Suzuki Hayabusa, also known as Suzuki GSX1300R is one of the most famous sport bikes around, if not the most famous one, period. It’s fame comes from the fact that, soon after entering the production line, in 1999, it was acclaimed as the fastest production motorcycle in the world, even this was not the goal of the engineers that created the bike in the first place. It’s main competitor was Honda CBR1100XX, also known as Super Blackbird. Right from the start, Hayabusa surpassed Honda CBR1100XX by more than 10 miles/hour (16 km/h) The hierarchy was set!
One of the interesting stories here is linked to the name of this bike: Hayabusa, in Japanese means “peregrine falcon”, a bird of prey, well known for the high speeds reached when hunting (325 km/h) and for the free vertical dives, being the fastest bird in the world, often serving as a metaphor for speed. Well, Honda CBR 1100XX is also known as the Super Blackbird, while peregrine falcons are known to prey on blackbirds. So, even the name was set with a meaning here…
So, how fast Hayabusa really is?
Now, coming back to the story, Suzuki Hayabusa, GSX 1300R reaches a top speed of 188 to 194 mph (303 to 312 km/h) and that’s a fact! Indeed, the fastest crotch rocket in the world! No other sport bike could brag itself for this!
Being the fastest crotch rocket in the world means money on the table, means sales and, as you can imagine, no sport bike could stay there for long without it’s position being challenged. That being said, in 2000, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R tried to surpass Suzuki Hayabusa 1300R, falling 4 mph short of claiming the title. Hayabusa remained unbeaten.
When rumours appeared that Kawasaki prepares again to challenge Hayabusa, the authorities started to fear this race for the highest speed would eventually lead to more and more accidents, to more and more people getting killed on the streets so this led, in 2001, to an informal agreement between Europe and Japan, to limit the top speed of sport bikes, so, starting in 2001, all sport bikes were electronically limited to 299 km/h, Suzuki Hayabusa included. After this moment, no sport bike could surpass anymore Hayabusa’s top speed. Officially and historically,it remained the fastest production bike ever. Period.
So far we have spoken about it’s top speed, but people all around the world acclaimed Hayabusa for more than it’s top speed, other features such as easy handling, comfort, quality, price, fuel economy and overall value delivered to customer not being harmed too much in the quest of the highest speed. As a matter of fact, this was the very goal of the motorcycle in the stage of design process: overall value delivered to customer. What do you know!
If we look deep into it, Suzuki Hayabusa also delivers constant power through the entire rpm band, which makes it even more appealing to experienced riders and stunters, being able to control the bike at any speed, in any gear. This happens thanks to it’s engine, the largest motorcycle engine at the moment Hayabusa was released, in 1999 and remained the largest until Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 came into the scene.
How about Suzuki Hayabusa’s design?
If we look at Hayabusa’s design, we could easily say it’s not the most beautiful in the world of sport bikes, but for sure it is daring and it did start a lot of debates. This unusual shape has two meanings: help the bike reach the record breaking speeds (being somehow a consequence of the technical demands) and helping the superbike stand out of the crowd by being different. And we could say it succeeded, making the bike really stand out. To make things even better, in 2008, Suzuki made a few minor changes to the design and also to the engine, delivering even more power to the bike (11-12% increase in power) and making it compliant with new regulations regarding noise and gas emissions.
To measure the success of this superbike, I should tell you that a typical sportbike sells well in the first year and the sales decrease every year as time goes by. Well, Suzuki Hayabusa reversed this pattern, selling better and better as time goes by. At this moment, more than 175.000 Hayabusa’s were sold worldwide and we’re still counting!
Suzuki Hayabusa has a lot of fans all around the world, there is a whole street culture centered around Hayabusa and even the police uses it as a pursuit vehicle.