The long awaited Gen 3 Suzuki Hayabusa has been released and I must say I am under whelmed. Suzuki had a real chance to advance the sector but instead they have delivered a bike that is no faster than the Gen 2 and indeed produces less HP. I have always respected the Busa even though it has not been the fastest bike in it class since 1999. It was roundly beaten by the ZX12R in 2000 (in power, acceleration and top speed) but the "Hayabusa Legend" had been formed in 1999 when the (incorrect) stories of 200mph first started the rounds. It was further eclipsed by the Gen 1 Kawasaki ZX14 in 2006 and even though they brought out the Gen 2 in 2007 that still did not take the title. The Kawasaki ZX14R of 2012 still further increased the performance gap. But the Busa riders are a loyal lot and even people who do not ride bikes have often heard of the bike so it always seemed to me that Suzuki would be foolish to abandon the Hayabusa brand. With the ZX14R and the Busa falling fowl of the new Euro 5 emission regulations they had to end.. When the rumours of the Gen 3 started to appear a couple of years back I was hoping that Suzuki would really unleash a monster. I was sure they would ignore the 300kph voluntary limit that the Italians broke ranks with a few years ago. This I hoped would cause Kawasaki to fight back with another Busa Killer. Alas, this was not to be. The new one has less power and is still limited to 300kph. Sure it has a shed full of electronic gadgets to keep the testers happy although of bugger all use on the road. You now get a choice of 10 Traction Control settings!!! What, no one, and I mean no one would be able to tell the difference between them on the road! Crazy!!
It even has a Hill Start function!!!!! I am sorry but if you need to use that you should not be riding any bike let alone a Busa!! What ever next!!
So what now? It is a strange situation. We have a discontinued model, the ZX14R that is still the fastest in this sector (it is still being sold in the States and Asia Pacific region) so the ball is firmly in Kawasaki's court. I hope they come back with a Euro 5 compliant monster of a ZX14 that rips through the 300kph limit and records a sub 8 second standing quarter. I believe however that Kawasaki may follow the safe route and do a similar upgrade to Suzuki and produce a bike with the same performance but meets Euro 5.