The Hyosung Aquila 250 is back in India to join the quarter-litre club. We find out where it stands.
The recently launched Hyosung Aquila 250 was also the first offering from the South Korean company in India. Hyosung had previously entered the Indian two-wheeler market with the Aquila 250 ten years ago. They had the first-move advantage at the time as the quarter-litre segment was non-existent and were able to sell all the units imported into India in spite of having no brand recognition. The Aquila was stylish, exotic and powerful, but the non-availability of spare parts and poor service support left the buyers stranded after the purchase and it hardly had any takers in the resale market.
It is a completely different scenario in 2014. DSK Hyosung is one of the significant leisure bike brands in India and the company has 32 dealerships across the country. The leisure motorcycle market has also matured in the last decade and there are no less than 10 motorcycles in the 200-300 cc segment offering a variety of options. However, the only cruiser in this segment was the Bajaj Avenger 220 DTS-i and, with all due respect, it’s not really in the same league as the Aquila. DSK Hyosung saw the opportunity and launched the latest edition of their quarter-litre cruiser at the 2014 Auto Expo in January and we lost no time in getting into the saddle once the media bike was registered.
The design team at Hyosung deserves a pat on the back since the Aquila 250 is a compact and aesthetically elegant motorcycle. Its large tank is typically Hyosung and has a tear-drop shape when seen from the side. The plastic tank shrouds with EFI lettering are also a common feature on Hyosung cruisers while the rest of the design elements such as the curvy fenders, upside down (USD) forks, analogue gauges, two-piece seat with a massive saddle, alloy wheels and the single exhaust have the classic cruiser styling, with generous amounts of chrome. I also liked the quality of the white paint job and the red bordering on the seat, but there is a crudeness in the fit-and-finish of the bike, which becomes noticeable upon closer inspection. To mention a few of the things, the saddle on our test bike was loosely held, the switches felt basic and the stickering and decals weren’t well finished.
I have always found the term ‘cruiser’ to be misleading as most of them compromise on riding comfort for the looks and are not suitable for long-distance riding. The Aquila 250 turned out to be an exception since the bike is extremely comfortable to ride. It has the typical low seat height and feet-forward riding posture of a cruiser, but the rider doesn’t need to stretch his/her legs to reach the foot-pegs and the wide and high handlebar makes sure they sit upright. Moreover, the higher placed rear seat section supports the rider’s lower back. Hyosung also sell foot-boards and a rear seat backrest as accessories for even more comfort. The seat is wide and well-cushioned, the oval rear mirrors are large and clear, the gauges are easy to read while riding and have a white backlight that looks brilliant in the dark.