What is a Hayabusa? The 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa reaffirms its status as motorcycling’s Ultimate Sportbike. This new generation of Suzuki’s flagship sportbike is propelled by a muscular, refined inline four-cylinder engine housed in a proven and thoroughly updated chassis with incomparable manners, managed by an unequaled suite of electronic rider aids within stunning aerodynamic bodywork that is distinctly Hayabusa.
Riders who have owned or longed for a Hayabusa will recognize the iconic, aerodynamic silhouette that has been polished through wind tunnel sessions so the body features new vent shapes, air diffusers, and reimagined logos while a sophisticated LED lighting system achieves a new zenith of style and function.
What is a Hayabusa?
The Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa is a sports motorcycle made by Suzuki since 1999. It immediately won acclaim as the world’s fastest production motorcycle, with a top speed of 303 to 312 km/h (188 to 194 mph).
Yes, the Hayabusa, along with all other street-legal production motorcycles, has its top speed electronically limited to 186 mph (300 kph). But with some ingenuity – and money – you can go faster. Much faster.
Just ask Becci Ellis. Her husband Mike built a turbocharged Hayabusa, and she rode it to a world-record speed of 264.10 mph in 2014.
Or Bill Warner. He’s a tropical fish farmer from Tampa, Florida, who rode a partially streamlined and turbocharged Hayabusa to a record-breaking 272.340 mph in the standing mile at Maxton AFB in 2010.
For mere mortals riding on public roads, the Hayabusa’s speed cap is hardly oppressive. And it’s really no big deal that claimed peak horsepower for the third-gen 2022 model is lower than that of the previous model (188 vs. 194). Peak torque is lower too. What matters is the extra grunt in the midrange, which helps the new Hayabusa accelerate faster than ever.
Here at Rider, we gave up quarter-mile and top-speed testing a long time ago. It was just too logistically challenging, and on a bike like the Hayabusa, it would be dangerous and felonious without renting a drag strip. In thrust we trust, and on Jett Tuning’s rear-wheel dyno the big Suzook spun up the drum to the tune of 173 horsepower at 9,800 rpm and 106 lb-ft of torque at 6,900 rpm.
We specialize in motorcycle travel and adventure, so after Tom Montano’s first ride mostly on the track at Utah Motor-sports Campus, we wanted to find out how well the Hayabusa works out on the road, ridden until the low-fuel light comes on.
We logged nearly 1,700 miles for this test (including three 400-mile days) on city streets, on freeways ranging from wide open to rush-hour crowded, and on some of the best riding roads the Golden State has to offer.
We burned nearly 44 gallons of premium fuel and averaged 38 mpg; the Hayabusa has a 5.3-gallon tank, so that works out to just over 201 miles of range. Our fuel economy was as high as 42 mpg on mellower jaunts, but it dropped as low as 31 mpg when we pushed hard in the twisties.
As a 582-pound sportbike, the Hayabusa isn’t what you’d call flickable. It’s well-composed, graceful even, and will go where you point it and hold a line dutifully.
But effort is required when transitioning back and forth through a tight series of curves, like those on Highway 1 along the craggy Big Sur coast, on Skyline Boulevard along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, or on Highway 58 as it snakes over the Temblor Range. You have to earn it, and the big reward is lighting the wick on a long, arcing corner exit.
With a perfectly balanced 1,340cc inline Four, the Hayabusa is remarkably smooth. In fact, it requires care to avoid slip-ping into triple-digit territory without realizing it. At 100 mph in top gear, the engine is spinning at just 5,200 rpm – or so I’m told (wink wink). It redlines at 11,000 rpm. Do the math.
When straight-lining on the freeway, I often used cruise control to avoid speed creep. The Hayabusa also has an adjustable speed limiter, which can be temporarily overridden to allow a quick pass. Both are part of the comprehensive, IMU-enabled electronics suite that was included in the Suzuki’s overhaul for 2022.
There are six ride modes (three are preset and three are customizable) that adjust power, throttle response, engine braking, lean-angle-sensitive traction control, wheelie control, and the quickshifter.
There’s also launch control, cornering ABS, front-to-rear linked brakes, rear-lift mitigation, hill-hold control, and Suzuki’s Easy Start and Low RPM Assist systems. The only thing missing is a tire-pressure monitor.
As with state-of-the-art electronics on many motorcycles, they sound more complicated in theory than they are in practice. You can just start the bike and ride it without having to figure anything out, and many of the safety functions operate in the background, called upon only when needed.
Changing the ride mode is as simple as pushing a button, and setting and adjusting cruise control is a no-brainer. Customizing the “user” ride modes takes a few extra steps, but even that isn’t difficult.
The Hayabusa has a crisp, bright, easy-to-read TFT color display in the center of the dash, and it’s flanked by four analog gauges for road speed, engine speed, fuel level, and engine temperature, the latter two being smaller and having attractive gold bezels.
A robust chassis is necessary to harness enormous power. With architecture inspired by Suzuki’s MotoGP GSX-RR racebikes, the Hayabusa’s twin-spar aluminum frame and swingarm use both cast and extruded sections to optimize strength and tuned flex. The 1.5-pounds-lighter subframe is made of rectangular steel tubing to provide the strength needed to support a rider and passenger.
The ’Busa’s fully adjustable KYB suspension is responsive and compliant, and it can be softened for comfort or stiffened for sport or track riding. Top-spec Brembo Stylema front calipers squeeze 320mm floating discs, and they provide excellent feel at the lever and hold-your-horses power.
The combined braking system adds some rear brake when the front lever is pulled, which helps stabilize the chassis. Cast 17-inch wheels are wrapped in grippy Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 rubber with a neutral profile that helps the Hayabusa turn in smoothly and hold its line.
