BY: Ken Wootton, PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Supplied
Some 11 years on, Suzuki’s Hayabusa is still bending minds…
- Sporty handling
- Improved aerodynamics
- Impressive mid-range and speed
- Massive mufflers
- Three engine settings cater for different conditions and rider preferences
The last time I rode a Hayabusa I copped a speeding fine – one of those pesky speed camera ones where I found myself around 10km/h over the limit, simply because the ‘Busa is a bike that does that without you knowing.
The first time I rode one I hit 280km/h on a public road after just 10 minutes on the saddle, a speed I maintained for over 5km. It was an exhilarating but unbelievably tiring fang. Fortunately for my licence, I was in Europe on the Autobahn at the time.
There are a lot of memories like that one since I first slung my meaty drumsticks over the 805mm seat of a Hayabusa. Like the time Rod Chappo Chapman and I took down 1450km in a one day loop ride. A ‘Busa and Kawasaki’s ZX-12R were our steeds. ‘Nuff said.
Then there was that time we unleashed a stock ‘Busa along an airport runway with a radar gun and got a reading of 311km/h. What a buzz. That was pre-300km/h speed limiter days of course.
The current $21,490 Hayabusa is more of the same – but different.
Suzuki claims the latest incarnation, with its somewhat droopy arse and improved aerodynamics, offers 11 percent greater performance and smoother running that the earlier versions. Not sure how you measure “smoother running” in percentage terms, but I’ll take Suzi’s word for it.
What I do know is that the ‘Busa is a bike that can pull from 1500rpm in top gear, give a mid-range whoosh like few other motorcycles on the planet and then continue accelerating all the way to 300km/h like a jet turbine.
Those massive mufflers are there to get rid of the noise without removing any ponies, something they do admirably while still allowing an evocative intake roar as compensation, which makes the ‘Busa seem even more jet-like on take-off.
The S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector) allows a rider to choose between three different engine settings depending on riding conditions or riders preference. Call me old-school, but I left it in mode “A” (max power) and just used less throttle.
The Hayabusa is an iconic motorcycle, both in its looks and its performance. Every ride is memorable, be it an interisland blast or a simple commute. But be warned – the way it delivers that performance is deceptive. I guess it’s now a matter of waiting to see what turns up from the Land Transport in my letterbox…
See the Suzuki Hayabusa for sale.
Engine Four-cylinder, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Bore x stroke 81 x 65mm
Compression ratio 12.5:1
Fuel system Electronic fuel injection
Final drive Chain
Frame type Alloy beam
Front suspension Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Rear suspension Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Front brake Twin 310mm discs with four-piston Tokico callipers
Rear brake Single 260mm disc with single-piston calliper
Wet weight 260kg
Seat height 805mm
Fuel capacity 20L