Hayabusa: Brembo’s Part in the Superbike’s Legacy

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Source: Brembo post

CURNO, Italy — Some people call it coincidence, others fate. Some believe it and others don’t, but nobody can shrug their shoulders in the face of this story with Brembo and Suzuki at the center. This bond is now solid, thanks to the results on the track (the MotoGP championship won by Joan Mir and SERT’s Endurance victory in 2020) and the ever-increasing number of road models.

The latest tangible demonstration of this partnership is the third generation of the Hayabusa, one of the most legendary bikes of all time. The numerous technological and design innovations on the new version (starting from the engine, with a more linear power band at low and medium speeds) include the Brembo Stylema 108 mm (4.25 in) front brake caliper.

Compared with the Brembo M4 32 caliper used on the second generation Hayabusa, produced from 2013 on, there has been a huge leap forward: the Stylema stands out through its compact and lightweight design, boosted ventilation and more sculptural form, and in terms of performance it’s unbeatable for hard braking.

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When the Hayabusa was launched, no one in Europe or America knew the meaning of this word, which the Japanese use to indicate the peregrine falcon. This bird has a characteristic and amazing swooping speed of 385 km/h (239 mph), making it the fastest animal in the world.

When it appeared in 1999, the Suzuki Hayabusa was in turn the fastest road-going motorbike in the world. Its peak speed of 312 km/h (194 mph) was reached thanks to a 1.299 cc straight-4 engine, but also its perfectly aerodynamic profile that cut air resistance down to a minimum.

Strangely enough, it was precisely that year, in the World Championship premier 500cc class, that Suzuki bikes were the first to use the radial mounted calipers conceived and made by Brembo. A seemingly impossible solution on the face of it, given also the difficulty of integrating them with the forks used up until then in competitions.

At that time, Brembo’s radial mounted calipers had a center distance of 108 mm (4.25 in) because that was considered the best for ensuring rigidity and solidity.

It was thanks also to these calipers that, in 1999, Kenny Roberts Jr. won four GP races on his Suzuki RGV and ended the 500-class championship in second place. Also, in 2000 he won four GP that combined with other five podiums allowed him to clinch his first world title, two races before the end of the season.

Over the years, Brembo’s radial mounted calipers became standard parts on the track from 500-MotoGP down, for anyone who wanted great braking sensitivity and unmatched performance.

The switch from track to mass production for road-going motorbikes was but a short step. The Brembo engineers opted for a smaller caliper so the center distance was also reduced to 100 mm (3.9 in), and this has since become the standard measurement for the radial calipers of European road bikes.

In Japan on the other hand, the urge to maintain that tie between supersport bikes for road use and those for competitions led to keeping the 108-center distance, which has therefore become the fixed reference for nearly all the Japanese sports versions.

That is why, when Brembo launched the Stylema caliper at the end of 2017, it made it with a 100 mm center distance for European manufacturers but then developed a separate 108 version specifically for the Suzuki Hayabusa, the first bike in the world to use the Stylema 108 mm model.

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And despite happening this way purely by chance, it does seem like the two companies have come full circle since 1999 when one launched the first Hayabusa and the other the first radial caliper.

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