NEW Suzuki Hayabusa Review (2021)

 

Welcome to our one-stop article for everything relating to the 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa. We’ll be updating the page throughout the year beginning with a detailed feature following our trip to Suzuki GB HQ to see and touch the new machine. We whip the fairings off and even speak to Suzuki GB Director, Paul de Lusignan, asking him the pertinent questions about the third generation ‘busa. We’ll then have the first ride review here and we’ll also be running the bike as a long-termer this year so Simon Hargreaves will be at your beck and call.

 

Contents

What Have Suzuki Done To The Hayabusa?
The 2021 Hayabusa: what’s new?
Design targets
So why have Suzuki gone down this route?
Conclusion

 

2021 Suzuki Hayabusa Launch Review
Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (2021) price and availability
Power and torque (all figures claimed)
Engine feel and performance
Gearbox and exhaust
Fuel economy
Handling: frame, suspension and weight
Wheels, tyres and brakes
Equipment, styling, ergonomics and comfort
2021 Suzuki Hayabusa: VERDICT
2021 Suzuki Hayabusa Technical Specifications

 

2021 Suzuki Hayabusa exclusive!

Up close as the fairings come off the new GSX1300R plus we interview Suzuki GB Director, Paul de Lusignan

 

What Have Suzuki Done To The Hayabusa?

Normally when announcing an updated bike, especially one that’s taken at least seven years too long, the very least we’ve come to expect is more power and torque. It’s vanishingly rare to hear of a bike with less engine performance than the previous model – not because we’re all speed freaks (although some of us are, ahem), but because, for better or worse, performance is regarded as a measure of progress. Even when all bikes are limited to a self-imposed 186mph top speed limit, that’s not the point – when was the last time you heard anyone declare proudly: “Here’s my new bike, updated and improved over the old one, and guess what: it makes less power!”

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_05

 

In 1999 Suzuki’s Hayabusa – free of top speed limitations for a glorious first 12 months – set a new benchmark of production bike engine performance. With a measured 155bhp at the wheel, which was easily pushed above 160bhp with a full system, it was the fastest, thrustiest, most powerful bike on the roads. And even if we didn’t use all of it in day-to-day riding (ahem), it was a hell of thing to know what superpower could be unleashed within a short twist of our right wrist. And, with its distinctive melted wind-tunnel styling, everyone else knew it too. And boy, did that feel good. It was boss; Busa owners of either gender had an inch on everyone – and I don’t mean in height.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_06

 

This was the archetypal Hayabusa experience; it was the essence of the bike. And while, in later years, the Busa’s innate exceptionalism declined slightly with speed limits and emissions regs (not to mention superior stock performance from Kawasaki’s ZZR1400 and H2 SX SE), it was still an underpinning characteristic of the machine. Yes, plenty of Busa owners went touring and plenty used it for gentle Sunday ride-outs – but they knew and we knew what the Hayabusa name meant and what it stood for.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_07

 

So since Suzuki finally revealed the third generation updates to the GSX1300R, 13 years since the last overhaul that saw it big-bored to 1340cc, enthusiasm has been muted in some quarters of existing Hayabusa ownership. It’s neither the bike’s looks, nor its price, nor its sophisticated line-up of engine management and rider aids that cause murmurs of discontent. It’s the new bike’s power and torque figures: the previous Hayabusa made a claimed 195bhp, which worked out to around 180bhp at the wheel, and a claimed peak 113 lb.ft. Suzuki say the new Hayabusa makes 187bhp – that’s 8 bhp less – so it’ll actually make around low 170s on a dyno; getting close to a first generation Busa with an Akrapovic on. And the new bike makes claimed peak of 111 lb.ft. Gearing has remained the same between the two bikes.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_08

 

Now, Suzuki – probably truthfully – say the missing top end performance is redistributed throughout low- to mid-range revs and makes the new Hayabusa faster and more satisfying in real world riding conditions. But for some existing owners that’s beside the point – there’s certainly a level of collective disappointment and, “I’ll keep the old one, thanks.” That 8bhp might not be what owners use, or what they need – but in a modern motorcycling world in which plenty of sports 1000s and hypernaked bikes make 170bhp at the back wheel for breakfast, and which some adventure bikes are getting pretty close to – is less really more for the 2021 Hayabusa? Or is it just, well… less?

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_09

 

And it’s not just owners – at the launch of the previous Hayabusa at Austria’s intimidating Salzburgring in 2008, the Hayabusa’s designer, Koji Yoshiura, said, “The new Hayabusa could not maintain the original concept of Hayabusa without increasing power.”

So what are Suzuki thinking?

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_10

 

The 2021 Hayabusa: what’s new?

