It is a truth universally acknowledged that Suzuki Hayabusas are awfully good at drag strips. When new, this straight-line speed machine made about 195 horsepower at 9,500 rpm and 114.3 pound-feet of torque at 7,200 rpm. Like the generation before it, as well as those that have come after, it meant business.

What about off road capabilities, though? That's something that enduro rider Matt Spears has been keen to test. After showing the world that a Honda Gold Wing can do more off road than you probably think (well, if you have the skills, anyway), Spears got his hands on a 'Busa and did some light modifications to help protect it on courses like this one.

After installing knobbies, adding a skid plate, and building a custom steel cage to help protect most of the important stuff, Spears and his buddies headed off to Moab for some testing. There, they met up with an 85-year-old dirt bike expert who's been riding Moab for decades, and it shows. If a mountain goat had two wheels instead of four hooves, it'd be this guy. Also, he'd just be grinning his head off the whole time.

Anyway, the end goal for the day is testing the 'Busa's mettle on the infamous Hell's Gate trail. You've probably seen videos of this trail on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube by now, even if you didn't know it. It's gnarly enough to think about with a 4 x 4, let alone a Hayabusa.

While this one has knobbies and better protection than when it left Hamamatsu, Spears and his buddies didn't change a single thing about the ground clearance. It's still pretty low. When it was new, the Gen 2 Hayabusa had ground clearance of just 4.7 inches. For comparison, a 2024 Beta 350 RS has almost 13 inches of ground clearance. A 2023 Suzuki DR-Z400S has almost 12 inches. You get the idea.

Still, despite (or perhaps because of) that challenge, Spears is pleased at how well the 'Busa does in the leadup to Hell's Gate. He does a little recon first on a purpose-built dirt bike, just to check the lines and figure out his plan of attack.

It's hard to judge how steep any of this stuff is on a video, as cameras can play tricks with your perception. However steep we think Hell's Gate is in videos we've seen, everyone involved here says it's actually steeper in person.

How does it go? Better than you might expect, but also probably not as well as they hoped. We won't spoil the results for you. Just take 15 minutes and watch, because you'll be glad you did.

Got a tip for us? Email: