The license plate on Rick Wahlberg’s Hayabusa translates into “life-taker.” People have told him he is tempting fate, but he prefers to think of it as a not-so-subtle hint. “It’s a simple respect factor with bikes like this,” said Rick, who likes to be reminded that his bike is fun but far from a toy. His cautionary attitude makes sense; after all not many toys kick with the power of nearly 400 horses and push the speedo north of 200 MPH.
Rick’s philosophy for building bikes goes back to before the boosted powerplant, the lengthened swingarm, and the 227.5 MPH run down a Mojave, CA airstrip. After growing up on dirtbikes and competing in off-road events, Rick moved on to fabrication–mostly choppers–and proved himself a worthy builder. When the shake-rattle-and-roll industry of building rigid choppers slowed down in the mid-2000s, he found himself looking for something more useable to fuel his passion for riding. An ’05 R6 was the answer to his question, which also provided him a taste of what the sportbike aftermarket had to offer. But even after a pipe, a Power Commander, and countless carbon bits he still had an itch that only more power could scratch, and that led him to his Hayabusa.
Rick might be one of the few people to choose an R6 for comfort, and he is also in a minority of people who ride a ‘Busa and decide it needs more juice. “When I first got the Hayabusa, before I turbo’d it, I was kind of disappointed actually,” he said, and as he poured time and effort into increasing the potential of his bike, all of his experience snapped into focus. “My philosophy for choppers and sportbikes is hard, fast, and aggressive. I won’t build anything for myself or anybody that can’t be used hard. Everything’s got to have a place, be functional, and make the bike better. Power, handling, looks; it’s got to flow together.”
Squat down on this hot seat...
Squat down on this hot seat and find out what firing off the line is all about.
Wondering where the money...
Wondering where the money went? Under the seat and inside the tail is a lineup of fueling and boost control electronics that requires a formidable geek squad to tune.
Hidden behind the fairings...
Hidden behind the fairings is the heart of this boosted beast where the snail hides in its shell.
And so the “life-taker” took on a life of its own. As with most sportbike mods, the first thing to change was the pipe. In this case the OEM unit was swapped for an HMF high-mount kit. In race trim the ‘Busa sheds the modified HMF piece for an RCC-made shorty exhaust that dumps out just behind the TechG Racing rearsets. Boost also comes from RCC, in the form of a Stage Two kit with matching water injection, and is handled internally by Wossner pistons, rods and an APE race-balanced crank. When competing, the turbo pushes 20 pounds of boost and, with the help of MicroTech secondary fueling, spawns over 380 HP. For street use, it runs on pump gas with 7 lbs of boost from the turbo and still puts out around 235 HP, which is enough to get you where you need to go or in trouble very quickly.
HMF cans aren’t widely popular...
HMF cans aren’t widely popular but they produce a scream that’s hard not to love. Add two of them and be prepared to wake the neighbors after late night runs.
As the old saying goes, power is nothing without control, so Rick made sure that the chassis and drivetrain could walk the motor’s talk. Channeling the engine’s rage is an MTC two-stage clutch carrying Barnett Kevlar plates in a billet basket from Muzzy, and to help keep the front wheel down he had Myrtle West extend the swingarm four-inches over stock. For custom look and feel he turned to Pazzo for levers and to TechG Racing for rearsets.
When the time comes to slow down there are oversized discs up front and a Galfer Wave rotor in the rear, both fed by stainless steel Galfer lines. The front rotors are Performance Machine customs from the Harley catalog adapted to matching PM wheels, with another custom adapter to help the calipers accept the larger discs. That’s a lot of custom tackle just to shed speed, but with aggression like this on tap it’s good to be sure.
Considering what is lurking under the plastic, this Hayabusa arguably has more bite than bark. The look is subdued, and Rick says it’s no accident. “There are no polished pieces on it. It’s sort of the anti-bling bike,” he explained, although he also points out that while the bike has an overriding theme he hasn’t gone overboard with the dark and menacing image. “Yea, it’s black,” he said, “but it’s not one of those situations where everything is powder-coated black.” It’s got a bulldog stance, no doubt, but it takes a second look to see the billet aluminum turbo kit pieces and Zeitronix performance gauges peeking out from the bodywork that suggest this ‘Busa is more than just custom wheels and a 4-over swingarm.
When I first got the Hayabusa, before I turbo’d it, I was kind of disappointed Actually. "
Rick bought his bike new and the odometer shows 16,000 miles, so it has to be said that he’s spent enough time with it to get attached, and with all of the effort he has put into it he prefers to think of it as more than a sum of its custom parts. The Performance Machine Torque contrast cut wheels, for example, are close to his heart. “Every piece on the bike plays its part, and as far as I’m concerned that gives the bike its soul. The PM wheels are a good example, I really love those wheels. Can I change those out for some carbon wheels that would give me 2 or 3 MPH more the next time I go to Mojave? Yea, probably, but I would rather try to make it go faster the way it is, because I like those wheels.”