To try and understand Suzuki’s new Busa, and why increasing (or even maintaining) its peak engine performance figures wasn’t a priority, we need to start with what Suzuki have actually done. And although there’s much that’s familiar under the new bike’s skin, there are a lot of updates and changes too:

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_11

 

First off, the engine is the same basic architecture as the old bike – fundamentally the same water-cooled, 16v, 1340cc inline four, rightly famed for its tremendous midrange heft and bullet-proof durability. There’s no variable valve timing, no funny firing intervals, no forced induction. Suzuki claim they looked at alternative engine configurations – and I’m sure they’ve built them in the past – but to be frank, it’s unlikely any other engine configuration found its way off a drawing board and into a Hayabusa chassis for a live dynamic test. The claim is much more likely to be at the ‘just talking about it’ end of ‘looking at’.

Suzuki say the design targets for the 2021 engine were:

  • Better durability
  • Updated electronics
  • “Achieve greater power and torque with smoother delivery throughout the low- to mid-speed range”
  • Meet Euro 5 emission regs without sacrificing top speed

Taking these one by one…

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_12

 

Design target 1: Better durability

Sounds reasonable, but this is actually a weird thing to claim; manufacturers almost never talk about reliability unless it’s in terms of extended service intervals (which the Busa hasn’t got, so it can’t be that much more durable). That Suzuki have made it point number one with a bike as already reliable as the Hayabusa is possibly a distraction from -8bhp’s worth of something else.

Anyway, the Busa’s engine has a well-deserved reputation as bomb-proof – that’s why engine tuners love them; they’re tuned, supercharged, turbocharged and modified by people like Big CC, Holeshot Racing and Radical – if there’s a world wheelie speed record, or a land speed record, a Hayabusa engine probably holds it.

But nonetheless, Suzuki say they improved the durability of the new Busa with:

  • revised oil passageways feeding the crank with 54% better oil supply
  • pistons and rods are a cumulative 116g lighter, but redesigned to be stronger
  • detail changes to bearing specs in the transmission and production methods for engine assembly

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_13

 

Design target 2: Updated electronics

In terms of electronics, in 2008 the Gen 2 Busa got a three-way power mode selector switch and ABS in 2013 – so, not a lot of sophistication going on. It’s pretty basic – which some riders prefer. Don’t ask me why.

Apart from styling, electronics are by far the most significant change to the new Busa – and stop me if you’ve read all this before: We have:

  • a 6-axis IMU, which informs the bike’s ECU of its dynamic condition, and allows for lots of electronic systems including,
  • 10-level traction control
  • 10 levels of anti-wheelie
  • three-way power mode selector
  • engine brake control with three settings – in conjunction with a new slipper clutch
  • up and down quickshifter, with three modes, including off

All these settings are pre-programmed into three fixed rider modes – Active, Basic and Comfort – plus three customisable setting so you can programme your own Wet Mode, or Silverstone Mode, or B660 Mode etc.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_14

 

But wait, there’s more! We also have:

  • launch control with three different rev limits
  • cruise control – which is handy for setting a fixed speed in speed limits…
  • a speed limiter – also handy for setting a fixed speed in speed limits…
  • rear while lift control under downhill braking
  • … and Cornering ABS and Hill Hold Control

What we don’t get is heated grips, except as an option. Which means they aren’t integrated. I would happily trade most of the above for warm hands.

All this also means the Busa is now ride-by-wire, as per the V-Strom 1050 and GSX-R1000R – but unlike the Strom, the GSX-R and Busa’s throttle sensors are still cable-actuated for a more natural twistgrip feel.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_15

 

And unlike the trend for modern bikes to sprout buttons to manage all their electronic options, the Hayabusa’s are controlled via Suzuki’s simple two-way rocker and mode switch – stepping through each setting might not be the fastest way to access them, but it’s so intuitive and uncomplicated you save time simply because it’s hard to get it wrong. Literally, a thumbs up.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_16

 

The clocks have retained the old Busa-style analogue dials with electronics displayed on a central TFT section – which also includes a lean angle display and G-force indicator. It’s hard to criticise Suzuki for not going down the full TFT route when the clocks look this good. Another thumbs up.

 

 

Funnily enough, Suzuki don’t claim new styling as a design target – but it’s clearly all new, from the pointier nose to the rear spoiler. It’s a sharper, sleeker, more modern look – but still very much a Hayabusa. Again, plaudits to Suzuki – the Busa looks quality: indicators integrated into the running lights at the front and brake lights at the rear, the chrome panel trim really pings, a new anti-vibration top yoke looks nice as do the mirrors, and now the bars are 12mm closer to the rider – so although the Busa is still a sporty riding position with er, compact leg room, the top half isn’t as stretched out as the Gen 1 and Gen 2. It’s not as dripping with quality as a modern Triumph, or as tech-loaded as a Ducati or BMW – no semi-active suspension, no push-button ignition, no backlit switches, no Bluetooth connectivity or media management, no heated grips… hang on, I already said that.  

