I was idly motorcycle shopping in the Southwest a week or so ago and I came across this $8,499 Hayabusa for sale. Let me tell you a secret: I’ve always wanted a Hayabusa. From the moment I saw the first one on a showroom floor many years ago. But I’ve also always understood that the suppository-shaped Suzuki was Not Our Kind, Dear. If sportbikes are the trashiest motorcycles — and they are, really, they have the same image that Triumphs had in the Brando era — and Suzuki is the trashiest sportbike manufacturer — and can there be a particle of doubt about this anywhere in the universe? — then the Hayabusa is the worst of them all, the “Die Antwoord” of motorcycling. It’s totally zef. It’s the motorcycle you ride when you have checked out of society, when you are comfortable being at the bottom of things, in the gutter.
Suzuki knows this. They have long since stopped marketing the bike. It markets itself, to the right kind of people. It’s like a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Each year’s Hayabusa has bigger kanji on the fairing and less subtle detailing. But some people, obviously, aren’t satisfied. They want to paint lightning bolts and clouds and… what the hell is that, now?
While I want to believe that this is Joel Grey in the outstanding Fred Ward film, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, I think it probably has something to do with the Wu-Tang Clan. I think this because the Venn diagram of
* Hayabusa owners
* Wu-Tang Clan listeners
is a circle.
What possessed a motorcycle dealer to take this on trade, anyway? Well, it was in the ABQ, home of Breaking Bad and a thousand multi-ethnic sportbike gangs, so maybe that had something to do with it.
I want to buy it, and ride it. I want to become zef, to meet the disapproving eyes of the civilized world with a thousand-yard stare, to live in rental property, to have different baby mommas, to quit jobs when someone vaguely disrespects me, to own some sort of “vaping” device, to be conversant with various strains of marijuana, to be truly itinerant. To be, as the man said, hard to get to know, but near impossible to forget.
Wait a minute, something like this has been said before:
Learn to work
I’ll play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whiskey
All night long
And die behind the wheel
This is the day, of the expanding man.