A CITY, A MAN, A MOTORCYCLE: THE JINDACHI, SPECIAL VERSION OF THE NEW KATANA. TWO STROKES OF GAS FROM ONE END OF THE METROPOLIS TO THE OTHER, TO GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER IN A SINGLE NIGHT
It moves, the Milanese night. From one neighborhood to another, people, trams, taxis, cars. The Suzuki Katana Jindachi follows the flow of the movida, which is strobe and neon light and then noises, voices, which fade only towards dawn.
Dawn, yes: the whole city, or almost, sleeps waiting for another day. Around, the last taxis, the first trucks and our Katana. Dawn, yes, which is neither today nor yesterday. Seems like half an hour ago we were teasing each other… Where will we go? Where are you taking me? Where am I taking you? But, after all, what does it matter? You and me, free, one night all to ourselves. Milan is a light bulb on now; the sun is now lying behind the skyscrapers, beyond the city. What we have in front of us now is darkness.
SO LET’S GO
You. You welcomed me with that barely hard saddle of yours and that wide handlebars, comfortable to grip. The instrumentation is one of the few lights I see besides the ones around: it’s there, in front, clearly visible. It’s your way of communicating with me: how much fuel you still have, how far you’ve already gone, how much I’m exploiting your four-cylinder and in what relationship. But then, above all and above all, it’s your heart that’s talking.
That moped over there, alive, ready to be unleashed. It’s in my hands through the right knob: thanks to this I can make you scream or shut up. And playing, the Akrapovic titanium exhaust, exclusive to this version. There’s not much else between us, not too much control, nor too much electronics that could dampen the terms of this nighttime relationship. So let’s go. First, though, I’m going to observe you a little bit. The taut lines, the square headlight, the elusive tail and a grey that stands out against tonight’s neon colours.
A few red details, the threads and the two-tone saddle, and then the frame embracing a four-cylinder that knows how to scream, can run, if you walk, can obey. In Suzuki they worked on the management of the throttle control to make the delivery smooth and full as soon as you go to stroke it. But on the pavement, between the tram tracks, does one really need to have such a prompt answer? Is there really a need to have a couple available immediately? Well, maybe not, but it gives taste to know that, if necessary, with a simple rotation of the right knob you can unleash hell.
YOU CAN TELL RIGHT AWAY WHEN YOU’RE DRIVING A LEGEND. AT THE TRAFFIC LIGHT THE QUESTION IS POUNDING, “IS THIS THE NEW KATANA?” TRUE HAMMER
GRAY LOOKS GOOD ON EVERYTHING
In fact, the Suzuki Katana is a motorcycle that looks good wherever you put it. Even in the city at night. Its strong point is not to be exaggerated in anything but, perhaps, in those bold and tense lines that trace its perimeter. The suspension is stiff but not counterproductive, the braking is powerful but not aggressive, the gearbox is fast. And speaking of the gearbox: in the city you can put a gear and always keep that one playing, just, with the clutch lever; which by the way is also soft and very modular.
In the saddle the position is welcoming, you can notice the sporty derivation but with the wide handlebars, the tank well slouchy and the footrests not too close to the saddle, you can spend your time on board peacefully. This, on balance, is not a tiring bike. It doesn’t require too much effort, it doesn’t want too much attention. It has been built with a very Japanese approach: everything is easy, easy to handle, not excessive. I find out when I move from one part of the metropolis to another, zigzagging through traffic. The Katana moves fast, light. The steering is a lot, the sitting surface is close to the ground, the weight is well distributed. The city is tiny alleys, the metropolitan city is also highways.
IT GIVES TASTE TO KNOW THAT, IF NECESSARY, WITH A SIMPLE TWIST OF THE RIGHT KNOB YOU CAN UNLEASH AN INFERNO
And in the fast corners the Katana stands there, stable, with its rigid trim. A blade. A sword. Like a sportswoman. Which is a sports one, because the new millennium has brought the discovery of high handlebars to all of us. Do we want to find a flaw in it? Well, in emergency braking on the pavement, the ABS extends the braking distances and the lever pulses a bit. It’s an extreme situation, because otherwise the braking system convinces in everyday driving and even when you push a little more than you should.
The gearbox is fast, we’ve said that, but it’s a little bit past its prime. Sometimes, between second and third gear, there’s a little bit of a shift. It’s just a matter of getting used to it and, probably, it’s a mole due to the few kilometers covered by our exemplar. The traction control, which is adjustable, intervenes in a really perfect way, even when you exaggerate where there is very little grip. The cuts are moderate and very soft. You can hardly feel them, except for that feeling of safety they give you, just when you need them. It’s dawn, the city gets going again. The red detailing of our Katana Jindachi lights up in a new light. One last wheel spin, and it’s time to go home.