 

 

The frame and swingarm are pretty much identical to both previous Busas – KYB suspension front and rear is updated for smoother performance (and because anyway, that’s how KYB is making them now), and brakes are uprated with Brembo Stylema calipers and 320mm discs (up from 310m). Busa brakes – especially the first Gen’s six-pots ­– were always criticised for a lack of power. Kerb weight is up a couple of kilos to a claimed 264kg; it’s not a light bike, but it’s not unwieldy.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_22

 

Design Targets 3 & 4: Greater power and torque with smoother delivery throughout the low to mid speed range, and meet Euro 5 without sacrificing top speed

Ah, there’s an elephant in the room and we need to talk about it.

The established method many manufacturers use to get their engines to meet E5 without losing performance is to make them bigger – it’s called upsizing. This is because making an engine bigger – very generally – means (among many other things) a) it works less hard for a given level (say, a Euro 5 emissions test) so it’s cleaner, and b) it has better thermal efficiency – it gets more performance bang for its fuelling buck. And of course, it has the added advantage of at least matching its previous, smaller engine’s power output, and usually exceeding it slightly.

That’s (partly) why a long list of bike engines keep getting bigger: BMW’s R1200 is now a 1250, Honda Africa Twin 1000 is now an 1100, Triumph’s Tiger 800 is now a 900 and Yamaha’s MT-09 is now 889cc, not 847cc.

So, as a manufacturer striving to meet Euro 5, you have a choice:

  1. Make your engine bigger and make the same, or slightly more peak power and torque, or
  2. Keep your engine the same size and make less peak power and torque

Suzuki have gone with option b) – on the face of it, a curious choice given a significant part of the point of the Hayabusa is all that ‘peak performance’ stuff. The 2021 Busa makes a claimed 187bhp at 9500rpm against the previous bike’ claimed 195bhp at 9700rpm, and 111 lb.ft at 7000rpm against 113 lb.ft at 7200rpm.

So that’s 8bhp lower peak power and down on peak torque too. If we look at what Suzuki have done to get the existing motor through Euro 5, turns out that’s about par for the course.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_23

 

Cleanliness starts inside the combustion chamber. Suzuki have altered cam timing to reduce valve overlap – the period in the engine cycle when inlet and exhaust valves are open at the same time. Generally speaking, this has the potential to make an engine a) cleaner but b) make less peak power. This is because a wider period of valve overlap is good for shifting gas through your engine, especially at higher revs – so it can rev harder and make more power – but it’s also dirty because some fresh fuel coming into the chamber can go straight out the exhaust. In the old days, you’d compensate by just chucking more fuel in and damn the emissions. But do that now and your engine will fail Euro 5. And 4, and maybe even 3.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_24

 

In order to burn as much fuel as possible, Suzuki have gas-flowed the cylinder head, machining around the valve area to encourage the mixture to swirl – Suzuki have been putting TSCC (Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber) in their brochures for decades: you’d think the design would be optimised years ago.

The fuel injection system is refined to suit the new demands on pumping air through a now slightly more strangled engine – the ram air system is more efficient, the airbox is a litre larger (taking a litre out of fuel tank space – more on that later) and the throttle bodies are taller and narrower (because a narrower tube increases air velocity, but not volume). This is a classic detuning/retuning process used ever since manufacturers started putting ex-sportsbike engines in sports tourers and the like; reduce overlap, narrow the throttle bodies, and you’ll take off revs, peak power, and redistribute it through the midrange (although no-one could ever tell).

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_25

 

Suzuki have also tweaked the fuel injection, angling the second injector and firing it into a static plate instead of a secondary butterfly valve. Suzuki say it atomises the fuel better; it also looks like a much cheaper assembly (no secondary valves, no servos etc). I’m sure that’s a coincidence.

To get the gas out the other end of the motor, the Busa’s exhaust is redesigned with an extra link pipe across the headers, a catalyst in the collector box and one in each end can – basically, a bigger cork. Despite this, Suzuki say a redesign has made the cans shorter, smaller and lighter than before. Sacking that lot off and fitting a race system, with a suitable re-map, could well liberate, say, 8bhp.

Anyway, the result of all this retuning/detuning is to get a piece of paper with Euro5 stamped on it. But it also means less peak performance. Suzuki say that missing top end performance is indeed redistributed at lower rpm:
“While peak output is marginally lower than on the second-generation model, the new Hayabusa’s broad power curve produces equivalent or greater overall output when measuring the total value across the range of low through high engine speeds.”

On the road, on a new bike, the chances of anyone noticing the missing top end are minimal. For a start, you’d need a very long, quiet road to find out. And there’s a much greater chance of noticing extra midrange, if there is indeed any – that’s where most of us ride most of the time. Suzuki themselves say the new bike is a tenth of a second quicker 0-60 (what, even with launch control? Can’t be very good then) and has the same limited 186mph top speed.

