Back in the late 1990s the Japanese manufacturers fought the top speed war not with lightweight superbike race replicas but with giant beasts of bikes, or rather birds. Honda Christened their high-speed monster, the CBR 1100 XX, the Blackbird, Suzuki’s response had the usual collection of digits and letters-GSX 1300 R- and it also had a name: Hayabusa. This is a rare example of humour showing through in the nomenclature of Japanese motorcycles, because a Hayabusa is a Japanese relative of the Peregrine Falcon, that fastest bird in the world, and one that is presumably has been known to eat Black birds. Naturally this was never mentioned in any of Suzuki’s publicity. If the Hayabusa is anything like the peregrine falcon, it is a small, Lithe and graceful. The Hayabusa is none of those things but it does share one vital attribute with its namesake, speed. When you take the motor from the GSX-R750, take it out to 1300 cc, wrap a massive Twin-beam aluminum frame around and clothe it in wind-tunnel developed aerodynamically efficient bodywork, you get a very fast motorcycle. More to the point from a riding point of view, you get a quite outstanding amount of torque-by over 130 Nm of it at 6750 rpm and well over 100 Nm at 4000 rpm. Magazine dyno tests reported to 150 bhp at the back wheel. Not surprisingly those same magazines were soon remarking on how startlingly quickly the Hayabusa got through rear tires. The really surprising thing about the Hayabusa was that it felt quite sporty to ride; Suzuki even launched it at a race track although they pick one with a long front straight-Barcelona. There is, of course, other very noticeable thing about the Hayabusa apart from its speed, and that’s its looks. No way could you call it a pretty bike; purposeful is about the nicest adjective you could use, and that’s because its bodywork is the way it is purely for function, not for the sake of form. The clues are everywhere: the nose that’s so pointy the head lights had to be stacked on top of one another, the flanks of the fairing protrude a long way forward, the big front mudguard that covers up as much Fork leg as possible, the extension to the belly pan just in the front of the back wheel, the big tail unit. All these are designed to cut the drag to the lowest possible figure. To get the full idea will have to put a rider on the bike in a crouching riding position, then you can see how near to the idea of egg shaped designer have got . Of course anything that sticks out is bad for aerodynamic efficiency so smaller components got the full treatment. Take the mirrors; they are longer front to back on the bottom than on the top to promote smooth airflow and, because they are like an upside-down aerofoil, to reduce the tendency of the front wheel to lift. Even the mirror is mounting arms get the same treatment. Aerodynamics was used to increase power as well. The pointy nose generated high pressure on its centreline so the air intakes were placed as close to the centre of the bike as possible and those indicator lenses in the months of the intakes are used to help force more air in and increase the ram-air effect. The engine wasn’t ignored, it was one of the first big bikes to use fuel injection and it had a slipper clutch-Suzuki called a back torque limiter-long before the big four strokes in Moto GP where getting hot and bothered about how to manage their engine braking. As you would expect from the biggest GSX, power delivery was simply breath-taking. The Hayabusa did what it was designed to do: go very fast in a straight line. The surprising thing was it was also very good at doing all the other things the motorcycle is supposed to do as well.