Andrew Prendergast (aka Chef), the Managing Partner, still has his Performance Sport ZZR1400 and I sold mine after an enjoyable 24,000 miles. The news of the 3rd generation Suzuki rival has divided us.
Our bikes get used a lot. I enjoyed lapping the Nurburgring on my big Kwak, taking trips to the Alps (in a world where we could move freely pre-Brexit and COVID). Chef uses his daily, especially when going to see his clients and attending court.
It is fair to say we have been big fans of these Hyper-sports bikes ever since the release of the Honda Blackbird. Then came the first generation Hayabusa (Japanese: はやぶさ, meaning “Peregrine Falcon”) and guess what a Peregrine Falcon kills? Yes, you guessed it, Blackbirds! Oh, how we enjoyed the silly games between these two big name manufacturers.
Then came along Kawasaki and arguably took the crown from them both. I know this won’t sit well with diehard Hayabusa fans who always thought their Busa was number one. The truth is the 2nd generation Busa was in production from 2008 to 2020, 12 years is a long time without a refresh or tweak.
The 2nd generation bike ran a 1340cc engine whereas the latest ZZR1400 ran a 1441cc engine. Combine that with the latest electronic gizmos (note no quickshifter!) it took the crown in my opinion. It was fast, comfortable and topped out at 186mph. I know this from experience during my ride through Germany. What a machine.
As many of you know the ZZR1400 ended production last year. Not because of COVID19 but rather the ever-tightening emissions; Euro 4 and 5 etc. This led me to look at their replacement model, the H2 SXE. I am sorry to say this Kawasaki but I hated it.
The ZZR1400 was everything the H2 tried to be but was not. I enjoyed the quick-shifter but that was about it. The switchgear is confusing, the motor has a lovely chirp up high in the revs but as the American’s say (with a Texan accent) ‘ain’t no replacement for displacement’, and they’re right. The 1000cc motor just doesn’t cut it up against the brute of the 1441cc from the outgoing ZZR1400.
2021 Suzuki Hayabusa
So, with the new Kwak cast aside, I welcomed the news of the new Hayabusa like a new-born child. The first set of photographs looks promising. A nice shiny new dash, sharper bodywork and a good array of colour schemes.
There seems to be a lean sensor on the dash which is pointless but something to brag to your friends about and a traditional key. Thank goodness! I am really not a fan of keyless bikes, having been stuck at a petrol station because my keyless fuel tank filler cap wouldn’t open. Thank you BMW.
The power figures seem to be down in comparison with the ageing ZZR1400 but I am not too fussed about headline figures; Suzuki knows exactly how to make a bike handle and ride well, even when they are down on power, see the newest ZX-6R!
Chef isn’t convinced. He is a die hard Kawasaki fan, coming from a ZX12R it is not hard to see why. I, on the other hand, am genuinely excited. More so than I was with the H2 SXE because the Busa carries over the same basic ingredients of a Hyper-sport bike, big displacement, long wheelbase but mixed in with up-to-date technology.
Our local Suzuki dearler, Ford and Ellis of Chesham sadly closed last year and as such I will pop over to HGB Daytona of Ruislip to throw my leg over one. Watch this space for an actual test ride and let’s see if I can convince Chef to swap the keys to his ZZR. The Busa will have to be a mighty fine bike to do that.