Technology has rapidly progressed alongside the race for the top of the performance podium. With just tenths of a second splitting triumph from trash, the average life of a competitive sportbike lasts little more than a year. All too often the next-best nudges out the previous victor--sending it out of sight and out of mind.
With such cutthroat competition it's become a rarity, if not unheard of, for a bike to reign supreme for any length of time.
That's not the case for the almighty Suzuki Hayabusa though. With a decade of dominance under its belt, the `Busa, as it's affectionately known, is as popular as ever. While the recipe for class supremacy is difficult to define, key ingredients include crushing performance, a dedicated following, impeccable marketing and the right timing.
In hindsight it's safe to say the `Busa was the right bike at the right time. But step back to the spring of '99 when it was introduced and you couldn't convince the press (or the public) it was a good idea--that was, until they rode it.
Unique, to say the least, and regardless of what angle you viewed the beast from, it forged new ground. From its aerodynamic shape to the stacked headlights and copper color--it stood alone.
A bit perplexed to its intended purpose, enthusiasts were as confused as they were intrigued. Was it a hypersport tourer or a beefed-up GSX-R? The questions started flying...
Never had a bike of that size been able to stop, handle and feel so lithe. If its ability to hide its heft was an attribute, the 1299cc motor was its defining factor. Pounding out an astonishing 171 crank horsepower and nearly 100 LB-FT of torque, it left everything dead in its wake. If you were brave enough to pin it and strong enough to hold on, those power figures translated into 0-60 mph in two seconds, 9.70s nearing 150 in the quarter-mile and a top speed over 190 mph. In fact, performance was so groundbreaking that the `Busa is the reason top speeds are now electronically limited to 186 mph.
Jack of All Trades: Versatile...
Jack of All Trades:
Versatile to say the least, the `Busa can play many-a-hand and has dominated more sides to the sport than you might think. Here are just a few:
Whether it's a $250,000 rig or a simple stretch and chrome job, the `Busa is the king of bling and the sultan of show.
Roadrace This is a bit of...
This is a bit of a stretch, but Rad Greaves once broke 200 mph in an AMA ForMUla Xtreme race on a 1661cc all-motor Hayabusa. It didn't handle like the competition, but damn was it fast!
Drag Racing The bike of choice...
The bike of choice for the quarter-mile junkie. One look at the many `Busas racing worldwide and it's easy to see why. With hundreds of sub eight-second examples we'd say it's proof the big Suzuki is a force to be reckoned with.