Ghost of Sportbike Future: Suzuki continues to refine Hayabusa

Publish Date: 
Jun 24, 2013
By Bruce Steever

Dealernews recently had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Suzuki’s updated flagship sportbike, the 2013 Hayabusa ABS.

Besides continuing to roll back time and space with its massive 1340cc motor, the Busa continues to impress with excellent refinement, fit and finish. Although the Hayabusa gains new Brembo front calipers with ABS for 2013, there are a variety of technologies that have yet to appear on the big Suzuki.

We talked with Derek Schoeberle, motorcycle marketing manager for Suzuki, to learn more.


Dealernews: Why is the Hayabusa so critical to Suzuki?

Schoeberle: The Busa is our flagship in the sportbike lineup. Since 1999 it has really created the hypersport segment and we are continuing with that heritage and design. We revised the Hayabusa heavily in 2008 and we felt some refinements were needed now as well.

We chose the brakes and the addition of the ABS this year to improve the braking system of the Hayabusa this year. There are no technical changes to the engine or bodywork -- just the addition of the new Brembo brake calipers and compact ABS system.

 

The Busa has always sold well, often selling more units each year compared to the year before. How is it doing post-2010?

Schoeberle: Well, the sales are doing very well for the Hayabusa. We’re still No. 1 in overall sales looking month-to-month against our competitors in that segment for the Hayabusa, so we’re very proud of what we are continuing to retail.

Just to clarify, that’s the Kawasaki ZX-14, BMW K1300…

Schoeberle: Primarily the ZX-14 right now, the true side-by-side competition for the Hayabusa. Kawasaki continues to eke out more retail sales and close the gap but they still have not beaten the Hayabusa yet on retail month-to-month sales volumes thanks to our loyal fans, Hayabusa riders and Suzuki brand loyalty.


PHOTO: Derek Schoeberle, motorcycle marketing manager for Suzuki Motor America Inc., at a recent press conference.


 

Where does the Hayabusa sit in sales compared to the GSX-R lineup?

Schoeberle: The GSX-R600 and 750 are still our best sellers. The larger cc segment has fallen off, but it’s stable. With our recent announcement of the Yoshimura slip-on promotion, we do expect that the GSX-R1000 and the Hayabusa sales will continue to rise.

 

With the ABS system now in place, the question is now other electronics. When can we expect things like traction control or electrically adjustable suspension?

Schoeberle: It is on the radar. Our engineers have been testing traction control, they have some things in the works, but they’re still analyzing the real stret value of traction control in the sense of how frequently is it actually used by the rider. Can we place those some of those features elsewhere.

But, yes, we are testing those sorts of features and are hoping that this technology will come very soon for Suzuki. For example, we recently announced the V-Strom 1000 concept machine that includes a traction control feature standard, so we have the capability of doing it and we look forward to seeing that grow in our lineup in the very near feature.