Fast is as fast does
As modern as it is, the Hayabusa feels like a throwback. When you see the latest model parked, you know exactly what it is. It shares an unmistakable family resemblance with the original, paradigm-shifting GSX1300R that debuted more than two decades ago.
The top-speed wars are over, brought to an end through diplomacy rather than supremacy (though the Haya-busa was the king when the OEMs laid down their swords).
The Hayabusa is not a sportbike intended for racing homologation. It’s a big, bold sportbike intended for speed and style, however you choose to interpret those terms. Some will lower it, add a turbo, and go drag racing or land-speed racing.
Oth-ers will extend the swingarm, fit the fattest rear tire they can find, chrome and polish surfaces, and show it off at bike nights. Hayabusas will find their way to the track. Hayabusas will be pressed into duty for commuting, Sunday morning rides, or, as we did, hypersport-touring.
Like the Honda Grom we recently tested, the Hayabusa is a cult bike that has spawned niches and subcultures, each with its own secret handshake. Nearly 200,000 of them have been sold since it was introduced in 1999.
While much of the motorcycle market has become divided into ever smaller specialties and segments, the Hayabusa has remained faithful to its roots rather than chase trends. It evolved over time, and its extensive third-generation redesign brings it up to date without reinventing the wheel.
The Hayabusa station festival
The annual Hayabusa Station Festival in Japan’s Tottori Prefecture in August shows how much Hayabusa is loved. Started right after the second generation Hayabusa model was introduced in 2008, the Hayabusa Station Festival has been held at the Hayabusa station area on a local railway line.
The charming station, built in 1929 and nationally recognized as a tangible cultural property, has the same name, “Hayabusa”, as Suzuki’s flagship model. The Hayabusa Station Festival originated from a small gathering of only 7 Hayabusa riders, who responded to the idea, “why not a Hayabusa rally at the Hayabusa station!”, that was suggested in a motorcycle magazine.
Now, it has grown into a major event for Hayabusa owners, attracting as many as 2,300 bikes and 2,700 participants most recently. It is thanks to the great support and hospitality by the municipalities, the local residents in Yazu town, and Wakasa Railway’s effort to make a “Hayabusa” decorated train on display covered with Hayabusa pictures and logos.
Participants at the Hayabusa Station Festival enjoy programs and activities and share their love of Hayabusa. For the owners, riding on their Suzuki Hayabusa from all over Japan to attend the Hayabusa Station Festival means not only fun touring but also an opportunity for self-awakening and realizing the bike’s uniqueness and their proud ownership.
Poised to create a new legend of ultimate sport performance
nd now Suzuki’s total commitment and tireless effort has given birth to a new generation Hayabusa. Suzuki’s flagship sport model has been reborn and is ready to introduce riders to the future of the ultimate riding experience.
Marking the first full model change in 13 years, the third generation Hayabusa proudly carries on the legacy of ultimate performance established by its predecessors, while further upping the ante.
Every aspect of the new Hayabusa is meticulously engineered and finely crafted to deliver an unsurpassable balance of class-leading performance, controllability, stability, rider comfort and beauty.
The new Hayabusa’s sleek, aerodynamic silhouette is unmistakably that of the Hayabusa. The modern look of its styling and luxurious attention to the finest details are true to its design concept.
The new Hayabusa’s long, low stance screams of the power, performance, poise and keen perceptive abilities possessed by a bird of prey, carrying on the legacy of ultimate performance of preceding generations. The new Hayabusa’s chassis is designed to combine sure footing, nimble handling and predictable control with a smooth and comfortable ride.
The tried-and-true twin-spar aluminum frame and swingarm incorporate extruded aluminum sections that lend the right amount of suppleness and strength required by a machine capable of reaching a nominal top speed of 299km/h.
Refinements implemented to enhance the performance, efficiency, and durability of the new Hayabusa’s legendary 1,340cm3 liquid-cooled inline-four engine extend to almost every major internal component. These new features include the adoption of electronic throttle control and a new S-SFI dual injector design.
The new engine delivers smoother torque and more power through the low to mid range, making the new Hayabusa more controllable. It not only achieves an overall better balance of performance, it also satisfies Euro 5 emissions standards without sacrificing top speed.
An advanced new version of the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.) offers a robust collection of electronic control systems designed to match the needs of the moment and the rider’s level of confidence and experience, optimizing performance characteristics and making the new Hayabusa even more controllable and predictable.
Features include Suzuki Drive Mode Selector Alpha (SDMS-α), which enables riders to select individual settings for five of the control systems as a single group and Active Speed Limiter, a first in the motorcycle industry that allows the rider to set a speed limit they do not want the bike to exceed and then accelerate and decelerate freely up to that speed.
The new Hayabusa is perfectly poised to capture the imagination of a new generation of motorcycle lovers while retaining the admiration of established fans. Suzuki’s advanced engineering technology has brought performance, comfort, control and styling into one elegant whole where the rider can become one with this remarkable new motorcycle.
What is the meaning of Hayabusa?
Named for Japan’s fastest bird, the Japanese peregrine falcon, Hayabusa, often called Busa by its fans, emerged from Suzuki’s famous integrated design process. Designers and engineers collaborated together from the earliest planning stage.
Is A Hayabusa Street Legal?
More than a styling exercise, Hayabusa features one of the best drag coeﬃcients found on any street legal motorcycle, while also achieving excellent CdA and lift values to help maximize top speed potential and stability. New streamlined mirrors are positioned low and outward providing excellent rear view.
How is the Hayabusa so fast?
The Hayabusa’s engine has proven itself to be hugely responsive to tuning and turbocharging, being so innately strong and over-engineered. Outputs of 500 horsepower have been known and one drag racer in the UK, Jarrod Frost, has coaxed 708 horsepower out of his engine to set various UK land speed records.
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