Ever since it was first launched way back in 1999, the Suzuki Hayabusa has been one of the world’s fastest, most iconic super sports motorcycles ever to emerge from Japan. Over the years, it’s faced competition from Kawasaki (ZX-12R and ZX-14R), Honda (CBR1100XX Super Blackbird) and BMW (k1300S) but the ‘Busa has always come out on top. For the last few years, Suzuki had also been assembling the Hayabusa in India and selling it here with an ex-showroom price tag of around Rs 13.75 lakh, which made it hugely attractive for enthusiasts. However, Suzuki stopped selling the bike in India towards the end of 2019, since its engine was not BS6 compliant.
Suzuki has now unveiled the all-new, third-generation Hayabusa, and we hope it will make its way to India by mid-2021. Compared to its predecessor, the new Hayabusa gets a major revamp, including new bodywork, updated engine, a new suite of electronics (ABS, traction control, ride-by-wire throttle control, riding modes, launch control, bi-directional quick-shifter and more) and colour TFT instrument panel. The chassis has been revised, the subframe is new, the vertically stacked headlights are now LEDs, and the brakes and suspension have been updated.
While Suzuki has sold close to 200,000 units of the Hayabusa worldwide over the last two decades, fans of the bike had been expecting Suzuki to offer a radically new engine for the 2021-spec, third-generation machine. ‘We considered a variety of engine configurations before arriving at the final design. Experimentation included building prototypes with larger displacement engines, turbocharged versions, and others with six cylinders,’ says Naoki Mizoguchi, the new Hayabusa’s engine designer. ‘In the end we came to the conclusion that the original engine package achieved the best overall balance. We also came to the conclusion that not changing the basic layout was key to retaining the Hayabusa’s distinct identity,’ he adds.
The 2021 Hayabusa gets a totally reworked version of the earlier bike’s 1340cc inline-four, with much-improved torque and power delivery. For now, Suzuki is not quoting any horsepower or torque figures for the new bike but it has announced that the new ‘Busa will be electronically limited to 299kph / 186mph. That, of course, should be more than enough for anyone, though we suppose aftermarket tuners will help remove or disable the electronic restrictors for those who want to go even faster. And, yes, with its Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 tyres, which are said to offer prodigious amounts of grip at high speeds, and massive 320mm twin brake discs at the front, with high-spec Brembo Stylema callipers, which offer awe-inspiring braking performance, the new Hayabusa is fully capable of doing insane speeds.
What do we think of the new ‘Busa? Well, the bike looks terrific (especially the silver one, with red accents) and its new suite of electronics, with GSX-RR this and MotoGP that, is likely to make its engine’s power output more controllable for regular riders. However, the fact that the bike gets an updated version of the earlier ‘Busa’s 1340cc inline-four is a tiny bit disappointing. We do wish Suzuki had decided to go for a bit of technical innovation. A 1200cc six-cylinder turbocharged engine, maybe? A supercharged V4? Maybe even a performance-oriented hybrid of some sort, with a 900cc three-cylinder petrol engine and twin electric motors, along with some kind of alternative front suspension? Then again, we understand that while all-new tech might have been exciting for some buyers, it would also have been extremely expensive to develop and hence economically unviable for the company. Extreme performance is what the ‘Busa does best and that’s what the new model has been designed to deliver.
The 2021 Hayabusa will be in European showrooms by March this year, with a price tag of £16,499 (Rs 16.50 lakh). If Suzuki again decides to assemble the new Hayabusa in India via CKD kits, it might be able to offer the bike with a sub-Rs 20 lakh price tag, which would be brilliant. Go on, Suzuki, do it; India is waiting for the new ‘Busa.