Displacement is a wonderful thing, and the Suzuki Hayabusa has lots of it: 1300cc good for 100 foot-pounds of torque and nearly 160 horsepower in stock form. And it's not about peak numbers, either. The 'Busa only needs to loaf along at 5500 rpm to overpower all middleweights; just 1000 rpm later, it's making more jam than the GSX-R750. And at 8000 rpm (with 2500 to go) even more than the mighty GSX-R1000's peak. But equally as impressive is the GSX package-yes, it's heavy, but surprisingly agile and well-mannered.
Jump on the big Suzi and the immediate impression is that you're astride a bullet-this bike is long, low and wide. Start it up and that impression is given fuel: twin exhausts and a lumpy idle serve notice that there is one big motor hidden under the swoopy (some still say ugly) bodywork. Around town, the Hayabusa is not the handful its 560 pound wet weight would have you think. Steering is light and responsive, even with the standard steering damper fitted. And getting out of traffic's way doesn't seem to be a problem...
In the faster twisties, the Hayabusa is quite at home, leaving you sometimes wondering if Suzuki should maybe have added the "-R" following the GSX for this model after all. The chassis is stable, and steering is light and deceptively quick; the suspension firm and controlled. Don't fool yourself though-on tighter roads where the Suzuki can't stretch its legs, smaller bikes will leave you wishing for less: less weight, less power, less throttle abruptness. And things get quite buzzy above 4500 rpm; keep those kinds of revs up for too long and you'll be rewarded with numb extremities.
But those minor shortcomings are quickly forgotten with a twist of the Suzuki's throttle; we love the Hayabusa's mind-numbing, arm-stretching acceleration, in any gear, from any speed. How its speedometer spins quicker than the tach on most other bikes, and how you can leave darkies from third- and even fourth-gear corners. It's a bonus-and a big one-that Suzuki's engineers were able to make the Big 'Bus as at home and fun on a twisty backroad as it is on a wide-open desert highway.
This story originally appeared in the October 2001 issue of Sport Rider.