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Hayabusa - Power and Poise
'World's Fastest Production Bike' - The Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa
In an instant it wrenched the title of 'World's Fastest Production Bike' from Honda's CBR1100XX Super Blackbird, and even to this day there has only been the odd challenge here and there (Kawasaki's ZX-12R and more recently its ZX-14) to its supremacy.
What we're talking about here is a motorcycle that could do over 300km/h straight out of the crate. A couple of years later the motorcycle industry realised – after several high profile cases where customers explored the upper ends of their hyperblaster's performance past near-disbelieving radar guns – that perhaps this 'world's fastest bike' thing was doing the industry more harm than good.
So the Japanese manufacturers got together and imposed a limit of 300km/h outright on their top-end blasters, which exists to this day. That means the 2007 Hayabusa isn't quite as fast as one you could have purchased in 1999 – but really, who cares? The bottom line is the Hayabusa of today is still a blisteringly fast motorcycle, with more than enough power and torque on tap to see your eyes punched out the back of your skull whenever you grab a big handful.
But the really impressive thing is just how refined and composed this bike is, given the vast amounts of mumbo available. Suzuki doesn't quote performance stats, but dyno results have shown that we're looking at around 160bhp at the rear wheel, which gives Hayabusa owners a power to weight ratio that will have megabuck sportscar owners seeking counselling en masse.
That in-line four-cylinder powerplant has bulk power and torque on tap just about everywhere, from just off tickover to its 11,500rpm revlimiter. The fact it pulls just 3250rpm in top at 100km/h hints at its potential – a potential which these days you'll only get to fully explore at a track day or on a German autobahn.
At 217kg (dry) it's no lightweight, but once you're underway it melts away. It's not agile in the same sense as a GSX-R1000, but it's nimble enough, and its sporty stance and decent ground clearance mean it's still one heck of a blast on a winding road – particularly of the more open, sweeping kind.
In these environs its quality, fully-adjustable suspension and twin-spar alloy frame leave the Hayabusa feeling rock solid, but keep that confidence in check – you only need to blink when you're winding this thing on to find yourself doing speeds that'll land you straight into an episode of A Current Affair…
Twin six-piston Tokicos copped the onerous task of trying to arrest the forward progress of this finely-honed missile, and they do a good job, providing both the power and feel you need in a performance package of this nature.
But leaving that performance aside, the Hayabusa really is a beautifully engineered machine too. Its name stems from the Japanese for Peregrine Falcon – a creature able to reach 300km/h itself when in a vertical dive – and its smoothly sweeping lines and aggressive intent mirror that of the bird itself.
The paintwork is top notch, and all the brackets, bolts and fastenings look like quality gear too. The instruments have a carbon-look surround which to my mind is a bit cheesy, but they're clear and easy to read, although taller types will find the screen obscures the top of the main dials. Well, unless your chin is on the tank.
The ride position is sporty without being too over the top, while that seat cowl comes off to allow room for a pillion seat and grabrail. It's a particularly sturdy grabrail, and a good thing too. I got a relatively thirsty 11.9km/lt around town from the Hayabusa, which isn't surprising given its potential. With its 21lt tank, you'll be looking at around 220km before you need to find a bowser.
There are vibrations present most of the time when you're underway, which increase the further past 5000rpm you go. But they're not annoying in any way, and in fact they give the Hayabusa an aggressive edge which something like Honda's super-smooth Super Blackbird lacks. There's no right or wrong here; it simply comes down to what you like in a motorcycle.
The Hayabusa really hasn't had much in the way of changes or modifications made to it since its inception, which speaks volumes – Suzuki got it right first time. It's a thrilling bike no matter how you look at it, but prospective buyers should invest in a comfortable perch for their shoulder too – for that little devil that's going to be sitting there each and every time you thumb that starter.
Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa
Engine: 1299cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder
Bore and stroke: 81 x 63mm
Fuel system: electronic fuel injection
Frame: twin-spar aluminium alloy
Front brake: twin 320mm discs with six-piston Tokico calipers
Rear brake: single 240mm disc with twin-piston Tokico caliper
Front suspension: inverted 43mm forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension: monoshock, fully adjustable
Wheels: three-spoke alloy
Tyres: Bridgestone BT56 Battlax; 120/70ZR17 front, 190/50ZR17 rear
Seat height: 805mm
Claimed dry weight: 217kg
Fuel tank: 21lt
Price: $18,490 plus ORC
Colours: red, black or blue
Warranty: 24 months/unlimited kilometres
Contact: (03) 9931 0500
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