After 20 years of production, the Suzuki Hayabusa will be out of production come 2019. The reason? Dwindling sales and tightening emissions standards around the world. After 2018, emission standards in European and Asian markets will effectively ban the 1,300cc motorcycle, making the US the only major region left fit for its sale. But, at 11 years old, the current-generation Hayabusa is being put to pasture entirely with no definite successor in sight.
In the ’90s, motorcycle manufacturers were competing hard to see which could build the fastest production motorcycle. Suzuki dropped the mic in 1999. The 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa went 0-60mph in around 2.5 seconds and topped out at 194mph — a speed, at the time, that frightened the other European and Japanese manufacturers into an unspoken agreement to cap top speeds at or around 186 mph (not exactly a snail’s pace). In 2008 the Hayabusa’s engine jumped from 1,299cc to 1,340cc and pumped out 174 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque — stats still impressive even by today’s standards.
A quick look at the market reveals that manufacturers forgot all about their agreement. The Honda RC213V-S will hit 200mph; the new king of the road is the Kawasaki H2, which can hit 400 kph, or 249 mph. The Kawasaki H2 also cranks out 300 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque from a supercharged 998cc inline-four engine. That smashes the now-legendary bike to 60mph from a standstill in 2.5 seconds and on to a quarter-mile time just above eight seconds at 194.5 mph. Is it possible Suzuki is just clearing the way for a new challenger? Possibly, but nothing is on the books for 2019 or 2020. If or when Suzuki does bring back the Hayabusa it has a mountain to climb in order to regain its title. It will need to bring more to the table than an 11-year old 1,300cc naturally aspirated engine.