2013 Suzuki Hayabusa ABS | FIRST LOOK

The Big Bird Gets ABS

Photos: Enrico Pavia

The Hayabusa returns for 2013 with key updates: Brembo radial-mount front calipers backed up by ABS.

While the Suzuki is a comfortable, smooth, and ferociously fast sportbike, brakes have always been the big bird’s weakest link, so we were pleased to see some attention paid to the ‘Busa’s binders. Brembo Monoblock calipers replace the previous Tokico pinchers, while a compact ABS unit resides under the airbox and regulates brake pressure at the threshold of lock-up. Beyond that, the Hayabusa is just as it was.

[ New Brembo Monoblock calipers grace the otherwise unchanged front end of Suzuki's powerful bird of prey.

We got the chance to ride the 2013 bike on 200 miles of Southern California back roads, cruising through the Cleveland National Forest and over Palomar Mountain. Even if it’s not the fastest thing on the road anymore, the Hayabusa still impresses with eye-opening acceleration and surprisingly light and neutral handling. The new Brembo calipers, which Suzuki says are more rigid and offer better braking power, do offer slightly better bite and feel than last year’s setup. Unfortunately, those top-tier calipers are still fed via rubber lines (with more plumbing than before due to the ABS unit) and an old-fashioned axial master cylinder, reducing the effect of the upgrade. The ABS works as it should, but is behind the times in terms of refinement.

For 2013, the Hayabusa’s price has gone up just $100, to $14,399. Limited edition Marble Daytona Yellow (we’re calling it Big Bird Yellow) costs an additional $200. Suzuki says the Hayabusa is still a strong seller, and in an effort to encourage more riders to hop on a Hayabusa, Suzuki is offering 0 percent APR financing for 5 years through August 31. Buy before the end of the summer and Suzuki is also throwing in a Yoshimura EPA-compliant slip-on exhaust or $400 toward Suzuki accessories. Those are pretty strong incentives to buy what is still a versatile and viciously powerful sportbike.