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Suzuki posted by

1st year big bird: 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa on ebay

Here is a 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa,  the first year of the big bike from the Hamamatsu Japan based manufacturer.  Unlike the following year(s) models, the 1999 wasn't restricted and with a top speed of over 300 kph was considered to be the fastest production motorcycle for nearly 10 years.  While it was produced in large numbers in the following years, the 1st year edition holds a special place in history and seems to be the one that is starting to climb in value/is a target for collectors.

1999 Suzuki Hayabusa on ebay

In 1998 Suzuki offered a wide range of sportbikes including but not limited to the TL1000R, TL1000S, Katana 750, GSX-750R, SV650, GSX-600R, Katana 600 and even the aging RF900.   But even with this lineup Suzuki was lagging a bit behind in sales, especially compared to the competition such as Honda and Yamaha.  A large part of this was due to the fact that Suzuki didn't have a "halo" bike, a bike that made them stand out from all the other competition.  Honda had the Fireblade/CBR900, Yamaha had its new R1 but what did Suzuki have?  The answer came in 1999 with the Hayabusa.

The Haybusa was something of a risky move for Suzuki.   The company could have tried to offer a light/focused 750cc/900cc machine to compete against the Fireblande and R1 but this might have impacted the sales of their GSX-750R lineup.  Suzuki instead decided to go after a market that many thought was dying off; the big speed/big bike sportbike.  Companies such as Yamaha and Kawasaki had made dramatic moves away from the big sport/big speed segment, Yamaha in particular with their shift from their ThunderAce to the R1.   Suzuki decided there was still growth opportunities in the segment and the 1300cc 300 kph Hayabusa was the result.  Sure it wasn't as pretty as a Ducati 916 or as technologically significant as a Fireblade or R1, but it did what it promised (big miles at big speed) better than anyone had ever seen.   Sales were initially mediocre but the bikes reputation for hyperspeed and rock solid stability spread and the Hayabusa kept selling more and more each, eventually becoming a sales leader for the company over the next few years.

It is also important to recognize that the Hayabusa holds a significant place in history due its long run as the fastest production bike.  Consider the following excerpt from Wikipedia:

"In 1999 fears of a European regulatory backlash or import ban led to an informal agreement between the Japanese and European manufacturers to govern the top speed of their motorcycles at an arbitrary limit.  The conditions under which this limitation was adopted led to the 1999 Hayabusa's title remaining, at least technically, unassailable, since no subsequent model could go faster without being tampered with.  After the much anticipated Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R of 2000 fell 6 km/h (4 mph) short of claiming the title, the Hayabusa secured its place as the fastest standard production bike of the 20th century.  This gives the unrestricted 1999 models even more cachet with collectors."

As for this particular Hayabusa, mileage is an impressive 24,600.   While its not 100% stock the owner has refrained from any major mods such as the elongated rear swingarm and custom paint.   Modifications appear to be limited to chromed/polished wheels, a double bubble screen , crash "bungs" and an aftermarket exhaust, all of which could be fairly easily reversed.  Also  the seller indicates the majority of the OEM pieces are included in the sale, including the exhausts and stock black wheels.

Here is what the seller has to say

  • Original owner - I purchased the last copper/silver one the Dealer had here in Fort Walton Beach Fl. December 1999.
  • Corbin king and Queen Seat (also org. seats go with the bike)
  • Yoshimura RS-3 Stainless four into one exhaust (org exhaust goes with the sale)
  • Power commander Dyno tuned 161.3 H.P. at the rear wheel
  • New chain and sprocket’s, crush drive.
  • New Michelin pilots tires.
  • Stock Busa Wheels chromed (Org. black one’s go with the sale)
  • K&N air filter factory replacement.  100% full synthetic Motul 4T Oil changes every 1000 miles.

So to summarize:  its the desired first year edition, has been maintained fastidiously by its current owner and looks like it can easily be turned back into a stock bike with almost no additional monies spent.  The seller lists an asking price of $6,250 USD which is well above the current average price for an early Hayabusa but the fact that its a first year edition, the pricey mods and the inclusion of almost all the changed OEM pieces make me think the price isn't really unreasonable.

Perhaps the real question is whether the 1st year Hayabusa is going to be another one of those bikes that collectors regret not buying back when they were "cheap as chips".    The Ducati 916, the 1st edition Honda CBR900RR/Fireblade, the Suzuki GSX-750 "Slabbie" and "Slingshot" editions, all were significant bikes but were produced is such large numbers that no one thought of them as a collectors item until the prices were already climbing.  Personally, if I live closer to Florida, this one would be something I would be giving serious consideration to.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

4 Comments

  • I may be totally out in left field but I don’t see these ever being significant collector bikes. First, they have a case of the uglies that is just very, very difficult to get past. Second, look at the other big speed sport tourers and see how they haven’t appreciated much at all (86 Ninja 1000 etc). OK the Honda VF1000R is an exception but its in another league from a Busa as far as trickness and the number available. Zero race pedigree unless you’re into NHRA (which most sportbike collectors aren’t). The second gen Busa is better in every way, so while these are great bikes to actually ride (as long as you don’t look at it while you’re riding it), I just can’t see these appreciating much – they aren’t a high water mark in performance and are way too common.

  • Definitely a polarizing machine.

    Rare? Mostly stock, unmolested ones are. These bikes came out during the fat tire/bling-it-out movement for sport bikes. There are many around, but how many are stock (or close to stock) now? Too many saw 330-series rear tires, Roaring Toyz stretched swingarms and chromed/plated this/that slapped on them. Expensive, sometimes impressive custom paint to go with it all. Turbo kits. Guys were getting 500 horsepower out of the engines. This is one of the first bikes i ever saw with a DVD player and screen installed in the back passenger hump. A team even ran one in Formula Xtreme class one or two seasons in the AMA series (it was called the RadBusa, i think). That bike set a record at Brainerd Raceway, it hit 200 mph on the front straight.

    When it appeared, it was big. It was strikingly styled. And it was FAST. It is one of the few bikes that during a production run sales numbers actually INCREASED yearly for the first eight or nine years. So a first-year, unrestricted unit has some future potential to be a collector piece.

    Me? I bought one in ’04, still have it, 50,000+ miles on the thing and it is still a nice blast of insanity when you turn the throttle. 🙂

  • sold for 5700

    • Well bought. That new owner is going to be very happy in the years to come when his investment doubles or triples.

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