Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (2013 - now) expert review

12 July 2013
Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (2013 - now) expert review - Bike Trader UK  

Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (2013 - now) expert review

 

By Roland Brown. Photos by Jason Critchell

 

£11,299

 

VERDICT 3.5 out of 5
ďThe only change to the Hayabusa after five years is its uprated and ABS-equipped Brembo brake system. But despite being undeniably dated, Suzukiís super-fast four is still a capable all-rounder thatís also competitively priced.Ē

 

PROS
Iconic look is as distinctive as ever
Powerful and unbreakable engine
Good handling and stopping ability

 

CONS
No longer the fastest bike on the block
Lacks rivalsí electronic sophistication
The ABS can be disabled by accident

 

PERFORMANCE
The days when the Hayabusa was unquestionably the worldís fastest bike are long gone but the unchanged combination of beaky, aerodynamically efficient styling and 1340cc, 194bhp four-cylinder engine means itís still seriously rapid. The long list of tuned íBusa-powered record breakers confirms itís a massively strong motor too, even when tuned. In standard form the Hayabusaís top speed is electronically limited to 186mph (300km/h). And it gets to that speed quickly and is effortlessly capable of sitting at licence-shredding speeds until low fuel light or police road block intervenes. And itís still dynamite away from the lights, despatching the standing quarter mile in around ten seconds at over 140mph, even without the extra-long accessory swing-arm that the bikeís many US owners seem to favour. The Hayabusa remains popular as a streetbike partly due to its broad spread of torque, docile low-rev delivery and efficient gearchange. Its continued lack of traction control is a drawback, given the amount of power available. Suzukiís S-DMS drive mode selector doesnít add much, merely making the motor seem flat in its restrictive modes, rather than improving response at lower revs.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

 

RIDE AND HANDLING
Chassis performance is mostly unchanged from the previous model, so thereís no fancy electronic adjustability here. But at least the íBusa has always handled respectably well. With a fuelled-up weight of over 260kg and a wheelbase of 1480mm, itís too heavy and long to compete with super-sports bikes in the bends. But its multi-adjustable KYB suspension gives a reasonably plush ride while having enough control for aggressive cornering. The one aspect of its chassis performance that has been changed is its stopping ability. Four-piston Brembo Monobloc front calipers replace the previous Tokico set-up and incorporate ABS for the first time. A bike this fast certainly needs top quality brakes and the Monoblocs have heaps of power along with good lever control. The ABS works pretty well too, and is certainly worth having, although it isnít as refined as the best systems and an experienced rider can stop slightly harder on a dry surface. The Hayabusaís ABS system does have one curious flaw: a slow-speed wheelie away from the line can result in the system deactivating completely, with no warning apart from a small yellow light in the speedometer. Provided the rider is aware of the risk (as I wasnít on the launch at Bruntingthorpe airstrip, where I locked the front wheel at high speed and nearly crashed) it shouldnít cause a problem but itís a design fault that Suzuki surely need to rectify urgently.
Our rating: 3 out of 5

 

 

 

 

VALUE
The Hayabusa is a perfect example of the way that in recent years Suzuki have opted out of expensive research and development, instead making minor changes and trying to compete by keeping prices low. At £11,299 (or an extra £100 for the new yellow colour option) the íBusa is relatively cheap for an open-class sports-tourer, so could seem good value if you donít mind its dated spec and lack of fancy features. But Kawasakiís ZZR1400, to take one obvious rival, is more powerful as well as far more sophisticated and only £400 more expensive.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

 

RUNNING COSTS
You donít buy a bike like the Hayabusa if youíre worried about running costs. Its ageing engine is designed primarily for horsepower not fuel economy (though you could get 40mpg if you donít get carried away), and the grunty Hayabusa will eat rear tyres just as enthusiastically as its winged namesake, the Japanese peregrine falcon, apparently devours blackbirds. At least owners can be content that thereís no engine in all motorcycling as proven under severe abuse as Suzukiís beefy 16-valve unit.
Our rating: 3 out of 5

 

 

PRACTICALITY
The Hayabusa has always occupied a slightly vague two-wheeled territory, sitting somewhere between sports bikes and tourers without quite being a full-blown sports-tourer itself. Itís reasonably roomy and comfortable, its 21-litre tank gives a respectable range of over 150 miles and itís happy enough in most situations from country lanes to motorways. But it lacks the easily adjustable screen and suspension, purpose-designed luggage or even shaft drive that would take it to the next level.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

 

 

LOOKS
There has possibly never been a more ďMarmiteĒ bike than the Hayabusa, whose uniquely aerodynamic and hook-nosed styling was much criticised on the original modelís launch back in 1999 - but has much to do with the íBusa becoming not merely popular but a cult machine, especially in the States. Suzuki wisely responded by making the 2008 update similar but swoopier, almost a caricature of the original; and now by leaving it untouched again. As the Hayabusaís many fans might say: if you like it, great. If you donít, buy something else.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

 

 

RELIABILITY
One benefit of leaving a bike almost untouched for five years is that a manufacturer has had plenty of time to sort out any reliability issues. Not that the Hayabusa had any significant ones, as its motor in particular became renowned for bulletproof reliability even when tuned to give more than twice its already huge standard power output. But itís ironic that the one feature Suzuki have changed on this 2013 model, the ABS brake system, should malfunction in such a potentially serious way, by turning itself off when the bike pulls a wheelie from a standstill (as 194bhp bikes sometimes do). Sort it out soon, please, Suzuki.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

 

 

ACCESSORIES
The Hayabusa is one of the most accessorised bikes of all time, especially in the States where a íBusa is not worth a glance unless itís blinged-up with supercharger, super-long swing-arm, fancy paint and a pillion wearing a thong. Suzukiís official list is more down to earth, including a taller screen and gel seat as well as soft luggage, cosmetic frame protectors and the like, plus a pair of Yoshimura carbon cans for almost £1700. Strange that after all these years thereís no dedicated hard luggage.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

 

 

WHY BUY?
ďThe Hayabusa is no longer the worldís fastest bike but its unique name and shape mean it still has plenty of cred. Even this latest model is low-tech by modern standards but itís quick, fairly versatile, handles well and doesnít cost the earth.Ē
Our rating: 4 out of 5

 

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