Long-term Test: Suzuki Hayabusa

Published: 20 February 2015

Bye bye Busa, it’s been a blast.

2014 was a year of big numbers for the Hayabusa and me. In our eight months together we covered 4450 miles at an average 38mpg, burning through two sets of tyres, and blasting to a top speed of 198mph courtesy of £1455 worth of modifications. We did three trackdays, one RWYB and made countless memories. The big black Busa has left a huge impression on me.

Surfing on the Suzuki’s back at a rain-soaked Cadwell was one such memory. With new Metzeler M7RR tyres replacing the Busa’s OE Bridgestones, we wheelspun up Park Straight and went all squirrely over the Mountain. It was definitely a day of spray and squirminess, the 110lbft of torque and loads of standing water proving too much for the otherwise mighty Metzelers. But the Busa’s super-smooth power and ultra-long wheelbase made the low-grip track expedition really fun.

All the high-speed hijinks were tempered with sunny morning commutes into work, which the 245kg hyperbike both excelled at and resented in equal measure. For such a huge bike, the Busa had the agility to dart through traffic with all the curious poise of a plus-size ballet dancer. The ABS-powered brakes, once I’d upgraded the pads to aftermarket Brembo fast-road items, were full of feel and strength, and were very confidence inspiring. While that mega 1340cc motor and its skip-loads of torque had enough flexibility for me to leave it in fourth gear and use the big Suzi like a huge, high-speed twist-and-go. Yet the Hayabusa detested the short, seven-mile urban commute into work, and made its displeasure known by roasting my legs in traffic and returning a shockingly dismal 33mpg.

Yet my biggest fuel consumption, and indeed my biggest memory of the year, came at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, where the Busa and I made a personal landmark. The mods to the ECU (removing the electronic restrictions), and the fitting of the freer-flowing Yoshi system allowed the Busa to propel me to 198mph – the fastest I’ve ever been on two wheels. Later that day, MCN test rider Bruce Dunn managed to go two better, and take my Busa to 200mph – my goal for the year. And in doing so, we managed to demolish a whole 21-litre tank of fuel in just 60 miles!

So, while there’s an empty Busa-shaped gap in my garage, my brain will always be packed with brilliant Busa memories, and a big Busa space reserved in my heart.

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