Can the Hayabusa Catch Up?

What is the most powerful regular production motorcycle for sale right now? Ten years ago, that motorcycle would have undoubtedly been Suzuki’s Hayabusa. With a 1,340 cc inline-four there was no denying the Busa’s power, but today’s motorcycles are a different story. The Kawasaki ZX-14R—the Hayabusa’s longtime rival for speed king—has gotten engine and technology upgrades that have long since made the bike more powerful that the Hayabusa. Kawasaki even took the extra step of adding the H2R, a supercharged monster bike, to its roster. Now with Euro4 regulations looming, is there anything Suzuki can do to save its revolutionary motorcycle?

Will the Hayabusa Fly Again?

For almost 15 years, Suzuki’s GSX1300R has been the fastest production motorcycle on the planet (without the use of a jet engine). It has faced constant competition in Kawasaki’s ZX-14R, but as the race for power and speed dulled, so did Suzuki’s ardor for updates. The last significant update for the Hayabusa was the 2009 model, when the engine was upgraded from 1,299 cc to 1,340 cc. Now, Euro 4 emissions rules are threatening this classic giant.

The current emissions profile of the Busa does not meet Euro 4 standards, which means Suzuki will no longer be able to sell the big bike in Europe after 2019. The new Euro 4 standards have already killed Suzuki’s GSXR-600 model, but plans to save the GSXR-750 by sourcing its chassis from the GSX-R1000R have given Hayabusa fans hope.

Rumor says that Suzuki is looking to save the Hayabusa just as it’s going to save the GSXR-750. This has led many to speculate on how the manufacturer will manage to save the bike. Some believe Suzuki will merely add more displacement to the engine and use the GSX-R1000R’s variable valve timing technology to give the bike more power and make it compliant with new regulations. This would be Suzuki’s easiest option, though meeting emissions goals could prove difficult. Others believe that the manufacturer could add a turbocharging system to the bike. Considering Kawasaki’s success putting a supercharger in the H2R, this seems like a viable option, and it would allow Suzuki to achieve emissions standards very easily. Suzuki also has several forced induction concepts out there—think the Suzuki Recursion and the XE7 engine—which makes a forced induction solution even more likely.

No matter what path Suzuki takes, all the manufacturer’s fans are expecting an updated IMU, ABS, TFT dash display, LED lighting, shift assist and traction controls, which have all become mainstays of modern motorcycles. But do you think Suzuki fans are asking for too much? Will Suzuki revive the legendary motorcycle once referred to as the Millennium Falcon of Motorcycling? Only time will tell, but the motorcycling attorneys—who’re watching out for you—can’t wait to find out.

Tom Metier

Tom Metier

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