Nearly two decades ago, the 1,299cc Hayabusa debuted as a hyper-sized superbike intended to grant its rider complete authority on the street. Powerful and pugnacious, its styling was derided by some, but the ’Busa was also undeniably impressive in performance. Ultimately, racing organizations did not adopt an über class that would have officially canonized “Big Bird.” Instead, the model found fame by donating its engine to race cars, and through innumerable dragstrip runs and land-speed-record attempts.
Riding the current 1,340cc ’Busa on the street is memorable. At a claimed 586 pounds wet, it’s a massive 145 pounds heavier than Suzuki’s own (identically priced) GSX-R1000 sportbike. It’s also longer and wider, with a lower seat and fuller bodywork to crawl behind. But who cares because…power! Between your legs churns the largest four-cylinder production sportbike engine Suzuki offers. Driving through a six-speed gearbox, the torque permits effortless acceleration, passing, and various other antics that really shouldn’t be in print. As the old Alka-Seltzer commercial said, “Try it, you’ll like it!”
Likes: Now in its 20th model year, the Hayabusa fully maintains its audacious identity.
Dislikes: For a bike this rapid, dynamic traction control and LED headlights are a must.
Verdict: It's bold. It's bulky. It's badass.