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New Hayabusa May Pack Six-Cylinder Power

In my article a few weeks ago about the hyper-touring class, I mentioned persistent rumors that Suzuki had been developing a new Hayabusa for release as a 2006 model, before deciding to hold off til 2007 and then hit the market with a machine whose sole purpose is to blow Kawasaki’s new ZX-14 right out of the water.

When you paint a target on the back of a bike like the ZX-14, which makes almost 200 flywheel horsepower and offers incredible performance, you better bring a big gun if you’re hoping to win the shootout. What kind of big gun is Suzuki loading for 2007? Only their engineers know for sure, but rumor says it might be a six-shooter – that is, an inline six-cylinder motor.

Back in December, when I wrote about the six-cylinder Stratosphere concept bike Suzuki showed at the Tokyo Motor Show, I mentioned Suzuki’s recent propensity for turning concept bikes into production models, and speculated that the Stratosphere might be a preview of Suzuki’s intentions to build a six-cylinder production bike in the near future. Such a move would certainly be an attention-grabber in a market over-saturated with inline four-cylinders, and what better place to direct that attention than a range-topping model like the Hayabusa?

In addition to the publicity benefits, a six-cylinder Hayabusa would have practical advantages as well. If you check back to my article about different engine configurations in MotoGP, you’ll find an in-depth explanation of why a motor with more cylinders can make more horsepower with the same displacement and level of tune. The bottom line is, a 1300cc inline-six could very easily make 220hp at the crank, and the possibility of even higher output definitely exists. In a class where horsepower and acceleration rule, we can’t see where Suzuki could go wrong with a six-cylinder Hayabusa.