The high-volume Indian commuter bike segment has received yet another motorcycle, the 112.8cc Suzuki Hayate. Hayate means ‘fresh breeze’ in Japanese. In profile, the conservative new bike takes you straight back to the Suzuki Slingshot, with an all too familiar curvy bikini fairing and bright, well focused headlight. The rounded, twin-pod analogue instrument panel includes basic equipment including a speedometer, odometer and a fuel gauge. While a pass light flash switch is sorely missed, the switches otherwise offer good feel. The Hayate’s palm grips feel comfy too. Its 8-litre fuel tank provides large knee recesses for the rider’s thighs, which along with a cushy saddle contribute to keeping the rider comfortable. The Hayate’s side panels are black, as were the Slingshots, while its tail light and grab bar look simplistic.
The Hayate is powered by an all new 112.8cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine which delivers a peak power output of 8.3bhp at 7500rpm, and 0.88kgm of maximum torque at 5500rpm. The engine feels about par for its class and runs smoothly at all times. The Hayate comes with a four-speed gearbox, shifted in an all-down shift pattern while we would have preferred a one-down, three-up format gearbox.
The Hayate offers good ergonomics and a comfortable riding position, with its foot pegs and handlebars being well placed. The motorcycle is equipped with telescopic fork front suspension and twin hydraulic rear shock-absorbers, working to provide decent ride quality. Sharing its tubular frame with the Slingshot, the Hayate disappointingly deploys a tubular swingarm at the back, this being a dated specification in this day and age, when almost every Indian motorcycle has long since switched to the superior rigidity of a box section swingarm. Its light handling is a boon in the congested traffic conditions, but stability is iffy when cornering, the bike easily shifting around disconcertingly on road undulations, that is surely due to the antiquated swingarm. Braking is just about adequate, via 130mm drum in the front and 110mm drum at the rear, although the Hayate does well to offer adequate tyre grip, using MRF tyres front and rear.
Fuel economy could be better, this commuter bike giving us 51.9kpl in city riding conditions, and 53.3kpl during our highway economy tests.
Overall, the Suzuki Hayate is bound to be seen as a let down from a company as capable as Suzuki. We’d have expected Suzuki to have changed not only styling, which remains a constant, but also to have improved their bike in other key areas so as to help it keep up with its many able rivals.
The Suzuki Hayate comes in five colours; white, green, grey, red and black. Priced affordably, you can buy this bike in a kick-start variant priced at Rs 38,212 (ex-showroom, Delhi), as well as a self-start model for Rs 40,212 (ex-showroom, Delhi).