The all-new 3rd generation Hayabus

Dubai - The new ride sticks to its roots, but is poised to ruffle the feathers of new age sports bikes

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By George Kuruvilla

Published: Thu 18 Mar 2021, 4:35 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 Mar 2021, 4:36 PM

The Hayabusa is the Japanese term for the “peregrine falcon”. It is the fastest diving bird in the world, one which often reaches speeds of 320kmph while on its descent to capture its prey. And because it serves as the perfect metaphor for speed, Suzuki has named its flagship sport motorcycle after the predatory bird. The Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R was first launched in 1999 to take down the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird, which was the fastest production motorcycle at that time. Later that year, the Hayabusa went on to break the 287kmph mark set by the Blackbird, clocking an incredible speed of 312kmph. In nature, the peregrine falcon preys on blackbirds… and the same seems to apply in the mechanical world!

This hefty and slightly-grotesque-looking motorcycle (in the designer’s own words) is greatly revered in the motorcycle community. In 2008, a more powerful 2nd generation was launched, but a gentleman’s pact between manufacturers meant that top speed was limited to 300kmph. Almost 14 years since, Suzuki has finally overhauled their flagship motorcycle. Fans have had big expectations for the new iteration, dreaming up radical forms and innovative powertrains. Alas, none of that has been realised. Instead, the 3rd generation is more a product of evolution, than of revolution.

Design & Aesthetics

The new motorcycle keeps the long, low-slung silhouette of its predecessors. The full fairing, which lends more visual mass than some cruisers, has decidedly been given sharper edges and contours, allowing the rider to remain tucked in the motorcycle for better aerodynamics. It is now also more pleasing to the eye, thanks to the few but spectacular colour schemes. You can choose between black/orange, white/blue and silver/red combinations — all of which benefit from the tasteful chrome accents. The new bike has addressed fundamental issues, including lighting system. Gone are the yellow hue halogen bulbs and in come the stacked projector LED lamps up front, LED day-time running lamps that double as turn signals and horizontal LED rear strip.

Underneath the bodywork is a twin-spar aluminium frame with extruded aluminium parts that give it the stiffest chassis of any Suzuki yet. But with a curb weight of 264 kg, it isn’t light.

The new switch gear is pilfered from contemporary models while the traditional analogue instrumentation has been retained. There is something about seeing needles sweep across a dial — it is closest indication of how hard an engine works! Suzuki has added a central colour TFT screen to display other information, including rider modes etc.

Powertrain & Performance

For the 3rd generation, rumour has it that Suzuki engineers experimented with many engine configurations, including a turbocharged and 6-cylinder options. But in the end, Suzuki decided to rework the existing 1340cc DOHC liquid-cooled inline 4-cylinder — its tried-and-tested recipe for power, smoothness and reliability. While top end power and torque are down a few notches, now at 187 bhp and 150 Nm, both low-end grunt and mid-range punch have been beefed up significantly.

Suzuki claims it’ll go from zero to 100kmph in just 3.2 secs and it will eclipse the quarter mile mark in under 10 seconds. Even on the move there is prodigious power on tap, you barely have to wring the throttle to get to highway speeds.

Handling, Braking & Fuel Economy

The Hayabusa is known for being unflappable on the highway. The size and mass lend it stability while the engine operates in a fuss-free manner. It can hold its own around sweeping mountain roads. While it won’t be as dynamic as a Honda Fireblade, the combination of the 43 mm KYB upside forks, adjustable rear suspension and sticky Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 tyres, the Hayabusa will comfortably hug the tarmac around g-force inducing turns.

Where Hayabusas of the past have suffered, was in the braking department. For the 3rd generation, the diameter of the dual front discs have been upped from 310 mm to 320 mm for a better bite. Also, the combined brake system allows operation of both front and rear brakes using a single input. While Suzuki has succeeded in meeting Euro5 emission standards, thanks to new 2-stage catalytic convertors, the new bike actually sips more fuel. At 14.9km/L on WMTC cycle, it is as efficient as a Toyota Corolla.

Verdict: All in all, the 3rd generation Hayabusa, with its sharper aesthetics and reworked powertrain, is a win for Suzuki. But the game has significantly moved on with the likes of the supercharged Kawasaki H2 twins and 234 bhp carbon-framed Ducati Superleggera V4 Ducati at the leading edge. Official release dates and pricing for 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa for the Middle East are yet to be announced.

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