A Short History of the Hayabusa




pashnit

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A Short History of the Hayabusa

Five years ago, I sold my '00 blue/silver Suzuki Hayabusa. I had two Hayabusa's at the time and had owned the '00 blue/silver for 10 years. My '08 Hayabusa was the daily rider but I rarely rode the '00 anymore, it sat in a corner of the garage for several years. Miles of smiles, weathered & well-used but still polished, shiny and waxed, with the battery tender on. I couldn't let it go & held onto the Hayabusa like a child clutching their binky refusing to grow up.

The Hayabusa had been my dream bike ever since it was introduced in '99 but getting there didn't happen overnight. I'd gotten my motorcycle license a decade earlier for the sole purpose to ride solo across America on a motorcycle to start school in California. I had recently gotten out of the Marine Corps and was offered a job and a place to live in California. I could fly. But I had this idea that I would ride across America.

It’s worth mentioning I didn’t own a motorcycle. It’s worth mentioning I didn’t have a motorcycle license. It’s worth mentioning I knew nothing about motorcycles. I didn’t have any money. I knew nothing about motorcycle travel, gear or luggage. But it sure sounded like a cool idea. Fate would step in when I learned of my $600 tax refund that spring and quickly got a copy of the local newspaper, then thumbed to the motorcycle classifieds. I was less interested in what motorcycle and more interested in price. And there it was- $600, the same amount of my tax refund. Helmet included with a luggage rack on the back, an '82 Suzuki GS850L. I didn't know what that was, but 850cc sounded big enough to ride across the nation.

I didn’t shop around, I didn’t do any research. Yeah, this'll do. I handed over six crisp $100 bills & in return was handed a used Nolan helmet and the bike. Then I headed off to the DMV to get a license and took the test. No skills, no gear, the ink barely dry on my motorcycle license, the only preparations for my ride across America were new tires, a windscreen, and a paper map inside a zip-loc bag scotched taped to the tank. I had no purpose-built motorcycle luggage, so I borrowed a set of saddlebags from my sister she used daily on her horse. She made me promise to mail them back when I arrived. She still needed them for the horse.

Blue jeans and my USMC-issued combat boots, some ski gloves, that used Nolan helmet that came with the bike, a visor so clouded, you could barely see through it and I was off. It was mid-May and snowing as I rode out of Madison, Wisconsin for the last time heading due south through Illinois and Iowa to escape the snow in the air. I knew nothing about California and had only lived in San Diego for three months for Boot Camp and a month in Camp Pendleton for Combat Training. That was it.

That 5000-mile ride across America was the first taste of wanderlust and distance riding, it was the first of several wandering rides across the continent based from my new home in Sacramento. I didn’t own a car for four years and the motorcycle was the only mode of transportation.

Six months after arriving in California, I sold the ’82 Suzuki GS850L and bought a Yamaha Venture and set off across America once more- in January while the temps got down to 22 degrees on the bike. My original destination was Texas with the intent to ride 2000 miles in 2 days. When I arrived at the Gulf of Mexico in the pouring rain 2 days and 2000 miles later, I simply kept going reaching Florida a day later, then turned and headed north into Alabama.

Once inside Alabama, I realized I had to be back in California in four days for my first class of the semester. If I didn't make the first day, I'd be dropped from my classes. I opted that instead of freeway, I'd take county roads across the south. Before the days of GPS, I had a road atlas of North America & added up the mileage by hand in the margins. It was doable to make that first class and ride across the country in four days but I couldn’t stop, I’d have to ride non-stop and stay south as this was January. As I entered each state, there would be a visitor center. I'd get a state map, and plot a course in the parking lot, then shove the map into my zip loc bag & scotch tape the zip loc bag down on the tank of the Venture. I wrote a book about that experience called 6000 Miles in 8 Days.

Seven months later, I set off on a month-long 10,000-mile solo journey mile to Alaska and back. I wrote my second book long-hand recording the experience each day as I wandered across Canada, the Yukon, through Alaska and then transcribing the hand-written manuscript into a new book. I called it Racing Daylight and focused on the idea of spending 30 days with no plan and no destination, wandering through 10,000 miles of riding.

