LEGEND OF THE FALCON
Motoring World|September 2021
Past and present Hayabusas meet to make a mockery of speed
Kartik Ware

It takes quite a motorcycle to force fiercely competitive manufacturers to stop printing ever-higher numbers on their speedometers. And till date, I’m not certain whether it was the Suzuki Hayabusa’s nuclear-grade inline-four that did that or simply the way it looked. In 1999, the Hayabusa was a wind-tunnel sculpted uppercut to the brain, always followed by a body blow to the gut thanks to the 173 bhp produced inside its bulbous shape. Other motorcycles and riders alike had no choice but to be floored. There wasn’t, isn’t and likely won’t be another bike like the Hayabusa. To no one’s great surprise, except perhaps its rivals, the giant Suzuki rightfully took its place as one of the greatest motorcycles of all time the moment it hit the road 22 years ago.

I could stop writing right now because people around the world have probably said everything there is to say about the Hayabusa. However, I couldn’t resist the chance of putting the latest Hayabusa — and the best one yet — against the original scrotum tester. A few phone calls and messages pointed this old Hayabusa at the new one on a super-wet morning, piloted by owner Rohit Bhandari, a 31-year-old martial arts instructor. Now that’s one heck of a package, eh? The first-gen Hayabusa was Bhandari’s dream bike forever, and he bought this used specimen from 2005 in June 2021. Even the lack of official sales and service didn’t stop the Hayabusa from swooping down on Indian roads all those years ago.

Of course, as could be expected from a 16-year-old superbike, Bhandari’s black and gold ’Busa was not stock; it’s been repainted, has unusually large ‘Suzuki’ decals on the tank, lovely aftermarket loud pipes, and other bits and bobs. Next to the new one, it looked every bit the stately ancestor that it is, and I realised it wasn’t a mistake to leave the second-gen out of this meeting. Of the three chapters that make up the Hayabusa story, the first and the latest will eventually become the ones we want to read the most. Also, is it just me or does the ’Busa always look best with a bit of bling on it? Perhaps all those custom guys have always been on to something.

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