Belated Happy New Year to you all, and welcome back!
A little history
There has been a time when a 750cc bike could be considered large and powerful. But as the Nineties dawned, announcing a struggle of huge proportions for the title of the fastest production motorcycle in the world, the big bikes of yesterday would soon be dwarfed by the modern giants.
By the late decade, the record stood in the hands of Honda, which CBR1100XX Super Blackbird could reach an astonishing 290 kph. “It’s not your father’s Honda”. to paraphrase a famous automotive slogan. That was at this moment that Suzuki entered the fray.
Admittedly, its GSX1300R wasn’t, in the early stages of its development, intended to set a world record. But from the moment it was decided to adopt a 1300cc inline-four engine, the largest block ever fitted to a sport motorcycle, the company’s engineers felt the title could be at hand.
The new bike was introduced in 1999 under the name Hayabusa ( “peregrine falcon” ) – incidentally, this has already been the name of Japan’s most successful fighter aircraft of World War Two, the Nakajima Ki-43. With as much as 173 bhp, a rather light weight and a very sleek design, the Suzuki Hayabusa broke the symbolic 300 kph barrier and, setting a 312 kph mark, crushed its competitors.
In spite of being a remarkable machine, the Hayabusa caused controversy. First of all, the public was split over its peculiar look. Keyword during its development had been efficiency, not beauty. As it turned out, the Hayabusa announced the way most subsequent motorcycles would look like. More serious was the stir created by the escalating race between manufacturers to produce the fastest production motorcycle.
Could it be really wise to let such machines roaming on open roads? Anticipating a negative reaction from the authorities of several countries, and possibly even a ban on such “hyper-sport” motorcycles, the various companies involved decided to declare a ceasefire and limit the top speed of their machines to “only” 300 kph. The Hayabusa respected the terms of this agreement from model year 2001, and was produced as such until the end of 2007, without much modification.
For model year 2008, Suzuki launched a new Hayabusa, which is actually more of an evolution of its predecessor. The controversial appearance of the first generation was by then much better accepted, so the second GSX1300R kept a similar look, though being entirely redesigned on the outside. On the mechanical side, the same engine was retained, albeit in a heavily reworked form displacing 1340cc and capable of a claimed 197 bhp.
This obviously had no impact on top speed, but improved acceleration and other performances. The new Hayabusa was complemented by a new “naked bike” built around the 1340cc engine, the B-King. Production of these two models continues at time of writing.
About the model
Model: Suzuki GSX1300R-X Hayabusa
Distributed by: Maisto
Acquired: second hand with neither stand nor box, in December 2011, in Brive, France
Excellent model among a very wide range of 1:18 motorcycles offered at quite a low cost by Maisto. This GSX1300R sports an elegant copper-silver paint scheme flanked by the traditional “Hayabusa” ideogram. My rating is 14/20.
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