After spending two years working on the Racing Daylight book, it was time for a new writing project. I was traveling around the state for my job and made trips to northern and southern California on the bike via the most circuitous route available. A camera in hand, I began photographing the roads.

It’s worth mentioning this was the late 90s and the internet was brand new to the general public. I first got on the internet around 94-95 at the college I was attending. Nobody seemed to really know what to use it for. I took a class at the local college on how to build websites. We were writing the HTML code by hand. Facebook, Amazon, Google hadn’t been invented yet or were brand new. Mark Zuckerberg was in 8th grade, Amazon just sold books, and Google was one of about 30 different search engines you could use.

For the class I took, we had to build a website as the class project. I began building a website about California Motorcycle Roads and called it Pashnit.com, the name pulled from my 7-letter license plate. PASHNIT stood for ‘passionate’. I took the pictures from my trips and started writing about the roads I was traveling, eventually posting up hundreds of pictures of the bike(s) back-dropped against countless scenes of road. The idea was that every motorcycle-worthy road in the state would have its own webpage. I spent the next several years writing and posting up hundreds of webpages about riding California Roads progressing through a ’90 FJ1200 and then a ’93 ZX11D but what I really wanted was a Suzuki Hayabusa as soon as it was released in ’99.

It wasn't all the miles that eventually led to the Hayabusa, it was the progression of horsepower that led to my gradual intoxication, the FJ, the ZX11D, the motors got progressively bigger until I finally arrived at the blue/silver ’00 Suzuki Hayabusa.

Here was a motor that finally had enough grunt to suck your eyeballs into the back of your head. Yet it could be ridden like an old granny anytime and was a docile in-town commuter. One quickly realized mile-wide grins were included in the purchase every moment it was ridden. I was in love with the shape, the grunt, the handling. I rode it everywhere posting up thousands of photos writing over 600 pages of text about riding California roads.

One day, the editor of the nation's biggest motorcycle magazine called wanting to talk to me. He wanted to write his monthly column about my little website I had spent the last few years working on about my new-found hobby: riding & attempting to photograph nearly every ride-worthy twisty road in the state on my Hayabusa.

By the time the magazine was available at newsstands across America, I had posted up so many pictures of the blue/silver '00 Hayabusa, I would get recognized wherever I went, not me, but rather the bike. I even dabbled in writing bike reviews for moto-publications and the name of Pashnit.com began to gather more grass-roots attention.

A few months after the article in Cycle World (Nov '03 issue) was published, I launched a motorcycle tour business using the '00 Hayabusa as the flagship for my new venture. It seemed an unlikely choice & surprised some in the sport-touring community. The bike is heavy and bulbous, and seems only intent on being purpose-built to go fast. At the time, it was not thought of as an obvious choice for a travel & tour machine. Articles only talked about how fast it was and how my ’00 was considered at the time the fastest production motorcycle in the world. The speedometer on the ’00 went to 220mph.

But the Hayabusa fit the style of roads we have here in California perfectly. It did all things well. Endless twisties, mountains in every direction, countless backroads, one-lane paved mountain trails, yet capable of blazing across wide open desert while happily lapping up the miles. The bike was a huge hit for Suzuki on a global scale and over 100,000 were sold in the first 9 years. The custom bike community embraced it, the drag race community loved it, and the motor was used in all sorts of other types of vehicles from small cars to go-karts. The bike was so popular, an endless array of aftermarket manufactures sprung up and began offering hard parts to meet the demand to customize the bike.

I was in love and launched a company to sell these aftermarket parts for the Hayabusa to support the habit, expanding into 75 different manufactures and 40,000 products spanning brakes, windscreens, even motorcycle trailers. I shipped Hayabusa parts to 58 countries from Iceland to Russia to Peru. Everything I sold eventually was bolted on my own bike as I slowly morphed the Hayabusa into how I thought it should be for my needs while I led motorcycle tours with the bike.

There was something different about the Hayabusa, more so than any other bike I had owned. Balanced, powerful, and sleek, it looked fast sitting still, yet riding the bike day-to-day was never about going fast, it was more so about having that horsepower always on tap, a twistgrip away. I soon began wearing down knee pucks. Each time that knee would touch the ground, it would send a jolt of adrenaline through me. You could feel the sensation, the very moment the hormone was released, a combination of excitement, terror and sheer elation all rolled into one instant. Sparky knee pucks were even better sending a delightful shower of sparks behind the bike when pushed against the pavement.

