Touring on the Next-Gen 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa: Eight Quick Observations
The new generation of Suzuki Hayabusa is designed to nibble on miles. But what about Indian highways?
The new generation Suzuki Hayabusa replaced the old version in India at the start of 2021. Although I had the opportunity to ride the reborn Busa last year, the itch to take it on a ride longer could not be accommodated due to time constraints. Luckily, Suzuki Motorcycle India was kind enough to send the bike back for further testing which justifies Busa’s touring credentials. Here are some quick observations I made during my single day, a 400km drive from Delhi-Tijara-Alwar and back.
- Ergonomics sorted: Originally designed to churn out miles, the bike continues to follow the same set of rules that once defined the “Hayabusa” name in the motorcycle world. The intermediate handlebar allows the rider to lean a little forward and the rear footpegs provide sporty ergonomics. When I hit the road – on tour, it’s my back that gives out first on most long rides, then comes my lower hips that cause me to take breaks/stops from time to time. However, in Busa’s case, the driving triangle is balanced in such a way that pain points are almost non-existent. The slightly bent posture isn’t as demanding as on a hyperactive supersport bike, so somehow the weight of the body is distributed across multiple points including the wrists, back and lower back.
- Bullet-like aerodynamics: The Hayabusa’s falcon-inspired DNA speaks volumes as soon as you gain triple-digit speeds on wide-open highways. The bike cuts through wind friction so effectively, providing a wonderful sport touring experience! All you have to do is slip under the huge tinted windshield up front, keep your thighs locked to the side fairing and let the bullet-shaped body design punch through the wind. This not only allows for higher top speeds, but also reduces muscle effort to hold on to the bars, so doing higher speeds on a long run is considerably less tiring.
- Surprisingly manageable: Figures like 1340cc and 190PS, aren’t something you associate with two wheels, and even for me who has decent saddle experience under the belt, those are pretty overwhelming numbers. Though there are several other bikes out there that could top the Busa on papers, in terms of output, displacement, and this and that. But I can promise you that Busa will make you feel at home. All the power is delivered so predictably and smoothly that it’s hard to believe it’s handled so well. Reaching Tijara Fort was quite a challenge, not only because of the bad terrain, but also the typical city traffic with tuk-tuks, bull carts and so on. Throttle handling on the Busa is a masterpiece, and start-stop transitions are smooth, which you’ll appreciate in India’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. Plus, the power modes are a big help when you don’t want all the floor-shaking torque every time you open the throttle. And to be very honest, I did my driving mostly in the less powerful model (except for some stretches of freeway) because you don’t need all that power, especially within the city limits. And that’s exactly where the next-gen model makes a big difference. And if that’s not all, wait for the other set of electronic magics like 10-step traction control, launch control, Wheelie control, and more. Overwhelming at first, but give these electronics a few days and you’ll be surprised how well they work. More safety just means you can focus on the road with a clearer mind.
- Best-in-Class Suspension: I’m sure the designers at Suzuki didn’t actually have a picture of Indian roads when they were working on the suspension setup for the Busa, but to my surprise, it fits the picture perfectly. The inverted telescopic front fork works perfectly with the link type, coil spring unit at the rear. You can actually feel the suspension working over uneven areas, filtering nothing out for the rider. At the same time, tossing the Busa into a corner and scratching the knee pads feels like child’s play given how easily it grips the lines and feels balanced. Speaking of balance, Busa is a leech on the ground. Accelerate or brake, Busa grips the asphalt with such mechanical grip that even new riders can feel comfortable on it in no time. However, it makes the rider feel its weight, especially in back-to-back corners, in case you want to do all the MotoGP.
- Passenger seat : While rider ergonomics are very sorted on the Busa, there is tons of room to move around and get comfortable, the passenger seat is also another commendable item on this bike. My bike passenger (my wife) has often traveled with me on high-end, high-end bikes, but in her own words, Busa felt in a league of her own, especially when speed and comfort were taken into account. account. Again, she pointed to less wind friction, room to move around in the seat, and decent padding in the Hayabusa’s case.
- Heater?: I did a tour on the Busa towards the end of January and it’s a pretty chilly part of the year. However, other similar-class bikes managed to roast my thighs even in this part of the season, but Hayabusa remained comfortable in the sense of heat and all the steam deftly deflected thanks to its new fairing design.
Crack in the armor?
- Ground clearance : As mentioned, India wasn’t necessarily on the minds of the engineers working on the Busa and this is evident from the fact that it sits only 125mm higher off the ground. At this height, it’s even lower than my older generation Honda Civic that scrapes its belly with every second speed breaker in my company. It will therefore be necessary to be particularly careful on the circuit breakers.
- Clutch a bit heavy: Don’t quote me for saying the Busa has a heavy clutch, that’s not the case for a bike with a 1340cc engine. But it is indeed slightly heavier, especially when riding for long hours. And riding it back to back with my 650cc Kawasaki, the difference was spot on.
- Comfortable ride
- Large pendant light
- Clutch a bit heavy
- Low ground clearance
Date of first publication: June 29, 2022, 1:19 p.m. IST