2008 Suzuki - First Look - Motorcycle.com

by Staff

Suzuki has come out swinging for the 2008 model year, unveiling a more powerful Hayabusa, the radical monster-motored B-King streetfighter, a sensible middleweight sportbike, variations of the muscle-cruiser M109R, and the fuel-injected RM-Z450 motocrosser.

Suzuki has dropped its anticipated bomb in the speed wars with a thoroughly overhauled Hayabusa, but there’s much more early-release news from Team S.

The formerly unassailable speed king ’Busa shares Suzuki spotlight with another big-bore bruiser, the Transformer-ish B-King streetfighter that uses a version of the Hayabusa’s powerplant. And if that’s not enough, Suzi is also delivering a sensible sportbike, the GSX650, based off the Euro-only Bandit 650, plus a few new takes on the M109R uber-cruiser. And then there’s the first mass-production motocrosser with fuel injection, the new RM-Z450.

Back in black, the pavement-ripping Hayabusa gets a major makeover in its quest to regain the crown of the most powerful production streetbike.
But above all is the flagship Hayabusa that has become a modern-day sportbike icon. Visually, this ’08 model isn’t a big departure from the unique, flowing lines of the original that debuted in 1999. Sharp eyes will notice smoother curves, a taller windscreen and faired-in turnsignals front and rear. But the signature silhouette with bulging tail hump remains distinctly Hayabusa.

The big news is down in the engine room where the cylinders got a 2mm bore job to yield 1340cc (up from 1299cc) of mega motor.

Suzuki is claiming a 12% increase in power, which will probably out-grunt the current class champ ZX-14 Kawasaki. Cool stuff inside include titanium valves, shot-peened chromoly connecting rods, a shallower combustion chamber angle and a compression ratio bumped to a high 12.5:1 (from 11.0:1). This should made the big ’Bus more than ready to rumble against Kawasaki’s ballistic upstart ZX-14. As with the 2007 GSX-R1000, the ’Hayabusa sports a rider-adjustable power mode selector. Three positions are available: fast; way fast; and oh-my-god fast. A slipper clutch is a new addition.

Size-wise, the rejuvenated Hayabusa adds a couple of inches of length even though the wheelbase remains at 58.5 inches. Its 485-pound claimed dry weight is up 7 over the previous version. Seat height remains at a reasonable 31.7 inches, but the passenger perch is now a bit lower than before. A new inverted fork holds radial-mount brake calipers and 310mm rotors.

No word yet on pricing, but we can tell you that you’ll have your choice of three color schemes: a stealthy black and gray, a mature-looking blue and black, and an eye-grabbing orange and black.


The new ’Busa-powered B-King promises to rip the lid off the large-capacity streetfighter market. We expect the style council to weigh in heavily on this one.
If the Hayabusa is for speed freaks (and it is), this new B-King brings big power to a slightly slower environment. With a Hayabusa-based motor, this radical new naked promises to be the most powerful streetfighter on the market.

Aluminum frame rails cradle a burly inline-Four which the rumor mill suggest will churn out 184 crankshaft horsepower. This should translate to nearly 160 ponies at the rear wheel. Peak crank torque of 108 pound-feet arrives at just 7200 rpm, so downshifting will be virtually optional. A two-position Drive Mode Selector allows for a softer power delivery when maximum juice isn’t needed.

Suzuki has gone out on a limb with the styling of the B-King, giving it a forward-looking, techie persona. If the Mr. Roboto headlight doesn’t grab your attention, the wildly styled twin underseat exhaust system surely will. We expect polarized opinions about the design.

A Kayaba fork leads the way and carries Nissin radial-mount brake calipers. A fat 200mm rear tire is housed in an attractive aluminum swingarm. Word on the street is to expect a claimed 530-pounds dry weight.


Those tired of the repli-racer butt-up/hands-down riding position will appreciate the accommodating GSX650F.
Picking up where the discontinued 600 Bandit and 750 Katana left off is this versatile new sporty bike that should have wide appeal. It’s based on the Bandit 650 naked sold in Europe, the middleweight makes the jump to America with the addition of a full fairing that U.S. consumers are fond of.

Unlike the old Bandit and the Kan-o-tuna, the GSX650F uses a liquid-cooled four-cylinder motor that is fuel-injected. A longish 57.9-inch wheelbase and a claimed 476-pound dry weight suggest steering characteristics that fall on the sport-touring side of the sportbike equation. The ergonomic layout appears similar to the Suzuki’s long-running GS500, with bars mounted above the triple-clamps, a fairly tall windscreen, and a moderate footpeg position. A single seat looks to provide comfort for rider and passenger, while a 5.0-gallon fuel tank promises many miles between gas stops.


The mighty M109R muscle-cruiser garnered lots of attention during its debut year in 2006, but its forward-looking styling missed the mark to those who prefer their cruisers to have a nostalgic appearance. For 2008, Suzuki is hitting both ends of the spectrum.

New this year is the C109R, which is basically an M109R dressed in traditional cruiser duds. The potent 1783cc V-Twin from the M is transplanted into the C virtually unchanged, so the liquid-cooled mill should still crank out 100-plus rear-wheel horsepower.

Other differences include a hidden shock arrangement for a hardtail look, linked brakes and two color choices, black or maroon. Also available is a touring version called the C109RT, replete with a windshield, leather saddlebags and a studded seat with a backrest.

M109R Limited

Basically an M109R with a few special touches, such as screaming yellow paint with a white racing stripe, gauges with a checked-flag background and clear taillight lenses.


Another variation of the M109R, this time with a sculpted headlight unique to this model.


The first motocrosser in large-scale production to feature fuel-injection, the RM-Z is packed full of good stuff to challenge the dominant CRF450R and other major players. An aluminum fuel tank is used for its better sealing abilities for the EFI system that will make rejetting for different elevations a thing of the past. A new 5-speed transmission replaces the 4-cog unit of the past. This highly anticipated MXer will hit showrooms this fall.


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