Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa | Streetbike Surgery Lite

Build a better Busa for (around) $1500

By Marc Cook, Photography by Kevin Hipp

After 1300-plus miles in the saddle, we know that what the Hayabusa needed more than anything was a dash of civility and a small tweak to bring it closer to its competition. That’s saying something considering how old, relatively speaking, the Busa is next to these other two. Guess there’s something about 100 pound-feet of smooth torque and ligher-than-you-expect steering to keep a bike young.

Step one was to make our white bird a bit more comfortable. Comparing the Busa to the ZX-14R, its roots as a long, low machine emerge clearly. Based on our measurements, the reach from the seat to the bar is 1.4 inches longer and the effective bar rise is 0.4 in. less than the Kawasaki’s. The result is predictable: more weight on the hands, less on the Suzuki’s surprisingly comfortable seat. GenMar (www.zianet.com/genmar) has a deceptively simple solution—a machined aluminum block that fits between the Busa’s stock upper triple clamp and handlebar clamp. GenMar makes two versions, one ¾-in. thick ($139.95), the other 1 ¼-in. thick ($149.95). With the taller of the two fitted, the Busa’s ergos are more friendly: a reduction of 0.6 in. from seat to bar and an increase of 1.2 in. of bar rise, to 4.8 in. total. Heck, that’s Bandit territory!

On the road, the taller spacer works wonders, giving the Hayabusa a relaxed, yet still sporty riding position, with no problems of interference or increased vibration at the grips, no need to change from the stock cables and hoses—truly an effective, bolt-on solution.

Suzuki’s stock brakes are woefully down on power compared with the Kawasaki’s, but largely remedied with a set of EBC Double-H brake pads gripping EBC’s petal-style XC-series discs (www.ebcbrakes.com; $36.21/caliper for pads, $233.93 each disc). While the ultimate stopping power is comparable to stock, the EBC package markedly improves feedback and initial bite; still the brakes aren’t quite the equal of the Kawasaki’s. (Because the pads provided the bulk of the improvement, we didn’t include the cost of the discs in the total.)

Finally, so that you can take it with you, a Ventura Bike-Pack system (www.ventura-bike.com; $479) using the new Mistral I bag went onto our gleaming white Busa. The bike-specific bracketry fit perfectly and supported a whopping full, 47-liter stashsack that imparted a very minor influence on the Busa’s high-speed handling. Dorky looking, yes; effective, hell yes.

The last mod on the list came from Bazzaz Performance (www.bazzaz.net, $949.95) in the form of its Z-Fi TC controller; the goal was to give the Busa traction control like the Kawasaki and a quick shifter like the BMW. Our hope was to improve low-speed fueling, and we got most of the way there, though the box can’t do anything about the Zook’s driveline lash. The Bazzaz box adds truly effective traction control and enables speed shifting, which you will find more useful on the street than you’d imagine. It’s true that the whole-dog Bazzaz package put us over the original $1500 budget, but we’re willing to break a few rules for such a capable, easy-to-install and flexible modification. If you choose to peel off a few more Hamiltons, Bazzaz will sell you an oxygen-sensor-based self-mapping module (the Z-AFM, $299.95) and a remote TC-adjust/map selector switch ($129.95).

With a few well-chosen mods, our otherwise stock 2012 Hayabusa is now more comfortable, easily carries a week’s worth of clothing, stops better and, in many ways, closes the gap to its newer competitors. Hmmm, wonder what a nice, used 2008 model goes for?

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