With all of our staff editors busy working on the upcoming middleweight naked bike shootout, we found ourselves in a difficult position. Thankfully, we have Mark Miller in our quiver of freelancers. Who else but someone who has raced in some of the most challenging motorcycle races around the world could be trusted to crank the throttle of a Hayabusa wide open down the long front straight of the Utah Motorsports Campus? (Note: if you’re looking for information on the technical changes to the Hayabusa, skip over to our First Look beforehand.) —Ed.
In 1988, I graduated from high school at 17 years old and three weeks later moved out of my mother’s house. Two weeks after that I bought my first motorcycle, a 1981 Suzuki GS1100E, the fastest production motorcycle to date, when it was new.
I had been asking my parents for a minibike every year since I was six. At every Christmas and every birthday I pleaded with them, “I don’t want a motorcycle, I need a motorcycle. Don’t you understand?” I never got one.
Then finally the day came when I broke out of home and immediately started looking for the fastest, most badass big bore motorcycle I could find within my budget, which was, of course, $500.
With its four valves per cylinder, 5-speeds, disk brakes, and 100.0 horsepower, the GS became not only my personal rocket ship, but an obscene shared existence. No helmet, all tears.
Fast-forward to the year <cough> 2021, and I get a call from the editor at MO. “Yo Miller, you wanna jet over to Utah to ride Suzuki’s new 2022 Hayabusa for their big North American launch?”
“Suzuki?” I perk up. “Hayabusa?” My eyes focus in. “You’re asking me if I’d like to go and ride Suzuki’s most famous rocket ship, known to the world over as one of the fastest, most badass big bore motorcycles basically made to be obscene?” If it’s 2021, I must have made it past 30. So weird. F*ck yeah, I’m in. Of course, I’m in!
A few days later I arrived in Utah and on day one, about a dozen of us rode the new Hayabusas up through some beautiful mountains near Salt Lake City.
The first thing I noticed was the number of people that would gawk at these 1340cc “Refined Beasts” and how many of them had the gall to yell at us to “Slow down!” In all but one case we were just chugging along minding our own business. All 16,000cc’s worth, heh heh. Totally innocent.
The bike is handsome in person and reeks of quality, and for me, it’s fair to say that this is the tidiest Suzuki street bike I’ve seen. I would never, ever want to scratch one.
On the road, the power of the new engine pulls way down low then continues to build up zest upon gusto until finally unleashing this fury on top which gives the impression it’s inviting you to participate in the bending of your reality from a wispy Sunday ride to an intoxicating blur. It gets off on it, I think. Reliably and often.
At no point on the street did the bike feel heavy or out of sorts. It felt instead like there was this balanced dance going on between the bike’s 50:50 weight distribution, the electronically controlled ride-by-wire system and its power delivery modes. The analog KYB suspension felt compliant, the bi-directional quick shifter and gearbox worked like butter, and the top shelf Brembo calipers combined with a latest six-direction, three axis IMU from Bosch worked well in concert with an accompanying ABS unit, also from Bosch.
The rubber floating handlebars and footrests were nearly without vibration, and the ride on the whole could be described as dead smooth.
The 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa is not a nimble GSX-R1000, nor is it trying to be. As a matter of fact, the nimble flagship GSXR is over 100 lbs lighter than the ‘Busa. But the Hayabusa has more in common with a luxury supercar than a buzzy, anemic Superbike.
The second of the two days was spent at the Utah Motorsports Campus; or, the artist, I mean, circuit formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park…no relation.
Cool track with loads of fast sweepers, hard-ish braking zones, and a 7th of a mile front straight – which in reality is longer than it sounds. The perfect playground to test the revamped Hayabusa.
Every time I pushed the Suzuki to faster and more aggressive heights, it responded just like it did on the roads; poised and uniform. The brakes were quite adequate right up to the point where I didn’t want to push the envelope of trail-braking any further. The front lever at that point would start obnoxiously “growing” away from the handlebar, which I was told from the ABS kicking in more forcefully. One thing I really appreciated was how the rear brake remained independent from the front when only the rear brake lever was applied. The front brake lever would link lightly with the rear, but it never felt intrusive or unwanted. Actually, with a bike of this size and power, it was helpful.
The ground clearance was much better than I anticipated and the top speed down the front straight saw me consistently eclipsing 175mph, indicated.
