2013 Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R LE Test
Suzuki’s Hayabusa has been in production since 1999, and it takes a certain something for any motorcycle to have a run like this…but then this is no ordinary bike.
Over the years, enthusiasts have found so many disparate missions for this model, named for the Japanese peregrine falcon because of its tremendous speed capability, that one often wonders how this all came about.
Few bikes, if any, have ever engendered the loyalty of so many different types of fans than the Hayabusa. We have seen this vehicle used for drag racing, top speed runs on the salt, über GT touring, and just plain fast runs through favorite twisty roads. The list of aftermarket parts available for the model is, perhaps, one of the lengthiest you may find anywhere, for any vehicle.
One can shop for add-on turbo kits that produce 300 to more than 550 horsepower as easily as finding blinged-out farkles or rear sub-frames with woofer speakers. There is something available for every different owner, no matter what his tastes may be.
This can only be possible if the underlying motorcycle has the kind of impressive credentials that Suzuki Hayabusa has delivered from the start. Few are the bikes that can, in stock trim, turn sub-10-second quarter mile times, reach 186 miles per hour, rail through tight turns with aplomb, and at the same time offer a docile, civilized ride around town.
There is nothing the Busa can’t do unless converting it into a dirt bike suits your fancy, and I would be surprised if someone, somewhere, hasn’t given that a go.
Suzuki’s 2013 Hayabusa LE is all that, and more. Climbing aboard and assessing the available equipment takes one back a few years in time, as you realize that some of the more popular, modern hyperbike options like traction control and trip computer are not offered.
Instead, Suzuki chose to stay with its tasty, basic ingredients – over-the-top power, Brembo Monobloc brakes with ABS, the effective Suzuki Clutch Assist System (their version of a slipper clutch), and a chassis that delivers great stability and all-around fine handling in a bike this size.
Rolling this curvy animal out of the garage, it starts instantly with a growl. Even with its large, futuristic exhaust system – a design that has become all too common lately on large displacement bikes due to noise and environmental issues – its potential is obvious to the ear. The exhaust note is raspy and a constant reminder of things in store. Moving up to speed this sound only gets sweeter as it harmonizes with the sound of the intake and reaches a glorious crescendo as the revs climb. The engine, at all times, remains smooth and keeps most of its power on tap anywhere above 3000 rpm. Suzuki offers its S-DMS (Suzuki Drive Mode Selector), so you can pad down the power if you don’t want all the horses you paid for.
The 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa has impeccable manners, is taut over freeway tar strips, but the ride is pleasant. I find that the stock windshield is of a design that sends most of the air blast into my torso rather than attempting to route it over the head. This is not bad, but those heading for the long haul will want to look to for a larger shield.
The magic really happens in the canyons, and it wasn’t more than a mile into the esses before I realized what this beast can handle. “More, more, more,” it signals and whether ridden really aggressively or left in third gear for the prodigious torque to whip it through and out of turns the Hayabusa can be summed up as one of the best handling large bikes available.
I found myself grinning in my helmet and realized I had to be careful with the throttle. This bike has the same effect on me as listening to a great driving rock n roll song–before you know it, you’re going much too fast.
Styling remains much like it has looked for all these years and its curvy body design flies in the face of so many other angular new models from other manufacturers.
This is just another cue to its unique place in the firmament of motorcycle design. Love it or hate it, the 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R Limited Edition (it’s LE due to the Marble Daytona Yellow / Glass Sparkle Black paint job) is a worthy steed capable of almost anything on your moto bucket list.
Look for a comparison article between this superb machine and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R in an upcoming issue of Ultimate Motorcycling.
Photography by Don Williams
- Helmet: Schuberth C3 Pro
- Jacket, Gloves and Pants: Cortech Adrenaline Leather
- Boots: Cortech Latigo WP Road Race