It was the fastest production bike on the planet when it was born.

It was so quick it scared Japanese manufacturers into a voluntary agreement to cap how fast their bikes could go.

Even now, 20 years on, the Hayabusa is still one of the fastest machines in the world. But it can’t outrun desk-bound bureaucrats.

Suzuki has announced that they’re ending production of the legendary Hayabusa. The reason? Emissions.

Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa — photo courtesy of Bennetts

EU Regulation 168/2013, of which the Euro4 standards are a part, was passed in 2016 but the European Union gave manufacturers two years to bring existing models into compliance. Suzuki has determined that it can’t do that with their 1340cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, 4-cylinder, DOHC motor. So they’re pulling the plug.

Sales in Europe will cease on December 31st, 2019. Because other countries are adopting similar emissions laws, including Japan, and because Japan is the only place the Hayabusa is built, no more will be made after that.

Remaining European bikes will be shipped to the United States, where the Hayabusa will remain on sale until stock run out. That’s projected to happen in about a year from now. It’s the same story in India, where it may hang around until 2020.

Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa — photo courtesy of Suzuki

The GSX1300R was a legend before it ever reached a dealership in 1999. The speed wars were being fought by manufacturers and it was rumored that the new Suzuki would reach 200 mph. As it turns out, it ran out of puff at a “mere” 194 mph. But that was plenty fast enough to set a record for a production bike (since broken by the Kawasaki H2 and Ducati’s Panigale R.)

Scared that the Hayabusa would bring a wave of restrictive legislation upon them, bike makers agreed to voluntarily cap top speeds at 186 mph. Which left the Suzuki as the record holder for years.

It was and is scary fast, alluring and threatening at the same time.

And now the legend is no more.

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