2021 Suzuki Hayabusa
13th February 2021
1,340cc | 110lb-ft @ 7000rpm | 186mph
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The Suzuki Hayabusa. Another motorcycle legend in its own lifetime, and still often spoke of in the kind of reverential tones more generally associated with a cathedral (or, if you prefer, the ecstatic gasps as heard in the average whorehouse).
After eighteen or nineteen years pushing the speed envelope and occasionally dropping jaws, this penis on wheels was finally discontinued in 2018. But the writing had been on the wall since two years earlier (2016, to be specific) when the Euro3 regulations kicked in and declared the bike no longer fit for the times, emissions-wise. Consequently, after a couple of decades wowing the 'Busa fans, Suzuki flogged-off the last few bikes (as permitted under the EU grace period), and then the model was put out to graze.
However, for 2021 it's been reborn as a 3rd generation projectile having skipped the Euro4 regs entirely and moved straight to Euro5; Euro5 being, of course, an even tougher nut to crack in the all-out global assault on filthy-lovely hydrocarbons. As a result, it's all but inevitable that any manufacturer facing these technical restrictions will be wrestling with lower power outputs for a given engine configuration, capacity and geometry, whilst trying to keep the buying public up on cam.
So it is with the new 'Busa, the peak power of the incoming model being lower than that of the 2018 bikes. We're talking about a drop from 197hp (199PS) @ 9,500 RPM to 188hp (190PS) @ 9,700rpm. Nine horses, which isn't actually a huge loss when you've got this much muscle propelling you along—and as a percentage fall it's almost insignificant. And Suzuki has mitigated much of this deficit by fitting a second set of injectors to boost low and mid-range grunt, by upgrading the electronics with a six-axis IMU, by installing cornering ABS, and generally boosting the power delivery through refined internals.
Cruise control is part of the mix. So is a combined braking system, hill-hold control, a one-touch starter, and a low-RPM boost module to preclude embarrassing (or even dangerous) stalls. Also expect Suzuki's own brand of traction control, quickshifter tech, and engine braking control.
The DOHC motor is still four in-line cylinders. The capacity is still 1,340cc. The bore is still 81mm and the stroke is still 65mm. The gears number six. The chassis is essentially the same rig, albeit with a new sub-frame. The 43mm front fork is courtesy of KYB.
Front braking is via a pair of Brembo Stylema calipers operating on 320mm discs. At the rear is a Nissin single-piston caliper which doesn't sound as if it's likely to be much use on a 264kg (580lb) heavyweight motorcycle with all those snortin' horses to play with. But presumably the engineers (and lawyers) have looked carefully at this and are satisfied.
The cast wheels are a new seven spoke design. The OE tyres are Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22.
Styling-wise, the bodywork has been trimmed and slimmed, but it's still clearly very much a Hayabusa and doing all it can to stay faithful to its original iteration. And talking of trimming, Suzuki has shaved a few pounds here and there making this bike a fit candidate for the kind of thrills demanded by the 200mph club—albeit with the factory still restricting power to 184mph.
Overall, we suspect that most Hayabusa fans will be reasonably satisfied with what's on offer, and they'll perhaps understand that there's a point beyond which you can't really go—not if you're also looking for all-round usability in real world riding scenarios with Euro5 snapping at your riding boots. Fuel consumption, if it matters to you, is a claimed 42mpg. But that's probably academic. No one is going to ride one of these with the throttle anywhere between wide open and wide closed.
So it looks like a reasonable rebirth, and it's avoided the complexities and costs of Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and superchargers and turbos and whatnot. It's just pure muscle served up in a more traditional form for riders who want it both fast and simple. All hail the Hayabusa, etc.
And the price? It should be on sale in the spring at around £16,500.
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