I think it was earlier. My bike was registered for the road on April 9th 1999. I know if was manufactured a couple of months before in February. I heard someone claim that it was released in October 1998 (which I think is bullshit). As far as I know it was released to press early 1999. But I am looking for exact(ish) dates. I don't remember anything of a Hayabusa being around or even mentioned in 1998...
At the dealership, we knew it was coming because of a brochure our Gen. Mgr. brought back from the Dealers Meeting. Maybe the last part of October 1998. But they hadn't played it up as the Second Coming of Christ, so we just looked at the photo of the copper/silver and shook our heads. Manager didn't know too much more than what was in the brochure.
I think we got our first bike towards the end of April/first week of May, 1999.
I believer it was the first week of April, 1999, I have S/N 25 and could have gotten S/N 5 if I did not change the color from copper/sliver to black and once I seen one at the San Mateo MC show and I switched it back to copper/silver and the bike I had on hold in Monterey was sold and I had to wait for the second shipment.
I still have the original sales brochure that came out for the Hayabusa in 99
The only thing I wish I had bought was the book that came out for the Hayabusa that was in Japanese
I was the founder and still have the old Hayabusa mailing list now on yahoo groups. It stores all messages forever so I went back and looked. A UK member posted that his came in " March 4 1999 I was in europe and he met me at the hotel in March 99 and took me for a ride. Mine was on order then but that was the first production bike I saw. There were diplay models around at races in 1998 of course. Yes I rode bitch with him briefly. I ordered mine on 10-6-1998 according to a post on the list I made. On Mrch 25th 1999 someone posted that the bikes ha arrived at the Port in San Francisco.
Here is the first post on the list of an actual delivery and it was April 7th 1999
I picked up a black and silver (the faster color) 'Busa this afternoon.
I have to admit, when I first saw this bike a few months ago, I thought
it was darned ugly. The human brain takes a while to absorb and get used
to things... Now I think the bike is pretty good looking. The beak is
still a bit odd, but otherwise, she's nice.
our local Suzuki dealer was a serious jesus freak and just happened to be friends with another lesser jesus freak truck driver that liked big bikes. He had a black & silver... and let me ride it. Good times. Wasnt too long after that Kawi was rumored to have the ZX12. In Sept of that year... Gadson was out street racing 2 pre-production units. Debutted them at the Gainesville World finals that Oct.