SUZUKI has sprung one of the surprises of the year with a shocking new concept bike – the B-King – which uses the world’s most powerful production motorcycle engine… with a supercharger bolted on.
The bike is due to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show next Wednesday. Japan’s big manufacturers traditionally use the event to showcase their latest technology and design ideas in the form of concept bikes. And this year the B-King will be the bike everyone is talking about.
The formula is simple enough and familiar to any streetfighter fan – take the most powerful engine you can find, stick it in the lightest chassis available and tack on as little bodywork as you can get away with. Yet the B-King takes things further, by supercharging the 1300cc Hayabusa engine, boosting power way above 200bhp.
If you were wondering about the odd name, apparently the B stands for " boost " , " beauty " and " brain " . Yes, it’s a streetfighter with brains to match its brawn. Because as well as having the most powerful engine you’re ever likely to find in a bike, the B-King also has the most powerful computer.
The bike bristles with sensors, allowing it to conduct an extensive self-diagnosis before every ride – and warn you if anything is amiss.
If everything’s OK, you can go ahead and start the engine – but not with a key. This is a concept bike after all, so you just touch a panel on the tank to start it up. If your fingerprint doesn’t match the registered owner’s, you ain’t going nowhere, pal.
Not only will thieves be foiled, but the bike might actually help catch them. If anyone tries to move or start it, the B-King calls your mobile phone – letting you hear and talk to the potential thief via a microphone and speakers fitted to the bike.
If a talking bike doesn’t scare him off, you can even honk the horn and flash the lights via your phone to attract attention. If he still manages to take it away, the onboard microphone could help police recover the bike by listening for clues from noises it picks up.
The high-tech kit doesn’t stop at an anti-theft system. The mobile phone link-up means the onboard computer can access the Internet for information like weather reports – so you can change your plans if there’s a storm coming. You can even keep in touch with mates or the office through e-mail on the dash.
There’s also a GPS satellite navigation system, which no self-respecting concept bike can do without, as well as another concept bike fave that never seems to make its way to the showroom – a helmet-mounted head-up display.
The electronics may sound like pie in the sky, but the rest of the bike’s running gear could go into production tomorrow. There are no weird suspension designs or power train systems for the B-King – it opts for tried and tested technology. That may suggest something similar could see the light of day.
The chassis is a fairly conventional alloy beam frame, similar to that seen on Honda’s CBR600 and FireBlade. The swingarm is mounted directly on to the gearbox, with the engine a stressed member.
The forks look like they’ve come off a World Superbike, with race-style radial-mounted Brembo brake calipers bolted to the lower ends. At the back there’s another radial caliper, while the suspension is dealt with by a single rear shock with easily accessible adjusters for compression and rebound damping on the remote oil reservoir.
The wheels and tyres do differ from the average production bike, however. To cope with the huge power output, the rear tyre is an enormous 240-section – 5cm wider than the Hayabusa’s rubber. And the front tyre is nearly as big as most bikes’ rears – a 150-section 17-incher.
The B-King is Suzuki’s idea of a future range-topper. Now Japanese firms have given up the battle for the highest top speed, settling on a 186mph limit, the B-King aims to make its mark as the most powerful bike in the world.
Without massive speeds to aim for, there’s no fairing – the styling is designed around the engine rather than the rider. Huge ducts on each side should provide plenty of cool air for the motor – though there’s no need for ram-air as the supercharger forces compressed air through the throttle bodies and into the combustion chamber.
The belt which drives the supercharger from the crank is also prominent, while at the other end of the combustion process is a pair of massive underseat exhaust pipes.
The rest of the styling is minimalist. The forward-slanted headlight screams pure aggression, while the tiny rear light is designed to make the back end look light and high. Most of the bulk is towards the front, giving a look of power and purpose.
Suzuki says the bike is a pure concept, but if it’s what Suzuki designers are thinking about, there could be some interesting times ahead.