HARDRIDER MOTORCYCLE MAGAZINE

The Hayabusa’s abundance of power at any engine speed made the Hayabusa easier to ride by giving the rider a greater choice of gear selection for a given speed and stunning acceleration. The ram air ducts at the front of the drooping, rounded nose squeezed frontal area away from the headlight, and this, along with the need for a narrow frontal area, necessitated a stacked headlight and high beam behind a single lens. Moreover, the need to reduce the extreme drag encountered at high speeds determined the Hayabusa’s entire bulbous, and much-criticized, bodywork design. Koblenz remarked, “non-traditional styling generates the main controversy of the Hayabusa, When viewed through the eyes of those who judged its beauty on the basis of its functionality, or given a little time to get used to it, the bike’s looks did find admirers. The striking two-tone copper/ silver paint scheme was similarly loved by some and hated by others, but was successful if the intent of an all-new, flagship product is to make a bold statement. So while it was called ugly by some in the press, this aerodynamic shape was key to the Hayabusa’s ability to reach record- setting speeds. Fairing decal of the Japanese character, peregrine falcon. Reflecting in 2009 on the initial design, the creator of the Hayabusa’s look, Suzuki’s Koji Yoshirua, said that the intent in 1999 was, “to create a somewhat grotesque design and create a strong initial impact... The mission was to create a total new styling that will not be out of date within few years, and a styling that will be the ‘Face’ of Suzuki.” Yoshirua also said that the goal was not to achieve the status of fastest production motorcycle, which in early stages was slated to be only 900 to 1,100 cc (55 to 67 cu in), but that, “as a consequence of, pursuing the best handling, acceleration, safety, power, riding ability, original styling, etc., for the good of the customers, it became the ‘Fastest production motorcycle’. Rumors and then pre-release announcements of much greater power in Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-12R in 2000, clearly attempting to unseat Suzuki and regain lucrative bragging rights, the speed war appeared to be escalating. There were growing fears of carnage and mayhem from motorcycles getting outrageously faster every year, and there was talk of regulating hyper sport motorcycles, or banning their import to Europe. The response was a so-called gentlemen’s agreement between the Japanese and European manufacturers to electronically limit the speed of their motorcycles to 300 km/h (186 mph). The informal agreement went fully into effect for the 2001 model year. So for 2001 models, and those since, the question of which bike was fastest could only be answered by tampering with the speed limiting system, meaning that it was no longer a contest between stock, production motorcycles, absolving the manufacturer of blame and letting those not quite as fast avoid losing face. Both Kawasaki and Suzuki would claim, at least technically, to have the world’s fastest production motorcycle. After the inclusion of the speed limiting system in 2001, the Hayabusa remained substantially the same through the 2007 model year. An exception was a response to the problem of the aluminum rear subframe on 1999 and 2000 models breaking when the bike may have been overloaded with a passenger and luggage, and/or stressed by an aftermarket exhaust modification, so 2001 and later Hayabusas had a steel instead of aluminum rear subframe, adding 10 lb (4.5 kg). HR HAYABUSA

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