The '00 Hayabusa wasn't perfect, it had its share of issues. I replaced the starter gear which would bind and eat the cogs over time, the '99 & '00 have the fuel pump bolted to the frame with a paper element that would eventually disintegrate, plug the fuel screens and have to be rebuilt. To reach it, you had to remove the tank and, in my effort, to rebuild the fuel pump, I got gasoline all over the garage. My wife wanted to know why the whole house smelled like gas.

The bike would eat tires and when I used softer compounds, it gave me just 2 1/2 motorcycle tours until they needed to be replaced. Imagine leaving your house just three times and coming home the third time on bald tires. The horsepower ate the rear tire and the weight of the motorcycle would push the front tire through our endless corners and quickly wear down the front. That started to get old quick but was solved with sport-touring tires and changing them myself. The stock brakes were woefully inadequate for the level of horsepower, but that was also easily fixed with Galfer stainless steel braided lines and sintered ceramic brake pads.

When the Gen-II came out in '08, I had to have it, and embarked on saving up the necessary funds. It took 2 years to save up the $8000 cash to buy a near-new 3-year-old model with 900 miles on it. Still had the chain wax on it from the dealer. It was the same bike, same frame, same wheel base, but better. Smoother, quieter, more refined. I set off on a mission to transform the bike to my needs and made over 100 modifications to my ‘08, lights, seats, screens, custom paint. It was a blank canvas and for the second time, I was building the ultimate sport-touring machine. The transformation took three years of tinkering in the garage to make it perfect.

Set up to lead motorcycle tours and distance travel, I completed two Iron Butt rides on the ’08 Hayabusa. The first ride was a one-day 1000-mile jaunt to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats I had read about seasonally every year as a kid in Hot Rod Magazine. One year later I worked with the Iron Butt Association to organize a motorcycle rally involving 20 riders that all set off simultaneously in separate directions to complete either 1000 or 1500 mile rides. I headed for Monument Valley on the Colorado-Arizona border, a place I had seen in magazine articles & book covers so many times, I had to go see it for myself. The second Iron Butt I completed involved riding 1687 miles in a little over 36 hours across the American Southwest on the Hayabusa. I planned a third Iron Butt ride as soon as I got home, a 36-hour 1500-mile ride to see the Grand Tetons, take a picture and then turn around and head back the other way. Haven’t done that yet, but it’s on the list.

After a decade on two Hayabusa’s, I sold the ‘08 a few years later and quickly progressed through 2 street fighters and a bucket list bike, the TL1000R.

Today as I write this, I recently turned 47. I'm alive, the kids are healthy, the mortgage is paid, I’m married to a woman I love dearly. In the last 18 months, we've dealt with a stroke (mine), one broken bone, thyroid (removal) surgery (daughter), and cancer (wife). Docs removed a Clear Cell Sarcoma (5 in 10 Million) from my wife's knee, but she's walking again, at times with a slight limp but she's walking. Docs told her she'll never run again. But she got to keep the leg, and the cancer hasn't spread that we know of.

18 months ago, I had a stroke while leading a motorcycle tour. A man in a long white coat telling you “You're bleeding inside your brain” doesn't sound good no matter how you word the sentence. The stroke I had is rare, 15% of strokes are brain bleeds. Of those 15%, nearly 50% die within a matter of days. I lived. Of those that live, only a mere 10% make nearly a full recovery. It seems I'm in the 10%. I re-learned how to talk, I re-learned how to do basic math, and unless I told you, I bet you'd never notice it ever happened.

Don't know what you got till it's gone. At least that's how Guns N' Roses sang it. And maybe that's true. But sometimes you need to go see how the other half lives, and that's what the Z1000 was, as far away from the Hayabusa as I could get. Still a peppy angry tantrum of a motor, but zero fairings and all street fighter goodness. I loved that bike and it loved me back. I was leading a motorcycle tour with ten bikes behind me, came around a blind mountain corner and was hit head on by an 18-year old kid with no insurance driving an old Chevy pickup on the wrong side of the road. I was so unhappy about this kid wrecking my super cool Z1000, I took my insurance money and embarked on a nationwide search. The Z1000’s are unusual and rare, but I eventually found one, and bought the same exact bike all over again and shipped it to CA. Same year, same mileage, same everything. I was riding the 2nd Z1000 when the stroke occurred and that bike was sold to buy the TL1000R.

