Unique Bikes: Hayabusa + Market News

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: UC Files

styling02 1st styling02 1st
styling05 1st styling05 1st
gallery04 gallery04
gallery03 gallery03
features02 1st features02 1st
features01 1st features01 1st

Suzuki's speed legend is turning 25

Suzuki celebrates a milestone in the coming year: 25 years since the launch of its iconic sports-tourer, the GSX1300R Hayabusa. This model has managed to become both iconic in the performance world and something of a cult classic.

While we may have become used to the bulging lines of the first edition across the years, at the time of the launch in Paris and then Spain back in 1999, they were truly shocking. It was the work of designer Koji Yoshiura, who told Autoevolution online in 1999: "We showed the head of marketing the final clay prototype, and he was stunned. Totally speechless! He didn’t know what to say, which is a little like the reaction we got at the Paris show. The bike was a bit polarising – people didn’t know quite what to think of it."

Three colour schemes were offered, including black/grey, a red/black combo and the most famous of all, the two-tone copper scheme.

However, it was what was under the paint that saved the design. Suzuki rightly claimed fastest production bike in the world status, immediately passing Honda’s Blackbird by a substantial margin with a top speed in excess of 300km/h. Production bikes managed anything up to 310, depending on the individual machine and conditions.

What powered this monster? It was a very conventional package underneath the radical (and aerodynamically efficient) bodywork. The liquid-cooled inline injected four ran four valves per cylinder and displaced 1298cc. It was encased in a big twin-spar aluminium frame, with upside-down suspension at the sharp end and a monoshock on the rear.

Yup, that was it. Nothing radical. A set of six-piston brake calipers graced the front end, and that was as exotic as things got.

However, the numbers stacked up to something performance hounds could dream about: 175 horses (130kW) – an industry-leading number at the time – with a claimed dry weight of 217kg, or closer to 240 wet. Drag strip times busting the 10-second barrier were part of the package.

At an introductory price of $17,500, they walked out the door.

Clean first-edition bikes with the all-important 340km/h speedo, and preferably in the copper colour scheme are now very much on the collector radar and we doubt you’ll find a really good one for under $20K. AllMoto.com

Market News

Sometimes it’s not the headline acts, but the run-of-the-mill which best inform classic motorcycle values and this recent USA sale is an example.


It’s a 1970 Honda CB750-Four and presumably relatively late among the highly-prized sandcast bikes. By that, we mean early production before Honda used diecast moulds for the engine cases. Total K0 production for the 1969-70 model years was a phenomenal 53,400, of which 7414 were sandcast units.

This example is less than stellar in its presentation – okay at a distance but in need of minor work.

So how much? It sold at auction with Bring a Trailer for $78,000. That’s about double what an equivalent diecast K0 would fetch. AllMoto.com

Unique Cars magazine Value Guides

Sell your car for free right here


Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.