Tank lifted, the ‘Busa shows...
Tank lifted, the ‘Busa shows its true colors with a secondary fuel rail and trick airbox designed to gulp in air under boost.
The extended swingarm was...
The extended swingarm was not long enough to completely keep the front end down at 160 MPH when hard on the throttle.
Having the piece of mind to...
Having the piece of mind to monitor the gauges for data when going full out is best left to a camera that is later reviewed after a run.
Beyond his itch for more power, one of the original reasons Rick went from an R6 to a Hayabusa was for more comfort. He admits to wanting a better choice for long distance riding, and he still likes having that option. His attitude towards aesthetics is one of function over form. He wants his bike to look good, but he doesn’t want to forget the ‘Busa’s origins. “It’s a streetbike first, a race bike second. It’s easy to build a race bike and it’s easy to build a streetbike but it’s hard to build a bike that is both and maintains the same quality. For what I want it to do, it does a great job. I didn’t want to ruin it by making it do one thing really well but not everything else.”
Rick confesses that his Hayabusa takes a little extra work to hustle through a canyon, but compromises have to be made at some point. With enough power to haze the rear tire in third gear even on pump gas, you can’t blame him for lowering it an inch and a half and pushing the rear wheel back. The carbon pieces dripping off this ‘Busa–all from Magical Racing–class it up, but yet again Rick’s philosophy of usability trumps all else. “Coming from choppers, I wanted something where I could just wipe it down and ride it. Something more that I could enjoy, and not have to be a slave to the maintenance.” With a mod list this long there are bound to be some system checks now and again, but this is one bike that won’t forget where it came from.
Improving this bike will have to happen in small steps from here, but fortunately there’s only one person he is looking to please. “I’m not trying to impress anybody except myself, so I have to like it. If someone likes it that’s good, but if someone doesn’t like it that’s fine too.” One thing is for sure; from the Puig windscreen to the 200/17 Avon rear sneaker, Rick’s ‘Busa is a labor of love, and one that is likely to continue just as long as his determination and his ever-supportive wife will let him. And if he ever loses focus all he has to do is take one look at the license plate and he’s sure to remember why he needs to stay sharp.
When I hit 4th it pulled like a freight train and the front end got light. I just kept it wide open and hit my shifts.
This ‘Busa was purpose-built for both cruising and reaching insane speeds, but it comes time for breaking 200 MPH modifications to the street trim are required. As a commuter the ‘Busa makes 230 HP on pump gas but in race mode the boost is increased, C16 race fuel pours into the tank and the RCC Stage Two turbo kit is good for over 380 HP. A wind-splitting nose cone and RCC shorty exhaust are then bolted into place to complete the look. Recently, Rick attended the Magnum Mile event in California. The wind was low, the morning Mojave Desert air was cool and Rick took his bike to 227.5 MPH in 1.5 miles of airstrip, here is what he had to say about the experience:
“For the 227 MPH run I set up the boost controller for high boost in 4/5/6 at 22 pounds. The gearing was 20/41 and I shifted at 12,000 RPM. I just tried to get a smooth launch and get tucked tight as quick as possible and really hit my shifts without hitting the limiter. When I hit 4th it pulled like a freight train and the front end got light. I just kept it wide open and hit my shifts in 5/6th and then looked for the finish flags. The run was smooth but I really didn’t think I did that speed. I guess that’s how it happens, don’t expect to much and you will be surprised!”
Front End: Performance Machine Torque wheel and rotors, Avon 3D Ultra Sport tire, Galfer clutch and brake lines
Rear End: Performance Machine Torque wheel, Avon 3D Ultra Sport tire, Galfer Wave rotor and brake line, Myrtle West four-inch over stock swingarm
Motor: Wossner pistons and rods, APE cylinder studs, case studs and race balanced crank, Robinson Industries transmission undercutting and heavy-duty output shaft, billet shift shafts, Muzzy billet inner and outer clutch basket, MTC two stage clutch, Barnett Kevlar clutch plates, RCC billet clutch support bracket, billet quick access clutch cover, stage two turbo kit and water injection system, MicroTech secondary fueling system (on-boost), Dynojet Power Commander (for off boost fueling), HMF exhaust, Driven sprockets, ECU Editor programmed ECU, AMS 1000 boost controller, Cordona PQ-8 Precision quickshifter
Accessories: Pazzo levers, TechG Racing rearsets, PMR billet triple tree, Driven grips, Zeitronix ZT-2 wideband AFR meter and data logging system, data recorder and ZR-2 Multi gauges, Cordona shift light, Lui Moto seat cover, Magical Racing carbon fiber components, Puig windscreen, HID headlight kit
Owner/Builder: Rick Wahlberg, Speed Metal Customs