But on the road is one thing; that cuts no ice when the 2021 Hayabusa is stood next to a 2008 Busa taking a leak at the urinals and cops a look over… the old one is… well, it’s bigger. And bigger is, if not the whole point, then at least a substantial Hayabusa pillar.

And in one of those logic-defying twists of ‘green’ hypocrisy, the result of choking up the Busa’s engine is an increase in fuel consumption – remember the thing about bigger engines having to work less hard? The 2021 bike, according to Suzuki’s own figures, is 15% more thirsty than the previous bike – from a claimed 50mpg to 42mpg.

At the same time, the extra litre in the airbox has robbed a litre from the fuel tank, 5% smaller than before, at 20 litres.

The old Busa wasn’t exactly a 200-mile range bike; 150 more like, 130 if you had flappy waterproofs on and were in a bit of a hurry. If the new bike’s engine is used a bit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the fuel light on at under 120 miles, which is a real shame and, for many potential owners, will be much more of a pain in the arse than a few missing bhp at the top end.

 

Up close with the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa_26

 

So why have Suzuki gone down this route?

Finally we come to the heart of the matter – why didn’t Suzuki just make the Hayabusa’s engine 100cc bigger and meet Euro 5 and maintain performance, especially given it’s so important to the brand?

As a rebuttal, Suzuki GB make several points which, while true, don’t explain Suzuki’s rationale. They claim the world is a different place and the whole ‘peak performance’ thing is less relevant today than 1999. That’s true. They also suggest bike owners now are less interested in outright performance and are looking for a more sophisticated riding experience – which is also possibly true.

But the real reason Suzuki haven’t made the Busa’s engine bigger is because they can’t without a more significant architectural engine redesign – the original 1299cc Hayabusa had an 81mm x 63mm bore and stroke. The Gen 2 bike took stroke out to 65mm for 1340cc, but kept the same bore. A quick glance at various tuning specs shows the maximum overbore for a Hayabusa block is 84mm – that would give 1440cc, which would, even with Euro 5, put the Busa comfortably up around the 200bhp mark. But an aftermarket overbore is one thing; doing it with all the constraints of production reliability and durability is a different matter – and perhaps Suzuki don’t consider it a viable production option without that big engine redesign. Which, in addition to all the other changes, would then price the bike above its £16,500 price target.

And that’s the nub of it: Suzuki have struck a balance between the cost of a new engine, the price of the bike, the number of people Suzuki want to sell it to, its reputation for reliability, the cost and level of electronic sophistication, and the relative risk of alienating a few existing owners because it’s lost 8bhp. Now, it’s easy (and true) to say other manufacturers make a different call, make the motor bigger, maintain performance, and don’t drive the price through the roof. But they can spread the cost of doing that – Honda’s Africa Twin motor pops up in a four-wheel buggy in the US; BMW’s 1250 flat twin goes in multiple models across their range etc. Suzuki’s Busa motor goes in one, relatively low-volume bike; too low to recoup what would be even greater R&D costs.

 

Conclusion

So after all this we have, on the plus side, a new, 2021 Hayabusa with:

  • a successful styling refresh and perceptible increase in perceived build quality
  • a complete update of electronic systems with a restrained and uncomplicated user interface, lovely clocks and simple switchgear
  • an improved riding position
  • updated suspension and brakes
  • more claimed midrange engine performance
  • same top speed

    On the downside, it:

  • makes less peak power and torque
  • is thirstier and will have less tank range
  • isn’t quite the last word in technology; no semi-active suspension etc

Is that enough to put us off? Time will tell – Suzuki say they’ve already sold over half the 2021 allocation of bikes.

 

 

2021 Suzuki Hayabusa Launch Review

Welcome, speed freaks (and everyone else) to the UK launch of the 2021 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa. We’re parked at the far end of the 0.8-mile runway at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire, with ace performance tester Bruce Dunn and a 2D GPS datalogger (as used in MotoGP).

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_05

 

Bruce launches the Suzuki up the runway in a snarling flurry of revs. He crosses the 60mph mark in 2.69 seconds.

2.49 seconds later (5.18 seconds from standstill) he’s doing 100mph.

5.53 seconds after that, 10.71 seconds from standstill, Bruce and the Hayabusa are creasing physics at 150mph. Let that sink in – just over 10 seconds to hit a ton and half.

And a mere 16.35 seconds from standstill, Bruce and the Suzuki are doing 169.49mph – in fifth, with one more gear to go.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_06

 

For Bruce, timing is – literally – everything: the end of the runway is approaching at the rate of 76 metres per second. Bruce shuts off and brakes with 300 metres and four seconds of concrete left. His margin for error timing his braking is around half a second. At nearly 170mph that, I would say, takes a fair pair of spuds.

