Yep, you read that correctly, a 1400cc Katana. This bike is what happens when a customer comes in with an idea to transplant at Suzuki GSX1400 motor into a GSX750 Katana!
With the two donor bikes sitting in our workshop, the head scratching began as we wrapped our collective minds around the enormity of the job facing us. So first things first lets makes sure the GSX1400 runs before we start tearing things apart. Bingo! all is good.
The Katana was completely stripped to a bare frame which went off for bead blasting before the modifications could start in earnest. Whilst waiting for its return we got on with stripping down the GSX1400.
With a nice clean and rust free frame back from the blasters, we set about first making sure the M.R. Racing carbon fibre tailpiece imported from Japan actually fitted before continuing to mock up the build. It didn’t so the subframe was modified to suit.
A Triumph Thruxton R gave up both its front forks and wheels, the rear of which was mated to the GSX1400 swingarm. To ensure minimal flex the frame was braced at the swingarm pivot point, before a number of other small modifications were made and the frame inspected.
The 1400 motor was then laid into the frame to establish if any further changes required, and once the rear subframe was fabricated we could start the dry build with suspension and bodywork.
The bodywork was raised 12mm to clear the taller 1400cc engine, and the fuel tank needed to me heavily modified to clear the cam position sensor. The fuel pump was mounted in the tank on a machined baseplate with the stock GSX1400 fuel sender requiring modification to fit the Katana tank.
Whilst the engine was out it was given a refresh, machined logo’d cases and a coat of satin black paint before being carefully reinstalled into the frame.
The Thruxton front forks were mounted into a set of Fastec machined yokes, with custom risers and a cnc clock binnacle which housed the stock GSX1400 gauges.
A set of drag bars went on complemented by Aprilia RSV Mille brake and clutch controls.
One of the most time consuming parts of the build was constructing the custom exhaust system, keeping it close to the frame for a neat look required many hours of meticulous measuring, cutting and welding. The resulting system is, we think, a work of art.
The GSX1400 swingarm required modifed top and bottom shock mounts to house the Ohlins shocks, again donated by the Triumph Thruxton R. Machined and integrated swinarms bobbin mounts were also added.
Things were moving along nicely now, so it was time to test fit the bodywork again before it went off to Arnie at Pro Customs for an incredible paint job. The grey base colour was complemented with subtle airbrushing to give a shaded effect before the Katana logo’s were added followed by the clear coat. Its a truly stunning piece of work.
The GSX1400 wiring loom was modified to incorporate a re-located key ignition, and with the Fastec battery box in place it was time to very carefully fit the freshly painted bodywork.
This was quite a build to take on, but we were very happy with the finished bike. Luckily so was Rob who’s eyes lit up when he first saw the finished machine.
Frankentana was born, and when displayed at the Bike Shed show later that year it was constantly surrounded by curious visitors for the whole weekend just trying to work out what they were looking at!