Suzuki Hayabusa (2021-on) Review | Owner & Expert Ratings
- A Suzuki Hayabusa for the 21st century
- Magic carpet ride
- Even more grunt in the middle
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
It may be a child of the 90s at heart, but even by today’s standards the third generation 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa feels like a spaceship.
We’re glad that Suzuki haven’t messed with its magic recipe too much. Styling is more evolution than revolution and it rides similarly, but the suspension upgrades deliver a deliciously supple ride and the engine’s extra grunt makes you forget all about the drop in peak power you’ll rarely use anyway.
Brakes are an improvement, but blunted by their electronics, the low-speed throttle action is snatchy and the riding position can be cramped for tall riders. Those small niggles aside the 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa is still a wonderous, one of a kind creation that remains the epitome of effortless speed.
Watch: We ride the 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa flat out
Neevesy goes full throttle on the latest version of this hyperbike to find out if it's still as rapid as ever, live from Sibson Airfield in the UK.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Fully adjustable KYB forks and shocks might look the same on the outside but the internals have been reworked to give astonishing results. As you’d expect from such a heavy bike, it doesn’t respond well to being forced into corners, but if you finesse it from upright to full lean it’s hugely capable and sure-footed. It positively glides over bumps and it’s this sublime ride quality mixed with unflappable high-speed stability, reassuring weight and such creamy power delivery that makes it so effortlessly quick over fast terrain.
New Bridgestone S22 tyres still have a flat, 1990s 50-profile rear, compared to the balloon shaped rubber used on current superbikes, but they do a fine job. They warm up fast and have more than enough grip for the road…and when they don’t there’s a whole army of the latest six-axis IMU controlled electronics to help you out.
The 2007-20018 Hayabusa suffered with poor braking feel and performance and Suzuki have addressed the problem with bigger discs and Brembo Stylemas, first seen on the Ducati Panigale V4, but they don’t have the firm, reassuring bite we know they’re capable of. That’s more down to the electronic brake-by-wire system than the actual hardware. But you’d always use a foot-full of back brake on a long, heavy bike like this, so there’s never any heart in the mouth panic moments even stopping from high speed.
Uniquely long and low with lots of bike in front and behind you, riding the Busa is like piloting a hyper speed canoe. The riding position is the same as it ever was, with both pegs firmly set in the ‘90s and there isn’t a lot of legroom for taller riders, but the bars have been pulled 12mm closer to you. There’s less of a stretch to reach them now, but there’s still a fair amount of weight on your wrists, so in true sportsbike fashion, you’ll be propping yourself up with your left elbow on the tank to relief the pressure through towns and villages. Happily, cruise control is standard, to let you shake your right wrist off on the open road, too, but disappointingly heated grips are an optional extra.
What's the 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa like for a less experienced rider?
With just two years' riding experience to call upon, our Online Editor Gareth Evans swapped the keys to his Triumph Trident 660 for a go on the new 'Busa during an event to celebrate 100 years of Suzuki.
He reports: "Once I got over the sheer size of the Hayabusa - its girth once you're sat on top makes it feel like you're straddling a nuclear submarine - I was surprised by just how easy this hyperbike was to operate.
"Thumbing the red starter button it thrumbs into life with a smooth idle, and it's only when you twist the throttle that the engine's sheer intent comes to the fore in the form of a spikey induction roar.
"The clutch is light and the power delivery at low speeds easy to manage, which is great as it leaves you time to appreciate the work that has gone into the handling. A bike of these proportions could easily feel unweildy, but in this case the big Suzuki turns in with confidence and composure.
"In fact, it never felt too much, right up until the point I started to exercise that engine. The in-gear acceleration simply has to be felt to be believed. Overtaking requires no more than a quarter throttle, and the speed at which you approach the redline is breathtakingly relentless.
"Overall this felt like a bike to cover big miles on. It's comfortable and user-friendly, while also benefitting from sensational performance and approachable handling. What an experience... one to tick off the bucketlist."
EngineNext up: Reliability
Despite a host of new engine parts, the Hayabusa actually makes less peak power and torque than before. That may sound disappointing as you’re sitting calmy reading this, but out in the real-world, going flat stick on a Busa is still a lesson in brutality and hanging on for dear life.
Granted, you’ll feel the power flatten-off at the top, if you’re used to riding 200bhp-plus superbikes because its claimed 188bhp will be more like 170bhp-ish at the back wheel. But the big Suzuki isn’t about chasing big revs and instead, it’s all about leaving it sixth gear and using thick, meaty wodges of midrange torque to woosh you along. The Busa may have a sweet new gearbox and a peachy new up/down shifter, but unless you’re pulling away or stopping, you’ll rarely need to use it.
