In 1999 Suzuki unleashed the Hayabusa on the world. It was to become the fastest standard production bike of the 20th century.
Hayabusa has achieved legendary status and deservedly so. A brute, a powerhouse. Hayabusa stories litter the internet, Hayabusa folklore tells us of near 200mph runs on public roads and tuners and drag racers the world over modified them, creating turbocharged monsters with power figures that seemed insane.
In 2007 the Hayabusa received a bit of a refresh. Styling was updated but remained very recognisable, and a host of minor mechanical changes kept the ‘Busa relevant and fresh. The engineers worked their magic on the engine, increasing capacity to 1,340 cc and lifting power to a not inconsiderate 194bhp.
Sadly, in 2016 Euro4 landed, which meant that after a 2 year stay of execution, that was the end of the legend.
The king is dead, long live the king.
In 2021 Suzuki resurrected the legendary Hayabusa and it is superb.
The outgoing ‘Bus had 194bhp, and the way the world is, you’d probably expect some serious forced induction ponies, but nope. Suzuki decided the tried and tested 4 pot 1340cc powerhouse format was the one to stick with. In the new ‘Busa the engine is Euro 5 compliant and shock horror makes a little less power than the previous model. Yes, you read that right.
Let’s just pause for a minute. We’re talking about a hyperbike that makes 188bhp. This thing is absolutely insane. It makes 150Nm torque from its revised 1340cc engine, and believe me when I tell you this is a seriously fast bike, more than you’ll ever need on the road.
There have been a host of internal changes to make the bike stronger and even more reliable and these will serve the tuning & racing community very well. This is already a very strong engine with massive tuning potential, now made even better.
Handling is superb. I’m not sure how Suzuki achieved it, but the bike seems to offer a very plush ride, without sacrificing the sporty nature when speeds climb. You have 43mm KYB forks and a KYB shock which do a great job. This is a very balanced chassis that provides great feedback and feel, very confidence-inspiring. I’ve ridden the Hayabusa on all sorts of roads, from well surfaced fast A-roads and dual carriageways to rutted, poorly maintained back roads, and it takes everything in its stride. It holds a line very well and changes direction quickly, offers plenty of grip and is rock steady when cornering. The Hayabusa really shines on faster, sweeping bends, say on A roads.
Brakes are Brembo and are excellent. On the launch, we were hooning up and down a runway, absolutely flat out, again and again, without even a hint of brake fade. These bikes were punished by journalists for 2 days, on completely standard brakes, and they performed perfectly.
They offer excellent feel and incredible stopping power.
The riding position is on the sporty side of touring. The bars are a bit low and the pegs are higher than a touring bike, but it’s not cramped. I did a couple of hours on it and didn’t feel stiff or cramped. Over the years, I may have put a few lbs on, so for me, it’s great. It’s sporty but comfortable.
This is no middleweight sportsbike. It’s a full fat, full power hyperbike.
There is an argument to says that bikes like this are unnecessary and should be banned from the roads and It’s hard to argue against it; who really need a 188bhp motorcycle that will crack a 10-second quarter-mile in standard trim, and push on to nearly 190mph?
It’s a valid argument, but I am so glad the Hayabusa exists, It’s absolutely glorious.
The 2021 Hayabusa is outrageous, unnecessary, addictive, fantastic and still mind-blowing. It is incredibly fast, capable and as legislation continues to strangle our fun, maybe motorcycles like this will become a distant memory. We should celebrate this glorious hedonism for what it is, while it is.