We keep moving forward. I've been staring at pics of my ole '08 Hayabusa for months now. Never a good thing as we all know how that ends. There are times in your life when you find something that fits your needs, matches your intent, your purpose. Whoever said 'you can never go back' hasn't sat on Craig’s List for months on end waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.

My third Hayabusa is now sitting in the garage. Five years after I sold the '00, the bike that started it all. We've come full circle. I’m right back where I started, and that's all I ever wanted.

Would you buy the same bike three times? I just did. And I'm still racking up miles as I plan out the ride season as the tour business enters its 16th year. I've gone through several bikes during that time, two previously mentioned Z1000's, another Venture, a ST1100, the bucket list TL1000R I have now. I've led tours on borrowed bikes too, twice a VFR800, a Ducati Multistrada, an FZ1, a CBR1000RR, a BMW K1200S, K1200R, Ducati Hypermotard, an Aprilia Tuono, even a behemoth Harley Ultra Classic lent to me by a local dealer.

This saying, you can never go back. Maybe that's true, but you can re-live. Being back on the Hayabusa is joy in its purest form. The first published article I ever wrote about the Hayabusa was for Sportbike Magazine and I touted the bike as the ultimate sport-touring machine. I re-read that article recently while staring at photos of the old ’00 Hayabusa featured in the article.

Five years later, I still miss that '00 Blue/Silver. The 80,000 miles I put on it and the additional 40,000 miles on the ‘08 were all magical. It was the right thing to do to sell it. We pass the torch to this new-to-me '08 Blue. My list of planned mods has grown past 50,75, until I finally rand out of ideas at 111 planned changes, with more than 50 electrical mods. The tinkering is half the fun of owning this bike. I’m going to turn this new-to-me ’08 Blue into the same bike I had. And we’re going to pick up the story of Hayabusa ownership right where we left off.

This history hasn't been written yet. It’s time to go home. We can do that. But we’ll do it on a Hayabusa.

40076362783_5fc2243f76_o.jpg
DSC01734 by Tim Mayhew, on Flickr

40076361883_36c3d96f14_o.jpg
DSC01797 by Tim Mayhew, on Flickr

32099482837_fd9700d998_o.jpg
DSC01774
by Tim Mayhew, on Flickr

40076419423_76fa4aaf40_o.jpg
DSC01754 by Tim Mayhew, on Flickr
 

Mr Brown

Registered
I bet you look at the bike and hear it whisper "Welcome home Tim. You never really left though, did you?" not to your ears, not through your remarkably recovered brain, not even to the heart that is so obviously dedicated to motorcycling (at least the parts that don't belong to your family), no, it speaks directly to your soul. Softly, gently, yet insistent and forceful. "Welcome home...."
 

sixpack577

Top Gun
Registered
A Short History of the Hayabusa

Five years ago, I sold my '00 blue/silver Suzuki Hayabusa. I had two Hayabusa's at the time and had owned the '00 blue/silver for 10 years. My '08 Hayabusa was the daily rider but I rarely rode the '00 anymore, it sat in a corner of the garage for several years. Miles of smiles, weathered & well-used but still polished, shiny and waxed, with the battery tender on. I couldn't let it go & held onto the Hayabusa like a child clutching their binky refusing to grow up.

The Hayabusa had been my dream bike ever since it was introduced in '99 but getting there didn't happen overnight. I'd gotten my motorcycle license a decade earlier for the sole purpose to ride solo across America on a motorcycle to start school in California. I had recently gotten out of the Marine Corps and was offered a job and a place to live in California. I could fly. But I had this idea that I would ride across America.

It’s worth mentioning I didn’t own a motorcycle. It’s worth mentioning I didn’t have a motorcycle license. It’s worth mentioning I knew nothing about motorcycles. I didn’t have any money. I knew nothing about motorcycle travel, gear or luggage. But it sure sounded like a cool idea. Fate would step in when I learned of my $600 tax refund that spring and quickly got a copy of the local newspaper, then thumbed to the motorcycle classifieds. I was less interested in what motorcycle and more interested in price. And there it was- $600, the same amount of my tax refund. Helmet included with a luggage rack on the back, an '82 Suzuki GS850L. I didn't know what that was, but 850cc sounded big enough to ride across the nation.

