There are some interesting rumours circulating about Suzuki, and they paint a slightly conflicted picture.
First up, the semi-annual Hayabusa revival rumours are floating about again. Although the Hayabusa is still an extremely powerful motorcycle, it’s no longer the king of hyperbikes. Kawasaki’s supercharged H2R line has taken that role, and even the latest crop of litre-class superbikes mostly makes around 200 hp, with far less weight than the once-feared ‘Busa.
Word on the street is that Suzuki plans to revamp the Hayabusa, and for at least four years now, we’ve been told it’s coming next season, by supposedly in-the-know insiders.
Well, it hasn’t happened yet. The updated bike is supposedly going to have a semi-auto gearbox, and there are occasionally rumours about a supercharger. Truth? Fiction? Hard to say, but we certainly haven’t seen any spy shots, just an endless stream of patent applications, which really don’t guarantee anything.
On to the next rumour! This week, the hot gossip said Suzuki is planning to end production of the big-bore Burgman 650 scooter, revising the Burgman 400 and rebadging it into a new line. Fact or fiction?
This one is most likely a fairly accurate guess. The Burgman 650 isn’t selling well in some markets, and has been discontinued in others. It’s getting to be an older design, and even though there are few other machines in this bracket, there’s also not a whole lot of people in need of a 650-class maxi-scooter. With BMW now in this market as well, no doubt it’s getting tough to scrap it out for sales. And with the 400 version, it’s a single-cylinder and no doubt would need some tuning changes to meet future emissions regs.
That is, after all, the way the world is going, and Suzuki seems to recognize that—slowly, gasoline-powered motorcycles are being pushed out. Despite the constant demand for new technology and more performance, the reality of market finances make it hard to justify, when you can just crank out an exponentially larger number of small-capacity bikes and sell them like mad in emerging markets. Suzuki’s execs are reportedly wanting to do just that, basically getting out of the big-bike business altogether, which would certainly explain an awful lot about the company’s moves in recent years.