Suzuki Hayabusa Review
Now in its third generation, the 2021 Hayabusa has received the most substantial update since its introduction in ‘99 and promises to bring a lot more to the table than its predecessors. So how much of a legacy does it continue to carry? And has it gotten any better? To answer these questions, we rode the ‘Busa in nearly all conditions it would find itself in, and here is what we came back with.
There are few names as iconic and legendary as the Hayabusa. A motorcycle so well known, it has an entire movie franchise associated with it. And apart from being the Blackbird-killer and one of the fastest production motorcycles on the planet, the Suzuki Hayabusa received celebrity status for more reasons.
Now in its third generation, the 2021 Hayabusa has received the most substantial update since its introduction in ‘99 and promises to bring a lot more to the table than its predecessors. So how much of a legacy does it still carry? Or has it gotten any better? To answer these questions, we rode the ‘Busa in nearly all conditions it would find itself in, and here is what we came back with.
Suzuki has tried not to meddle with the iconic design of the Busa. The longer you stare at it- and you will- the attention to detail pops out. It gets a few elements from the first-gen like the drooping rear section and the air-intakes at the front from the new GSX-R1000R.
And the Hayabusa has undoubtedly become sharper and more desirable now. After all, it did get sold out in a couple of days internationally and India before anyone had seen it in the flesh. As for quality, there’s nothing to nitpick here and everything stays up to the mark on the 2021 Hayabusa.
Although, the weight does translate to a somewhat clumsy ride experience in the city. Its large turning radius and a clutch that starts to feel heavy only adds to the woes. While the engine does heat up in heavy traffic, it never really threatened to melt my skin off. Nevertheless, out on the open highway is where the heart of the Busa is. It could munch miles all day long, effortlessly. And the riding position it offers complements its long-distance touring ability. While you do have to reach out to grab the handlebar even though it is pulled in closer on the 2021 model, it does not feel like a stretch.
The seat too has sufficient space to move around and has cushioning that feels immensely comfortable even after 7-8 hours of riding. Speaking of comfortable, the 2021 Hayabusa's suspension has been revised to offer better ride quality. It felt surprisingly plush and effortless over our infamous Mumbai roads. In addition to that, the Busa’s braking performance is also top-notch. Kitted with Brembo Stylema calipers at the front, stopping power is nice and progressive. While not sharp, it still is a big improvement over the earlier model.
Now, there were only a couple of niggles in an otherwise bulletproof ride experience. One being the two-way quickshifter that felt glitchy under 4000rpm. It also has a heavy throttle that felt strenuous to hold onto for long in the city. Although, we suspect it to be an issue specifically with our test bike.
While the heavily updated electronics package on the 2021 Busa is the talk of the town, there are also talks about the motorcycle’s 1340cc, inline-four motor and its decrease in power. While it has the same displacement as before, Suzuki has tweaked the motor to churn out 188bhp; nearly 7bhp lesser compared to the previous model’s 194bhp while the 150Nm of torque comes in earlier at 7,000rpm. Regardless, the Suzuki Hayabusa continues to boast of an electronically limited top speed of 299kmph.
And unlike many other superbikes of today that are capable of crossing that mark, Suzuki has chosen to keep the Hayabusa as a relatively more useable motorcycle with its focus on low and mid-range performance. The engine feels smooth and composed even under 5,000rpm with only a minor buzz on the pegs at higher revs. With tractability as one of its strong traits, the Hayabusa is completely capable of trodding at 40kmph in fifth gear.
Now, Suzuki even claims that the 2021 Hayabusa accelerates faster than the older bike. While we don’t have the numbers to back that claim, the 2021 ‘Busa does feel blistering quick off the line. Whip the throttle and the needle would be at 160kmph in a blink of an eye. Once tucked into that enclosed cockpit, the perception of speed changes. You’d need to look down at the speedo to realize the needle has already crossed 200kmph.
And thanks to the long, 1480mm wheelbase, the Hayabusa feels stable while at it. For 2021, Suzuki has kept the frame and swingarm the same, only making changes to the sub-frame to distribute the 266kg kerb weight evenly. While that number on the scale isn’t like your regular GSX-R, on the go, the weight is hardly noticeable and the tweaks have made it a slightly better handler than before. The turn-ins are sharper yet predictable and the corner speed it manages to carry is impressive for a motorcycle of this size.
The 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa’s extensive internal transformation deserves a special mention. And the cornerstone of these updates is the introduction of the six-axis IMU. The unit has opened the floodgates to a comprehensive list of electronic rider aids and the Hayabusa boasts of three ride modes listed as A, B, and C. Mode C offers a gentle throttle response, noticeably reduced power output, and 10 levels of traction control and wheelie control as well as 3 level engine brake control. While this mode is quite restrictive, I found this the most useable mode while riding in the city.
On the other hand, on mode B the Busa feels slightly more free with linear throttle response. However, with mode A displayed on the square-ish colour TFT fixed between the analogue clocks, the Suzuki Hayabusa goes fully mental with the least intervention from the electronics and the sharpest throttle feedback. But that’s not all, the motorcycle also has three additional user customisable modes that allow the rider to personalize the intervention of the electronic aids for what is essentially a no holds barred ride.
Besides this, the Hayabusa now boasts of a cruise control system to facilitate its sport-touring side. You also get a hill assist and a three-stage launch control system that Suzuki has added to address the concerns of the quarter-mile racers. This system is by far the easiest to activate- by simply holding down the start switch.
While we did not test the fuel efficiency on our test route like we usually do, we did calculate the average after every fuel up. In the city, the Hayabusa managed to return around 12.3-13.2kmpl. However, on the highway, it returned an impressive 19-21kmpl cruising at 130-140kmph.
The 2021 Hayabusa continues to feel like a versatile motorcycle now more than ever and is worthy of the legacy it carries. While it is not the 230bhp turbocharged monster everyone was expecting, the 2021 Busa takes all the things it did previously, a step above. It is easy to ride in the city compared to most other big bikes despite its size.
Touring on it is a dream with the plush suspension setup, comfy seats, and an engine that allows you to cruise at 150-160kmph without complaint. Oh, and the addition of a cruise control has just added to its mile-munching ability. The Blackbird-killer is also now more refined and friendlier in its new rider-aid-equipped-less-peak-power avatar. Nevertheless, it would still manage to keep the faithful happy, and the desire to own one ignited...
Photos by Kapil Angane
Full Review-Hide Review