Suzuki is to stop selling its Hayabusa motorbike after 19 years on the market – because of stricter emissions regulations.
The Hayabusa name is one of the most iconic in the motorbike world, having held the world record for the fastest production motorcycle at 194mph from its 1999 debut until 2013, when it was dethroned by the Ducati Panigale R.
It stems from a so-called ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between motorcycle manufacturers, as moves to increase road safety led some European countries to call for a ban on imported high-speed motorcycles. Most manufacturers unofficially agreed to limit their bikes to 300km/h (186mph), with the Hayabusa the last to be built before the agreement came into effect.
The ’Busa is now being phased out because of Euro 4 emissions regulations introduced in 2016. They state that December 31st, 2018 is the last day when motorbikes not meeting these levels can be sold, and as altering the Hayabusa would be too costly Suzuki is dropping the model.
Any bikes left unsold after the deadline will be shipped to North America, where Euro emissions standards aren’t enforced.
The Hayabusa will be fondly remembered by enthusiasts as the last bike produced before the ‘gentleman’s agreement’. Even its name suggested a desire to be the fastest – ‘Hayabusa’ is the Japanese word for peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest bird.
In a further display of aggression, peregrine falcons are known to eat blackbirds – and the bike Suzuki dethroned for the record title was the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird.