Even if you don’t know anything about motorcycles, you likely know that the GSX1300R Hayabusa is a ridiculously fast one. It debuted back in 1999 with an unrestricted top-speed alleged to be 194 miles per hour, and it could run tens in the quarter mile. With the Hayabusa, Suzuki completely dunked on the competition in an all out motorcycle arms race in the late 1990s. And as of December 31st, 2018, the bike will be phased out of existence.
With fears of regulatory backlash looming, an informal agreement was struck between Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers to voluntarily limit their bikes to 186 mph. Because Suzuki was the top of the speed heap when the agreement went into effect, those 1999 bikes held the production speed record for many years afterward.
It’s since been beaten only by Ducati’s Panigale R and Kawasaki’s Ninja H2. The high-horsepower Suzuki, twenty years on and ten years into its second generation, is still as awe inspiring as ever. It was the first of what probably should be called Hyperbikes to catch my attention as a young enthusiast. I’m still afraid of them (and all bikes a liter plus, to be honest), and likely will never ride one out of respect for my lack of talent.
When the Euro 4 emissions rules went into effect back in 2016, Suzuki knew the Hayabusa didn’t meet them, and likely never would. Rather than develop a new engine, the Japanese manufacturer is letting its most impressive bike slip into the annals of history.
December 31st, 2018 is the last day on which non-Euro 4 compliant bikes can be sold. After which, the remaining stock of Hayabusas will be shipped to the North American market, where Euro 4 is not enforced, until stock is depleted. Suzuki will not continue to produce the bike for the U.S. and Canada, and will simply liquidate remaining inventory.
It’s an inauspicious end for a bike that completely blew everyone away when it was launched 20 years ago.
On the upside, Suzuki has renewed the trademarks on the Hayabusa name, according to a report from RideApart, so it’s entirely possible that a third generation of the bike could be coming in the future to combat the supercharged Ninja H2. Maybe downsizing and turbocharging is the way forward for the Hayabusa. Maybe it will never reach production again. In any case, it’s made one hell of a mark on the motorcycle world. If you’re looking for high speed hijinks, get a ‘Busa before they’re gone.