Thursday, 22 March 2018

Ben's Corner #17: Monster among motorcycles, soon on road!

After close to a decade, legendary hyper sports bike, Suzuki Hayabusa is going to get a comprehensive update. In a fresh set of patents filed a couple of weeks ago, Suzuki has hinted that the Busa, for the first time in its life, is going to get a semi automatic gearbox, most probably, an optional bolt-on kit. That's not all, breaking into the territory of Kawasaki Ninja H2, the Busa is also going to get a force-fed engine with all the latest electronics as per sources.

Great legacy:

The term 'Hayabusa' is a household name in the motorcycle fraternity. Launched in 1999, it was once the fastest production motorcycle in our planet and still holds the record of being the fastest motorbike in stock form when it breached 320 Kmph speed before the gentlemen's agreement, to limit all motorcycles' top speed to 299 Kmph, came into picture. It underwent wind tunnel testing more than 100 times that it's still one of the most aerodynamic bikes in the world. To achieve Hayabusa's level of aerodynamics, other manufacturers had to, almost, copy the Busa's design in their bikes.

Quite outdated:

Though Hayabusa is still a golden goose for Suzuki selling like hot cakes even after close to two decades since development, it no longer holds the crown against some of its newer rivals in both performance and technology. In countries like India, Suzuki is forced to sell the Busa through Completely Knocked Down (CKD) route so as to undercut newer rivals in price. In developed countries, Hayabusa is mostly bought for projects and modifications as its older hardware is easy to work upon. In the last 19 odd years, Hayabusa has received only one comprehensive update in 2008 which is the second generation model sold even today with an addition of Anti-lock Braking (ABS) alone.

Five years of development:

The world came to know that Suzuki is developing the third generation Hayabusa when the brand showcased the clay model of the bike, a few days before 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. Suzuki actually began the process alongside the 2017 GSXR 1000's development. To give more breathing space to the 1000, a few reports said, the Busa's development also got shelved in the middle. But fast forward to 2018, we now have more information about how the hyper bike is going to be.

Patents reveal:

From the patents, it's evident that the motorcycle is completely redesigned but without changing its original identity. The sharp flowing lines show that the Busa is going to be crazily aerodynamic. Secondly, the bike is going to get a bolt on semi automatic gearbox, a feature first time seen in a stock motorcycle. Hayabusa is always about straight-line acceleration. It's a dragster. With the new semi automatic box, it seems Suzuki wants to achieve the best gear shift timings with the help of a computer programme.

Thirdly, the Hayabusa's heart is going to get the maximum treatment. It's displacement is going to be raised to 1,400 cc against the 1,340 cc of the present bike and the engine might get a turbocharger as well as per sources. Finally, the bike is going to get a host of electronics which might include ride-by-wire, IMU-based traction control, anti-wheelie, cornering ABS, cruise control, TFT-dashboard, smart phone connectivity, push-button gearbox and semi-active suspension, etc.

Ultimate speedster:

In the end, Kawasaki Ninja H2 series are now ruling the roost of the segment with mind-boggling acceleration and insane speeds to the tune of 400 Kmph as seen in various test videos. But the only thing that differentiate the H2 series from the rest of the super-bikes is the presence of the supercharger. On the other hand, the third generation Hayabusa is rumoured to get a 400 cc bigger engine, a turbo charger which is equivalent to the H2's supercharger and most importantly a semi automatic gearbox. With these many strengths, it will not be surprising if the upcoming Busa is faster than Bugatti Veyron itself. Not to forget, Suzuki might even space the Hayabusa from rest for another decade. No pun intended!

What is the deal about semi automatic box?

As per sources, the mechanism in the patent uses an external sensor on the gear lever working in tandem with a servo to actuate the clutch, alongside another actuator to do the shifting. Suzuki might programme the system in such a way that when the rider pins the throttle from a standing start, the computer times each gearshift for maximum acceleration and power without any risk of missed shifts. Even if there is no intention of taking the bike to the drag-strip, the auto box could give the potential to blow away the competition when firing off from the lights.

Why the rush?

The current Busa doesn't meet the Euro4 standards, so Suzuki have been selling the bike under derogation rules in Europe. Unfortunately, the grace period ends in January 2019, which means Suzuki will have to stop selling it. Even with that added time pressure, the new Hayabusa might not be unveiled until the 2019 Tokyo show. It will likely then go on sale in 2020, just in time for the new Euro5 standards.

- S Ben Raja,
Chennai, March 22, 2018.

The above review/analysis is completely the perception of S Ben Raja alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only. This author is correspondent for an English daily working on auto beat stories for over a year. Reach him at