The two contenders were still standing after their toe-to-toe faceoff, leading us to the judges scorecard to tally up a winner in our seven-round title bout.
After many rounds, neither the Hayabusa nor the ZX-14 delivers a knockout in our heavyweight title bout. Both behemoths landed some big blows but neither was able to connect with a haymaker. As both combatants are still standing after the final bell, we’ll have to go to the scorecards.
Round 1 – Dyno
On our Dynojet 200i the Suzuki Hayabusa proved that once again it is the horsepower king of the ring.
Round 2 – Scales
The Ninja ZX-14 weighs in lighter, one of the clear wins for Kawasaki in this contest.
Round 3- Dragstrip
We hoped the drag strip would help create some separation and it did by the slimmest of margins. We limited the votes in this category to the two drag racers, who both agreed that while it required more finesse, the Hayabusa just has the Ninja’s number – its 0.02.
Advantage: Suzuki 2-0
Round 4 – Engine – Open-road performance
These bikes are so close, but our testers give the nod to Suzuki. While Kawasaki may have a slim edge in throttle response, the Busa in A-mode just feels more potent.
Advantage: Suzuki 4-1
Round 5 – Handling – Stability
At speed the Haybusa’s sportier riding position translated into a more agile feeling. The tables turned at lower speeds, but it’s pretty difficult to go slow on these beasts.
Advantage: Suzuki 4-1
Round 6 – Equipment – Brakes, Suspension, Clutch/Transmission
Almost identical on the spec sheets, there was little to distinguish the two machines in equipment. Suspension was equal. Front brake goes to the Busa, barely, but rear brake is a clear advantage to the ZX. Most riders preferred the Kawasaki transmission and clutch.
Advantage: Draw 2-2 (with one draw vote)
The two bikes are so close together, our testers felt they could have called it a draw in almost every category. Our winner would come out on top by a nose, not a wide unchallenged margin.
Round 7 – Intangibles – Ergos, Styling, Fit & Finish
The counterpoint to the Handling score, the Kawasaki was the victor. Trading some handling for comfort, the Kawasaki’s riding position was more accommodating. The Kaw’s fit and finish was also graded higher. Styling and Value split opinions.
Advantage: Kawasaki 3-1 (with one draw vote)
Tallying up the results after seven brutal rounds:
So, ladies and gentleman, your winner, by decision… the 2008 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa!
Sorry, the inner ringside announcer took over in a moment of weakness. In all seriousness though, these bikes are so close, it is damn near impossible to pick a winner. Our voting may be a bit unscientific, but we feel good about it. While most of us agree the Hayabusa is a better performer, consolation for the Kawasaki comes in our For My Money picks, which saw the Kawi chosen by three of our five testers. After all, what you think is the top performing machine is not always the bike you want to see parked in your garage.
So, while the Busa is back on top, its position is by no means unassailable. Look for these two warriors to continue to push the limits and each other in the years to come. The battle for ultimate hyper-sportbike supremacy is far from over.