MCN Fleet: Hayabusa gets treated to a pair of pricy-but-perfect new pipes

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Standard silencers seem to figure quite highly on most new bike owner’s must-replace list.

As emissions regulations have got tighter over the years, factory-fitted end cans have got longer, bulkier and heavier, inspiring a whole aftermarket array of more aesthetically pleasing but road legal aftermarket alternatives.

The end cans on the new Suzuki Hayabusa, I have to admit, didn’t really stand out to me as being particularly unsightly. In fact, I think Suzuki’s stylists did a nice job with them. Sure, they’re large, but the suit the bike pretty well. And, to be honest I think I’m over the whole noisy exhaust thing now too.

I find it more embarrassing than pleasing, and I’m sure my neighbours will be thankful I’ve now come to this conclusion, after enduring many years living next door to me with my loud-pipe addiction.

That said, the motorcycling magpie in me is still very much alive and kicking so I can’t resist a bit of bolt-on beauty – which is why, when I first caught sight of the newly released, limited-edition official Suzuki Akrapovic slip-on silencers for the Busa, suddenly those standard cans began to look a little bit lardier.

With only 20 pairs available in the UK, the pair of beautifully crafted titanium slip-on silencers feature carbon-fibre tips and heatshields, as well as a laser-etched Hayabusa logo on the flanks, and the gorgeous light-golden hue that comes from high-quality Ti.

They’re fully type approved as road legal, come with a two-year warranty (if home fitted; three-year if fitted by a Suzuki dealer), do not require any fuelling set-up, and installing them won’t invalidate the bike’s warranty.

These factors combined go towards justifying the special Akras’ eyewatering price tag, which is £2876.05 – yes, that’s 17.5% of the bike’s price – but if you do decide to get a set fitted at the point of sale, Suzuki say this cost can be added on to any finance agreement you have on the bike, so you can spread the cost out on your monthly repayments.

More long-term tests

Unboxing them in the garage prior to fitting, the Akras are mind-blowingly flawless in their quality and attention to detail; there’s not a rivet out of place nor a strand of carbon-fibre out of alignment – they are as good as you can get.

In terms of what they offer, the spec sheet claims a 4kg weight reduction over standard, a 2.6bhp boost to peak power, as well as an improvement to the Busa’s soundtrack.

With help of my trusty fishing scales (NB I don’t actually fish), I measured the standard pipes and heatshields at a combined total of 11.87kg and the new Akras with their carbon-fibre heatshields at a total of 8.24kg – meaning a weight saving of 3.63kg.

Fitting them was very straightforward thanks to the excellent instructions and design, taking about an hour and a half to do. And fitting an aftermarket exhaust yourself is one of those jobs that’s relatively quick and easy to do but also gives you a great big hit of satisfaction when you get to see the results at the end.

Fitting the Akras has increased the Busa’s premium feel and absolutely look the part too. The only slight disappointment for me was the noise – or rather lack of it. Yes, I know they are completely road legal but I was still expecting a little bit of extra growl when I first fired the newly Akra’d Busa into life. That said, once on the move the pipes have subtly enhanced the soundtrack, just as promised.

Suzuki Hayabusa previous updates:

Update three: A weighty issue for the Suzuki Hayabusa

Published: 08.08.2021

Emma moves the Suzuki Hayabusa around the garage

Seven years have passed since I last spent significant time with a Suzuki Hayabusa, a Gen 2 that I ran as an MCN long termer in 2014, and casting my mind back, I can’t ever remember being phased by its weight.

However, these days I’m having trouble manhandling my new long termer with the engine off. Backing it into my ever-so-slightly angled garage is a proper grit-your-teeth-and-push exercise, which often requires third party assistance. And if I’m parked up on slightly uneven ground with a full fuel tank I have to dismount in order lift the Busa up off its sidestand, or get a shove from a friend (which is embarrassing).

Emma with the 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa

The logical conclusion is that the Gen 3 Busa must weigh significantly more than the Gen 2, why else would I be finding it a problem? The thing is, though - it doesn’t. Checking back through my notes, the fully fuelled 2014 bike measured 265.8kg on MCN’s scales - exactly the same as the current model.

More long-term tests

With both evolutions of Busa identical in mass, I’ve reached the conclusion that this weighty issue is completely down to me: my riding tolerances, attitudes and – dare I admit it – physicality have changed, so much so that something which wasn’t even an issue seven years ago has now become a daily bugbare. Yes, I’m officially a grumbling, aging weak ass who should obviously stick to riding small, lightweight bikes.

Or perhaps not… I recently took a ride on a colleague’s BMW S1000XR and was amazed with the ease at which I raised it up off its sidestand, despite me not being flatfooted on the floor. On the move, too, everything felt light and easy – from the throttle to the steering. Never at any point did I feel like I was managing a large 1000cc adventure-sports machine.

It just goes to prove the significance of ergonomics and weight distribution. At 240kg, the XR is still a heavyweight bike, yet because of its wide bars and taller packaging it feels easier to interact with than the low-slung and long Hayabusa .

Now, don’t get me wrong – once out of the garage and on the move, the legendary Suzuki still makes me smile in a way no other bike has ever managed to replicate, and its long-n-low stance and mass conspire to produce that uniquely devastating stability under acceleration. However, this new issue regarding its weight has made me appreciate how our biking preferences can change over time, and also how much a bike’s packaging and stance – rather than it’s out and out weight - makes to how easy it is to interact with. In the meantime, though, pass me the spinach…

Suzuki Hayabusa previous updates:

Update two: Power games for the Suzuki Hayabusa

Published 08.06.2021

Accelerating on the 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa

 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.

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

Published 14.04.2021


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