Peregrine Falcon – a bird of prey that goes faster than 300kmph when it dives to catch its prey. That makes it one of the fastest animals on the planet. And this was the reason for Suzuki naming its new hyper sports machine after this fast predator back in 1999.
Hayabusa is a Japanese word for Peregrine Falcon and the motorcycle justifies its name by being the first-ever production motorcycle to speed past the 300kmph mark. And this feat achieved by the Hayabusa made the Japanese and European manufacturers come to a gentlemen’s agreement to limit the top speed of their superbikes to 299kmph. Such was the impact of the Hayabusa’s debut in 1999. It had also managed to hunt down Honda’s Super Black Bird that was the fastest road-legal motorcycle since its launch in 1996, until Busa stepped into the scene.
With the history lesson out of the way, let’s jump back to 2021. After gaining unmatched popularity across the globe during its 22 years of journey, the Suzuki Hayabusa is now in its third generation. A pall of gloom descended across the biking fraternity back in 2018 when the news about the Busa being discontinued came in. But Suzuki was silently working on a majorly overhauled model. Now, after its international launch in February this year, the 2021 Hayabusa has finally made its way into the Indian market with a price tag of Rs 16.40 lakh (ex-showroom). That’s about Rs 2.65 lakh more than its predecessor. Although that sounds like a hefty premium, it’s all justified when you pay attention to the updates it has received. Let’s see what they are.
The design of the Suzuki Hayabusa has always attracted polarising opinions for its bulbous proportions. But it’s only because of its free-flowing and swooping design lines that the Hayabusa is profoundly aerodynamic. And that’s why Suzuki has majorly retained the overall silhouette of the bike while giving it a minor nip and tuck. In fact, the Busa is claimed to cut through the air more efficiently now. With a sharper design, the air is channelled more freely through its body panels, starting from the front air intakes to the pointed tail section.
It is available in a choice of three colour options including white, silver, and black.
Coming to the crux of the matter, the smooth, torquey, and tractable engine of the Hayabusa is one of the main reasons for its fan following. For 2021, Suzuki has revised its 1,340cc inline four-cylinder engine to meet the more stringent emission norms. In the process, the sport-touring machine has lost around 6bhp and 5Nm. Although that sounds like a bummer, Suzuki promises that the performance is stronger in the low and mid-range of the rev band due to the revised intake and exhaust mechanism. And the inclusion of a ride-by-wire throttle system means it should also be more responsive. Having said all that, with 188bhp and 150Nm on tap, the Hayabusa is still brutal enough to send shivers down the rider’s spine.
While the Hayabusa was always a friendly machine, it’s much easier and safer to tame this beast now with the new electronics package that is much more comprehensive than the previous model. It comes equipped with the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector that allows the rider to individually tweak settings of five different systems including power mode, anti-lift control, engine brake control, traction control, and the bi-direction quick shifter.
In simpler words, there’s a six-axis inertial measurement unit along with six riding modes (three pre-set, three custom), three power modes, 10 stages of traction control, three stages of engine brake control, cornering ABS, rear wheel lift control, and a hill-hold system. The whole system is meant to make the Hayabusa more predictable and safer while belting it down the open roads. And all these parameters can be monitored on the new TFT display, sitting between four analogue dials that keep the charm of the old model intact.
Coming to the cycle parts, the 2021 Hayabusa continues to be based on a twin-spar aluminium frame and swingarm that facilitate it with a nimble handling and great agility for its size. But Suzuki has tweaked the fully adjustable upside-down front forks that are sourced from KYB. The internals of these units have been revised for better stability and more plushness. Meanwhile, the KYB monoshock at the rear is also improved for better ride quality. And accompanying this updated suspension setup is a new set of Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 tyres that are specifically developed for the Hayabusa. Well, a bike that goes fast should also stop fast and for the same reason, Suzuki has moved up from the previous Brembo M50 brake callipers to the more premium Brembo Stylemas.
To sum it all up, the Suzuki Hayabusa, even in its 2021 avatar, remains as iconic and desirable as ever. There’s barely anything in the market that comes close to its strong legacy. In the full-size sport touring genre, it used to directly compete against the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R which has not yet received its Euro5 and BS6 update.