I have been trying to avoid this story, mostly because I think it is a pipe dream concocted from a dubious source, but the word circulating through the interwebs is that Suzuki is working on a turbocharged Hayabusa motorcycle, in the 1,500cc territory, for the 2017 model year.
While we are not confident about this exact rumor, we know two things for certain: 1) that Suzuki is finally ready to breathe some life into the GSX-R line; and 2) that the Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa is in desperate need of an update.
The first of the new GSX-R sport bikes is the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbike, though we can expect to see all-new iterations of the GSX-R600 and GSX-R750. There is even word of a GSX-R250/300 in the works.
Thank the inline-four gods for this turn of fates, because the once venerable brand that Suzuki created has been left on the side of the road to rot, like some sort of industry roadkill. It has been heart-breaking to watch.
I have long hoped that Suzuki would bring an updated Hayabusa to market in the coming years – and when I say updated, I mean a real update, not some modest reworking like we saw in 2008. For me, the issue is personal.
The Suzuki Hayabusa debuted right as I was getting into motorcycles. It was a halo bike that impressed me with its high-speed, and what then passed for aerodynamic design. It was a brawny motorcycle that directly challenged the machines from Honda and Kawasaki.
It may not have been the fastest around the track, but it could boast about being the fastest in a straight line. As a teenager, I could not help but be intrigued.
I was not the only soul to be captivated by the “Hayabuttugly” as a friend calls it. The Hayabusa would go on to become a sort of cult motorcycle, with a die-hard following of riders who added turbochargers and extended swingarms to their Busas – a hideous custom paint job seems to be a pre-requisite to join this club as well.
Much time has passed since all this transpired though, and what made the Hayabusa stand out at its debut is now commonplace.
It is not hard to find a sport bike displacing 1,300cc or more now, with the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and Ducati 1299 Panigale instantly coming to mind; 200+ horsepower figures from superbikes is the new given; and even forced induction is becoming a reality in the industry.
Still, there is a serious opportunity for Suzuki to revamp the Hayabusa line, and bring it back into the two-wheeled fold. Smart companies look at how customers use their products, and try to make sure subsequent fill that need even better. Suzuki is hopefully also one of these companies.
There is a strong case to be made for a turbocharged Hayabusa model, straight from Suzuki, especially with the supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2/H2R strutting around like it owns the horsepower roost.
With the rules in the World Superbike Championship changing, the coming years will see the return of the homologation special (more on that soon), and the H2 creates an obvious challenge to other brands to enter into a hyperbike war.
While it is smart to see manufacturers understanding that practical, affordable, and cheap motorcycles are needed in the marketplace, I hope there is some temperance to that with motorcycles that are fun and outrageous – motorcycles that dare to push into new boundaries.
An OEM turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa could be that machine, and that machine is exactly the kind of motorcycle that little boys (and maybe even little girls) hang on their bedroom walls to dream about.
Photo: AnupamDas08 (DeviantArt)