This Week’s Suzuki Hayabusa Rumor, Part 3

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We know to expect a Suzuki Hayabusa reboot in the coming months, and in a way, that is all that we know. The iconic superbike is in its 20th year of production right now, and an all-new machine is set to take its place, for the 2019 model year.

Will it be turbocharged? Will it have a larger displacement? How about a dual-clutch transmission? That remains to be seen.

Safe bets are that the 2019 Suzuki Hayabusa will have updated electronics, likely powered by an inertial measurement unit (IMU). Euro4 emissions homologation is a must, and Suzuki will presumably be building the new Hayabusa with the Euro5 standard in mind as well.

Beyond these givens though, it seems that every week there is a new rumor regarding the next Hayabusa generation, and this week is no different.

source of this week’s rumor once again comes from a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and before we go any further, we should forewarn the reliability of just jumping to conclusions with a published patent.

In the source document – “Dynamically Variable Chassis for Motorcycle” – Suzuki appears to have developed a chassis that can adjust its height and wheelbase for different road conditions and riding purposes, as the patent text outlines claims for a rigid twin-spar chassis that can adjust its suspension and wheelbase dynamically.

The first part of this technology should sound familiar, as other motorcycle brands (including the three other Japanese OEMs) have been implementing semi-active suspension systems for quite some time now.

As such, this patent would seem to suggest that the Suzuki Hayabusa will be the first bike from Hamamatsu with the technology, and it looks like Suzuki is set to surpass its rivals, with an actual full active-suspension setup, as the patents should adjustment for ride-height and preload in the patent claims.

Presumably, Suzuki is working with a third-part suspension supplier to develop this technology, though our sources at Suzuki gave hint that it could be an in-house design, which is certainly intriguing.

Our Bothan says that the active electronic suspension system will be linked to the Hayabusa’s riding modes, which not only modulates the ride-by-wire throttle maps, and changes the damping characteristics of the suspension pieces, but now also adjusts the height and wheelbase to suit basic touring and sport applications (a nod to the Suzuki Hayabusa’s current market placement as a sporty sport-tourer).

The move makes sense, as the new Hayabusa will be able to raise itself over more uneven terrain, providing more clearance over urban streets and more comfort on long highway stretches, while it could lower itself for better handling during sporty applications, like aggressive street riding or track days. 

However, the real meat of the patent comes with the variable wheelbase function, which is also linked to the suspension operation and riding mode selection.

From the patent, we see a telescoping shaft drive for a motorcycle, which is coupled to a swingarm that has a complex linkage to extend the swingarm rearward of the motorcycle, via the rear shock ride-height adjustment, thus allowing for the variable wheelbase implementation.

It is not immediately clear why Suzuki would add such a complex feature to a motorcycle, but a quick look at the Suzuki’s recent trademark applications does give us some insight.

Registering the name “Drag Busa” with the USPTO, it seems that Suzuki has paid attention to how the Hayabusa has been used by loyal customers over the years.

Coupled to a “Drag” mode on the ride-by-wire, our source tells us that the “Drag Busa” configuration (which may come only for an up-spec model) will draw on the IMU for launch control, while the active suspension and articulating swingarm provide an ideal chassis platform for drag racing.

Dismissing any idea that the shaft drive will share duties with a later touring model, our source says that the new Hayabusa will debut the world’s first sport-focused shaft drive for a motorcycle, and it will use “exotic materials” to achieve this feat, which we presume to mean carbon fiber and ceramics.

Completing the package of course will be a robust parts catalog for the new Suzuki Hayabusa, which we are told includes 300mm width rear tires, vinyl wrap decals with skulls and flames, and of course mounting brackets for the dealer-installable NOS system. Zesty!

Source: USPTO