The Fastest Korean

The Hyosung GT650R is here. It’s quick, it’s fast and it’s ready to fill up an unexplored slot in the Indian market
Story: Adhish Alawani  Photography: Sanjay Raikar


It’s been two months and I am reviewing the third V-twin powered motorcycle available in the Indian two-wheeler market. Not very long ago I used to think to myself that the Indian market was known to be all for motorcycles that had essentially been built to take one from one point to another in the minimum amount of fuel. Well, those were the days of commuters and these are the days of an evolving market. There is such a great variety of products on offer that there is hardly a budget bracket that is not being catered to.

In August 2010 we were the first to bring you the riding impressions of the Hyosung GT650R. Now, as Garware Motors prepare themselves to launch the first two Hyosungs, we bring you the first exclusive and extensive road test of the GT650R.

From what I remember, when I first rode the GT650R, there were certain things that had impressed me such as its good power delivery, handling and, most importantly, the reasonable (tentative) price tag. What had let me down then was the basic build quality of the motorcycle. However, after putting in a considerable number of miles on the bike over a weekend, I found that there was a lot more to talk about this bike.

To start with, the performance of the motorcycle. On paper, the engine pumps out 80 PS of peak power. It’s definitely not up to the expectations that one has of a 650-cc supersport machine, but what surprised me was the actual performance on the tarmac. Standstill to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds was very impressive. Considering that it came from a bike that weighs over 200 kg and produces only 80 PS of peak power was quite amazing. The maximum speed obtained on the limited test run was in excess of 175 km/h in the fourth gear and it still had some way to go in fourth. Two more gears up and this bike won’t fail to score double hundred and more. One more thing that was noticed during the acceleration test was the aerodynamics on offer from this fully faired Hyosung. Tucked down, there is hardly any wind-blast that reaches you as the front visor directs the wind over your head while your knees are comfortably tucked in the recess provided by the tank. Talking of the full fairing, there is one disadvantage too. While cooling the engine, the radiator fan pushes the hot air towards the rider as it can’t escape through the fairing on the side and heats up the steel frame as well as the metal tank. This makes the city ride a little uncomfortable for the rider.

While the performance of the bike had me impressed on the outright acceleration run, the handling through the mountain section was not far behind in putting a smile on my face. It takes time to get used to the twin spar tubular frame of the GT650R, but once you do, throwing it round corners and getting fast exits are great fun. The bike’s stiff suspension helps in its handling too. Of course, that is at the cost of a little uncomfortable city ride quality. The tyres lend good grip on tarmac, but struggle to find grip on the concrete roads like all other soft compounds on imported bikes. Also, the fact that most of the roads are now becoming cement ones, it looks as if the road development department just doesn’t want the big bike owners to enjoy their machines!

10After having spent a lot of time in the saddle of the GT650R in the city, I cannot deny the fact that though the looks and styling of this Hyosung are not top notch, it still succeeds in attracting a lot of eyeballs. The bike, in red and black, looks a killer on the move and calls for a lot of attention on the road. However, while I was enjoying stardom in the city, there were certain things about which I was grumbling. The first of those complaints was about the harsh and vibrating V-twin engine past 7,000 rpm. Also, in spite of being a twin cylinder, the bike weighs slightly on the higher side at 204 kg (dry weight).

Another issue with the bike was its idling set-up. Under 2,000 rpm, the motor would stall invariably. The final negative side of the GT650R came from the characteristic of the V-twin engine: offering a lot of engine braking even when the throttle is just rolled off. That is how this type of twin cylinders behave and that puts a lot of pressure on the palms while riding in the city where the throttle goes on and off constantly.

Though there were quite a few issues with the bike when put to use in the city, I cannot deny the fact that I felt like keeping the GT650R with me for some more time to take it out for longer rides on the highway and seek more fun around the twisties of Lonavla or, maybe, Mahabaleshwar. I might not want to ride this bike to work on a daily basis, but I don’t mind taking it out for weekend getaways!

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