Review: 2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

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2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

Big-bore power is something that seems to never want to die. That’s alright by us, considering sometimes we are simply looking for one piece of straight road to let loose on.

Overview
With its big 1340cc four-cylinder engine, freakish acceleration and swollen, randomly bulging body work, the 2014 Suzuki Hayabusa is excess personified. In a classic case of vehicular one-upmanship the Hayabusa debuted in 1999 specifically to unseat the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird as the fastest production motorcycle of the time. From those ballsy beginnings the big Suzuki has carried on as a prime choice for those who prize speed above all else…even if the modern iteration is artificially limited to a mere 186 mph.

When describing the Hayabusa, be prepared to use all sorts of synonyms for “fast” and “big”. That bigness is expressed through a sizable 86.2-inch total length and a hefty 586-pound curb weight. Riders coming from smaller bikes might find all that mass intimidating and not without reason. Like any big motorcycle, lean it a bit too much during foot-down maneuvering and even the most committed Crossfitter will struggle to keep the bike upright. In motion though, the Hayabusa is the real deal, delivering all the acceleration and high-speed lunacy promised by its garish looks and long, low stance.

2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

What’s New
Not much has changed for 2014 aside from a new color palette. The familiar 1340cc engine soldiers on producing an unspecified but clearly ample horsepower figure. Power delivery is rider controllable via a 3-mode selector located next to the throttle called S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector). Fire up the engine and the bike automatically defaults to mode A, delivering maximum power and the sharpest throttle response. B and C modes are also available offer progressively less power and softer throttle’s reactions. Along with peace in the Middle East I quietly wish for a mode that dishes up smoother power delivery than the touchy Mode A along unbridled horsepower. Call me a dreamer.

Braking is handled by radial-mount Brembo Monobloc front calipers clamping 12.2-inch discs that offer great feel and substantial stopping power. The added assurance of a standard anti-lock braking system is a welcome bonus. Unlike its prime competitor, the Kawasaki ZX-14R, the Hayabusa doesn’t offer electronic traction control. Keep that in mind when blasting away from bike night at the local watering hole. You don’t want to wind up a viral crash sensation on YouTube do you?

2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

Climb aboard for the first time and you’re met with an uncluttered, intuitive cockpit. Everything functions exactly as you’d expect making the Suzuki Hayabusa an easy motorcycle to simply hop on and ride…mass related concerns aside. There’s also a nice tactile feel to the switchgear. The turn signal operates with a delicate yet unambiguous feel, while the flash-to-pass high-beam switch is well-placed and operates with a satisfying click. All of this might seem trivial when hurtling along at triple-digit speeds but over time it’s the details that annoy or satisfy.

2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

The Ride
With manageable clutch efforts and a stable idle pulling away from a stop is easy and uneventful but once in motion it is difficult to roll the throttle on or off without abrupt reactions from the powertrain. That touchiness is most pronounced with the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector in default mode A. Even in the most forgiving mode C smooth power application can still be tricky. That said, riders drawn to the Hayabusa probably aren’t looking for nuance. So forget about it; go ahead, twist the grip and feel the G’s.

Raw, untamed acceleration is the point of a bike like this. When unleashed there really isn’t anything quite like the gut punch of speed waiting to be unleashed by Suzuki’s two-wheeled rocket ship. Even in sixth-gear the Hayabusa will pull with respectable urgency but pop down a gear or two prior to throttle-up and you can unleash pure hell. It’s intoxicating. It’s also an easy gateway to a reckless driving arrest. With so much speed on tap the large, mostly buzz-free mirrors really come in handy. When you absolutely need to know if that’s a Crown Vic trailing you it’s nice to get a definitive answer.

2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

When not tempting the fates you might notice a minor buzz through the bars from about 4,500 to 5,000 rpm. No problem. An overabundance of torque means you can just short-shift and lope along at low revs, like you’re driving a Chevy. Another possible annoyance is the riding position, thanks to ergonomics pulled squarely from the sportbike playbook. The result is plenty of weight on your wrists and legs that may feel cramped depending on your height. Ride like this for more than an hour and things can get uncomfortable. If you just want a fast bike to cruise on the Hayabusa’s riding position may be a game killer. With stock settings the suspension is also pretty stiff carrying my 155 pound frame. I’d consider softening the dampers if daily commuting was on my to-do list.

As mentioned previously, the Suzuki Hayabusa is a hefty motorcycle and that weight has implications when it comes to handling. This is not a flick it into the corners kind of bike. Getting the big Busa to lean takes more effort than lighter, more nimble sport bikes. So be prepared to work those arms. On the flipside, the large and long design affords the rider a sense of cornering stability that dartier sportbikes lack. I wouldn’t classify it as “agile” but with a bit of muscle the Hayabusa is certainly a capable canyon carver.