The Suzuki’s new Brembo Stylema radial calipers and enlarged 320mm discs plough a concrete furrow as revised 42mm KYB forks and new front Bridgestone B22 eat into the runway. Newly-sophisticated ABS balances-in a bit of rear brake and sets off brake hazard warning lights, in case anything is coming up fast behind (although what Suzuki expect to keep up with an unleashed Hayabusa is moot), as the Hayabusa kills speed like a Hamamatsu-sized anchor.

And that, ladies and gents, is the fastest-accelerating stock production bike Bruce has measured in over 30 years of professional performance testing. Faster than any litre sportsbike, either Gen1 or Gen2 Hayabusas, faster than any ZZR1400 and faster than an H2 SX SE.

It’s official, kinda: the 2021 Hayabusa is still the boss.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_07

 

Now, more sober readers might wonder what the point of all this speedgasm is – and I can offer no further justification other than it is and always has been a large part of the sales pitch for the Hayabusa, and Suzuki have brought us to a runway as part of the launch so it’s clearly a bit of fun. But, also, it’s a handy way of measuring the effects of the Euro 5 changes to the 2021 Hayabusa, somewhat exhaustively listed and described above.

But before we hit the runway, we also take the Hayabusa out for a road ride too. And turns out it’s pretty handy in the real world, too.

 

For and against
  • Engine – just classic, old-school stomp. Get it while you can
  • Suspension – it’s not the magic carpet of an adventure bike, but it’s good
  • Clocks – genuinely a cracking view from the seat, nice mix of old and new
  • Absurd speed – who doesn’t love the potential for misbehaviour?
  • 130-mile tank range – has the potential to be a deal braker for my bike choice, but won’t bother many people half as much
First Ride Review and Runway Launch
Join Simon Hargreaves and Bruce Dunn as they test the 2021 Hayabusa on the UK roads and runway for the first time.
Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_08

 

Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (2021) price and availability

The Hayabusa is available from dealers right now, but availability is limited – the first batch has already sold out, so you’ll be registering a bike for the next batch (and at time of writing, no-one’s sure when that will be).

Suzuki say demand is so high even demo bikes and test rides will be limited, so if you decide you need a 2021 Hayabusa in your life – and read on, to find out if you think you do – get in the queue now to avoid disappointment when you only get your new bike just as the summer is ending.

PCP details*

*assuming a deposit of £4500, such as trade-in on existing bike

Cash price

Deposit

36 monthly

Total payable

Final payment

APR

£16,547

£4500

£142.18

£18,515.48

£8897.00

5.9%

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_09

 

Power and torque (all figures claimed)

Suzuki Hayabusa Gen3

Suzuki Hayabusa Gen2

Kawasaki ZZR1400

 

Kawasaki H2 SX SE+

 

187bhp at 9500rpm

195bhp at 9700rpm

197bhp @ 10,000rpm

197bhp @ 11,000rpm

111 lb.ft at 7000rpm

113 lb.ft at 7200rpm

117 lb.ft @ 7500rpm

102 lb.ft @ 9500rpm

 

Suzuki claim lower peak power and torque for the new Hayabusa than for the previous generation. In broad terms (again, see this feature for more details <link again?>), the motor is the same size, but has more restrictions to allow it to pass Euro 5 emissions regs. Normally, manufacturers will increase engine capacity slightly to compensate for the loss in performance – so you get the same, or a bit more, performance yet still meet emissions regs.

Suzuki haven’t done this, probably because the second generation Hayabusa engine is too close to the limit of capacity in its current design for Suzuki to be comfortable with its long-term durability were they to increase it further without a major redesign and re-tooling – with all the cost implications. The Hayabusa motor isn’t used in any other platform by Suzuki, so they can’t spread the cost; it’s a relatively small-volume (boom-tish) seller.

As a result, we have Hayabusa engine doing the unthinkable – being, on paper, less potent than before. There are three things to add though: 1) if any bike has potency to spare, it’s the Hayabusa, 2) Suzuki have done a pretty good job of minimizing the losses, claiming they’re retuned the motor to add a bit more midrange, and 3) judging by Bruce’s speed testing figures, it’s worked.

So let’s talk about what the bike feels like, instead.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_10

 

Engine feel and performance

The headline is that, on the road, the engine feels as potent and beefy as the Hayabusa always has. As we pull out onto the road away from Sywell Aerodrome and an unexpected and welcome spring sun burns the morning dew off the tarmac, the loss of a few bhp at the top end and a few lb.ft at peak torque is, to my bum dyno, unnoticeable – the bike still pulls from nothing like a rampant elephant slipping a fresh silk cover onto a king-size duvet, still has a bulging crescent of midrange like a rampant elephant getting increasingly frustrated by the reluctance of the silk cover and king-size duvet to come to an equitable arrangement, and still revs out to its 11,000rpm redline like a enraged elephant who’s had enough of the sodding silk cover and king-size duvet and stomped them into atoms.

