Cheap speed Suzuki Hayabusa buy­ing guide

Is the speed de­mon still worth your hard-earned?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - BUYING & SELLING - By Bruce Dunn MCN GUEST TESTER

What we said then

“You need to pre­pare your­self men­tally. If you’re not feel­ing bright and sharp, leave it at home – your brain won’t cope oth­er­wise. The ac­cel­er­a­tion is so strong it makes many other bikes feel lame. Even in top gear at 140mph, crack­ing the throt­tle open brings the sort of surge that you’d get out of a Fire­blade at 80mph in fourth! You won’t be­lieve how fast the speedo nee­dle flies around the dial. When you thrash the Hayabusa the rest of the world blurs.”

But what is it like now?

There is no ques­tion that the Busa is still the king of speed, or more ac­cu­rately, ac­cel­er­a­tion. Even now, this beau­ti­fully turned out 18,000-mile orig­i­nal ex­am­ple (for sale pri­vately for £5500) has lost none of its pace, and will cat­a­pult you away from the lights quicker and eas­ier than any of the cur­rent crop of su­per­bikes.

The UK launch of the Hayabusa is a mem­ory that has stuck firmly in my mind. It was held at Brunt­ingth­orpe Prov­ing Ground in the win­ter of 1999, and the two-mile run­way was one of the only places long enough to max the Busa out. Us­ing so­phis­ti­cated on-board dat­a­log­ging equip­ment, we spent the best part of a day try­ing to reach the land­mark 200mph we all thought it was ca­pa­ble of, but it never ex­ceeded 186mph. But what it did do time and time again was ac­cel­er­ate through the quar­ter mile in the low 10-sec­ond bracket. Easy.

All this nos­tal­gia came to the fore­front when rid­ing this 18-yearold ex­am­ple, as it had lost none of its speed and ease of use. The en­gine feels grunty and re­ally ea­ger, and the carbs pro­vide near fault­lessly smooth fu­elling. It’s clear this bike has lost none of the 155bhp and 93ftlb torque it was born with.

Mean­while, the rid­ing po­si­tion al­lows you to stretch out and en­joy the ride, the sus­pen­sion still man­ag­ing to in­su­late the rider from the road’s im­per­fec­tions in spite of the Busa’s 250kg mass.

Any ob­vi­ous faults?

As Suzuki’s flag­ship model, Busa build qual­ity is and al­ways has been top notch, so de­spite its age and mileage this ex­am­ple is in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion.

Or worth­while ex­tras?

Although the six-pot calipers look awe­some, the re­al­ity is they lack the out­right power you’d ex­pect, even with the af­ter­mar­ket steel lines fit­ted. You can get bet­ter feel and stop­ping power by fit­ting per­for­mance brake pads.

The stan­dard screen is a bit low, which is why many own­ers fit a dou­ble bub­ble screen like this one. It’s ef­fec­tive and looks the part, although would be slightly bet­ter look­ing if it were clear.

The stock ex­haust works well, as it al­lows the en­gine to make huge power and torque with the min­i­mum of noise. There are some su­perb af­ter­mar­ket sys­tems avail­able to choose from if you want a fruitier ex­haust note, and po­ten­tially more power from the en­gine. Any new sys­tem would re­quire an ap­point­ment at your lo­cal dyno op­er­a­tor to op­ti­mise the fu­elling.


As a fu­ture clas­sic the 1999 Busa def­i­nitely has po­ten­tial, so buy a nice stan­dard bike and it could prove a mod­est investment. Orig­i­nal bikes came in black, black and red, and this cop­per and salmon scheme – which has be­come syn­ony­mous with the 1999 model and is the colour to go for. But if you just want an ex­pe­ri­ence like no other, for £5500 you sim­ply aren’t go­ing to get any­thing than can rival the big Suzuki.

MCN Fe­bru­ary 10, 1999

Buy now: the bike used in this test is for sale for £5500. Call 07867 557610

For clas­sic cred this is the colour to go for

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