Suzuki claim a chunk more oomph between 5000-6000rpm over the old model and that’s exactly where you feel the sting of its punch on the road. Those revs might sound low on paper, but in top gear you’ll be traveling at over 100mph. With instant thrust only ever a millimetre of throttle away, the engine never feels flat at low revs like a superbike’s does after you’ve tasted its fruits, so you’re never chasing your next hit and riding ever faster, which instils a feeling of calmness to riding the Busa.
The richness of its power is what makes the Suzuki so special on the road and the previous 'peakier' model even made the supercharged Kawasaki H2 SX feel weak at low revs. Now there’s even more of the same and the new ride-by-wire is just as smooth as the old fuel injection once you get going, but it’s slightly glitchy from a closed throttle at low speed, compared to the best from Ducati, Triumph and BMW.
For 2021 the Hayabusa is crammed with more tech than would have ever been thought possible back when the original burst onto the scene in 1999. It has six riding modes (three pre-set, three custom), three power modes, 10 stage anti-wheelie and cornering traction control, three stage engine braking control, cornering ABS with front to rear linked brakes (not vice versa), rear wheel lift control a speed limiter and a hill hold system.
They all work nicely and are controlled via the switchgear and colour TFT display between the analogue dials, but aside from helping you when things get sticky, they do little to enhance the riding experience. It’s the machine and not the electronics that make the Busa.
You also get a three-stage launch control system. It limits the revs to either 3700rpm, 6000rpm, or 8000rpm, so all you have to do off the line is feed the clutch out and lean on whatever anti-wheelie and traction control you have or haven’t got dialled in at the time. It makes all the right MotoGP popping and banging noises, but ultimately, it’s easier to get a faster getaway manually balancing the clutch and revs.
2021 Suzuki Hayabusa will be even better for tuning
First published on May 6, 2021 by Ben Purvis
When a new version of long-running model is released the expectation is that power will rise – but with the 2021 Hayabusa, Suzuki have ploughed development into an engine that actually makes less peak bhp than before.
Straight off the showroom floor, the 2021 Hayabusa is fractionally down, but importantly for a bike that’s formed the basis of a global tuning industry, it holds the prospect of even greater extremes of performance with the judicious application of aftermarket parts.
Suzuki’s engine changes focus on two fronts. First is meeting Euro5 – a two-step jump from the old Busa, which was removed from sale here after missing Euro4. Second is making an engine that’s already legendary for its strength even more rugged and reliable.
Look at the spec and you might think the inline four is unchanged. The 81mm bore and 65mm stroke are unaltered, as is the 12.5:1 compression ratio, but those bare figures belie the depth of the alterations made.
In fact, the familiar-looking cases hide new camshafts, new pistons and rods, a revised crankshaft, a modified transmission and a host of smaller updates aimed at reducing emissions and boosting durability.
That focus on reliability includes revised oil passages that boost flow and pressure at the crankshaft by 54%, stronger conrods, longer needle bearings in the transmission to reduce wear, a redesigned tensioner to keep better control of the cam chain and even redesigned threads (rolled instead of cut) on the crankcase cover and a revised tightening procedure for the engine case bolts. Tiny tweaks based on years of accumulated knowledge.
From an emissions point of view, the first change is reduced valve overlap - the period where the intake and the exhaust valves are both open. That’s been a running theme in Euro5 updates; lots of overlap helps achieve peak power at high revs but also lets unburnt fuel into the exhaust at lower engine speeds. Other changes include longer intakes with smaller-diameter throttles, new injectors and a reworked exhaust.
Once tuners get their hands on the new engine – swapping camshafts, changing throttles and exhausts, even adding turbos or superchargers – the emissions-reducing elements will soon be forgotten, leaving just the stronger base engine design to provide a platform for even more stratospheric performance.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
MCN online owners’ reviews for the previous model are glowing when it comes to reliability and durability, but some finishes are thin and prone to stone chips and corrosion if not looked after.
The latest version promises more of the same with lots of thoughtful attention to detail and with similar electronics to the tried and tested Suzuki GSX-R1000. You can buy a Hayabusa with complete confidence.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
At £16,499 at its launch, the 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa costs around the same as a similarly spec’d base model superbike, but it no longer has any direct hyper bike rivals, with the possible exception of the more touring-focussed and slightly cheaper standard, no-frills Kawasaki H2 SX.
2021 Suzuki Hayabusa vs 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa
Do modern electronics and refinements such as cruise and even hill hold control detract from the raw surging-power thrills that have always been at the heart of the Busa?
With a fine 1999 example and the latest 2021 model, we took to the MCN250 to decide if the latest generation can still deliver the kind of ride that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck while also slotting more comfortably into 21st century motoring habits.