2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

What’s Good

  • Accelerates incredibly quickly in all gears
  • Stable at speed
  • Intuitive gauges and controls
  • Looks flashy…if you’re into that sort of thing

 

What’s Bad

  • Sportbike ergonomics grow tiresome on long rides
  • Not as nimble as 1-liter sport bikes
  • Styling is polarizing
  • At nearly 600 pounds it’s heavy and feels it

2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

The Price
The Suzuki Hayabusa rings in at $14,599 with your choice of metallic gray/black or red/white paint schemes. A 50th anniversary model is also offered for $15,199, sporting limited edition black and red paint. Buyers tempted to make their bikes even more distinct can spring for a variety of Suzuki brand accessories.

When it comes to competition the $15,299 Kawasaki ZX-14R is an obvious contender but, given the Hayabusa’s standard ABS, the $15,699 ZX-14R ABS would be a more appropriate comparison. That makes the Busa something of a bargain. The Hayabusa also occupies roughly the same price range as mainstream Japanese 1,000cc sportbikes like the Yamaha YZF-R1, Honda CBR1000RR and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

2014 Suzuki Hayabusa

The Verdict
Where exactly is one meant to use a bike like the Suzuki Hayabusa? Sure you can ride it work, Arby’s, Harbor Freight or anywhere else accessible by paved roads but to exploit its potential you’ll need a drag strip, a salt flat or some magical land filled with long straight roads and an utterly incompetent police force. Florida comes to mind. Riding Suzuki’s 1,300 cc land-missile on public roads is like placing Neil Peart in a library. Even so, a daring minority of humanity actually believes that too much power is never enough. Fair enough. If power is your vice, the Suzuki Hayabusa makes one hell of a pusherman.

RideApart Rating: 8 out of 10

Gear:

Helmet: Shoei RF-1100

Jacket: Old-Ass Shift ST Jacket

Gloves: Alpinestars GP-Plus

Boots: Alpinestars S-MX 5

  • http://batman-news.com Aaron

    I’ve never understood the draw of the Hyabusa. I’ve not ridden one either…..so there is that. But on the surface it looks like a big built for the American stereotype, Big Bike for all of the wide open roads we use to hit top speeds all the time. This is why we can’t have mid weight naked bikes…

    • BobasBounty

      I think it’s sort of like a Nissan cube. Most people either love them or hate them. It’s not like (around here at least) you see one but maybe once a month or something.

      • http://batman-news.com Aaron

        I wish I never saw them arounde me.

  • Justin McClintock

    Never ridden one. No real appeal to own one. But I do want to ride one. Preferably somewhere out west. Because let’s face it….some stereotypes just sound fun!

    • http://batman-news.com Aaron

      Wide open flat straight high speed run would be awesome!

  • Samushko L Tangerine

    It looks so vulgar. Maybe that’s appropriate in America, but if I tried to ride that thing through London children would throw rocks at me.

    • Stuart Bogue

      Besides its continued popularity in the US, the Bike is popular here in France. Sold with a 100hp mandated limit here,but apparently easily rectified….Busa’s are not bad sport tourers and are much more nimble than described by this writer. Set of risers and proper suspension adjustment for his 155 pounds would have done him wonders…….as for the UK, apparently these boys don’t agree….http://www.ukbusas.org/…..I have ridden them, and sold a lot of accessories for them…never owned one,not what I am looking for ….

      • BobasBounty

        I honestly haven’t seen many busas since they heyday of the horsepower wars in my neck of the US. I’m curious though, why would you get a busa and tweak it to a sport tourer when there are 1300+ cc sport tourers galore available? Sure, the busa is going to be faster, but daylong touring isnt generally done at 150+ mph

        • Justin McClintock

          Many who ride the Busa report that it’s actually very comfortable. And given that it’s lighter and faster (and I do believe less expensive) than every 1300+ cc sport tourer, along with being less mechanically complex (re: Kawasaki’s goofy and unnecessary variable valve timing system on the Concours), it has a great deal of appeal for many enthusiasts. I’m not one of them, but I can understand their point of view. I like to think of it as a really big VFR800.

          • BobasBounty

            I can see that. Though a lot of the higher sticker price is due to features you’d probably want to add to the busa for touring and the luggage the sport tourers usually come with.

    • http://batman-news.com Aaron

      I’d rather have an MT-09 or a CB650F

  • Daxt3r

    “Not as nimble as a 1000cc bike”, Really? It’s a review of a 1340cc bike and you compare it to completely different bikes..

    • Justin McClintock

      In other news, it was recently discovered that the Thrust SSC car doesn’t quite handle as well as a F1 car. Who knew?

    • Koczk

      I think the point was that from the Busa, the first step down is something at 1000cc.

      There isn’t a whole docket of 1350′s on the market to compare with the Busa, so they’re going with the next closest thing. When you have a bike that is both polarizing in its styling and engineered to achieve all forms of excess, you box yourself into a corner, to a certain degree.

      If anything, it highlights the fact that the Busa is successful in being over-the-top. For many people that works, and for those who want power but not a Busa, another literbike would be the solution.

