Suzuki has seemingly accomplished a daunting task – that of updating the legendary Hayabusa for its third generation. But do the updates come at the expense of its revered DNA, or is the good old hooligan still lurking within?
As motoring journalists, we get the chance to test and experience an array of vehicles every year. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. However, there are, at times, rare moments when we look forward to testing a particular vehicle more than anything else we’ve ever looked forward to in our lives! For me, that moment came just a few days back when an opportune phone call led to the realisation of a childhood dream – to test and experience one of the most legendary motorcycles of all time – the Suzuki Hayabusa!
Suzuki had pulled the wraps off the new, third-generation Hayabusa in February this year. Yes, when you first look at the third-gen model, it doesn’t really look new. However, I think that this is the key challenge that Suzuki has boldly accomplished – giving one of the most iconic motorcycles on the planet a thorough overhaul whilst retaining that original and oh so recognisable aerodynamic silhouette!
The New Stuff
There’s plenty that’s new to look forward to on the 2021 Hayabusa. In fact, the latest generation is the culmination of over 550 new parts, inside & out, coming together to form one masterpiece.
The visual changes are headlined by the new rear cowl and the new LED combination taillamp, followed by redesigned vents, new rear-view mirrors and reprofiled straight-edged exhausts. A new, vertically-stacked LED headlamp set between new angular air intakes gives the 2021 Hayabusa a fresh face and the dual-tone accents, like the ones you see finished in a very enticing Candy Burnt Gold, give the bike a very new-age feel.
While these relatively small and clever changes on the outside have made sure that the original silhouette does not go for a toss, to me, it’s the changes inside that have made all the difference! That’s because as per the ‘iceberg’ analogy, the bit under the ocean represents the magnitude of the mechanical changes on the 2021 Hayabusa. Though the major components, such as the 1,340cc gem of an inline-four DOHC motor, have been carried over, each one of them has either been significantly reworked or tweaked in one way or another.
To begin with, the engine’s received with new, lighter pistons, conrods, valve springs, reprofiled camshafts, a revised crankshaft & crankcase and a new cam chain tensioner, to list a few! The six-speed gearbox has also been tweaked and gets gears with revised bearing width for improved shifts. A new assist-and-slipper clutch has also been added to the mix, to accommodate a new up-and-down quickshifter. Oh, and did I mention the revised chassis, with a new subframe, new brakes, and new suspension settings?
The latest iteration also uses a new ride-by-wire electronic throttle system that's been set up to produce greater power output at low and mid-range engine speeds. Thanks to all these changes and a flatter torque curve, the current iteration is the fastest-launching 'Busa to date – reaching the 100km/h mark from standstill in 3.2 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the outgoing bike – despite its reduced power & torque output. Compared to its predecessor’s 197bhp & 155Nm, the 2021 model develops 188bhp @ 9,700rpm and 150Nm of torque @ 7,000rpm. The top speed remains electronically capped at 299km/h.
The End Result
In a word? Rewarding. That’s perhaps the one word that sums up my experience of riding the new Hayabusa. From the buttery smoothness of the four-pot motor to the beautifully tuned exhaust note, the new Hayabusa offers unparalleled comfort, oodles of performance and urban usability that’s perhaps the best rated of all the big bikes currently on sale.
The qualities that impressed me the most, apart from the engine and performance, are the bike’s well-balanced chassis, its surefooted manners at low speeds and the ease of extracting all that performance – the latter having been made possible thanks to the new comprehensive suite of electronic rider aids the new bike comes with.
However, while riding in the city, I did notice that the big motor heats up intensely and therefore, you’ll find your legs being subjected to severe amounts of heat every time you come to a halt. But that’s just something about getting used to.
The fact that the 2021 Hayabusa is priced at ₹16.40 lakh ex-showroom, which is just about ₹2.65 lakh more than the previous model, truly makes it a bargain in my opinion. The prestige that comes with the Hayabusa moniker, this level of performance and all the technology that one could ever hope for on a bike in less than ₹20 lakh! I guess this is the best time to add this all-time great to your garage line-up.
- 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa
Engine: 1,340cc / 4-Cylinder / Liquid-Cooled
Transmission: 6-Speed Constant Mesh / Slipper & Assist Clutch
Power: 188bhp @ 9,700rpm
Torque: 150Nm @ 7,000rpm
Price: ₹16.40 lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: Supreme dynamics, stellar ride quality and more than enough tech to extract every last ounce of performance at a bargain price!
• Engine & performance
• Electronic rider aids