Adhish Alawani lays his hands on the Hyosung GT650R , one of the bestsellers in Australia and Europe, which is now on its way to India!
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
About two-and-a-half years ago, the litre-class bikes made their way into the country. That is when the rich enthusiasts got excited and started buying motorcycles with in-line fours displacing 1000cc. We, at BIKE India, have been talking about the impracticality of litre-class bikes in a country like India since then. We neither have the roads, nor the sense and ability to handle the power that goes in excess of 170PS. What, then, is it that we need and should have in our market? A middle-weight 600cc category bike that produces adequate power, which even a first-timer at multi-cylinder machines can tame and relish. Probably yes, and Hyosung decided to give it a serious thought. The result? The GT650R is on its way to India!
Last month, we got an opportunity to take the GT650R out on a daylong ride and, boy, were we impressed!
The GT comes powered with a 90-degree V-Twin motor that produces 80PS of peak power. But what really leaves a lasting impression is the awesome mid-range and top-end delivery. The powerplant revs freely all the way past 10,000 rpm. Though we did not get enough of a stretch to red line even the third gear, we were mighty impressed with the speedo reading 81 km/h in first gear and 135 km/h in second gear at red line. Going by these speeds and considering a six-speed box mated to the V-Twin, speeds in excess of 200 km/h seem to be easily achievable. The vee configuration also assures a good amount of torque, 67 Nm to be precise, that really kicks in at 7,250 rpm. Like a typical V-Twin, the GT650R delivers the right punch in the right fashion and delights you as you zip through crowded streets.
For the 2010 model, Hyosung has handed over the carburettion duties to fuel injection on the GT650R. The power of the bike is manifested on the roads through Bridgestone Battlax BT56 160/60-ZR17 (rear) and 120/60-ZR17 (front). Not only does the Battlax rubber lend awesome grip on a dry surface, it holds its own on a wet one too (the erratic July rain allowed us to try out the tyres in both conditions). While the tyres succeed in instilling a lot of confidence around the corners, much credit also goes to the chassis and suspension. The trellis-type twin spar frame is nimble yet stable.
The fully adjustable front suspension and preload adjustable rear monoshock do their job brilliantly by giving adequate feedback to the rider. The whole package of the chassis, suspension and tyres aids the GT in superb handling and lets you push your limits around corners. The riding posture is also a major plus point of this bike. An agreeable combination of sufficiently aggressive and adequately relaxing postures makes the GT650R a bike that can be enjoyed on weekend rides through twisties as well as everyday rides within the city. The fairing is good enough and takes aerodynamics seriously to protect you from wind blast at high speeds.
Talking of fairing, the bike’s a styling that seems to be taken from various places and put together by the Korean manufacturer. The twin projectors stacked one above the other give the bike a feel of the MV Agusta F4. The two vents on either side of the headlight are a little out of proportion and non-functional. The short wheelbase, tall seat and meaty body lend a lot of aggression to the motorcycle. The tail lamp seems to have taken cues from the new Gixxer. The white backlit digital speedometer is accompanied by an analogue tachometer.
Overall, the bike carries the attitude of a proper supersport machine that is going to attract a lot of attention. (Well, I can say that for sure after the innumerable enquiries we got from all those who saw us ride the bike on the streets!) There are a couple of downsides that we noticed as well. The brakes have a little spongy feel. Probably, this particular machine that we were testing had it and needed a little bit of bleeding. Secondly, the fit and finish of the bike is not up to the mark that the international competitors have set.
There is one factor that finally forces us to ignore the downsides and that is the price of the GT650R. At approximately Rs 3.75-4 lakh (ex-showroom), the Hyosung is a steal. You get adequate power, awesome handling, styling to attract every other girl on the street and the attitude of a middleweight supersport machine at a price that is not prohibitive. Expect the bike to hit the market some time before Diwali. Until then, flip over to the Hyosung ST7, a feast for the cruiser fans!