And the engine still has a Hayabusa’s character, too – it’s a very conventional, very muscular, normally aspirated motor (tempted to say it’s so strong in the midrange it feels ab-normally aspirated). It hasn’t got the classic ZZR1400 feeling of infinite revs – the Kawasaki accelerates with a long, gathering tide of power that’s equally impressive but has a more cosmic origin – as if it gathers itself up before launching into hyperdrive. The Hayabusa’s acceleration is a more earth-bound sensation, bludgeoning into tomorrow with an instantaneous burst of sheer blunt force trauma. The Kawasaki vrooms, the Busa grunts.

And anyway, it’s hardly a surprise the new Hayabusa feels like the old Hayabusa, as the engine is basically the same; milder cam timing, altered breathing capacity and three Euro 5 bungs in the exhaust instead of one might have robbed a few bhp on torques on paper, but on the road it’s not readily apparent – at least to me; a couple of colleagues familiar with riding faster bikes than I said they thought the bike felt a bit less heady at the top end, which they may have been able to detect. I couldn’t – and I really, really tried to find it.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_11

 

And to an extent the point was rendered moot at the runway later in the day when, in Bruce Dunn’s hands, the Suzuki motored from 0-60, through the standing quarter, and up to 150mph faster than any stock production bike he’s ever tested. Only the length of the runway prevented the Hayabusa from reaching its 186mph limited top speed.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_12

 

This graph is a comparison of a top gear roll-on, 40-100mph, of the new Hayabusa (red) against a 2016 ZZR1400 (green; test conducted on a different day). And it’s clear to see that side-by-side, the new Hayabusa (which is running the same gearing as the previous model) has the edge over the ZZR between 40mph and 85mph – after which presumably the Kawasaki’s superior horsepower sees it begin to pull the Suzuki back (although bear in mind because the Kawasaki is effectively behind at this point, the advantage the Hayabusa has gained will take the ZZR well over 100mph to claw back in front).

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_13

 

Here’s a comparison of a standing start run (same bikes, same colours, different days). The Suzuki’s advantage over the ZZR1400 is again clear-cut in the early part of the run up to 140mph. Bruce says the difference is simply the ease of getting the Hayabusa off the line and the immediacy of its low-down shove – neither the Suzuki nor the Kawasaki are hard to launch because they’re long and low, so catching the perfect drive between wheelie and wheel spin is easier than managing a feisty, short-wheelbase litre sportsbike.

Again, the ZZR starts to reel the Hayabusa at the top end – if the runway was longer, extrapolating the Hayabusa’s curve would match the shape of the ZZR’s, probably lagging slightly below it.

But on the road, the new Hayabusa will never be found lacking any more than the previous bike would be. It’s got plenty, everywhere. 

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_14

 

Gearbox and exhaust

Suzuki say they beefed up the Hayabusa’s transmission input shaft bearings, which is good news for folks who tune up Hayabusa motors and pop them in cars – it’s one of the engine’s weak spots (the other is not over-boring Gen2 cylinder blocks, because they can crack, which ties up with Suzuki’s reluctance to do the same).

Suzuki have also added an up and down quickshifter, with two modes (a normal mode and a more leisurely shift) which is flawless – not a single missed gear all day, which is a rarity for me! Bruce turned the system off while he was speed testing – like most road electronics, a good rider can change gear quicker with it off (if not quite as smoothly).

 

 

The Hayabusa’s exhaust is also new – it’s not as vast as it looks in the pictures, and Suzuki claim it’s lighter and smaller than the previous model’s. It’s certainly fairly quiet. Hayabusa owners are already getting rid them – Bike Social reader Simon Worrall has just collected his new Gen3 Hayabusa and took no time in taking the Yoshi cans off his Gen2 and putting on the Gen3 – the result isn’t perfect (they tilt up a fair bit) and Simon had to make a small adjustment to the Yoshi link pipe to get them together. But it sounds nicer and, more importantly, removes two of the three catalysts in the Gen3’s pipes, and saves around 3kg each side.

 

Fuel economy

Suzuki themselves claim the new Hayabusa’ s fuel economy is worse than the Gen2 model: – from a claimed 50mpg to 42mpg, a 15% reduction, along with a litre less in the tank thanks to making room for a bigger airbox. This is all Euro 5 – taking an engine and effectively stuffing a cork up its exhaust means it has to work harder to achieve its performance – and an engine working harder will use more fuel – while at the same time burning it more efficiently. It’s a green hypocrisy.

The old bike would do around 140-160 miles before the fuel light came on, depending on rider and conditions. The new bike manages 135 miles on the road, showing an average of 41.1mpg. That suggests it has four litres left, and another 30 miles to empty. It’s disappointing – a fractional drop in peak power is easily compensated for by skipping breakfast – and I suppose the same argument could be made for improving tank range (become a bit more aerodynamic by going on a diet!). But in practical, day-to-day riding, it’s always nice to have at least 150 miles free-riding without having to plan a fuel stop.

