The 150-mile road test portion following the dragstrip unfortunately didn't allow for much more than a few spirited handfuls of throttle over the bumpy and boring Midwest roads, but it said a lot for the comfort and ridability. The roomy seat allows for plenty of position adjustment, and the lower and stronger subframe would be a welcome change for a passenger (especially if she likes to bounce her big back).
While stuck in slow traffic there were some opportunities to experiment with the fancy S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector) system, and unlike the GSX-R1000 it was introduced on, it's totally noticeable and beneficial on this bike. Below 6000 revs the power feels about the same while fingering through the three fuel maps, but once in the midrange the pull is similar to letting a shot of nitrous loose when changed from C to A mode on the fly. Mostly used for amusement on this trip, the S-DMS system might be a handy way to get some controlled launches at the strip in C mode before clicking into second gear and A mode simultaneously.
Scrolling through the modes was easy and obvious with the new instrument cluster, and though the gear indicator and programmable shift light are a nice touch, we'd ditch them both for a legible speedo--this one certainly isn't. Big digital numbers look tacky in a car's dash, but they're a good idea on a machine as fast as this when time looking down should be limited. At Road America there were two speeds according to the analog speedo--pretty fast and buried.
The 'Busa isn't designed for roadracing, but Road America was the perfect venue to allow exploration of the upper gears and their blinding acceleration. Equally important was the discovery that the new front end works much better than the earlier model.
Older Hayabusas have a tough time slowing down, but the improved brakes and suspension worked a charm on the new model--until fade set in. Braided brake lines would be high on the list of early modifications, but for the record they probably would be fine under less extreme riding conditions.
The forks have been upgraded and received a diamond-like coating to reduce stiction, and the fork lowers obviously host radial-mount brakes. Because of the stiffer and stronger calipers, Suzuki was able to downsize the rotors from 320 to 310mm, thus reducing rotating mass.
At the track we were able to explore the handling, and though there have been only minor changes they do make a difference. Working in partner with the upgraded front end is a swingarm that's 10 percent more rigid with internal ribbing running throughout, and the wallow and bounce that the previous bike suffered from has been calmed down. A stock steering damper is now included as well, indicating that the extra power might make the 'Busa a little frisky.
The front end didn't get out of shape, but it wasn't for the larger motor's lack of pushing it along briskly. Capacity is up from 1299cc to 1340cc, and that 20 horsepower means a lot. There's absolutely no laziness anywhere throughout the rev range, and the front tire likes to come up for air more often than a drowning dolphin.
Did we mention 20 more horsepower? Of course, but think of it like this: our 2007 with a full exhaust and Power Commander put out 160 hp on the dyno, yet that's still far below what Suzuki claims the 1340cc motor rocks as stock. Getting this baby on our dyno will be fun.
It's gonna be a serious bloodbath between the ZX-14 and this new and improved Hayabusa. The top-speed and big-horsepower battle is back, and we can't wait to see how it unfolds. If this brutish new 'Busa is anything to go by we've got a golden age of big horsepower bikes coming. Wait--it's already here.
Fat Or Phat?
Styling upgrades viewed on a flat page don't show the drastic differences between the 'Busa of yesteryear and the new model. Get to the dealership and run your eyes over them for a true indication of the dramatic changes.
2008 Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa
Dry Weight: 485 lbs.
Engine: Liquid-cooled 1340cc brute
Torque: Est. 105 lb.-ft.
Horsepower: Est. 175 HP
Colors: Orange/Black, Black/Gray, Blue/Black
Suzuki claims the highest...
Suzuki claims the highest power of any production motorcycle, and an unconfirmed dyno run we saw showed 177 hp at the wheel. The 1340cc motor is up from the previous 1299cc size, and has a 2mm increase in stroke to 65mm, and compression is raised from 11.0:1 to 12.5:1. Titanium valves replace the older steel ones, and new pistons save 5 grams of weight per unit
The torsional rigidity has...
The torsional rigidity has been increased 10 percent with an internal rib running between the vertical sidewalls of the arms
The analog speedo is tough...
The analog speedo is tough to read at a glance--chances are you're well over the speed limit anyway