Suzuki’s GSXR1300 Hayabusa was launched in 1999 as the company’s entry into the ‘hyperbike’ market fuelling the trend for super quick machines which had been started by bikes such as the Honda Blackbird and Kawasaki ZZR1200. Original models had a top speed just shy of 200mph but were not only acclaimed for their awesome outright power, but also their excellent all-round performance and rideability.
Powered by a water cooled 1300cc inline 4-cylinder motor developing over 170bhp, the Hayabusa featured radical styling which did not meet with universal acclaim, but it’s low drag contributed significantly to the bike’s high speed potential.
On it’s launch the Hayabusa was acclaimed as the fastest production motorcycle in the world, but by 2001 had a speed restrictor fitted to limit the bike to a theoretical maximum of 186mph. From 1999 right through to 2007 the ‘Busa remained relatively unchanged, and the second generation bikes launched for the 2008 model year saw fairly minor revisions to what had proved to be a very successful model for Suzuki. The engine received upgrades which increased its power output to over 190bhp (with three separate performance ‘mode’ switches), whilst the brakes were improved and the bodywork was re-styled, though not significantly altered.
Though never designed for competition, the GSXR1300 Hayabusa’s massive performance has brought it much success in drag racing and motorcycle sprint events. It is also a very popular choice for custom bike fans, particularly in the USA. Custom Hayabusas are very popular on the show scene and on the street. With the growth in popularity of bike engined cars, the Hayabusa motor has also found its way into many kit cars and specials. The standard engine provides ample power and is easily tuneable making it a firm favourite for 4-wheel fans.
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Buying a Used Hayabusa:
The Hayabusa has always enjoyed a reputation for strength and reliability and a good used example should be fairly easy to find. As with all performance bikes it is crucial that the bike is carefully checked over before parting with any cash, but there are no particular weak spots to cause concern. The engine is generally strong but check that it’s not been modified for extra (!) performance. Cosmetically, the finish on the later bikes seems to hold up slightly better than on the first generation Busa, so treat tatty examples with caution.
Finally, why would you want one? – Quite simply a good Hayabusa is a delight to ride, and for what is still one of the fastest bikes in the world today, they represent a great used bike buy. But it’s not all about top speed. The Busa is also useable as a sports tourer, with a comfortable riding position and plenty of room for a pillion. Bear in mind though, this is not a bike for inexperienced riders. Make sure you have plenty of miles under your belt before you take on Suzuki’s mighty hyperbike.