I didn’t shop around, I didn’t do any research. Yeah, this'll do. I handed over six crisp $100 bills & in return was handed a used Nolan helmet and the bike. Then I headed off to the DMV to get a license and took the test. No skills, no gear, the ink barely dry on my motorcycle license, the only preparations for my ride across America were new tires, a windscreen, and a paper map inside a zip-loc bag scotched taped to the tank. I had no purpose-built motorcycle luggage, so I borrowed a set of saddlebags from my sister she used daily on her horse. She made me promise to mail them back when I arrived. She still needed them for the horse.

Blue jeans and my USMC-issued combat boots, some ski gloves, that used Nolan helmet that came with the bike, a visor so clouded, you could barely see through it and I was off. It was mid-May and snowing as I rode out of Madison, Wisconsin for the last time heading due south through Illinois and Iowa to escape the snow in the air. I knew nothing about California and had only lived in San Diego for three months for Boot Camp and a month in Camp Pendleton for Combat Training. That was it.

That 5000-mile ride across America was the first taste of wanderlust and distance riding, it was the first of several wandering rides across the continent based from my new home in Sacramento. I didn’t own a car for four years and the motorcycle was the only mode of transportation.

Six months after arriving in California, I sold the ’82 Suzuki GS850L and bought a Yamaha Venture and set off across America once more- in January while the temps got down to 22 degrees on the bike. My original destination was Texas with the intent to ride 2000 miles in 2 days. When I arrived at the Gulf of Mexico in the pouring rain 2 days and 2000 miles later, I simply kept going reaching Florida a day later, then turned and headed north into Alabama.

Once inside Alabama, I realized I had to be back in California in four days for my first class of the semester. If I didn't make the first day, I'd be dropped from my classes. I opted that instead of freeway, I'd take county roads across the south. Before the days of GPS, I had a road atlas of North America & added up the mileage by hand in the margins. It was doable to make that first class and ride across the country in four days but I couldn’t stop, I’d have to ride non-stop and stay south as this was January. As I entered each state, there would be a visitor center. I'd get a state map, and plot a course in the parking lot, then shove the map into my zip loc bag & scotch tape the zip loc bag down on the tank of the Venture. I wrote a book about that experience called 6000 Miles in 8 Days.

Seven months later, I set off on a month-long 10,000-mile solo journey mile to Alaska and back. I wrote my second book long-hand recording the experience each day as I wandered across Canada, the Yukon, through Alaska and then transcribing the hand-written manuscript into a new book. I called it Racing Daylight and focused on the idea of spending 30 days with no plan and no destination, wandering through 10,000 miles of riding.

After spending two years working on the Racing Daylight book, it was time for a new writing project. I was traveling around the state for my job and made trips to northern and southern California on the bike via the most circuitous route available. A camera in hand, I began photographing the roads.

It’s worth mentioning this was the late 90s and the internet was brand new to the general public. I first got on the internet around 94-95 at the college I was attending. Nobody seemed to really know what to use it for. I took a class at the local college on how to build websites. We were writing the HTML code by hand. Facebook, Amazon, Google hadn’t been invented yet or were brand new. Mark Zuckerberg was in 8th grade, Amazon just sold books, and Google was one of about 30 different search engines you could use.

For the class I took, we had to build a website as the class project. I began building a website about California Motorcycle Roads and called it Pashnit.com, the name pulled from my 7-letter license plate. PASHNIT stood for ‘passionate’. I took the pictures from my trips and started writing about the roads I was traveling, eventually posting up hundreds of pictures of the bike(s) back-dropped against countless scenes of road. The idea was that every motorcycle-worthy road in the state would have its own webpage. I spent the next several years writing and posting up hundreds of webpages about riding California Roads progressing through a ’90 FJ1200 and then a ’93 ZX11D but what I really wanted was a Suzuki Hayabusa as soon as it was released in ’99.

It wasn't all the miles that eventually led to the Hayabusa, it was the progression of horsepower that led to my gradual intoxication, the FJ, the ZX11D, the motors got progressively bigger until I finally arrived at the blue/silver ’00 Suzuki Hayabusa.