Aboard the 1999 bike, the sheer drive when you give it any gas remains remarkable and, unlike some modern litre bikes that boast higher peak power, there is no need to go searching for the thrust.
You can just stick it in top and wind the throttle on to dispatch any vehicle in your way, or even drop to 40mph and cruise through a restricted limit. It’s like a massive twist-and-go – albeit one that can go three times the national speed limit.
Despite packing all that same instant thrust, the 2021 Busa’s engine feels far more refined. It still has that bonkers instant drive, even more so due to its increased capacity, but it lacks the raw edge of the original, and this actually works in its favour.
It feels fresher, more eager and overall a motor far better suited to zipping past cars, cruising at national speed limits and generally life in the modern, and far more congested, world thanks to its lighter clutch action, slicker gearbox and modern riding assists.
As the Busa is quite an old-school brute I can see a few owners questioning the number of gadgets on the new bike. Don’t worry, aside from the hill hold, which can be a touch annoying, they all enhance the ride without detracting from the character. Will many owners ever use launch control? I doubt it.
Will they play with the power modes? Again, probably not aside from maybe in town to smooth the slightly snatchy throttle. But cruise control is a real bonus for straight-line riding and the traction control is welcome, simply because of the state of the roads. Or is that me?
Despite building the fastest bike on the road, Suzuki failed to give it proper stopping power – until now, almost. Where the old bike’s six-piston calipers (even with braided lines as our bike had) are truly terrible, the new model’s four-piston Brembo Stylema brakes allow you to use two-fingers on the lever with confidence.
They have bags of feel, don’t require the grip of a gorilla to haul the bike up and have angle-sensitive ABS, which I’m not 100% convinced by as on a few occasions (hard braking over bumps mainly) the ABS did seem to get involved when it didn’t need to but I might be being too critical.
There is an argument and, it has to be said, quite a valid one – that hyperbikes such as the Hayabusa are relics of a bygone era.
Headline-grabbing speed figures require a number of specific features and it is these that make the Suzuki such a stand-out bike. Its aerodynamic look is unique, its stability at speed unmatched and above all, its engine is outstanding in how it delivers smooth and uninterrupted roll-on thrust in a way you only get through cubes and not forced induction.
Everyone needs to expedience a Hayabusa at least once in their biking life. And the new one upholds the dynasty’s honour.
Suzuki have moved the game on with the 2021 Hayabusa. Not only does it have new styling and LED lights it comes with a full set of electronic rider aids, fully adjustable suspension and fancy brake calipers.
Although the iconic analogue clocks and speedo happily remain, we wish the speedo still went up to the original Hayabusa’s 220mph instead of its more realistic 180mph. A multi-function colour TFT nestles between the dials. A full range of official performance, touring and styling options are available and with the Busa being around for over two decades there’s no shortage of aftermarket and tuning accessories available from specialists.
Take a look at the previous generation Suzuki Hayabusa clocks in this onboard video:
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||KYB 43mm USD forks, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||KYB single shock, fully adjustable|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs with four piston radial Brembo Stylema calipers. Cornering ABS|
|Rear brake||250mm disc with twin piston Nissin caliper. Cornering ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||190/50 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||42 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||-|
|Used price||£14,300 - £16,500|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||187 bhp|
|Max torque||111 ft-lb|
|Top speed||186 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||185 miles|
Model history & versions
- 1999: First generation 176bhp Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa launched
- 2001: 186mph restrictor fitted. Gearbox and fuel pump mods.
- 2002: Aluminium subframe replaced with stronger steel version.
- 2003: Minor ECU upgrades
- 2004: Hazard lights fitted
- 2005: Orange plastic indicator lenses replaced with clear
- 2007: Limited edition white Hayabusa released (UK only)
- 2008: Second generation Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa released. Engine size increased from 1298cc to 1340cc and power increased to 194bhp. Three power modes and styling updates
- 2013: Brembos calipers replace Tokicos and ABS added (a first for a Suzuki sportsbike)
- 2016: Last European market Busa rolls off the Hamamatsu production line
- 2018: As Euro4 transition rules end, no new Busas can be sold in Europe
- 2021: Third generation Hayabusa launched. New styling, more grunt, refined suspension, uprated brakes and a full set of electronic rider aids
Watch our video review of the updated 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa:
No other versions available.
Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI GSX1300R HAYABUSA (2021 - on)
1 owner has reviewed their SUZUKI GSX1300R HAYABUSA (2021 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
Magic carpet with incredible grunt. Brakes are a (or two)step up from previous gens.
What else can you ask for. Dyno showed 178 PS at the rear wheel stock. 14.8 Kg m torque.
Being tired of BMW reliability issues I went to Suzuki.
Less than any European bike in the class
Electronics suite is awesome. Time will tell if electronics are as reliable as the bike.
Buying experience: Expensive, but worth it.