When Fagan rang me up and told me that we were heading to a private runway to ride a Hayabusa, I was, as you can imagine, quite excited about the prospect. And then he told me that it wasn’t any ordinary Hayabusa, it was a Hayabusa with a TTS Performance supercharger on it. It was a Hayabusa with 400bhp.
As most people know, a standard Suzuki Hayabusa is a very fast motorbike. For 20-odd years, they’ve been scaring the socks off anyone brave enough to swing a leg over one, in the same way that anything with nigh-on 200bhp has.
In all fairness though, the world is a little bit more used to 200bhp now. When you compare the stock gen 3 Hayabusa’s 187bhp to the genuine 200bhp+ of some of todays top-of-the-range sports bikes, whilst still ballistically fast, the ‘Busa has almost been relegated to the ‘sports tourer’ category. It’s big, comfortable, and yes it’s fast, but it’s not really up there amongst the fastest bikes in the world anymore.
That’s until TTS Performance fit one of their superchargers to it.
The TTS supercharged ‘Busa is a gen 2 model (2008–2018). The gen 2 ‘Busas, according to Suzuki came out of the factory with 194bhp. This one’s got more than double. And whilst I couldn’t wait to take it for a spin, I was actually rather pleased to see there was a standard Hayabusa parked next to the supercharged weapon. I thought it was probably a good idea to try and get my eye in with a 200bhp bike before I stepped up to 400bhp.
If I’m being honest, after my first run on the stock ‘Busa, I thought I might have benefitted from a few runs on a 100bhp bike, just to prepare myself for that one! Even though the runway was dead straight, 30m wide and 1,250m long, I found it genuinely difficult to keep the thing pinned all the way past the half mile marker. It took a few attempts. And that was with a mere 187bhp.
As we raced down the runway, as fast as I thought I was going on the standard bike, Fagan was galloping away from me on the supercharged bike as if I was on a moped. It looked beyond frightening but I couldn’t wait to have a go.
Eventually, Fagan decided he better let me have a turn before I started crying, so we swapped bikes. After a quick briefing on how the shifter works, how to set launch control, and what to do in case of emergency, the lads from TTS Performance let me loose with 400bhp.
I was expecting absolute chaos, so my first run started very, very gingerly. Because of my extra gentle approach, things weren’t initially as ridiculous as I thought they’d be. But the big, supercharged ‘Busa had lulled me into a false sense of security, because when I tried to open the throttle all the way to the stop, all hell broke loose. Fuck me, that thing was fast.
It’s hard enough to put into words just how fast a ‘normal’ superbike is. And I’d say it’s almost impossible to accurately describe the feeling of acceleration that you get from a 400bhp Hayabusa. I’ve never been in a fast military jet, but I can imagine firing up the afterburners on one of those bastards is a similar sort of experience.
It felt as though the bike could have had 1,000bhp because it just didn’t seem to run out. On a bike with half the power, you’re still going to accelerate quickly if you open the throttle to the stop, but eventually that acceleration will start to peter away; the faster you go, the slower you accelerate. It didn’t feel like that on the Supercharged bike. It felt as though the acceleration was never going to stop; almost the opposite to a normal bike. In fact it felt as though the faster you went, the more intense the acceleration became. It was melting my mind. Neither my brain nor my eyes could keep up with what was happening.
On the stock bike I was aiming to keep the throttled nailed until the half mile mark. On the Supercharged bike, I wasn’t anywhere near that point before I had to start braking. The data shows that we were doing an extra 20mph (184mph) on the supercharged bike (compared to the stocker) at the half mile point, but it felt like we were doing another 200mph. And in all fairness, that 20mph difference is probably skewed by the fact that on the faster bike, you couldn’t quite make it to the half mile line without roiling off and grabbing the brakes.
I’ve never really thought riding up and down in a strait line could be so frightening, but at those sort of speeds, it really is. And it’s also seriously exciting. I’ve never really given drag racing, or speed trial competitions much thought, but now I really, really fancy a go.
Where do I sign?
I also really fancy having a 400bhp Hayabusa. And I bet you would too, if you were to have a go on one.
If you have got a Hayabusa, you can buy the supercharger kit from TTS Performance, an it’s only £3,800. That’ll take you up to 360bhp (the 400bhp bike we rode is a bit of a development bike so they’ve push that a bit further), which if you ask me is a bargain*. You’re ‘safely’ almost doubling the power of your bike, for less than £4k. In fact you can probably pick up a gen 2 Hayabusa for about £4k, these days. That means you could have a bike that’s a lot faster than any of the current top-tier of sportsbikes, for about half the price of even the cheapest ones.
*The kit includes: Rotrex C30-94 counter-clockwise supercharger, custom fabricated intercooler, oil cooler, supercharger belt, air filter, all pipework and ancillaries, plus comprehensive instructions. TTS Performance can also supply a base map, if needed