Here was a motor that finally had enough grunt to suck your eyeballs into the back of your head. Yet it could be ridden like an old granny anytime and was a docile in-town commuter. One quickly realized mile-wide grins were included in the purchase every moment it was ridden. I was in love with the shape, the grunt, the handling. I rode it everywhere posting up thousands of photos writing over 600 pages of text about riding California roads.

One day, the editor of the nation's biggest motorcycle magazine called wanting to talk to me. He wanted to write his monthly column about my little website I had spent the last few years working on about my new-found hobby: riding & attempting to photograph nearly every ride-worthy twisty road in the state on my Hayabusa.

By the time the magazine was available at newsstands across America, I had posted up so many pictures of the blue/silver '00 Hayabusa, I would get recognized wherever I went, not me, but rather the bike. I even dabbled in writing bike reviews for moto-publications and the name of Pashnit.com began to gather more grass-roots attention.

A few months after the article in Cycle World (Nov '03 issue) was published, I launched a motorcycle tour business using the '00 Hayabusa as the flagship for my new venture. It seemed an unlikely choice & surprised some in the sport-touring community. The bike is heavy and bulbous, and seems only intent on being purpose-built to go fast. At the time, it was not thought of as an obvious choice for a travel & tour machine. Articles only talked about how fast it was and how my ’00 was considered at the time the fastest production motorcycle in the world. The speedometer on the ’00 went to 220mph.

But the Hayabusa fit the style of roads we have here in California perfectly. It did all things well. Endless twisties, mountains in every direction, countless backroads, one-lane paved mountain trails, yet capable of blazing across wide open desert while happily lapping up the miles. The bike was a huge hit for Suzuki on a global scale and over 100,000 were sold in the first 9 years. The custom bike community embraced it, the drag race community loved it, and the motor was used in all sorts of other types of vehicles from small cars to go-karts. The bike was so popular, an endless array of aftermarket manufactures sprung up and began offering hard parts to meet the demand to customize the bike.

I was in love and launched a company to sell these aftermarket parts for the Hayabusa to support the habit, expanding into 75 different manufactures and 40,000 products spanning brakes, windscreens, even motorcycle trailers. I shipped Hayabusa parts to 58 countries from Iceland to Russia to Peru. Everything I sold eventually was bolted on my own bike as I slowly morphed the Hayabusa into how I thought it should be for my needs while I led motorcycle tours with the bike.

There was something different about the Hayabusa, more so than any other bike I had owned. Balanced, powerful, and sleek, it looked fast sitting still, yet riding the bike day-to-day was never about going fast, it was more so about having that horsepower always on tap, a twistgrip away. I soon began wearing down knee pucks. Each time that knee would touch the ground, it would send a jolt of adrenaline through me. You could feel the sensation, the very moment the hormone was released, a combination of excitement, terror and sheer elation all rolled into one instant. Sparky knee pucks were even better sending a delightful shower of sparks behind the bike when pushed against the pavement.

The '00 Hayabusa wasn't perfect, it had its share of issues. I replaced the starter gear which would bind and eat the cogs over time, the '99 & '00 have the fuel pump bolted to the frame with a paper element that would eventually disintegrate, plug the fuel screens and have to be rebuilt. To reach it, you had to remove the tank and, in my effort, to rebuild the fuel pump, I got gasoline all over the garage. My wife wanted to know why the whole house smelled like gas.

The bike would eat tires and when I used softer compounds, it gave me just 2 1/2 motorcycle tours until they needed to be replaced. Imagine leaving your house just three times and coming home the third time on bald tires. The horsepower ate the rear tire and the weight of the motorcycle would push the front tire through our endless corners and quickly wear down the front. That started to get old quick but was solved with sport-touring tires and changing them myself. The stock brakes were woefully inadequate for the level of horsepower, but that was also easily fixed with Galfer stainless steel braided lines and sintered ceramic brake pads.

