Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R, was lust a first sight. I first laid eyes on it in a Japanese magazine in November of 1998. It did not take long for me to find my way to the local bike dealer and put down a deposit on a '99 Copper/Silver Hayabusa. It was the beginning of an agonising 5 month wait for delivery of one of the first bikes in Japan, during which I was to find out what I was letting myself in for
The Hayabusa was destined to be the new speed king. A massive 1300cc sport tourer that could hit 190mph+ (Guiness book of records still lists the '99 Hayabusa as the fastest production motorcycle with a top speed of 194mph). The styling was radically different from anything seen before, earning it a nickname of Rhino, or my favourite....fat pig It was a bike you either loved or hated...I fall into the loved category. Having owned one now for over 7 years, I am still addicted to this bike.
I took ownership of my first Hayabusa in April of 1999, taking delivery of the first Hayabusa in Saitama prefecture in Japan. It was quite rare to see any in Japan at all over the next 2 years as the bikes are not sold on the domestic market as they exceed the power limit for the Japan market. Dealers have to import the bikes from other countries, so you generally get a bike that comes from either North America, Canada, or Europe and will vary slightly in accordance with the regulations for those countries. I had ordered a Copper/Silver bike, but when I went to pick the bike up I found that a Red/Black bike had been delivered instead. Given the choice of taking the bike away then, or waiting 2 months for the correct colour...well patience has never been one of my strong points.
The red/black Hayabusa lasted almost a year before getting some new clothes. During this time the bike went through it's first 2 engines, falling victim to gen 1&2 cam chain tensioner failures. I was riding alot and averaged about 35,000km a year at that point, going through a number of chains and wearing out on average a set of tires every month. The bike had a couple of low speed spills in which the bodywork got scratched up...so I replaced it all with shiny A-Tech carbon fiber body work. The original body work getting fixed up and repainted to my infamous Brita-Busa mode that got me the wrong attention on a number of occasions.
However, all good things come to an end as it did for me, almost exactly 3 years after getting the bike, I had the accident that killed the bike and sent me into hospital for a long time. A driver failing to stop at a junction had me ending up going through the rear window of a car while the bike jumped a central reservation, slide in front of 2 lanes on traffic, before hitting a wall. The bike was dead, and I had minced meat for a leg. My left leg below the knee received 7 major breaks and had a good deal of bone protruding from it. A scarey couple of months passed before I was finally told that I would keep it. The bike was gone and it would be 2 years before I go another one.
April 2004 and I am buying another bike. Again a '99 Hayabusa, and this time in the colours I had originally wanted. A pristime Copper/Silver Hayabusa with just 5,000km on the clock. I was back riding again before I was off the crutches. The bike remains stock this time though, with the exception of a new exhaust to get the sound just right