After nine long years, the Hayabusa has got its first makeover. Rishad Coopertells all

At the mention of the word Hayabusa, words like power, performance and passion come to mind. When Suzuki first launched the Hayabusa in 1999, it was the first bike to hit the 300kph mark. In fact, the Hayabusa was referred to as the fastest motorcycle in the world until 2006, when it was overthrown by the Kawasaki Ninja ZZR1400. The Hayabusa, of course, has a huge fan following and enjoys massive sales.

This bike has been ruling the motorcycle world for the longest time and has been renowned for its superb aerodynamic design and precise engineering. In fact, this bike was so close to perfect that it didn’t require any modification for the nine years since it launch. Now, however, the new Hayabusa is here with the first makeover since the bike’s launch.

Suzuki engineers worked hard and really made an effort to ensure that the Hayabusa 2008 will please its fans. The new Hayabusa retains its smooth yet bulbous look and it spells aggression. Concealed fairing fasteners add to the style and aerodynamics of the bike, while the new fairing comes with a lower drag efficiency dialed in. The panel joints are now an even smoother fit and the headlamps have been altered to provide more intense and better-distributed light. Analogue speedo, tacho, fuel gauge and coolant temperature dials feature on the new silver trim-surrounded four-pod instrumentation.

The Hayabusa 2008 also has a new Suzuki drive mode selector (S-DMS), which allows convenient thumb flicking to adjust power output via a toggle switch on the right-hand switchgear. Riders can use S-DMS to instantly select and set one of three engine maps — A, B or C. In A, the bike runs in normal mode, in B it adjusts mapping to bring on more linear torque delivery and C sets the bike up for even more linear power delivery across the widest rpm spectrum.

The heart beat

The engine on the new Hayabusa is very different from the earlier model. The new bike comes with a four-cylinder in-line, liquid-cooled engine. The new ‘Busa is Suzuki’s largest and most powerful superbike engine ever, with lighter pistons, shot-peened chrome molybdenum steel-alloy connecting rods and a crankshaft using revised crank pin positions to accommodate its now-longer stroke motor. Bucket tappet-operated titanium valves and cam-chain tensioning via hydraulics to enhance cam timing accuracy and reduce noise levels are other highlights one can find on the new Hayabusa. It claims a staggering 198bhp at the crankshaft, which is 25bhp up on the outgoing model. Maximum torque developed is now 18.6kgm at 6200rpm.

Despite the power, the Hayabusa’s six-speed transmission works hand-in-hand with a back torque-limiting clutch to allow smooth, controlled downshifts. Though the bike will remain at 298kph, it will accelerate to this speed faster than any other bike on the planet. As opposed to many superbikes out there, the Hayabusa is known for its comfortable seating. The seat bearing rails have been lowered to 17mm on the new bike. Fully-adjustable inverted front forks featuring low-friction inner tubes and an adjustable single rear shock absorber with 43mm piston diameter have been used on the new Hayabusa, while the new bridged alloy swingarm is also engineered to offer increased rigidity that will help the new bike cope with its increased power output. This is definitely a complete makeover for Suzuki’s Hayabusa.

So the question everyone is asking is, of course, will this bike come to India? Given that the Indian market is finally opening up for bikes, the answer might just be yes. In fact, the new Hayabusa is just what Suzuki Motorcyles in India needs to attract even more customers and loyalists.