I have a pet conspiracy theory that the reason manufacturers are making tanks smaller and fuel ranges less impressive is so when they’re all forced to build electric bikes, the lack of range won’t feel so bad.

Be careful on the NC500!

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_17

 

Handling: frame, suspension and weight

There’s a lot in the new Hayabusa that’s familiar – and the general feel and handling of the bike is certainly like being at home for riders of previous models. This partly because the frame is essentially the same massive twin spar mix of extrusions and castings – part numbers are different because some minor changes are made to accept the new bike’s dash, bodywork, etc. The Hayabusa’s swingarm is also common between the two – aftermarket rear huggers are swappable! Subframe is different though – which means any hard luggage fitments will have to be re-engineered (top tip if you’re trading in an old Hayabusa for the new one – make sure you keep the small ally bungee points from the old bike and fit blanking bolts; the new bike doesn’t come with them and they’re a £22 accessory! Each!).

Suspension is also similar – still 43mm KYB forks and KYB shock, all fully adjustable, but with a re-valve and new springs to being the ride quality up to date. A steering damper still sits down by the bottom yoke, and kerb weight is said to be a couple of kilos up.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_18

 

But the over-arching feel is pure Hayabusa. Stability is the key; agility is a luxury. I’ve spent so long flicking about on adventure bikes with 21in front wheels and wide bars I think I’ve forgotten how direct and weighty big bike steering is – and initially it’s a shock to lumber the Suzuki around at low speed. It actually feels more manoeuvrable with the engine off.

But it’s not biased steering; you don’t need to lean on the bars to turn the bike; you kinda steer it with your knees as much as your hands. Steering is treacly in town and low speed traffic, and only when the road opens out and pace increases does it all start to make sense – and the faster you go, the more sense it makes. Stick the Suzuki into a long bend and it tracks the line like a bloodhound on the scent, hunkering down and feeding back a wonderful glued, smooth, tractive feel from the Bridgestone B22s. It lends itself to a fluid, rhythmic riding style, – just like the previous Hayabusas. It’s easy lose yourself in a kind of sci-fi anime motorcycle fantasy, carving through the countryside like a low-level alien visitor whose spaceship, by complete coincidence, happens to be perfectly designed to navigate the B660.

Good ride quality too, from the re-worked suspension – the top end of bumps are smoothed and damped by the first few millimetres of spring travel; there’s no pattering or crunching over potholes.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_19

 

Wheels, tyres and brakes

We have new cast wheels, new Bridgestone S22 tyres specially produced to suit the bike (it’s rare to go on the launch of a new model and find the tyres aren’t claimed to be specially developed; I think they all must be), and the brakes are Brembo Stylema radial calipers gripping newly enlarged 320mm discs. It’s obviously not a huge leap to overwhelm the tyres with a big handful, but few hoops could withstand so much aggravation – and on the greasy, dusty roads we’re faced with this spring, the S22s find good grip. At the runway, on its purpose-built surface, grip is so insane you can almost hear the rear Bridgestone’s carcass deforming like a crisp packet as the Hayabusa launches up the strip. Doesn’t spin out though – it’s a good tyre.

At the other end, the Brembos are great; I never had a huge problem with well-maintained brakes on all previous Hayabusas (I’d read the reviews and wonder what I was doing wrong – I even remember testing PFM six-pots on a Hayabusa in 2000 and not being all that bothered when I had to take them off again). Bruce records some fairly standard braking figures at the runway, stopping from 70mph to 0mph in 3.57 seconds and covering 52.5 metres to standstill. ABS isn’t switchable, but it’s so good these days you really don’t need to turn it off – Bruce says he could probably stop the Hayabusa quicker if he had a few goes – but in a momentary one-off on a random wet road? No chance. 

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_20

 

Equipment, styling, ergonomics and comfort

It’s taken us a long time to get to what are the biggest changes to the 2021 Hayabusa – and it’s all good stuff. The clocks are a small work of genius – I’m not sure part of the reason Suzuki stuck with big analogue style dials and a general Hayabusa layout is cost-cutting – I wouldn’t be surprised if adapting the old clocks to the new layout is more expensive than just chucking them out and fitting an off-the-shelf TFT dash. Or maybe not.

Anyway, they look great, pleasing old-time reactionaries who like things the way they used to be – even down to the speedo needle needing a couple of glances to put a number on the actual speed – but also with enough modern TFT action in the centre to keep geeks happy.

The TFT, and Suzuki’s implementation of its electronics package, is impressive. The functions up for customising are flagship-spec: traction control and anti-wheelie get 10 levels, there are three power modes (full, reduced curve to full, and reduced curve to partial throttle), adjustable engine braking, launch control (in three steps: low revs, mid and high rpm) and quickshifter cut speed. The bike also gets cornering ABS and hill hold control, plus cruise control and a speed limiter.

