300+ Kilometers per motherfucking hour!
The motorcycling world took a deep breath in 1999 and wondered when the madness was going to stop. Motorcycle journalists packed their overnight bags with reinforced, super-absorbent underwear, drew up their last will and testaments and travelled hundreds of miles to shuffle nervously in the cool air beside early morning test tracks.
The Suzuki GSX1300R 'Hayabusa' had just been released.
'Released' is usually such a wasted term in journalistic circles but this fire breathing behemoth was never 'introduced', 'unveiled' or even 'announced'.. just like an angry caged dragon it could never be anything but 'released'.
Kawasaki ZZR 1100s and Honda CBR 1100X Blackbirds glanced sideways at each other nervously, whilst clutching their high-speed prom crowns as Suzuki presented the Hayabusa to the world. The name originates from the Japanese term for the Peregrine Falcon; a bird of prey that is known far and wide as the fastest living thing in the sky.
The Hayabusa met mixed reactions at its infamous release that morning... Ugly, Bulbous, Dangerous, Too Much...
But if you're a man like me, there is no such thing as 'too much'.
I'm Doc and this is the story of my adrenaline addiction.
When I returned to two wheels after my penances were served, I started out on a dependable Suzuki Across GSX-F 250 before upgrading to a VTR1000F Firestorm. The Firestorm was a fantastic bike with its fat V-twin grunt and served me well but before long I needed more... much more.
The Hayabusa had always been a dream bike of mine and because like most bikers, my body is starting to go South with old age, it will probably be my last sports bike before retiring to the cruiser ranks and kicking back.
I picked up my Busa not long ago now and the first thing I noticed was that it just wants to run and run and run, like roadrunner on speed!
On my other bikes I spent a fair bit of time worrying which one of the cage driving suicide bombers was going to take me out first but on this bike, the one thing that constantly occupies my mind is trying to keep the damn thing under the speed limit.
The Hayabusa seating is very comfortable and the seat well padded, unlike my firestorm, which was like sitting on a thin mouse pad that slowly tortured my arse as the miles rolled by.
Taking off at the lights it's not a question of how fast it will go, it's more like how fast do you actually want to go? Sidewinder missile fast or just fast enough to make everything disappear in the mirrors? How big are your balls, Sir?
You can feel the power grumbling right down there under the tank, just like a crazy big dog straining on the end of a chain. It's always right there, just itching to be unbridled, letting that psychotic horse stampede burst forth and annihilate anything stupid enough to try and out accelerate you.
For a large bike it corners surprisingly well too and the quicker you, go the better it handles. It isn't a boy racer's toy where you slide off the side of the seat and then over to the other all the time in the twisties, its just not needed. A small move of the body and a deft push on the bars is all she needs to track true and straight. It loves to power out of corners faster than it went into them, although you have to be very wary not to give it too many berries as things will go horribly wrong, horribly fast.
I have tested the amazing brakes as well, avoiding an idiot in a Mitsubishi Magna who thought blinkers and mirrors were just ornaments.. the fact I'm writing this at all is testament to their power and effectiveness.
However, all that handling and braking while exceptional for a large big bore bike is not what this machine is all about.
For a Busa fan, it's the right wrist that answers all of your questions and fulfils all of your needs. Unlike the other big bikes I have ridden in the past that develop their power in a controlled and linear way, twisting the throttle on the Hayabusa is an earth shattering experience for the uninitiated.
When you grab a handful of throttle the big beast says "are you ready? Before throwing a whole damn paddock full of horses at you all at once. Its all you can do is to hang on and grin like a teenage boy who's just discovered his Dads stash of dirty magazines.
That wild power delivery is what endears me to the bike, the immense surge of raw unadulterated horsepower never grows old no matter how many times you open it up.
If you want a bike for show boating, then the Hayabusa is not it. If you want a bike for ripping up the twisties, the big Busa will handle it easily. If you want a bike for sport touring, its got that covered too.
Sure, there are plenty of other bikes that might do one of those few things a little better.. race replicas will always take you through the corners at warp factor nine and if touring is your thing then your arse will probably like a Goldwing more than any other machine after a full day in the saddle
But (and that's a big but) if you want sheer exhilaration and excitement every single time you turn the key the Hayabusa is the bike for you.
One final and very important word.
If for just one millisecond you forget to respect the nature of the beast beneath you, the Hayabusa will not give you a second opportunity to screw up.