HManPhoto's Random Musings

Posts covering ride reports, motorcycle gear reviews, game and movie reviews, and thoughts on life and my job.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Turning the Hayabusa into a sport/tourer. What it takes...

Ever ride a stupid distance on the wrong bike and realize that the trip back will be absolutely the worst ride you've ever taken? I have. More than once.

If you've done the same then you know that your thoughts start to drift to buying a better suited bike. Or, like me, you start to dream up the important items and farkles it will take to get your current bike up to speed for getting you to your destination and back again with some semblance of comfort.

Now, while many an ST1300, FJR1300, or Goldwing rider would disagree with me; the Suzuki Hayabusa can make a great sport-touring mount. I know many a man/woman that can put some crazy miles under their tires on a bone stock Busa. I however, cannot. Which brings us to this article.

The first weekend I had the bike, I rode in stock trim, a hair under 500 miles on a Saturday afternoon. While I was in reasonable shape I could already tell that there was going to have to be some modifications.

Now, as the typical rider knows, this isn't a bad thing. It also doesn't make the bike a bad bike. Just means I wanted to personalize it to fit my taste. Sure I could go buy an FJR1300 and have a capable touring mount. However, that doesn't mean I would be as happy as I am on the mighty GSX1300R when I crack the throttle coming out of a sweeping right hander and sail down the road at a rate that would convince the non-riding (or even some riding) readers that I need my head examined.

So, what exactly do I consider to be necessary items for this transformation to be complete? Lets get started with what I already have and then go from there.

First on the list was the seat. While the stock seat is not exactly uncomfortable I decided to upgrade it first. Aside from the stock seat on my old Kawasaki Concours, the big Suzuki's seat was the most comfortable stock saddle my cheeks had ever been placed upon. I knew exactly what seat I wanted as I had owned them before. A call to Corbin had me waiting anxiously for the new parts to arrive. Corbin isn't known for having the best customer service but thankfully I've never had a problem with them in my three previous purchases. They are also known for hit or miss quality control. While I had one bad spot in a seat four years ago I've not had anything negative to say about my saddles from them since.

The seat arrived in about three weeks. Custom cut up front to make it easier to get my 32 inch inseam to the ground. With this slight custom work and a stock seat height that is already low, my feet are firmly planted on the ground whenever they need to be there. I ordered mine in "Corbin Fiber" which is a nice looking texture in the fiber. It looks good and it helps grip your pants and limits the involuntary sliding in the seat when hard on the brakes or throttle. With silver piping the seat also sets off the silver color of the bike. With a little work getting my seat and the pillion pad to fit right (common with nearly ALL Corbin seats) I was happy with the mounts and ready to ride.

Now, most Corbin seats need break in time. I believe they suggest 1,000 miles. While I've agreed with this most of the time, this time I did not. It was quite comfortable right out of the box. Ok, first mission completed, now what?

Well, ok, so this next mod was exactly a touring mod. However, its one of the best improvements to me because I'm a stickler for the right "sound". I went for the exhaust. First choice due to everyone insisting on them was Yoshimura. However, wanting to be different and not exactly overly enthused with the sound level of the Yosh pipes I chose Scorpion. They are relatively quiet but give a very nice and un-inline four'ish deep growl. While I will always prefer the rumble of a sport-twin I must say that I'm quite enamored with the music these pipes play. On top of it all they are titanium and are simply a joy to care for. Wash and dry and they hold their shine regardless of what weather they have been put through. They were even once covered in white cakey mud (don't ask) and came out spotless after a wash with a hose and a plain ole rag. The "flame" coloring isn't really my style but it draws a lot of compliments.

Next up, bar risers. I had no question about this one. I wanted the best and so I bought the best. Heli-bars are bar-none my favorite choice. I've tried others and while they are ok in their own right, the Helis are my favorite. They raised my grips 1 5/8", brought them back 1/2", and made them 1/2" wider for more leverage. Fantastic!

Last but not least was the issue of tires. The Hayabusa is rough on tires. It can shred the stockers in under 2000 miles if ridden aggressively all the time so I decided to go with something that would live a little longer. I ended up choosing the Avon AV-45/46 combo. While they took quite a while to get scrubbed in they have made me very happy. They stick like glue in the tight stuff so long as I don't get overly happy with the go-juice. Even if they do slip its controllable and tends to come back into traction without pitching me... so far.

Well, thats it so far. What's next? Well, in the next couple of days I'll write up what is in the future for the Busa. My mission is layed out before me. I'll convey it to you and hopefully have it completed successfully soon.

Stay tuned!


At 8:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

great job chris! very well written. i should've done something like that to my SV650. just make sure you keep this puppy updated. :)

-Amy "her01sv"

At 11:23 PM , Blogger Doug K. said...

As I mentioned on ST-N, nice work so far! I've posted a comment about your new blog and a link over at my spot.

Keep it up!

Doug K.
Forty Years on Two Wheels

At 3:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice write up. I have the Heli-bars on my 'busa but aren't considering new cans just yet. I have a Corbin on my Harley but haven't decided whether to get one for the 'busa yet. The stock seat is pretty comfortable even on the BB1K I did this past July.

One thing I added which made the rider more stable on the bike is a Second Look tank bra. I had the 'busa optional symbol stitched in it as well (Kanji?). It looks great, blends in with the bike, and I feel a lot more in control. I can pinch my knees together and not feel like I'm going to slide over the top.

If you haven't done it, you might head over to He runs tours with his 'busa and has some additional mods I'm considering.

BTW, I'm dm_gsxr over on s-t.n.


At 3:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,
Nice write up. BTW I saw your post on STN regarding you liking the Sony Earbuds over the Koss ones. What specific model did you buy?


'05 FJR

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