There’s no Bluetooth multimedia bobbins, but I’m very much in the ‘who cares?’ camp with that gimmick.

So with so many things to customise, you’d expect a bar cluster of switches? No, Suzuki stick with the (undoubtedly cheap) simple rocker and push button to manage the whole lot. And it’s great – all it requires is you set-up the way you want before you ride – three set modes, three User modes – and you’re done. From then on you just flick between the modes, the way most of us probably do, and have less switchgear to faff about with on the move. Nice. You also get room on the clip-on to mount a sat nav U-bolt.

The actual TFT display is great too – one ‘screen’ shows left/right lean angles in real time (and saves the highest angle per ride) which is always fun – and alongside are bar graphs showing throttle position on the left and front/rear brake on the right. It’s not unique, but it’s still kinda fun. Average fuel consumption, tank range, temperature etc are all present and correct. Cruise control does what it should – but the speed limiter is a bit odd; it doesn’t deactivate by rolling the throttle against the stop (as does, say, cruise control); you have to push a button to do it. Hm.

The final change (other than styling, which is personal; I like it, but it’s not as distinctive as the Gen1 or Gen2 bikes, for better or worse) is to the Hayabusa’s riding position – it’s only subtle, but the bars are 12mm closer to the rider. It makes it a more compact riding position because the pegs to seat is still a fairly tight knee angle – so now the Hayabusa is, if anything, more sporty than before. And it’s very much at the sporty end of the sports touring range (just as well, with that tank). But it’s not uncomfortable with a 60mph wind flow supporting knees and wrists – and there’s plenty of that too because the screen is very low; I suspect a double bubble will be more protective but possible less comfortable! It’s not the immediate ‘showroom’ comfort of an adventure bike, but I like it.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_21

 

2021 Suzuki Hayabusa: VERDICT

It’s easy to get drawn into a conversation about why Suzuki have made the choices they’ve made with the new Hayabusa – but to a degree, that’s their business (literally) and if they’ve sold their initial allocation of Hayabusas in the UK, then presumably it’s hit its targets and everyone in the company is happy. I think part of the reason we make such a fuss about what Suzuki are doing is because we care about the company; plenty of folk are anti-Honda, anti-Kawasaki, anti-BMW etc – but nobody doesn’t like Suzuki. We all want them to succeed.

So whatever their reasons for making the 2021 Hayabusa the way they have, what really matters is what the bike is like to ride. And the answer is it’s retained all the old features and feelings of the previous bikes, then added a few layers of refinements and improvements – and one big negative.

The motor is pure Hayabusa and if it’s lacking, I can’t easily tell – and neither can the datalogger. The chassis is also classic long, low Hayabusa – but now with a lovely extra veneer of ride quality and braking stability. Steering is a bit weighty, but improves with pace.

The big bonus is a full arsenal of electronics – whether you like them or not, they won’t get in the way (unless you’re speed testing) but instead open the bike up to even more levels of safety or, if you want, crazier riding.

And finally there’s the price. £16,500 is a big wedge more than the last time the Gen2 was on sale – your new electronics, suspension, emissions control, fuel consumption and styling has cost over four grand. Cynics would also say this is really an update Suzuki should’ve made to the bike five years ago – when a trade in would have made more of a difference between prices.

But the Hayabusa is, for the time being (when and if there’s a new H2 SX SE), the only hypersports game in town.

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_22

 

2021 Suzuki Hayabusa Technical Specifications

Capacity

1340cc

Bore x Stroke

81.0mm x 65.0mm

Engine layout

inline four

Engine details

16v dohc, l/c

Power

187bhp at 9500rpm

Torque

111 lb.ft at 7000rpm

Top speed

184mph (est, ish)

Average fuel consumption

41.1mpg

Tank size

20 litres

Max range to empty

165 miles

Rider aids

rider modes, power modes, traction control, cornering ABS, hill hold, wheelie control, launch control, quickshifter, cornering ABS, anti-wheelie, engine braking, speed limiter

Frame

aluminium twin spar

Front suspension

42mm KYB usd forks

Front suspension adjustment

Full

Rear suspension

KYB monoshock

Rear suspension adjustments

Full

Front brake

2 x 320mm disc, four-pot Brembo Stylema

Rear brake

260mm disc, two-pot Brembo caliper

Front tyre

120/70-17

Rear tyre

190/50-17

Rake/Trail

23°/90mm

Wheelbase

1480mm

Seat height

800mm

Kerb weight

264g

MCIA Secured Rating

3/5 stars

Warranty

unlimited miles/2 years

Website

bikes.suzuki.co.uk/bikes

Photos: Jason Critchell (Suzuki GB)

Video: Motion Films (Suzuki GB)

 

Suzuki Hayabusa 2021 Review Price Spec_mcia

 

What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.

 

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