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Hayabusa: Suzuki's gentle giant

2012-11-12 11:33


Another chapter in the legend of the world’s fastest superbike is about to be written with the announcement of a couple of important new features on Suzuki's Hayabusa.

The idea is to keep the bike at the top of the tree for the 2013 model year.

For me, it’s hard to believe that Suzuki’s celebrated superbike (named after the Japanese Peregrine falcon) has been with us for nearly 13 years – but it has.

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That’s right, it was more than a decade ago, back in 1999, that Suzuki shook the bike world with the announcement of the ’Busa, a bike that combined massive thrust, unmatched manoeuvrability and a silky-smooth ride on city streets or the open road.

Just like a heavyweight boxer, it's muscular yet surprisingly agile.


While riders rarely need to call on its full punch off the line, the superabundant power and fleet-footed performance inspire confidence in everyday riding.

If you ever needed more tangible proof of it being the fastest standard production superbike yet made it’s worth recalling that at the inaugural South African speed trials held at Haksteen Pan near Upington in the Northern Cape a few weeks ago only two motorcycles managed to go faster than 300km/h barrier: a pair of Hayabusas!

Beneath that swept-back design beats that glorious Suzuki Hayabusa motor. The resonating feel of pure power evokes an attitude of bold authority from both machine and rider. Through many engineering refinements of the original design, the Hayabusa spirit has endured.

Its incomparable performance delivers a fun and sporty ride at any speed, setting the bar high for rivals and defining "the ultimate sport bike".


I well remember taking a road-test unit to a Buffalo Rally in Aliwal North back in 1099, taking in a near countrywide trip of nearly 1800km over that long weekend. The bike was certainly the quickest I’d ever ridden; factor in some of the world's best biking roads between KZN and the Eastern Cape and you have a ride that sits well in this biker’s memory.

That restrained, refined energy is the presence that turns heads when a Hayabusa and rider pass.

During its short history the ’Busa has evolved yet stayed true to its concept – the very pinnacle of high-performance motorcycles. Its sensational power, speed, smooth ride and overwhelming presence continue to fascinate owners and onlookers.

Using what is widely regarded as the best braking componentry on the market, the 2013 GSX1300R Hayabusa now has Brembo Monoblock calipers with a new lightweight anti-lock braking system as standard that will confidently rein in the potentially ballistic speed of the bike.

The system will give future riders way greater confidence.


Fast as it is, the Hayabusa is equally at home on the highways or city streets. The low centre of gravity that lets it conquer winding roads also makes Hayabusa a nimble urban predator. Then there's its high-quality finish and attention to detail.

The bold design also gives it a unique aura and formidable presence not found on other bikes.

Whatever, the new features mentioned above are sure to appeal to lone riders cruising the highway as well as touring couples.

• Offered in three new colour schemes, the revised Hayabusa should reach South African showrooms as early as the first quarter of 2013 but the price still has to be officially calculated.


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