When the Gen-II came out in '08, I had to have it, and embarked on saving up the necessary funds. It took 2 years to save up the $8000 cash to buy a near-new 3-year-old model with 900 miles on it. Still had the chain wax on it from the dealer. It was the same bike, same frame, same wheel base, but better. Smoother, quieter, more refined. I set off on a mission to transform the bike to my needs and made over 100 modifications to my ‘08, lights, seats, screens, custom paint. It was a blank canvas and for the second time, I was building the ultimate sport-touring machine. The transformation took three years of tinkering in the garage to make it perfect.

Set up to lead motorcycle tours and distance travel, I completed two Iron Butt rides on the ’08 Hayabusa. The first ride was a one-day 1000-mile jaunt to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats I had read about seasonally every year as a kid in Hot Rod Magazine. One year later I worked with the Iron Butt Association to organize a motorcycle rally involving 20 riders that all set off simultaneously in separate directions to complete either 1000 or 1500 mile rides. I headed for Monument Valley on the Colorado-Arizona border, a place I had seen in magazine articles & book covers so many times, I had to go see it for myself. The second Iron Butt I completed involved riding 1687 miles in a little over 36 hours across the American Southwest on the Hayabusa. I planned a third Iron Butt ride as soon as I got home, a 36-hour 1500-mile ride to see the Grand Tetons, take a picture and then turn around and head back the other way. Haven’t done that yet, but it’s on the list.

After a decade on two Hayabusa’s, I sold the ‘08 a few years later and quickly progressed through 2 street fighters and a bucket list bike, the TL1000R.

Today as I write this, I recently turned 47. I'm alive, the kids are healthy, the mortgage is paid, I’m married to a woman I love dearly. In the last 18 months, we've dealt with a stroke (mine), one broken bone, thyroid (removal) surgery (daughter), and cancer (wife). Docs removed a Clear Cell Sarcoma (5 in 10 Million) from my wife's knee, but she's walking again, at times with a slight limp but she's walking. Docs told her she'll never run again. But she got to keep the leg, and the cancer hasn't spread that we know of.

18 months ago, I had a stroke while leading a motorcycle tour. A man in a long white coat telling you “You're bleeding inside your brain” doesn't sound good no matter how you word the sentence. The stroke I had is rare, 15% of strokes are brain bleeds. Of those 15%, nearly 50% die within a matter of days. I lived. Of those that live, only a mere 10% make nearly a full recovery. It seems I'm in the 10%. I re-learned how to talk, I re-learned how to do basic math, and unless I told you, I bet you'd never notice it ever happened.

Don't know what you got till it's gone. At least that's how Guns N' Roses sang it. And maybe that's true. But sometimes you need to go see how the other half lives, and that's what the Z1000 was, as far away from the Hayabusa as I could get. Still a peppy angry tantrum of a motor, but zero fairings and all street fighter goodness. I loved that bike and it loved me back. I was leading a motorcycle tour with ten bikes behind me, came around a blind mountain corner and was hit head on by an 18-year old kid with no insurance driving an old Chevy pickup on the wrong side of the road. I was so unhappy about this kid wrecking my super cool Z1000, I took my insurance money and embarked on a nationwide search. The Z1000’s are unusual and rare, but I eventually found one, and bought the same exact bike all over again and shipped it to CA. Same year, same mileage, same everything. I was riding the 2nd Z1000 when the stroke occurred and that bike was sold to buy the TL1000R.

We keep moving forward. I've been staring at pics of my ole '08 Hayabusa for months now. Never a good thing as we all know how that ends. There are times in your life when you find something that fits your needs, matches your intent, your purpose. Whoever said 'you can never go back' hasn't sat on Craig’s List for months on end waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.

My third Hayabusa is now sitting in the garage. Five years after I sold the '00, the bike that started it all. We've come full circle. I’m right back where I started, and that's all I ever wanted.

Would you buy the same bike three times? I just did. And I'm still racking up miles as I plan out the ride season as the tour business enters its 16th year. I've gone through several bikes during that time, two previously mentioned Z1000's, another Venture, a ST1100, the bucket list TL1000R I have now. I've led tours on borrowed bikes too, twice a VFR800, a Ducati Multistrada, an FZ1, a CBR1000RR, a BMW K1200S, K1200R, Ducati Hypermotard, an Aprilia Tuono, even a behemoth Harley Ultra Classic lent to me by a local dealer.

