Hayabusa

Suzuki Hayabusa GSXR

Since it first came onto the market in 1999, the Suzuki Hayabusa has been one of the most popular motorbikes in the world. Also known as the GSX1300R, this sports bike had the ultimate honour on its release of being the fastest production motorbike in the world, reaching a top speed of between 303 and 312 km/h, or 188-194 mph.

It took its name from the Japanese for Peregrine Falcon, a bird of prey that has many times been used as a metaphor for all things speedy due to its impressive dive to attack its prey where it reaches an amazing 240 mph. There was yet another reason why Suzuki selected this name for their new superbike, the main prey of the Peregrine Falcon is the blackbird.

This was Suzuki’s way of sending the message out to Honda that they were after their CBR1100XX, nicknamed the Super Blackbird and at the time the fastest bike on the planet. The Hayabusa did what it intended, and ended going 10 mph faster than the Honda, and made the metaphor even more appropriate. Reading this so far, you could be mistaken that all there is to the Hayabusa is speed, yet that is far from the truth.

The first generation of the Suzuki Hayabusa, which was in production between 1999 and 2007, made a massive impression on the biking fraternity. No motorbike in history had ever beaten the world speed record by such a margin, and the Hayabusa was rightly referred to as the glory of speed. The bikes that were part of the first generation came with a 1,299cc inline 4 engine that was liquid cooled, and had 16 valves that were powered by the overhead cams.

This configuration gave the bike a brake horsepower of 173, by virtue of boasting the largest displacement that have ever been seen in a sports bike. The innovative, at the time, ram air system forced the cooled and pressurised air into cylinders at high speed. The stand out feature of the engine was its ability to keep its abundance of power right through the complete range of rpm’s.

As with all trailblazers, by the end of 2007 the Hayabusa was starting to look dated and the latest technology was passing it by. The second generation Suzuki Hayabusa was unleashed on the world in 2008, and was deemed a winner. The body was only slightly remodelled, and the engine’s pistons, exhaust and head were finely tuned to bring it up to scratch.

Even though the changes to the engine at first seemed to many to be inadequate, they did effectively yield a large increase in the horsepower. The amendments also brought the bike into line with the new requirements for noise and emission. As it is today, the Suzuki Hayabusa is still one of the coolest bikes you could ever wish to ride.

There was a tenth anniversary celebration in 2009 at the Santa Pod raceway, and over 500 owners and their bikes converged to raise their glasses to simply one of the most incredible production motorbikes to grace the racing circuit.