Touring on new-gen Suzuki Hayabusa 2022: Eight quick observations
- Comfortable ride
- Great suspension
- Tad heavy clutch
- Low ground clearance
The new-gen Suzuki Hayabusa replaced the older version in India sometime in early 2021. While I did get the opportunity to hop on the saddle of the reborn Busa last year, the itch for taking it on a longer ride couldn't be satisfied due to time limitations. Thankfully, Suzuki Motorcycle India was kind enough to send the bike again for a more extensive test which justifies Busa's touring credentials. Here are some quick observations I made during my single day, odd 400 km ride from Delhi-Tijara-Alwar and back.
- Sorted Ergonomics: Originally designed to munch miles, the bike continues to follow the same set of rules that once defined the name ‘Hayabusa’ in the motorcycling world. Mid-set handlebars that allow the rider to bend a little forward, and rear-set footpegs make for sporty ergonomics. When hitting the road - touring, it's my back that gives up first on most of the long rides, then comes my lower hip section that pleads my mind to take breaks/stops every now and then. However, in the case of Busa, the riding triangle is balanced in a way that the pain points are almost non-existent. The slightly hunched-over posture isn't as demanding as say on a hyperactive, supersport bike, so in a way, the body weight is distributed over several points including wrists, back, and lower back.
- Bullet-like aerodynamics: The falcon-inspired DNA of the Hayabusa speaks volumes as soon as you gain triple-digit speeds on the wide-open highways. The bike cuts through the wind friction so effectively delivering a blissful sport-touring experience! All you need to do is tuck in under the huge tinted windscreen at the front, keep your thighs locked on the side fairing, and let the bullet-like body design pierce through the wind. This not only allows for higher top speeds but also keeps the muscle effort minimum to hold on to the bars, thus doing greater speeds in a long run is considerably less tiresome.
- Surprisingly manageable: Figures like 1340 cc and 190 PS, aren't something that you relate to two-wheels, and even for me who has decent saddle experience under the belt, these are quite overwhelming figures. While there are several other bikes that might exceed the Busa on papers, in terms of output, displacement, and this and that. But I can promise you Busa will make you feel at home. All the power is delivered so predictably, and smoothly, that it is hard to believe that it is being managed so well. Reaching the Tijara fort was quite a challenge, not just because of bad terrain, but also typical town traffic with tuk-tuks, bull carts, and whatnot. Throttle management on the Busa is a masterpiece, and the on-off transitions are smooth, something that you would appreciate in bumper-to-bumper traffic in India. Also, power modes are a big help when you do not want all the ground-shaking torque every time you crack the throttle open. And to be very honest, I did my riding mostly in the least powerful model (save for some highway stretches) cause you do not need all that power, especially within the city limits. And this is exactly where the new-generation model makes a big difference. And if that is not all, wait for the other set of electronic wizardries such as 10-step Traction Control, Launch Control, Wheelie Control, and whatnot. Overwhelming at first, but give these electronics a few days and you will be surprised how good they function. More safety only means you can focus on the road with a clearer mind.
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- Best in class suspension: I am sure Suzuki designers didn't actually have an image of Indian roads when working on the suspension setup for the Busa, but to my surprise, it fits the image perfectly. The inverted telescopic front fork works flawlessly along with the link type, coil spring unit at the rear. You can actually feel the suspension working on uneven patches, without filtering out anything to the rider. At the same time, throwing the Busa around a corner and scraping knee pads feels like a child's play given how easily it sticks to the lines and feels balanced. Speaking of balance, Busa is a leech on the ground. Speed up, or brake down, Busa sticks to the asphalt with so much mechanical grip that even new riders can get comfortable on it in very less time. However, it does make the rider feel its weight, especially on back-to-back turns, in case you want to go all MotoGP.
- Pillion seat: While the rider ergonomics are very much sorter on the Busa, there is tons of space to move around and make yourself at comfort, the pillion seat is also another commendable element on this bike. The pillion on my bike (my wife) has toured often with me on some premium and high-end bikes but in her own words, Busa felt in a league of its own, especially when speed and comfort, together were taken into consideration. Again she highlighted less wind friction, space to move around on the seat, and decent padding in the case of the Hayabusa.
- Heating?: I toured on the Busa sometime around late January and that is a fairly colder part of the year. However, some other similar class bikes have managed to roast my thighs even in this part of the season, but Hayabusa remained comfortable in the heat sense and all the steam cleverly deviated through its new fairing design.
Chink in the armour?
- Ground clearance: As mentioned before, India wasn't necessarily on the minds of the engineers working on the Busa and that is evident from the fact that it stands only 125 mm higher from the ground. At this height, it is lower even than my old-gen Honda Civic which scrapes belly on every second speed breaker in my society. So you'll have to be especially cautious on the breakers.
- Tad heavy clutch: Don't quote me for saying the Busa has a heavy clutch, it doesn't for a bike with a 1340 cc engine. But it is indeed on a slightly heavier side, especially when you ride for long hours. And riding it back to back with my 650 cc Kawasaki, the difference was spot on.