Suzuki gear up for new Hayabusa

Concept GSX hints at direction as insiders confirm project exists

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Suzuki’s replacement for the Hayabusa could end up looking similar to the Concept GSX shown at the recent Tokyo Show but according to insiders the firm is still wrestling with the styling of the new bike.

What is more certain is that Suzuki are already well underway with the development of a new Hayabusa to replace the ageing current model. It’s believed that the new machine is still at least another two years away – which could see its arrival coincide with the Busa’s 20th anniversary in 2018/9. The timing is also being driven by the need for all new bikes sold in Europe from 2017 to meet strict new Euro4 regulations.

Insiders suggests that engineering elements of the new bike are well advanced, with a continuation of the large-capacity, high-power ethos of the current bike, but with new technology such as variable valve timing to help boost power and control emissions.

The Hayabusa is coming

MCN’s factory source revealed that: “A lot of work has already been done at Suzuki for the replacement of the new Hayabusa but right now there isn’t a perfectly clear idea of how the finished bike will look.

“The GSX Concept presented in Tokyo is one idea of what the bike might evolve to look like but this is just one idea and a lot more work will be done before the final decision is made. The Hayabusa has to be changed because the current bike cannot meet Euro4 but this concerns the engineering rather than the styling.”

The GSX Concept was presented at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show last November last year, a bizarre creation crafted from Japanese paper and presented with a mission statement that read: “Concept GSX: a concept object that encapsulates the potential of the GSX series.

“Suzuki’s powerful, rider-friendly inline-four engines deliver an outstanding combination of fuel economy and endurance. Their technologies are reflected in numerous GSX-series models including the GSX-R1000, the Hayabusa and the GSX-S1000.

“The Concept GSX symbolises the high-performance bikes that bear the GSX name. It gives form to Suzuki’s inline-four sportsbike-making spirit and evokes a cocoon from which the company’s future sportsbike models will be born.”

What’s most telling about the Concept GSX is both the fact it doesn’t feature an ‘R’ in the title, and also that a ‘concept’ GSX-R1000 was subsequently revealed which bore no resemblance to the GSX model. It all adds strength to suggestions that Concept GSX is a replacement for the Hayabusa.

Suzuki GB’s General Manager Paul de Lusignan commented: “The Hayabusa, like the majority of machines in the UK from all manufacturers at this time, is compliant with Euro3 emission regulations. Although the Euro4 regulations come into force from January 2017 for existing machines, manufacturers can apply for an extension of up to two years to continue selling Euro3 models.

“Details on which models may continue to be sold after January 2017 are not currently confirmed.”

Will it be a turbo?

Probably not, although Suzuki have been blatant in their showing-off of forced induction projects – firstly with the Recursion concept which features a turbocharged 588cc parallel-twin engine, and most recently at the Tokyo Show when they showed a static all-new mid-capacity turbocharged parallel-twin engine.

The rationale is to deliver greater performance from a smaller and lighter package, producing the power needed but with much lower emissions and fuel consumption.

But while Suzuki have openly discussed the possibility of new models featuring forced induction, there is no suggestion that Recursion is about to lead the charge. There have been some recent patents lodged covering the engine shown at the Tokyo Show when the company revealed an engine (minus a motorcycle it fits into) but this engine was almost completely different from the Recursion motor.

This latest engine is thought to be around 600cc but all Suzuki would confirm is that it’s a turbocharged, eight-valve, DOHC parallel-twin and that it’s production ready; we just don’t know what bike this is going to slot into at this point.

But it seems unlikely that the Hayabusa will receive the turbo treatment. Instead it will remain a large-capacity naturally-aspirated inline-four, while it seems likely that it will use the mechanical variable valve timing seen on the MotoGP bike and the new GSX-R1000 as revealed in MCN last Wednesday. 

And there’s more…

The Haybusa will be one of many more new Suzukis that are working their way through product development.

When MCN Deputy Editor Richard Newland visited the factory 18 months ago, Hiroyuki Nakai, Suzuki’s General Manager, Motorcycle Product Planning Department, promised that 30 new models would emerge over the coming five years.

Comprising a mix of all-new models and updates, we have already seen the arrival of the V-Strom 650XT and GSX-S1000 duo and the unveiling of the new GSX-R1000, while the
VanVan 200 and naked SV650 will arrive in dealers imminently. That still leaves a rush of new models to come in the next three-and-a-half years.

Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter