Taking a capable dirt bike out to explore trails is excellent fun, especially if you do it with like-minded friends. However, there’s a special kind of joy that can only come from asking yourself, “if I’m having this good a time on a bike that’s built for this kind of riding, what can I do with a bike that was never meant to go here at all?”
The answer to that question will clearly depend on your skills. Luckily for enduro rider Matt Spears, he’s been riding dirt and building his ability for years. If you’ve been on the moto Internet in the past few months, you’ve probably caught clips or even entire videos of a mid-2000s Honda Gold Wing off roading, with or without an enduro bike loaded up on the pillion seat. That was all Spears, even if you weren’t aware of it at the time.
Piggy, which is what he’s named the ‘Wing, is currently waiting on some parts after that massive cartwheel down a hill, a couple of videos back. Once Piggy is back together, Spears says, he plans to do plenty more with that bike. This build will feature bulked up protection so that Piggy is better able to handle all the challenges headed its way—but those are future videos that Spears has planned.
When your bike is in the shop, obviously you need something else to ride. That’s exactly why Spears picked up a 2nd Gen Suzuki Hayabusa. It’s specifically a 2009 bike, which is the second year of the 2nd Gen machines. The bike he’s picked up is stock, including a pair of street tires that have clearly been used (they’re not bad, but they’re also not new).
2009 Suzuki Hayabusa Specs
Just for informational purposes, here are the stock specs on a 2009 Suzuki Hayabusa. It came with a sweet liquid cooled, 1,340cc inline four-cylinder engine with bore and stroke of 81.0mm by 65.0mm. Stock power figures quoted by Suzuki are 145 kilowatts (or 194.4 horsepower) at 9,500 rpm and 155 newton-meters (or 114.3 pound-feet) of torque at 7,200 rpm. It came with a six-speed gearbox.
Suspension, since you can’t see much under all that bodywork, is a fully adjustable upside down telescopic front fork with a fully adjustable link-type coil spring rear suspension. Wheelbase is 1,485mm, or 58.5 inches. Suzuki also listed a dry weight figure of 220 kilograms (or 485 pounds), because everyone likes to drain all the fluids out of their bike before weighing it, just for giggles.
Wheels are a pair of street standard 17-inch cast aluminum alloy units, and the 2009 ‘Busa came with a set of radially mounted four-piston brake calipers with 310mm brake discs up front and a single one-piston caliper and 260mm disc in the rear. Ground clearance (and this is crucial) is 120mm, or 4.7 inches. Remember that.
Taking that Falcon to the Trails
It’s a stock 2009 Hayabusa that Spears takes to the trails in this video. He talks about the plans he has for this bike, and says that he’s hoping to avoid any major, super damaging offs with it because he wants to gauge what it can do and modify it appropriately to have some more off-road fun with it in the future.
First up is a fire road—and even on street tires, it’s clear that Spears’ skills are serious. The rear end steps out on a surface that’s more slippery than those tires were made for, but it’s always clearly in the rider’s control. The rider even manages small jumps in a way that makes it almost look easy—at least, viewing it from the comfort of a computer screen.
Since the ‘Busa does so well on that fire road, Spears decides that a slightly more difficult four-wheeler trail is next. Unfortunately, it’s there that he runs into a ride-ending problem.
Remember the ground clearance of the 2009 Hayabusa? That’s part of it—as are the combined facts that the oil drain plug is on the bottom of the engine case, and that this bike also has zero protection or preparation installed for doing any type of off-road riding. Have you ever seen someone scrape the life out of a low-slung supercar while exiting a Taco Bell drive-thru and trying to turn onto the street? You get the idea.
Anyway, after inadvertently flushing all the old oil from the ‘Busa, it’s up to Spears and his riding buddy to get it turned around and recovered to the truck so it can go home and get repairs and off-road protection upgrades. Amazingly, the bike coasts remarkably well, as you’ll see in the last few minutes of this video. Although it wasn’t how they wanted the day to go, it’s still impressive in a different way—and they seem to take it in stride.