Weekly Visordown Marketplace watch

We pick out one of the thousands of bikes on the Visordown Marketplace for a closer look...

2017 Suzuki Hayabusa

THE VISORDOWN Marketplace classified section is packed with sweet wheels for every pocket, and every two-wheeled desire! Each week, our man Tony Middlehurst is going to pick out a bike for sale, and give it the once-over. This week - it's a nearly-new Suzuki Hayabusa...

Technically, this is a GSX1300RA L7. That, or some of that anyway, is what it says on the bodywork. 

Of course, we all know what it really is. A Hayabusa. Or, to give it its street-cred-shortened nickname, a Busa. 

Hayabusa is the Japanese word for a peregrine falcon. They called it that in 1999 because its vertical 200mph dive makes it the fastest bird on the planet. Was this a sly dig at the comparatively pedestrian blackbird name chosen by Honda for its own super-tourer launched two years earlier? Very possibly.

Whatever, the first unrestricted 1999 Hayabusa delivered sledgehammer performance right out of the box. To avoid striking fear into the hearts of Joe Average, the media agreed to say that it had a top speed of ‘only’ 300km/h (186mph). The reality was different. Even on the low estimate it was the fastest motorcycle of the 20thcentury.  

There are more powerful bikes now, but not by much. Today’s Busa has 197bhp and the creamy smooth throttle action you need with that sort of power. By any normal human standards all Hayabusas, young or old, are insanely fast. A bog-standard one will cover the standing quarter mile in a crotch-stretching 9.4 seconds and do the 0-60mph sprint in something between 2.5 and 2.7 seconds. At over 580 pounds it’s no lightweight, but you sit in it rather than on it, so it carries its weight easily and you don’t need to be Big Leggy to ride it. 

As a secondhand purchase the Busa has a lot going for it. The chances of a used Busa having been heavily ragged are minimal, because only Stone Cold Steve Austin or a complete bampot would have the nuts to wring it out in the bottom two gears, let alone the top four. 

Although you could quite happily experience mindbending Hayabusa performance for as little as £2k, the beauty of this newer one from our Marketplace is that it will be free of the earlier bikes’ jerky fuelling, weak rear subframe and tendency to stretch its cam chain. 

If you fancy taking it to somewhere like Santa Pod, the sky’s the limit, especially if you don’t get the balance of clutch and throttle right. The engine is reliable and tank-strong. Sean Mills of Big CC Racing in Wokingham has tuned his ‘Busa up to a dyno-confirmed 936bhp at the rear tyre, admittedly with a fair bit of internal modification but still using the original crankcases, barrels, cylinder head and oil pump. Post-’03 bikes have a better ECU to smooth out the ride. 

To buy a brand new Busa from a Suzuki dealership, you’ll need £11,599. This Marketplace specimen is a grand cheaper at £10,599. Admittedly, it’s also a year older, having been registered in June 2017, but the mileage of under 900 means it’s as near to new as makes no difference, plus you’ll be getting the balance of the manufacturer’s three-year warranty. 

The icing on this particular Suzuki is the four hundred quids’ worth of GPR cannery on it, which if you’re interested makes it sound like this – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL2wD1exPAQ.

This is the thinking man’s superbike. Once it’s bought, all you need is an aerodynamic helmet and concrete eyeballs. 

Cheery Stuff

Great starter machine for drag racing. Practically unlimited tuning potential, but comfy enough for two-up touring and it still looks evil twenty years on. Sub-32in seat height means even shorties can ride it. 

Leery Stuff

Two decades of development means there is very little in the minus column. There are smoother big fours above 4500rpm, and a big, powerful machine like this will use consumables at quite a rate, especially brakes.