      • Daxt3r

        I get what you’re trying to say, but why can’t they just compare it to the ZX14 and the K1300S, the only 2 other in the hyper sport segment..

        • Koczk

          Yeah, true – those would have been a good comparison now that you mention it. The ZX was mentioned in the article and has that same bulbous bodywork, but the K1300s is definitely slimmer looking. Either way they’re all starting to get pretty big when cutting through traffic.

          • Daxt3r

            Well that is up for discussion(one I will not partake in), but I’ve got a K1300S and you’d be surprised how nimble it is for such a large bike.
            Theses bikes are mile quenchers, not race track toys, although taking a 1300cc+ bike on a track is a hoot and a half.

            • BobasBounty

              I believe the purpose of comparing it to a liter sport bike is due to the fact that a lot of potential busa buyers would be experienced with liter bikes. Essentially “your used to X and Y (busa) is different because of Z”

  • Harvard J. Nasty, Esq.

    So. Damn. Ugly.

  • http://www.2wheelsandamotor.com William Connor

    There are quite a few accessories to turn this into a capable touring rocket. Why Suzuki have never done what Kawasaki did and create a factory tourer like the Concours is beyond me.

    • Doug Erickson

      wasn’t that what the (2011) gsx1250fa (i.e. a faired liter bandit) was?

      • http://www.2wheelsandamotor.com William Connor

        Maybe but that’s a different motor than the Hayabusa. I was strictly thinking of a direct Concours 14 fighter.

  • MichaelEhrgott

    Definitely a great first bike.

  • Jack Meoph

    The ‘busa makes a great newbie bike. It clears out the gene pool as fast as it’s 1/4 mile times.

  • michael franklin

    Why do the mfgs. think that three riding modes you can’t use are better than one you can?

    • HeDidn’tWeDid

      I agree. I currently own an FZ-09 with the same problem. I also owned a 2008 Hayabusa Special Edition that had no riding modes; just a nice linear throttle response that was smooth throughout the rev range.

  • Brian

    I owned a Hayabusa, and now I’ve got a 14R- for $1100 more, Kawasaki offers traction control, 20 more horsepower, and a redesign from 2012 (rather than 2008 like the Suzuki), and some countries get an optional Ohlins rear shock and Akra slip-ons.

    Unfortunately Suzuki is letting a great platform stagnate- if they updated the Hayabusa they could easily lure me back as a buyer, but for now I’m a Kawasaki guy.

  • Blake Bryce

    Would be the perfect bike for going west bound on I-20 from SC to GA. Straight, flat, and could out run smokey with no problem.

  • Tom Gabriele

    I don’t know about throughout the rest of the country, but at least by me, it seems like I never see any white people riding these monstrosities

  • Ayabe

    Hayabusa – for when you absolutely, positively have to move you and your 300lb girlfriend down the strip at Daytona at 5 mph.

  • Charles Quinn

    I live in Queensland and I’d say there are more Hayabusas and ZX-14s here than there are litre sportbikes. Can’t remember the last time I saw a Fireblade, for example. It may have something to do with the size of the average Queensland male. But the speed limits here are low and the police are super strict so I’m not sure where those bikes ever get to do their thing.

    Seems like about a century since Suzuki brought out a new big I-4.

  • awwshucks

    to exploit its potential you’ll need a drag strip, a salt flat or some magical land filled with long straight roads and an utterly incompetent police force. Florida comes to mind.

    haha! yeah…

  • http://motorraderdreams.blogspot.com/ Eyvind Mondragon

    I always thought that you have to be of a certain level of education to like, buy and ride something so hideously tacky.

  • Joe_Bob_Einstein

    Having one of these amongst my mixed brood, I can say there are newer, faster, more techie oriented bikes, but when you are beside a (insert super bike here) , the average onlooker is scoping out the ‘Busa every time.

    Even non riders eyes widen a little when you say “I ride a Hayabusa” — you don’t get that with any other bike in my experience.

    Rarely ridden due to my age, I sometimes think I will sell it — until I take it out — one twist of the hand and I chastise myself for even having such thoughts !!

    In short, breathtakingly beautiful controlled violence, offering the perfect cardio workout session!

  • Reid

    For me, this motorcycle exists solely to have its engine swapped into Smart cars.

  • Alberto Morgado

    HayaBUS… so damn ugly and big…

  • charlie

    The quintessential bike for meetups at the local Checkers where you can show off your new club vest that has the redundant title, “Rebel Gangstas”.

  • Johnny Nightrider

    The 2013 Daytona yellow and black limited edition is the bike I been looking at as 2 dealerships I know have them and have lowered the price way down.Another Suzuki dealership has one and is selling it at MSRP.Its a big motorcycle and my experience with Kawasaki says the 2014 ZX-14 ABS might be the better more comfortable bike.The Hayabusa does get more looks as its unusual with that bulbous bodywork.