When it comes to out­right speed and com­fort, Suzuki’s ac­claimed Hayabusa has al­ways ruled, but can it fend off Kawasaki’s fancy-pants H2 SX SE?


I think it was writ­ten in the bible, or some other holy place, that there is no re­place­ment for dis­place­ment. It’s a no­tion we’re all fa­mil­iar with, and once upon a time it was un­doubt­edly true. But in a world where mo­tor­cy­cles have got more com­put­ers on board than con-rods, and are as­pi­rated about as nat­u­rally as a man with an iron lung, we won­dered if that proverb still held true.

So in the spirit of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism, we per­suaded our friends at Wheels Mo­tor­cy­cles to let us loose on one of their freshly run-in, all singing, all danc­ing Kawasaki H2 SX SE sport­s­tour­ers and pitch it against a 2017 Suzuki Hayabusa GSX-1300R they had gleam­ing away in their showroom.

The leg­endary ’Busa needs no in­tro­duc­tion, but I’ll give it one any­way: since its first in­car­na­tion in 1999, it’s been hailed by many as the fastest pro­duc­tion bike in the world, but the 1,340cc be­he­moth, in its cur­rent form, can ONLY ac­tu­ally go as fast as its 186mph lim­iter lets it – un­like the first gen Busa which was an un­re­stricted as a per­vert on a nud­est beach.

Still, even in its caged form, the big ques­tion is: has Suzuki’s sports-tour­ing stal­wart’s still got what it takes to knock the socks off Kawasaki’s su­per­charged H2 SX SE? Ar­guably, this test is a com­par­i­son of su­per­charg­ers ver­sus big bores, of hugely dif­fer­ing price tags (the Suzuki be­ing some £7,000 cheaper than the pricey young green ma­chine), and the dif­fer­enc­ing of con­cepts across ten years of tech (well, nine years, if you’re count­ing).

De­spite nu­mer­ous up­dates, in­clud­ing a ca­pac­ity in­crease along the way, the Suzuki has not strayed far from its orig­i­nal con­cept, which was and is very dif­fer­ent from that of Kawasaki’s new weapon. But hype, price and colours aside, in to­day’s world, can a last gen­er­a­tion mo­tor­way muncher still charm its way to the top of the podium in a head-to-head road test on Lin­colnshire’s finest tar­mac? I en­listed the help of Dan­ger­ous Bruce to find out.

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