Launched in 1999 and named with the sole purpose of annoying Honda (read more about that here), the Hayabusa immediately secured the top speed production bike title with a claimed 188–194mph – roughly 10mph faster than the previous record holder. It was revolutionary.
Powered by a 175PS (129kW), 1,299cc inline-four, the GSX1300R was perched on the verge of 200mph – that was until an informal top speed limitation of 300km/h was agreed between European and Japanese manufacturers, leaving the elusive two-tonnes ever out of reach.
As a result, the model year 2000 Hayabusa reached ‘only’ 186mph, and two generations later, the same can still be said. But while the speed and the styling may not have changed, plenty of other elements have…
No less than 550 new parts conspire to make for an entirely optimised machine. At 264kg wet, it weighs 4kg less than its predecessor, while significant updates within the 1,340cc, inline-four engine allow it to produce 190PS (140kW) – 10PS (7kW) less than the predecessor – and 150Nm (111lb ft), which is delivered healthily throughout the mid-range.
We put the new ‘Busa through its paces to find out if it lives up to the legend.