana a more  pleasurable riding experience.

It is dangerous to mess with your motorcycle suspension. Don't do it if you do not know what you are doing.

suspension
    Early 1990's GSX-R forks bolt right onto your katana. 1993-95 GSX-R 750 triples even have the correct steering stops, as do the 1100's up to 1998. You cannot mix and match top and bottom triple trees as offsets can differ. Buy a set.

     Honda 954 triples are what I use for my 1992 GSX-R forks. You need to replace the roller bearings with tapered ones that are available on eBay for cheap. Also, steering stops are needed. The bottom triple pinch bolt can contact the katana cowl frame which is a minor fix.
katana conversion
katana conversion
     Here you can see the stance difference between a modded Katana and a stock Katana. Rember, the conversion lowers the bike 3" so you have to think about your kick stand, and header. DO NOT jack the back end up and diminish your trail. That will make the bike unstable and you will be a danger to yourself and others on the road.

USD Forks

     For the Suzuki Katana, some forks work better than others. There are several considerations like fairing clearance, ground clearance, stem bearings and speedometer compatibility.

     It's best to swap the entire front end as mix-and-match can be a headache. As far as inverted or USD "upside down" forks, 1993 GSX-R 750 front ends fit best for the Katana. '93 are the longest but the 1994 and 1995 also work.'92-'98  GSXR 1100 forks work but contact the fairing frame and cowling requiring material removal. The GSX-R 750 forks however, are 1" shorter than the GSX-R 1100, which can be augmented by installing Honda 954 drop triples. Although the GSX-R 1100 forks are longer, the clipons are on top of the triple which uses up an inch of fork length. If you want to use the 1100 forks, you can use ZX series clipons or any other 52mm clipon. You cannot use the GSX-R handle bars as they have no pinch bolts and bolt directly into the top tipple clamp.

    Newer forks are much shorter and risk high speed instability as your trail shrinks to dangerous numbers. Some
GSR-R conversion can drop ride height more than 4 inches. 3 inches plus from shorter forks and 1" from using a 17" wheel vs 19" wheel. For turbo bikes, this isn't a concern, but some headers can make road contact on right hand turns causing a crash. With GSX-R forks, 954 triples and my new Stainless Steel header, I have had no cornering issues. DO NOT jack the back of the bike up to increase ride height as this critically effects stability by decreasing your trail.
Rake & Trail
 
  
     The rake and trail of a motorcycle is important to the stability of it at speed. If your trail number is too low, the bike becomes unstable and is prone to speed wabbles which can endanger you and others on the road.

     Rake and Trail are affected by fork length, triple tree offset and raising the back end of the bike.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

     The lower the number the faster the steering which is why modern supersport bikes have steering dampers. The katana has a lot of trail and is very stable at speed enhanced by its large front wheel and long wheel base. Shorter forks and a raised back end decreases trail so care has to be taken if  you are replacing the front and back ends. Another contributor to trail is the triple tree offset. I recommend you do your research before attempting to modify your katana.

     1100 Katana has 30° Rake, 118mm / 4.65" Trail
katana rake and trail

Converstion Parts Here

 Posted on Friday, November 17, 2017
  
    
    
You can buy conversion parts on the Katana Parts site.

Swing Arm

     It is not recommended to just install a 5.5" wheel with your stock front end. To run a 180mm tire, there is further information about the 5.5" wheel conversion on the "Wheels / Brakes" page.

     You don't need to upgrade your GS swing arm to install a 5.5" wheel but it is highly recommended. The GS swing arm is not engineered for the forces applied by modern radial tires. For your stock GS swing arm you will need a 5/8" offset front sprocket.

     For an good upgrade, I have found the first generation Bandit 1200 swing arm to be the best for the Katana. It does not need the pivot or frame to be modified to fit it. It does require reducer bushings which are available at www.parts.suzuki-katana.com. Unlike other swing arms, with the Bandit you don't have to cut off the peg stays to shoe horn it in, and depending on the year, you can get another inch of wheel base.

Bandit 1200 Swing Arm Conversion

     When I first began upgrading my Katana I wanted to be able to get a stronger swingarm without butchering my frame. The GSXR swing arms I found forced me to remove the peg stays which meant cutting my frame and I didn't want to do that. The best arm I found for this is the 1997 - 2002 Bandit 1200 swing arm. There are some modifications needed to make it fit to your Katana, but less than others I tried.

1. Machine off the mono shock mount if you don't want it to contact your battery box
2. Machine or purchase some 16mm pivot reducer bushings (available on the parts page)
3. Machine or purchase some shock mounts (available on the parts page)
4. Remove the chain guard tabs as one is in the way of the shock mount and the other contacts the frame

     That is it for the swing arm. Now there are some mods to the frame and brake components but minor.

1. Rear brake pedal stop pad needs to be cut in half for fork arm clearance.
2. Rear brake actuator needs to be smoothed for clearance
3. Small spacer between the brake plunger and the frame mount
4. Remove the brake light switch and replace with an inline banjo switch at the master cylinder
5. Fabricate a return spring mount where you want

     In the pictures below you can see the areas that need attention. The middle picture you can see I cut .200" off the inside and used a .200" spacer on the outside of the actuator to move it over. Another method is to spread your peg stays apart 1/4" but keep in mind you need to make sure the brake plunger rod moves strait and freely by the frame rail.
Bandit Swing arm Conversion pivot mod
Bandit Swing Arm conversion Pivot Mod2
Bandit Swing Arm conversion shock mod
Welcome to the Katana technical pages. This site is the result of my years of experience upgrading 1982 and 1983 GS750 / 1100 Katanas with wheels, suspension and brakes to more modern versions. The site also has other information of interest to both Katana and other GS owners.

There is a time and financial cost maintaining this site, and answering your many email questions. Would you consider selecting one of the options below to help offset my time and costs? I guarantee you, after years of searching forums, wasting money buying parts that don't fit and don't work, the information here will save you significant money, time and frustration, because everything on this site has been tested on my own bikes.

Have a look at the information, and if you truly feel you have not got at least a dollars worth of entertainment, inspiration or information, then I thank you for visiting and I hope you liked the bikes, and will come back.
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WARNING Posted on Friday, November 17, 2017
   Information on this site is my personal experiences and experiments with modifications. I am not a licensed mechanic. Any changes to handling, braking or anything else described on this site are for entertainment purposes only. I do not recommend that anyone make changes to their motorcycle without checking with a licensed professional.


 
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