SUZUKI GSX1300R HAYABUSA (1999-2007) First generation Review

0
180

Suzuki, Bike

The original Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa is still one seriously quick motorcycle, possessed of enormous acceleration and breathtaking top speed. True, the GSX1300R Hayabusa doesn’t quite handle all that power (and weight) too brilliantly sometimes, but it remains a supremely comfortably long range missile, that always delivers a shot of raw adrenaline. The later version is even better.

As a future classic the 1999 ‘Busa definitely has potential, so buy a nice standard bike and it could prove a modest investment. Original bikes came in black, black and red and the copper and salmon scheme which has become synonymous with the 1999 model and is the colour to go for. But if you just want an experience like no other, for £5500 you simply aren’t going to get anything that can rival the big Suzuki.

“Possessed of enormous acceleration and breathtaking top speed”

The Suzuki Hayabusa (or GSX1300R) is a sport bike motorcycle made by Suzuki since 1999. It immediately won acclaim as the world’s fastest production motorcycle, with a top speed of 303 to 312 km/h (188 to 194 mph).

In 1999, fears of a European regulatory backlash or import ban, led to an informal agreement between the Japanese and European manufacturers to govern the top speed of their motorcycles at an arbitrary limit. The media-reported value for the speed agreement in miles per hour was consistently 186 mph, while in kilometers per hour it varied from 299 to 303 km/h. This figure may also be affected by a number of external factors, as can the power and torque values.

The conditions under which this limitation was adopted led to the 1999 Hayabusa’s title remaining, at least technically, unassailable, since no subsequent model could go faster without being tampered with. After the much anticipated Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R of 2000 fell 6 km/h (4 mph) short of claiming the title, the Hayabusa secured its place as the fastest standard production bike of the 20th century. This gives the unrestricted 1999 models even more cachet with collectors.

Besides its speed, the Hayabusa has been lauded by many reviewers for its all-round performance, in that it does not drastically compromise other qualities like handling, comfort, reliability, noise, fuel economy or price in pursuit of a single function. Jay Koblenz of Motorcycle Consumer News commented, “If you think the ability of a motorcycle to approach 190 mph or reach the quarter-mile in under 10 seconds is at best frivolous and at worst offensive, this still remains a motorcycle worthy of just consideration. The Hayabusa is Speed in all its glory. But Speed is not all the Hayabusa is.”

 

Top speed limited by agreement

With rumors and then pre-release announcements of much greater power in Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-12R in 2000, clearly attempting to unseat Suzuki and regain lucrative bragging rights, the speed war appeared to be escalating. There were growing fears of carnage and mayhem from motorcycles getting outrageously faster every year, and there was talk of regulating hyper sport motorcycles, or banning their import to Europe.

The response was a so-called gentlemen’s agreement between the Japanese and European manufacturers to electronically limit the speed of their motorcycles to 300 km/h (186 mph). The informal agreement went fully into effect for the 2000 model year. So for 2000 models, and those since, the question of which bike was fastest could only be answered by tampering with the speed limiting system, meaning that it was no longer a contest between stock, production motorcycles, absolving the manufacturer of blame and letting those not quite as fast avoid losing face. Both Kawasaki and Suzuki would claim, at least technically, to have the world’s fastest production motorcycle.

Other developments

After the inclusion of the speed limiting system in 2000, the Hayabusa remained substantially the same through the 2007 model year. An exception was a response to the problem of the aluminum rear sub frame on 1999 and 2000 models breaking when the bike may have been overloaded with a passenger and luggage, and/or stressed by an aftermarket exhaust modification, so 2001 and later Hayabusas had a steel instead of aluminum rear subframe, adding 4.5 kg to the 1999 and 2000 models’ approximately 249 kg wet weight.

 

Ride Comfort & Brakes

The GSX1300R Hayabusa has issues. First off, it has a semi-touring kind of ride, with ‘kinda moist’ suspension that allows the front end to squirm and move around under hard braking. And talking of brakes, Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa’s tend to fade a bit under repeated hard use from 150mph plus speeds – which are achieved in about 12 seconds on this bike. As a sports-tourer, the GSX1300R Hayabusa is definitely more touring than sporty in its overall handling.

Engine Performance

The original Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa is very simple, yet brutally effective four cylinder monster, the 1299cc engine is bulletproof, doesn’t chin fuel too badly at semi-sane speeds and the fuel injection works very efficiently too. The amount of midrange torque that the GSX1300R Hayabusa produces is especially impressive and makes fast road riding ridiculously easy. Newer version is better though.

Build Quality & Reliability

Reliability is generally excellent with the Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa, although rear wheel bearings have been known to collapse occasionally at relatively low miles. The real problem with long term GSX1300R Hayabusa ownership is the quality of the finish on many components, which is poor. It rusts, it pits, it discolours its alloy, unless you really keep on top of it and clean every nook and cranny. Exhausts rot too.

Equipment

That ugly fairing on the Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa works very well, not only at punching holes in the atmosphere at 180mph, but at keeping some bad weather off the rider too, but the new version is better still. Good headlight, comfy rider and pillion accommodation, four bungee hooks and some under seat storage – plus throw over panniers can be made to fit all total up to make the Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa a capable tourer. Excellent grab rail too.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1999
Year discontinued 2007
Original price £6,649
Used price £3,000 to £6,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage

 

Performance
Max power 175 bhp
Max torque 99 ft-lb
Top speed 190 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.4 secs
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Specification
Engine size 1299cc
Engine type 16v, in line 4, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 215kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 240mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17 in

 

History & Versions

Model history

1999: Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa launched.
2001: 186mph restricted version appears.
2007: Replace by all-new model (separate review to appear next week).

Other versions

Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa RZ: Special black painted frame, otherwise same bike.

The Suzuki Hayabusa (or GSX1300R) is a sport bike motorcycle made by Suzuki since 1999. It immediately won acclaim as the world’s fastest production motorcycle, with a top speed of 303 to 312 km/h (188 to 194 mph).

In 1999, fears of a European regulatory backlash or import ban, led to an informal agreement between the Japanese and European manufacturers to govern the top speed of their motorcycles at an arbitrary limit. The media-reported value for the speed agreement in miles per hour was consistently 186 mph, while in kilometers per hour it varied from 299 to 303 km/h. This figure may also be affected by a number of external factors, as can the power and torque values.

The conditions under which this limitation was adopted led to the 1999 Hayabusa’s title remaining, at least technically, unassailable, since no subsequent model could go faster without being tampered with. After the much anticipated Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R of 2000 fell 6 km/h (4 mph) short of claiming the title, the Hayabusa secured its place as the fastest standard production bike of the 20th century. This gives the unrestricted 1999 models even more cachet with collectors.

Besides its speed, the Hayabusa has been lauded by many reviewers for its all-round performance, in that it does not drastically compromise other qualities like handling, comfort, reliability, noise, fuel economy or price in pursuit of a single function. Jay Koblenz of Motorcycle Consumer News commented, “If you think the ability of a motorcycle to approach 190 mph or reach the quarter-mile in under 10 seconds is at best frivolous and at worst offensive, this still remains a motorcycle worthy of just consideration. The Hayabusa is Speed in all its glory. But Speed is not all the Hayabusa is.”[22]

In future artcles, we shall review the Hayabusa and other fine bikes in more detail.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here