Hayabusa means peregrine falcon in Japanese. Peregrine falcons are not only the fastest animal on earth, they also love to feast on blackbirds. And that’s exactly what Suzuki wanted the Hayabusa to do; to eat Honda’s Blackbird for breakfast. They’ve been around since 1999, they’ve sold nearly 200,000 units and, whilst they’ve been at it, earnt a bit of a cult following. And now, for 2021, there is a new one.
And whilst it does look a bit more modern, with its sharper lines, LED lights and new exhausts, it’s certainly still a ‘Busa. With it’s low, long and wide stance, it’s true that it still looks mega similar to the first Hayabusa, 22 years ago. But I wouldn’t say it looks dated. It’s such a unique look that, even after all this time, there’s still nothing that looks like a ‘Busa.
After testing loads of different engine layouts, turbochargers and bigger displacements, Suzuki’s engineers and test riders decided not to fix what isn’t broken. They like the 1340cc inline four, so they’re keeping it. That said, they’ve put a bit of work into developing it, and in doing so created the fastest launching Hayabusa yet (apart from all the ones that people have put turbos on, or NOS, and taken drag racing). New pistons, conrods, cams, and changes to the combustion chamber all help the engine spin easier and burn fuel a bit more effectively. And a bigger airbox and throttle bodies help get fuel in quicker. Whilst all this has given the new model better mid-range, peak power and torque have taken a hit. You can expect to get 190bhp and 150Nm, meaning power’s down by 7bhp at the top and peak torque is down by 5Nm. Like the outgoing model, top speed is limited to 186mph, as per the gentleman’s agreement amongst the main Japanese manufacturers.
There’s nothing particularly new in the chassis department either. The twin-spar ally frame is, as far as we can see, identical to the last one. But you do get a new subframe, which is 700g lighter than the last one. The new 7-spoke wheels look pretty saucy, and they come with special Bridgestone S22s, which definitely gets our vote.
And there’s loads of fancy new electronics, too. You have six rider modes, three pre-set ones and three customisable ones. The modes all adjust the power and level of traction control, lift-control etc. And as well as the power modes, you get a shifter and blipper, a speed limiter, launch control, cruise control, hill hold and a few other helpful little electronic nuggets.
If you wanted Suzuki to drag the Hayabusa into the space age with a million bhp, you’re probably going to be a little bit disappointed. But if you are a true Hayabusa fanboy (or girl), and you want a modern(ish) take on the classic Hayabusa, then I think you’re going to like it. At £16,499 it’s not cheap, but it’s 2021, nothings cheap anymore. If you fancy a look, they’ll be available in Suzuki dealerships in March.