Half elephant, half cyclops, but all-conquering when it came to the title of King of Speed in the late 1990s, the Hayabusa is still the yardstick for sheer velocity and a fantastic cult motorcycle.
The figures take some beating: 192mph, 157bhp, a quarter-mile in just 10 seconds and you could have all this for just a shade over £3,000. Suzuki's Hayabusa came on the scene in 1999 and the lumpy looks were for a reason: this bike was one of the first to be designed with a lot of wind-tunnel time with a rider on top.
Over the years the 'Busa has proved to be a pretty reliable tool with no major vices. Sure, you need to keep on top of the thing finish-wise and cast a wet rag over it now and again - but that's no different from any Suzukis of a similar age. Despite hanging on way too long in the range, the Hayabusa is now due to be replaced by the end of the year by the new breed of Hayabusa - a next-generation 1,340cc monster with updated everything and the ugliest bodywork ever made.
Engine: Still impressive. The 1,299cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled motor produces 157bhp at the rear tyre. Torque is available from any revs - 3,000rpm and up. If you're brave enough, then hang on to the 11,000rpm redline. Extremely reliable, can do clutches if too many standing-starts have been through the motor. Incredibly tuneable - 200bhp is very easy indeed. If you need it.
Rear suspension: Could be knackered by now, especially on early examples. The stock unit can be re-valved for a couple of hundred notes, but many owners go for an aftermarket replacement. As an example, Nitron do three levels of upgraded shock: the NTR Sport for around £300 with a single adjuster for compression and rebound, the NTR Track with independent adjusters for £455 and the NTR Race for £475 which also incorporates high and low-speed compression damping for the ultimate in fine-tuning.
Handling: Not too bad for a machine of this class. The bike was launched at Catalunya in Spain and it impressed. Modern litre-class sportsbikes and the ZZR1400 are now in a different league, but more to the point the oldest 'Busas will now be best part of a decade old - so check forks for pitting, leaky fork seals and general soft-ness all round.
Continue the Suzuki Hayabusa used review
Posted: 09/04/2012 at 14:16
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