The Insane Suzuki Hayabusa-Powered Piaggio Ape

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but what motivates you to tinker with an invention? Perhaps the quest for limitless enjoyment and thrill.

Well, one thing becomes increasingly obvious the more time you spend looking at custom builds: If a vehicle exists, someone will unavoidably install a Suzuki Hayabusa engine in it. That’s exactly what happened to this innocent Piaggio Ape, and if you have to wonder why someone would do something like that, you’ve already missed the point.

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For those who don’t know, the Piaggio Ape is a little, three-wheeled commercial vehicle that has been in existence since 1948. Although the Ape—Italian for “bee,” as in “busy bee”—has evolved over time, it has remained an essential part of daily life for commercial purposes in many Asian and European countries.

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This Ape, however, instead of its own 200cc engine, got shoved with a 1300cc Suzuki Hayabusa engine. Although no information was provided as to which generation the Hayabusa engine belongs to, it is obvious that the power-to-weight ratio is much greater than it ought to be for this build. Not for the faint of heart, for sure!

suzuki hayabusa powered piaggio ape
The Suzuki Hayabusa-powered Piaggio Ape

While the actual Piaggio Ape weighs a little less than 500kg, it receives a raw power of up to 195 hp and a massive 155 Nm of torque to deal with. It should be noted that the man who currently owns this Piaggio Ape and resides in northern England is not the man who developed it, which is presumably why he can only provide a limited amount of information about it. It has standard foot pedals for operation and a clutch that is known to manual-transmission automobile drivers. He describes the gearbox as sequential but doesn’t specify how many gears it has. Since the 6-speed gearbox has been a staple of the Hayabusa line from the start, it stands to reason that the original builder would have kept it in place here as well.

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The interior of the Ape remains unaltered. It features a small bench seat, a solid but thin metal shell that provides no sound insulation, and there are no seat belts or safety harnesses at all. In the below video, presenters from British motoring YouTube channels Motor Addicts and EvilGT take turns going out as passengers with the owner of this bonkers Piaggio Ape, allowing him to drive them at extremely insane speeds that feel even quicker considering the nature of the vehicle they are in, like some sort of off-the-wall amusement park ride. According to the owner, he has previously reached a top speed of roughly 150 mph at a drag strip, which seems like 200 mph in this crazy modified Ape.

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