This Week’s Suzuki Hayabusa Rumor, Redux

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In this installment of “This Week’s Suzuki Hayabusa Rumor,” we again take a look at the motor of this venerable sport bike. The rumor going around the interwebs right now is that the 2019 Suzuki Hayabusa will feature a “semi-automatic” gearbox.

Side-stepping the part where saying a gearbox is semi-automatic is  a lot like saying someone is “semi-pregnant” (you either are, or aren’t), the rumor stems from a patent filed by Suzuki that shows a gear-shifting mechanism with the foot-shifter that doesn’t require a clutch.

If this sounds a lot like an up/down quickshifter system, then you score extra bonus points today for being a rational human being, but you would be very wrong about what this whole rumor should actually be about.

This is where reading the patent is actually really useful, because it turns out that this patent has a lot less to do with some sort of new transmission type, as the internet rumors would suggest, and a lot more to do with repackaging the transmission of a motorcycle (or any engine with an integrated gearbox) into a tighter unit, while retaining a standard manual shift mechanism.

In this case, Suzuki is applying for a patent (it has not received this patent in the US, by the way), which will see the entire gear actuation process split into two parts.

One actuator goes from the rearset to a “shift detection mechanism”, which in turn actuates another shifting arm, to another detection mechanism. It makes more sense, in the photo below.

If that still sounds a bit convoluted to you, then you are not alone, but Suzuki seems to think that in certain applications and engine configurations this could save space, and likely save weight.

For example, this could make more sense if two parts of the engine had very different widths, like if the shift actuator was recess significantly from where the shifting pedal sits, or vice versa.

In the patents, the images make a strong case for how the first shifter rod can run long the z-axis of the motorcycle, while the second shifter arm can run along the x-axis, towards the centerline of the motorcycle (check Figures 10 & 11).

Granted a patent in 2016 for the Japanese market for this idea, it seems likely that a similar patent will follow in the United States. Whether or not we will see this technology on the new Hayabusa is a matter of debate, however.

So far, the only things linking this patent to the Suzuki Hayabusa are the illustrative sketches filed with the patent, which show the current generation GSX1300R for its basis (see below).

In its own filing, Suzuki is quick to point out that this technology could work on any motorcycle, three-wheeler, or quad/UTV however, and after all the only binding parts of a patent are in the “claims” section of the filing – the photos are merely there for reference and are not incorporated.

With all that being said, we shall see what Suzuki has in store for us. It should only be a matter of months now, but we doubt this is the last rumor to circulate about the venerable Hayabusa. Stay tuned.

So far we have seen rumors suggesting that the new Hayabusa will be turbocharged, and/or that it will have a larger displacement engine, and that it will almost certainly have IMU-powered electronics, like traction control and cornering ABS.

Source: USPTO via