ON THE ROAD: SUZUKI GSXR 1300 AKA HAYABUSA

BY: TUMELO MAKETEKETE

 

When we were growing up, we used to say, and in fact we still continue to do so, that Sesotho and Chinese are the same. Sesotho phrases like “hang hang”, “che, ho hang” pretty much sound like Chinese to anyone who’s not Chinese. Loosely translated they mean “immediately” and “not at all”, respectively. Little did we know that the Japanese were not so far behind, trying to be Basotho. My first impressions when first finding out about the Hayabusa name, exactly that it must be from Lesotho. And this is besides the fact that this is a modern horse.

At no point in my biking life would I have ever even considered a 1 300 (1 340cc to be precise) bike, considering that I am a dwarf that weighs a mere 70 kilograms. This heavyweight beast comes in with an athletic guise of 266kg. Definitely not a Baby Jake.

Appearance

Suzuki has classified this as a sports bike, not a superbike, and at a glance it is very intimidating. It is confident, athletic and appealing to even non-bikers, demanding attention of both the slay queen, and her man. It gets tongues and tails wagging, confusing township dogs, as to what it could be, making them bark, just for control. Much as this is not an upgrade on the icon, new colours do however bring much anticipated excitement.

Two air intakes are housed to either side of the headlight. These, I must admit, are the trigger to the rider having to wind the throttle, tempted by the music being made in the combustion process, thereby also reaching speeds where angels dare not to follow. Below, and neatly tucked away, is a very efficient radiator – on a very hot day I did hear the cooling fans hard at work. Either side is flanked by Japanese lettering, almost alluding to the fact that it has some Judo skills. Hayabusa is a Japanese name for a type of falcon that has bragging rights by its ability to slice through air, effortlessly. And how appropriate!

And just in case your angel chooses not to fly with you, a pair of Brembo brakes are at least in place to make sure you are able to come to a comfortable halt. The cockpit is inviting, well illuminated at night, and very easy to read, even at speed. You have to look quite hard to spot the steering damper, hidden below the dials. Of particular interest to me was the fact that the clutch is not mechanical, but hydraulic. Very light and pleasing to use. Depressing the clutch, engaging gear while watching the gear numbers go either up or down on the dial, was something out of the precision scope of a Swiss watch. Each click much like the engineering of a compact CZ PO1 firearm, about to launch this bullet of a machine unapologetically forward, defying both science and laws of momentum, gravity and G-forces. For a moment one is drawn into the mental state of Caster Semenya as she is about to serve her competitors for breakfast.

Moving focus to the rear end of the bike is pretty much like following someone with a sexy bum in a mall. It’s not the kind of behind you want to ignore, nor do you want to be found staring at by your partner. A naughty boyish smile confirms the happy images being played in the mind of the viewer. Such innocence. Two bold, black and shiny exhaust pipes, on either side are the trumpets responsible for delivering unending music to the rider. Boy, is this a way of life!

Performance

The 1 340 cc in-line engine is fuel injected, liquid cooled with double overhead cams. Four valves per cylinder are the heartbeat of this beast. It delivers ample torque in the lower rev range, just as much as it is eager to please at higher bands, like any self-respecting Labrador. Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve throttle bodies, fuel injected system is managed by a 32-bit ECU. Three ride modes (A, B and C) are available to deliver power according to the specific mood of the rider. I just could not get the stupid grin off my face, let alone try to figure out the specific power delivery pattern of each mode.

 

The Verdict

The Busa will set you back a little over R200 000, in my opinion well worth every cent of your hard-earned cash, considering the number of horses and smiles, you’Il be taking home.  It may not be a new shape of the Hayabusa, but Suzuki still affords us this icon, a legend in its class with matching reliability, comfort (this is even enhanced riding with a pillion), performance and whatever else you want to think about. Yes, it does tick all the boxes, so much so I could do some farm work. This is not a bike you will easily not want to ride.

”Ha! Ya Busa.” – gees it rules. And much like the Japanese, packs a mean punch.

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