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The Suzuki Hayabusa (GSX1300R) is a

world leading sport bike motorcycle

made by Suzuki since 1999. It

immediately won acclaim as the

world’s fastest production

motorcycle, with a top speed of 188

to 194 miles per hour (303 to 312 km).

Hayabusa is Japanese

for “peregrine falcon”,

a bird that often

serves as a metaphor

for speed due to its

vertical hunting dive,

or stoop, speed of 180

to 202 miles per hour

(290 to 325 km/h), the

fastest of any bird. In

particular, the choice

of name was made

because the

peregrine falcon preys

on blackbirds, which

reflected the intent of

the original Hayabusa

to unseat the Honda CBR1100 Super

Blackbird as the world’s fastest

production motorcycle.

Eventually, the Hayabusa managed

to surpass the Super Blackbird by at

least a full 10 miles per hour (16 km/

h). 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.

In 2000, fears of a

European regulatory

backlash or import

ban led to an

informal agreement

between the

Japanese and

European

manufacturers to limit the top speed

of their motorcycles at an arbitrary

limit. The conditions under which this

limitation was adopted led to the

1999–2000 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 4 mph (6 km/h) short of

claiming the title, the Hayabusa

secured its place as the fastest

standard production bike of the 20th

century.

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.”

The first generation had a 1299 cc

(79.3 cu in) liquid-cooled, inline-4

engine with sixteen valves driven by

double-overhead cams. This

configuration, technologically

unremarkable for that time, delivered

a record-setting claimed 173 brake

horsepower (129 kW) at the

crankshaft by virtue of the largest

displacement ever in a sport bike,

and a ram air system

that forced cool,

pressurized air into the

cylinders. Combined

with sophisticated

aerodynamics, this

powerful engine

pushed the

Hayabusa’s top

speed far above the

Honda CBR1100

Blackbird by a

significant leap,

contrasting with the

incremental gains that

preceded the Suzuki

hyper sport entry. The

1997 carbureted

CBR1100 had previously only inched

past the previous top speed record

holder, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11 of

1990.

The Hayabusa engine had an

abundance of power throughout its

entire rpm band. The 1,299 cc

powerplant was the largest and most

powerful sport bike engine when

introduced in 1999, and remained

the largest until Kawasaki’s ZX14 was

released.

HAYABUSA