Taking delivery of a new Hayabusa Gen III on purpose today wasn’t just about a new bike.
Today, Saturday 21 August 2021, was to be Tony Armstrong’s big celebration. 40 years of ownership of Springwood Suzuki, nowadays known as Motorcycles R Us.
Rob has played an important role in this growth. Rob represents our favourite type of customer for the business; one who has seen the store develop, expand and remain loyal. One who also finds this place a venue not for just purchasing, but the social aspect too.
Rob first visited Springwood Suzuki and met Tony back when we were a small sized business in a shared building. Other shops here included a pet store, a takeaway, a hairdressers.
Prior to Rob’s first visit, he travelled Australia. He returned to Brisbane and in 1987, just after Tony won the title (and sobered up), Rob discovered the shop was a great place to socially visit, even if you weren’t buying anything. Everyone was friendly, had a common interest but best of all there was no pressure selling.
Rob said you have never felt like you were stitched up or made to buy something you didn’t really want. Other stores even back then gave you that feeling, that as soon as you arrived someone just had to sell you something. Not at Tony’s. It was always a place to start your day with a laugh, seeing what was about and grabbing your bits and pieces.
Rob’s owned many bikes, not just Suzuki’s. A Blackbird was in his shed when they first came out and he loved it. In black, of course. He’s also had a ZZ-R1100 and many cruisers. All to suit the feeling of what to ride at the time. And of course prior to meeting Tony, many bikes that have slipped the mind when chatting today. If we’d all only still had those in the shed.
When the Hayabusa first came out in 1999, Rob visited here at Tony’s, and Tony offered him a ride. He was hooked. He said from all the bikes he’d owned, this was the first one that felt like him. He bought one, and for those who remember, this was pre-speed limited times for the ‘Busa.
Later, in 2003, Tony had a silver and blue Hayabusa here at the store. Tony offered Rob a ride, and once again, Rob was taken in. Tony joined him on the ride, aside him on an Aprilia which was at the time under the roof too with Suzuki.
Later that decade, about 2008, the Hayabusa Gen II was on show prior to release. Rob visited the venue that was showcasing it, where the bike was spinning on a stand for all to see. Tony spotted Rob and invited him over. Tony said “jump up there and have a sit”, even though signs said “keep off the stand”. Rob in front of other lookers sat on the bike, with it spinning around, and was impressed.
Of course, Rob ordered one and took delivery of his Gen II in grey in December 2008. More on that later.
In 2013, Suzuki undertook minor changes to the Gen II, adding Brembo callipers and ABS braking. Rob took notice, but admits, it wasn’t enough to sway him to update. He had also bought a Ninja ZX-14R which showcased a host of electronics, with Kawasaki forging ahead to compete with the euro bikes electronic packages.
As chatter began about a replacement Hayabusa, Rob decided to wait. He kept his Gen II and had other bikes as well.
Rob kept an eye on the press and was quick to take note of the Gen III’s announcement in January. Once the order books opened, he came in to the store and saw Troy, who has been selling bikes for Tony over a decade, and placed his $1,000 deposit on the table saying “order me a bike”.
Troy placed the order with Suzuki online and Rob became our first pre-order via the store.
Rob also ordered a big chunk of accessories, as he’s always done here regardless of his brand. Then it was a case of waiting for supply.
Rob’s bike finally arrived, with accessories still to come thanks to our current-times-delays, however Rob wanted to wait until today, Saturday, to collect.
Because as you can understand reading up to this point, buying the Hayabusa Gen III is not just about purchasing a bike from this store and Tony, but an important emotional moment for Rob. Taking delivery today was originally to be for the day of celebration marking 40 years of Tony’s ownership, however due to COVID restrictions and border closures, Rob still locked in the day.
Rob rode over 100,000 kms on his Hayabusa Gen II and loved every single kilometre of it. A testament to the durability of the Hayabusa and for those who expected a bonkers turbo overpowered model to be launched (thanks to clickbait websites), it would have lost a long-line of loyalists and even new buyers who look backwards over 22 years of engineering and ownership real-life proof to bring out such a machine. Sales are secured via trust and it’s not something Suzuki will do in such a big step but it’s also why they are relied on.
Rob loves electronics and how they assist the rider. As we discussed today, it’s about understanding the mechanicals and bike limits before the electronics intervene. And, with so much adjustability on this Gen III, before setting up those limits and knowing when they assist, you have to get a feel of the bike first. Sure, you can switch them on to save you, however in an ideal world Rob believes that having skill and experience first matters before relying blindly on features.
Rob although 65 still is an adamant rider (have we just shocked those who over 50 say they are too old for a supersport?), riding every day, often rounding up those much younger than him. He sees the fear in their eyes whilst riding, proving they are lacking practise and riding in conditions that challenge their abilities to grow. We agree that rider’s should spend a year off the road on a dirt bike, getting the feeling and understanding of how a bike operates. Undertake courses that teach you more than road rules and be ‘at one’ with the bike. Then as you change to something else, you’ll acknowledge the bikes pro’s and con’s and like Rob, will know when one feels just right.
Spending time out of traffic, although hard these days. It’s great to ride away from the traffic that’s varying around you. There’s a time and a place for everything and we all know where not to be silly.
Rob today was proud of Tony’s achievements, where a store he first stepped in to decades ago is still the same today, with many familiar faces and people he knows both ground floor and up in accessories. He is amazed that in an industry of stores selling out or closing down or losing great staff, that Tony’s still remains as it is. He’s seen the expansion from the little shop taking over the rest of the building, to the extension to the change in brands, yet Suzuki has always remained.
He has also seen a change of personality in the motorcycle community, where once upon a time it was a regular fellow who had a bike and went out for a ride, where now a generation of enthusiasts are present on the road. Some with a big heart, others you should outright avoid and ride away from.
Today for Tony, Rob collecting his Hayabusa Gen III is an important day too, as Rob represents the best of our customer base; loyal to the store whilst appreciating we are not just here to earn a sale but also make a comfortable place to visit for fun without someone following you asking for a sale. Motorcycling is a hobby and an experience and for some, it’s the main form of transport. Tony although not in the store as much as the old days is still here most days and has his finger on the pulse for what’s happening here and around us. Rob sees that too and will take pride in showing off his new Suzuki out on the roads, scrubbing the tyres, telling those he speaks to where his bike came from and why he waited.
From Tony and all of us here, thank you Rob for buying from Springwood Suzuki aka Motorcycles R Us. We’ll see you in Tony’s Cafe for a meal and coffee soon.
For those reading this, join us in celebrating today marking 40 years of Tony’s ownership and congratulating Rob on his Hayabusa purchase.