Speaking of high-speed, the aerodynamics on this flying fortress was the best I can recall, and I’ve ridden several dozens of bikes right up to and beyond 200 mph. Suzuki claims the Hayabusa enjoys one of the greatest drag coefficients amongst all street legal motorcycles, and I believe it. This ol’ girl cuts straight through the atmosphere like a samurai sword eviscerates a watermelon. It does such a good job at it, in fact, that I kept being lured into a false sense of security – each time I popped out from behind the bubble at 178mph to brake late (the bike wanting to continue accelerating), I’d damn near get blown off the machine. It never seemed like I was going as fast as I was when in a full tuck. It was kind of ridiculous.
Another prop I have to give for the Suzuki’s engineers is how they kept the only objects protruding into oncoming air being the mirrors. The turn signals, for example, have been kept flush within the bodywork. Even the headlights have been stacked vertically to allow the greatest aerodynamics as well as maximum ram air intake volume. It’s a sleek design that would make even a Peregrine Falcon proud. This bird of prey, which is the fastest animal on earth, has been known to reach over 200mph in a dive to catch its lunch. The Hayabusa is named after it.
One gadget on the motorcycle that I could personally live without is the Hayabusa’s highly touted launch control function. The system holds the RPM steady electronically as you feed the clutch out manually.
I did however use the heck out of the cruise control when we were on the highway and it worked awesome. I could speed up and slow down for long lengths of time just by toggling my left thumb forward and back. It became a different riding experience entirely, which doesn’t happen everyday.
Navigating through the menu was straight forward and I must say ‘quick’. Every additional change I initiated snapped into place without a lag, digitally speaking. The TFT at the center of the two analog gauges was useful and easy to modify its information. There was an interesting artificial horizon and digital gimbal option that displayed both throttle position and brake pressures in real time, which I assumed was fun to watch, but how could I? I’m frigging riding? Like my momma always said to me, “You’re stupid and you’re ugly.”
The Hayabusa comes with a rather cool and super-efficient Computer Area Network (CAN) type wire harness which manages all of the bike’s gobs of data between the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.) – Engine power modes, TC, WC, quick shifter, cruise control, linked braking, ABS, etc. – whilst using only a limited number of actual wires. The harness works as a network instead of normal more complex setups we’re used to, which are slower and in the end much heavier. Vast numbers of electronic signals can pass each other at the same time by employing numerous different frequencies, which also aids in the rapid response of everything electrical. The higher the speeds in which all of these gizmos and toys can respond, the lower their latencies get, the more responsive and tactile the experience of riding these newest bikes will be.
The proprietary Bridgestone S22’s worked great on the roads and took one hell of a beating on the short circuit and never bitched back at me, and I was really trying to piss them off. They weren’t havin’ it.
So, in conclusion, I didn’t know what to expect when getting into this 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa test. I’ve never been one to sit around a garage and clean a bike all weekend. But I’d sit around and clean this bike if I owned one. When you see one in person, you’ll know what I mean. But usually, I’d rather be riding them full tilt – ever since that first GS1100E robbed me of my innocence and taught me everything it’d expect me to do. When it first invited me to bend my reality.
These ultra-fast comfortable motorbikes can become life-changers, if you’re not careful. Having this kind of capacity at the tips of your fingers and the ability to accelerate yourself across the surface of the earth with such reliability and composure is kinda mental if you ponder on it. This should be mentioned, as I’m sure the engineers at Suzuki were sure to realize after developing this 1340cc over the last ten years.
I’m just happy to still be here to enjoy these terrific inventions, to ride and compare these two co-conspirators, which were conceived some 40 years apart. Crazy shit. Thank you Motorcycle.com. And thank you Suzuki engineers.
|2022 Suzuki Hayabusa Specifications|
|Engine Type||1340cc liquid-cooled inline-Four cylinder, DOHC, four valves per cylinder|
|Bore and Stroke||81mm x 65mm|
|Claimed Horsepower||187.75 hp @ 9,700 rpm|
|Torque||110.64 lb-ft @ 7,000 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed constant mesh|
|Front Suspension||43mm inverted KYB fork with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability|
|Rear Suspension||Single shock with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability|
|Front Brake||Dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers with 320mm discs|
|Rear Brake||Single-caliper 260mm disc|
|Seat Height||31.5 inches|
|Curb Weight (Claimed)||582 pounds|
|Fuel Capacity||5.3 gallons|
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