A pair of under seat exhausts that look like they’re going to shoot cannon balls. The front that appears as if it’s a robot transformed into a space-age motorcycle. That’s the B-King for you, and it comes from the land that isn’t really known to make radical looking two-wheels – Japan. And it “was” made by Suzuki. Yes, because its production was put to end 4 years ago in 2012.
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The B-King had a pretty short production run from 2007 till 2012. It was first shown as a concept, of course, at the Tokyo Motor Show way back in 2001 with a supercharged Hayabusa engine. It took Suzuki nearly 7 years to turn it into reality, but the motorcycle that rolled out of the factory floor looked almost like the concept that it was.
The Supercharged Concept
How many automotive concepts have seen the daylight? Not many. And the ones that have, differ quite clearly from how they were originally imagined.
But there are few production motorcycles that are almost the carbon copy of their earliest designs. Two of the most popular are – Honda Rune and Suzuki B-King – we have found both for the 0 to 100 Motorcycles project. The Honda we have already covered, this time, it is the turn of the equally radical Streetfighter from Suzuki.
Looking at it from either side, the B-King has a pretty sharp tail section if it was not for those out-worldly exhausts. In fact, there are various B-Kings with aftermarket exhausts that are side mounted that invariably turn the motorcycle’s bulky design into sharp and aggressive. And no matter how robotic the whole front section of the B-King is, its most striking point visually remains that massive pair of under seat exhausts. It renders the motorcycle almost pillion unfriendly in an instant!
Aside from the bulbous bodywork which scales the bike at 235 kg, the B-King is surprisingly easy and light to handle. Japanese are not known to make motorcycles that do not function well!
While there’s hardly any similarity in design between the B-King and the one it is derived from, Hayabusa, they both have two key things in common. The engine – the naked Busa, if we can call that, sports the same ultrafast 1,340cc inline liquid cooled engine which produces around 183 PS of power at 9,500 RPM and a cruiser-shaming torque of 146 NM at 7,200 RPM. It’s fast, naturally, but it has been robbed off that record-breaking top end of its full-faired cousin. Obviously, it didn’t have the supercharger like it had as a concept. And being a naked, it doesn’t have to be that fast either.
Second, it has controversial looks just like the Hayabusa. There’s no in-the-middle-thought with the B-King when you look at one, you will like it or you won’t!
It didn’t come with ABS as standard, but it could be had as an option. However, the Nissin equipped brakes were highly regarded for their performance. The aluminium frame made the motorcycle remarkably easy to manoeuvre in traffic and it was quite fantastic in corners as well.
In the last 15-20 years, we have some category-defying streetfighters from Japan. Honda made the naked version of their Superblackbird and called it the X11. It was big and bulky, although, not nearly as radical looking as the B-King. It was made from 1999 to only 2001. Then, we have had the extremely popular Yamaha MT-01 which was also made from 2005 to 2012. And even today, it is considered the most impactful MT ever by many of its fans.
All these three motorcycles – X11, MT-01 and the B-King – had limited production run, but they were fairly successful especially the Yamaha and the Suzuki. They may not be too practical due to their size, but they have proved to be extremely capable and rider friendly motorcycles contrary to how they are perceived.
Maybe, there’s a place for such motorcycles. We would like to believe that if there’s a place for big and heavy adventure-touring motorcycles like the BMW R 1200 GS, motorcycles like the B-King could enjoy some space in the industry as well.
But if you want one today, you’ll have to look for a second-hand B-King and OLX might come in handy in this situation. Give it a try!
We would also like to thank Joe’s Garage for letting us spend some unforgettable time with this very special motorcycle.
Glimpse into the past: xBhp rides the B-King around New Zealand in 2008
It’s that situation when certain things you’ve done in the past come rushing back to you. Back in 2008, we rode the Suzuki B-King around possibly the most beautiful country in the world, New Zealand, for 8000 kilometers!
Here are few pictures from that ride.