Jumat, 08 Juni 2012

It was inevitable, we suppose. The toughest kid on the block will always have someone looking to knock him off the top of the food chain.
But for Suzuki’s Hayabusa, that reign as the king of brute horsepower (and speed, at least before the onset of industry-wide speed limiters brought on by European government hysteria surrounding the 2000 Kawasaki ZX-12R) has been uninterrupted since the bike’s release in 1999. Even when the Hayabusa underwent a significant update in 2008, it wasn’t as
if the Suzuki was in danger of being ousted from its throne; even a concerted effort by the previous generation Kawasaki ZX-14 (“Big Numbers”, April 2008) failed to topple the ‘Busa from its perch atop the sportbike pile. Dual counterbalancers in the Kawasaki engine make a definite difference in engine smoothness, with the Suzuki’s mellow vibes fuzzing out the mirrors’ rearview images somewhat on the highway. The ZX-14R feels butter-smooth by comparison, and the better rearward view from its mirrors are clear enough to distinguish if that’s a police cruiser stalking you an eighth-mile behind. Wind protection is a tad better on the Kawasaki, with a little less wind hitting you in the shoulders and helmet, despite its slightly more upright ergos. The larger ZX-14R engine is definitely the thirstier of the two, however; while the ‘Busa calmly averaged around 42 mpg despite liberal use of the throttle (hard to resist with these two bikes), the Kawasaki comparatively guzzled its way to a 36 mpg average.
The ZX-14′s changes are mostly in the interest of helping it meet the new Euro-III emissions standards, which limit both pollutants and sound. A third honeycomb catalyzer was added to the exhaust collector, and the secondary air ports in the heads were increased in size by 20 percent for cleaner exhaust burning. While the 1,352cc engine’s 84.0 x 61.0mm bore and stroke have been retained, Kawasaki claims that despite meeting stricter standards the internal changes give the engine more power than before. Also, die casting rather than gravity casting the cast-aluminum sections of the frame has resulted in some weight savings. Its price is a new and improved $11,699. Suzuki’s long-lived and well-established Hayabusa has been in need of a revamp, and gets a new engine and frame for 2008. Sure, it’s still a DOHC liquid-cooled four, with four valves per cylinder, but displacement has been bumped slightly from 1,299cc to 1,340cc, and compression raised from 11.0 to 12.5:1. Bore and stroke have been fiddled to 81.0 x 65.0mm. Suzuki also adds new ram air and dual injectors per cylinder, lighter titanium valves and a larger volume 4-2-1-2 exhaust system with a large-capacity catalyzer. According to Suzuki, the new ‘Busa delivers 11 percent greater performance than its predecessor, and its price is now $11,999.
Comfort? Ergonomics? Touring amenities? Economy? Naw, these bikes aren’t about any of that. They’re about power, performance and Major Moments. And whether you started riding in the ’60s and have seen bikes steadily improve, or are a young guy who just recently fell into this motorcycling nirvana, you’re going to enjoy plenty of throttle-induced Major Moments on either of these two bikes.

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