Optimized for speed, the Suzuki Hayabusa’s design holds a special place in motorcycling history. Designed for pure unadulterated speed, the Hayabusa is quite simply the ultimate sportbike.
Suzuki Hayabusa 2016
Launched in 1999, the Suzuki Hayabusa immediately eclipsed the then world’s fastest production motorcycle, the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird, with its top speed of 312 km/h. To stop the ongoing Japanese and European manufacturers’ ‘speed wars’, both Suzuki and Honda agreed to electronically limit the speed of production motorcycles to 300 km/h, meaning the Hayabusa’s claim as the ‘world’s fastest production bike’ would never be bettered.
The Indian Scout Special 1920 (‘World’s Fastest Indian’) and Vincent Black Lightning 1951 show that achieving the maximum straight-line speed possible on a motorcycle has been a quest for more than a half century. The first speed record sanctioned by the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) was set a full century ago, in 1920, at 168 km/h.
Although a physically larger engine can produce more power, its increased size also brings an increase in wind resistance. Because of this, breaking speed records has been a battle to reduce wind resistance while also increasing horsepower. This machine uses the streamlined shape of the Suzuki Hayabusa along with a heavily modified engine that produces nearly three times the horsepower of the stock machine, enabling Kim Krebs to set a number of land-speed records in her class.
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Power: 500 hp
Engine: 1340 cc
Designer: Black Art Racing
- The Hayabusa in ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ is co-owned by Australia’s fastest woman, land speed racer Kim Krebs.
- The Hayabusa was the first production motorcycle to hit 320km/h. Kim Krebs and her dry lake racing team have extended the performance of the Hayabusa to achieve speeds over 340km/h.
- ‘Hayabusa’ is Japanese for peregrine falcon, know as the fastest creature on Earth.
- Popular Bollywood film Dhoom (2004) featured a Suzuki Hayabusa being throttled by Bollywood star John Abraham. Since then the Hayabusa is known throughout India as the ‘Dhoom bike’.
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Featured image: Kim Krebs riding at the 2010 BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah / Photograph: LC Grubb (ScooterShoots)
‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ exhibition was in Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from 28 November 2020 until 26 April 2021.
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