Suzuki GSX-1300R “Hayabusa” The Legend of Speed

The Suzuki Hayabusa (or GSX1300R) is a sport bike motorcycle made by Suzuki since 1999. It immediately won acclaim as the world’s fastest production motorcycle, with a top speed of 303 to 312 km/h (188 to 194 mph). 

In 2000, fears of a European regulatory backlash or import ban led to an informal agreement between the Japanese and European manufacturers to govern the top speed of their motorcycles at an arbitrary limit. The media-reported value for the speed agreement in miles per hour was consistently 186 mph, while in kilometers per hour it varied from 299 to 303 km/h, which is typical given unit conversion rounding errors. This figure may also be affected by a number of external factors, as can the power and torque values.

The conditions under which this limitation was adopted led to the 1999 Hayabusa’s title remaining, at least technically, unassailable, since no subsequent model could go faster without being tampered with. Thus, after the much anticipated Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R of 2000 fell 6 km/h  short of claiming the title, the Hayabusa secured its place as the fastest standard production bike of the 20th century. This gives the unrestricted 1999 models even more cachet with collectors.

Besides its speed, the Hayabusa has been lauded by many reviewers for its all-round performance, in that it does not drastically compromise other qualities like handling, comfort, reliability, noise, fuel economy or price in pursuit of a single function.Jay Koblenz of Motorcycle Consumer News commented, “If you think the ability of a motorcycle to approach 190 mph or reach the quarter-mile in under 10 seconds is at best frivolous and at worst offensive, this still remains a motorcycle worthy of just consideration. The Hayabusa is Speed in all its glory. But Speed is not all the Hayabusa is.”

While the overall look would make the ’Busa fit in on the set of some futuristic movie, the features are based on contemporary, wind tunnel-tested engineering. The front fairing and windshield steer the air over and around the properly tucked-in rider. Laminar flow pulls the air across the rider’s back and over the tail hump to reincorporate without contributing to the drag-inducing slipstream behind the bike.
Unusual-looking reliefs in the tank and inner fairing allow the rider to pull his arms and legs into the bike, thus turning the rider’s body into a key component in the aerodynamic efficiency of the design. Elements within the leading edge of the fairing form a ram-air scoop that compresses the air in the intake – and increases volumetric efficiency – once you get the speed up to around 80+ mph. This feature alone tells me the factory left no opportunities on the table to increase performance.

In an effort not to lose any of their hard-won efficiency, the designers mounted the turn signals in faired-off cans, and used the taillight lens to complete the fairing over the trailing edge of the subframe. Unlike its Gixxer cousins, the Hayabusa is built for straightline speed and acceleration, not flicking into corners, so it’s a one-trick pony whose trick makes it the fastest production bike in the world in its time.
The four-cylinder, short-stroke, DOHC mill displaces a generous 1,340 cc and comes with some treasure hidden within. Cylinder bores come with the Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material (SCEM) that works with the Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coating to reduce friction between these most-critical areas.

A 44 mm, twin-bore throttle body sports the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) control that makes adjustments as needed for peak engine performance at the given throttle setting. The ride-by-wire system also comes with the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) with preset engine maps that allow you to tune power delivery up or down as needed.

The engine meets emissions standards using the Suzuki Pulsed-secondary air-injection (PaIR) system and low-restriction catalyst in the exhaust. Since the rev limiter is designed to cut out at 186 mph with stock gearing, that number must stand as the top speed of the bike. (Not fast enough? Really? Really?) Not only is it fast, but quick too; it reportedly comes out of the hole like a scalded dog with a 9.7-second quarter-mile time at 148.8 mph, and leaps from 0 to 60 in a mere 2.6 seconds.

Power flows to the six-speed gearbox through the Suzuki Clutch assist System (SCaS) that limits back-torque and rear-wheel hops when you need to scrub off some speed in a hurry. 

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