This saying, you can never go back. Maybe that's true, but you can re-live. Being back on the Hayabusa is joy in its purest form. The first published article I ever wrote about the Hayabusa was for Sportbike Magazine and I touted the bike as the ultimate sport-touring machine. I re-read that article recently while staring at photos of the old ’00 Hayabusa featured in the article.

Five years later, I still miss that '00 Blue/Silver. The 80,000 miles I put on it and the additional 40,000 miles on the ‘08 were all magical. It was the right thing to do to sell it. We pass the torch to this new-to-me '08 Blue. My list of planned mods has grown past 50,75, until I finally rand out of ideas at 111 planned changes, with more than 50 electrical mods. The tinkering is half the fun of owning this bike. I’m going to turn this new-to-me ’08 Blue into the same bike I had. And we’re going to pick up the story of Hayabusa ownership right where we left off.

This history hasn't been written yet. It’s time to go home. We can do that. But we’ll do it on a Hayabusa.

View attachment 1594171DSC01734 by Tim Mayhew, on Flickr

View attachment 1594172DSC01797 by Tim Mayhew, on Flickr

View attachment 1594173
DSC01774 by Tim Mayhew, on Flickr

View attachment 1594174DSC01754 by Tim Mayhew, on Flickr
Fyi, "Don't know what you've got til it's gone" isn't Guns n Roses...it's Cinderella
lol
 

pashnit

Site Sponsor
Registered
Fyi, "Don't know what you've got til it's gone" isn't Guns n Roses...it's Cinderella
lol
That's funny! You're right. Story behind that reference is when I'm working on the new Hayabusa out in the garage, I had Pandora on and my 14 year old wanted to know why we had to listen to 'dad's music'. I had to explain there's a (tongue in cheek) rule that we have to listen to 80s Hair Bands when we work in the garage. That's just a rule. GNR, Scorpions, Ozzy, & Def Leppard are a bit too mainstream so you have to set Pandora to one of the off-brand bands like Cinderella, Dokken, Tesla, Slaughter or Skid Row and it plays the good stuff. Like Don't know what ya got till it's gone.

But for a 14 yr old, he doesn't get it. When I was 14, I had these posters up in my room covering every inch of the walls and ceiling of those bands.:thumbsup::rolleyes:

The irony is when I was 14 working with my dad out in our garage, he listened to 'Easy Listening 104' which was basically classical music and I never understood why he listened to that 'boring music' when all I wanted was to listen to Hair Bands of the late 80s. Now 30 years later, the roles are reversed and he thinks 80s heavy metal is boring music he doesn't understand.


 

pashnit

Site Sponsor
Registered
Still have my issue. Some things are little treasures you keep.

View attachment 1594302
Now that is super cool that you stilll have that magazine from 12 years ago! The lady on the front is some Playboy centerfold if I remember correctly. I have a small stack I'm saving too of articles I wrote or references to Pashnit.com that were published. I'll get up to 6 mags a month so i accumulate stacks of them, then wonder what do I do with all these? I finally hung the good covers on clipboards I bolted to my garage cabinets and routinely swap them out and recycle the old ones, so my garage 'embellishments' are motorcycle magazine covers.
 

Mr Brown

Registered
That's funny! You're right. Story behind that reference is when I'm working on the new Hayabusa out in the garage, I had Pandora on and my 14 year old wanted to know why we had to listen to 'dad's music'. I had to explain there's a (tongue in cheek) rule that we have to listen to 80s Hair Bands when we work in the garage. That's just a rule. GNR, Scorpions, Ozzy, & Def Leppard are a bit too mainstream so you have to set Pandora to one of the off-brand bands like Cinderella, Dokken, Tesla, Slaughter or Skid Row and it plays the good stuff. Like Don't know what ya got till it's gone.

But for a 14 yr old, he doesn't get it. When I was 14, I had these posters up in my room covering every inch of the walls and ceiling of those bands.:thumbsup::rolleyes:

The irony is when I was 14 working with my dad out in our garage, he listened to 'Easy Listening 104' which was basically classical music and I never understood why he listened to that 'boring music' when all I wanted was to listen to Hair Bands of the late 80s. Now 30 years later, the roles are reversed and he thinks 80s heavy metal is boring music he doesn't understand.


Dokken.....wow. I haven't heard that name in a while. I saw them in concert years (and years) ago at Magic Mountain.....
 



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