The proven Honda CBR 250R now has a new competitor in the form of the Hyosung GT250R. We take a ringside seat as the rivals lock horns
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
It was a long time ago that Hyosung entered the Indian market in a tie-up with Kinetic Engineering and offered us the Comet. In its naked avatar, that twin-cylinder 250-cc motorcycle was a hit among the enthusiasts, but its success proved ephemeral owing to the limited number of bikes sold, poor after-sales service and non-availability of spares. This month Garware Motors are all set for that bike’s re-entry in a new garb – the Comet R. The additional R in the name is because of the full fairing on the motorcycle. Another technical change in the bike from the old Comet is that they have dumped the carburettor and introduced fuel injection, primarily to meet the emission norms. Apart from these, there isn’t much that is different in this bike from its old version. How would this bike fare against the current 250-cc all-rounder, the CBR 250R? We decided to find out.
Design And Styling
The CBR 250R as well as the GT250R are both full-faired machines and that is the only thing common to both so far as styling is considered. The GT250R looks quite nice from a side profile with its big bike looks. It is actually the same size and shape as its elder brother, the GT650R. This works both in favour of the bike and against it. There is a whole bunch of buyers who want these bikes for their muscular and big looks and the Comet R serves this purpose quite well. However, so far as performance goes, this big and heavy bike fails to impress.
As an individual bike, the GT250R does appeal with its muscular styling. But when compared to the CBR 250R, the design looks a little dated. For example, the front screen of the bike is flattish, something that we have seen in the early 1990s. In fact, the bike has very little curves all through, which might add up to its aged looks. Nevertheless, there is no denying that the Comet R has a lot of road presence and manages to attract the attention of quite a few. The CBR 250R, on the other hand, is much smaller with modern styling. The layered fairing and the Y-shaped headlight make it quite an appealing motorcycle.
Ride And Handling
The CBR 250R has been built on a twin tubular frame while the GT250R sports a cradle frame. This itself puts the GT in a better position than the CBR. Also, the Hyosung has a set of 41-mm upside down forks upfront and a pre-load adjustable rear mono shock suspension. The CBR sports 37-mm regular front forks and a pre-load adjustable mono shock suspension at the rear. However, the big difference between these bikes is the set-up that they run. While the GT250R is on a much stiffer side, the CBR runs a soft set-up. Now this distinction in set-ups gives different characteristics and usability to these bikes. The Comet R comes across as a very good bike for hardcore sport riding with excellent handling and road grip, but becomes a bit of a pain in daily city commutes. The CBR 250R’s soft set-up gives it a very comfortable ride on city roads, but while cornering hard, it induces a little bit of wallowing, especially if the surface is uneven. Also, the relaxed sitting posture on the Honda is much more practical for daily riding than the extremely aggressive seating of the Hyosung.
Engine And Performance
The engines powering both these bikes are 250 cc. Apart from the displacement, though, there is hardly anything common between the two motors. The Hyosung engine is an air-cooled, 75-degree twin-cylinder that pumps out 28 PS of peak power at 10,000 revolutions per minute and 22.07 Nm of torque at 8,000 RPM. As against that, the Honda’s engine is liquid-cooled, single-cylinder that pumps out 25.5 PS at 8,500 RPM and 22.9 Nm at 7,000 RPM. Greater power and twin-cylinder configuration might make one think that the GT will have an advantage in outright performance. However, it is not so. Under outright acceleration, the CBR sprints to 100 km/h from standstill in 8.47 seconds while the GT250R takes 9.62 seconds. The CBR has an advantage not only in outright acceleration, but also in in-gear roll-on acceleration. Furthermore, the CBR scores more on top speed too by getting to 144.4 km/h with one gear to go while the GT makes it to 141 km/h in the top gear.
The CBR gets this advantage over the GT for several reasons. Firstly, it has 0.83 Nm of extra torque. Secondly, it makes peak power and peak torque at much lower revs than its competitor. Thirdly, the CBR’s engine is mated to a close ratio six-speed box as against the five-speed box on the GT. And very importantly, the CBR weighs just 167 kg (ABS version), which is a whole 21 kg lighter than the 188 kg GT. The only advantage that the GT250R has over the CBR is that due to its slightly lower gearing and twin cylinder engine, it can run easily at slow speeds in higher gear.
The CBR 250R has turned out to be the better of the two in various aspects so far and continues to do so when it comes to versatility. It has a more refined engine and comfortable ride quality that gives it an everyday practicality. With its relaxed seating posture, the CBR proves to be a great one on the highway too for touring. The GT250R, on the other hand, has great road presence with its big bike feel. It has better handling for sport riding too. But as an overall package, it fails to make an impression with its engine’s slightly lower performance, unrefined character and heavy weight.
Another thing that disappoints a little is the quality of material used and the fit-and-finish. The price of the motorcycle is yet to be announced and it will certainly play an important role in deciding the fate of this machine. With the CBR 250R ABS model priced at Rs 1.9 lakh (OTR, Pune), it will be quite a task for Hyosung to beat it. Besides, the missing ABS option on GT should be a factor to think about, since buyers today demand more value for their money.