Benelli Sei. Honda CBX. Kawasaki KZ1300. The list of history's inline six-cylinder production motorcycles is short for a reason: They're complicated, expensive to manufacture and too wide to allow the lean angles of which modern sportbikes are capable. Or so says conventional wisdom.
Suzuki begs to differ. At October's Tokyo Motor Show, the Hamamatsu-based manufacturer unveiled the Stratosphere, a prototype 1100cc six meant to showcase next-generation technology. Like Yamaha's 2006 FJR1300AE (see 2006 Yamaha FJR 1300AE First Ride HERE), it features an automatic gearbox, but also offers the rider the option of shifting manually. Tank-top buttons let him select which parameters he wishes to view on the color instrument display, as well as adjust the windscreen and pop open the gas cap. Styled to resemble a 1980s Katana, the bike looks large but is barely bigger than a GSX-R1000.
Though the six is at this stage merely conceptual, so too was the B-King when it debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show four years ago, and that bike is now poised to enter production. So you could say that with the Stratosphere, the sky's the limit.