MCN Fleet: Power games for the Suzuki Hayabusa

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The Suzuki Hayabusa is back! Not only has the Hayabusa returned to Suzuki’s line-up after two years banished to the wilderness by Euro4, but it’s also back in my garage. I had the pleasure of running the previous generation Busa as a long termer back in 2014 and had a brilliant year of high-speed hijinks, including taking it to 200mph using nothing more than an electronic derestriction and Yoshi exhaust system, nailing a sub 10-second quarter mile, as well as a unforgettable ride around the NW200 course. So yes, time to declare an interest: there’s certainly a great big aerodynamically sculpted place in my heart for the Hayabusa. But with its fancy new frock, suite of electronic ride-enhancing gadgets and new Euro5-compliant engine, will the 2021 model give me the same smiles-per-hour as before?

So far so good, at least as far as engine performance goes. The new Busa’s heavily reworked motor – which shares the same crankcases, compression ratio, and bore and stroke as before but very little else - offers big, backside-kicking barrages of boost absolutely everywhere, but more so in the middle. I must admit, when I first heard about the 2021 Busa’s fattened-up midrange my initial thought was: why? – I can’t recall many people decrying the big Suzi for its lack of grunt.

Then the cynical side of me dismissed it as some sort of marketing mind trick designed to detract from the fact that the Euro5 bike makes less peak power, after all Suzuki claimed 194bhp for the Gen2 Busa, but 'just' 187bhp for the 2021 model.

More long-term tests

However, a run on MCN’s regular dyno proved my cynicism wrong. Not only does the new Busa kick out 10bhp and 10lb.ft more at 6250rpm than the old bike, but also - and despite our first thoughts – does so at no expense to top-end power, with both new and old bike producing almost identical peaks of 182.26bhp and 182.96bhp respectively. Taking a look at both graphs side by side also reveals that the new Hayabusa produces more linear power and torque curves than before, making for an increased sensation of turbine-like drive.

Suzuki Hayabusa dyno graph

So, far from the new bike making less outright power, as many have been getting their knickers in a twist about online, it seems like Suzuki have perhaps just started quoting rear wheel power figures in their spec, as according to our graphs, the gap between claimed and tested power has dropped from a 12bhp discrepancy with the Gen2 to just 5bhp with the new Gen3. This tell-it-like-it-actually-is philosophy also carries on when it comes to weight, with Suzuki’s claims of 264kg being near-as-damn-it identical to the 265.5kg I got when I (and two strong helpers) weighed my fully fuelled Busa at home. Fair play, Suzuki.

Leaving the facts and figures behind and getting back to where it really matters out on the open road, the Busa’s a world away from the exquisite-yet-peaky Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade I ran last year, and in matter of miles, it’d made me fall head over heels back in love with road riding again.

The Suzuki Hayabusa is a joy on the road

The Busa’s effortless ability, smooth drive, plush suspension and unique road presence combine to form a package that’s thrilling without being intimidating, sporty without being comfortable, and rapid with being (too) irresponsible. I’m now taking pleasure in executing swift, well-planned overtakes and maintaining a brisk pace on fast, flowing A and B-roads.

It’s almost like the Busa’s encouraged me to rediscover the art of road riding, with all the observation, interpretation and planning that goes with it, rather than just spending all my time frustrated and wishing I was on a racetrack… I can’t wait to discover more about its strengths and weaknesses on some long-distance fun rides I’ve got planned for the summer.

I’d like to explore the Suzuki Hayabusa's straightline potential

Suzuki Hayabusa

I’ve a soft spot for the Suzuki Hayabusa after running one in 2014 and managing to make it do 203mph. I’d like to explore its straightline potential on the strip as well as seeing whether tweaks to the ergonomics have made it more comfortable.

The rider Emma Franklin, MCN Deputy Editor, 40, 5ft 7in. Riding for 18 years. Rides for fun on road and track.

Bike specs 1340cc | 187bhp | 264kg | 800mm seat height

Watch our expert reveal video of the Suzuki Hayabusa here:

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in MCN Fleet…

Emma Franklin

By Emma Franklin

Deputy Editor, road tester, club racer