The 2008 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa is badder than ever before as Suzuki looks to fight back against the Kawasaki ZX-14.
Everyone knew this was coming. Suzuki‘s reign as the king of the so-called Ultimate Sport class was threatened last year with the release of Kawasaki’s omnipotent ZX-14. As you can see in our comparison of the two monster sportbikes, the Kawi brought a bit more to the table than the largely unchanged 2007 ‘Busa. Well that didn’t sit well with Suzuki.
The compression ratio inside the 1340cc motor has risen from 11.5:1 to 12.5:1. The 41cc increase in displacement stems from a 2mm increase in stroke giving each tube of the Inline-Four a final spec of 81mm x 65mm (bore/stroke). Inside resides new three-ring, aluminum alloy forged slipper pistons. Claimed to be lighter and stronger, the new shape of the piston crown is responsible for the boosted compression. The motor also gets a new set of titanium valves for intake and exhaust. The sizes haven’t changed, but the alternative metal allows for weight savings. All told the revised mill has a claimed 12% increase in power. If that is true, our dyno results from last year indicate that ‘Busa freaks will have nearly 175 horsepower to do all kinds of illegal things with.
Fuel is fed through a pair of new 44mm Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) throttle bodies. A little technology pulled from the GSX-R line is the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) which provides three options of power delivery for a range of touring to full-blown hooliganism. On the opposite end, burnt fumes exit through a 4-2-1-2 exhaust that meets Euro 3 and Tier 2 emission regulations. A slipper clutch manages the 6-speed transmission.
Available in Orange/Black, Black/Gray and Blue/Black, color schemes are the least that this machine has to offer.
Wheelbase is the same, so wheelie potential is only increased, but overall length has increased to 86.6 inches. The extra 2.3 inches is part of a redesigned bodywork layout that was derived from endless wind-tunnel testing. Rather than stick the bike in there by itself, Suzuki addressed the aerodynamics with a rider in the saddle. These real-world dynamics should lead to a better tucked riding position with a lowered tank and more room for the rider’s elbows. Part of the new look is a 15mm higher windscreen and vertically stacked dual headlights. The rear blinkers are set into the tail section a-la GSX-R, and the seat and rear subframe have been lowered 17mm.
Brake discs swelled in the rear and shrunk up front. A pair of 310mm floating front rotors (10mm smaller) offer less unsprung weight and are pinched by new Tokico radial-mount calipers. The single-piston rear caliper grabs a larger 260mm rotor (+20mm). Though shaving unsprung weight is important, managing the weight that is held up by suspension is even more so. Straight away you’ll notice black Diamond Like Coating (DLC) on the lower section of the inverted fork for less stiction and more sex appeal. The Kayaba inverted fork is fully adjustable with the same 4.7 inches of travel. A 43mm KYB shock handles the load out back with 5.5 inches of travel.
The only other naked sportbike that Suzuki brings to the U.S. is the SV650 line. The B-King has little resemblance to that machine, but time will tell if it becomes as popular.
We liked the nimbleness of the 2007 Hayabusa and the steering geometry is virtually identical at 24.2 degrees of rake and 98mm of trail, an increase of 1mm. A steering damper is included to make sure the bike is stable at the ridiculously large mph numbers displayed on a new instrument panel. From left to right are analog dials for fuel, tach, speedo and engine temp. Between the tach and speedo is a digital display of a clock, gear selector, S-DMS indicator, odometer and dual trip meter.
Suzuki hasn’t exactly reinvented the wheel, but the changes that grace the 2008 Hayabusa look to be a solid package for retaking the crown of most-powerful and popular cult sportbike on the face of the planet.
And for those of you who think all that wind-tunnel testing and aerodynamics crap are for techno-geek nancy-boys, Suzuki has released a completely new motorcycle, a brutish, naked expression of raw power – the B-King.
The bike first showed up in 2001 at the Tokyo Motor Show, but six calendar years later the reality of this machine is essentially a stripped-down Hayabusa. Suzuki wouldn’t offer horsepower figures, but the head honchos did say that it makes less peak ponies than the ‘Busa but more torque – despite using the same 1340cc motor. Ignition and fuel injection mapping are the primary culprits, but like its genetic donor, the B-King shares the SDTV fuel injectors and S-DMS, albeit with only two modes instead of three.
Suzuki called this bike a new flagship model, which means we could see one or more smaller-displacement versions in the future.
The chassis is slightly different than the Hayabusa and the exhaust exits under-tail in a bulbous, gargantuan display of tailpipe. The front end looks much better with a small cowling wrapped around the 60-watt headlight. Turn signals are integrated into mini-fairings that flare out from the fuel tank with mesh scoops to direct airflow. Black inverted fork tubes head south, but unfortunately no DLC on the lowers. Both suspension components offer compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustment. Brake rotors and three-spoke wheels are the same, but the calipers are tailored for the B-King.
America isn’t known for its love of naked streetfighters, but with the heart and soul of the Hayabusa that may not hold true for Suzuki’s new flagship model. We’ll see if it really is good to B-King.
Expect to see both of these power-mongering machines in dealers sometime in October. The ‘Busa will carry a MSRP of $11,999 while the all-new B-King is $12,899.
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