Hyosung’s second Indian innings has been favourable, with an encouraging response coming in for their current fleet of motorcycles. The GT650R has been the company’s flagship since it set foot in our market two years ago. Even though this Hyosung sportsbike has found a fair share of success, it’s still some way from being a really accomplished motorcycle. The GT650R has now gone under the knife in a bid to refresh its appeal and up the game, so let’s check how effective all these changes are.
The GT650R is a fully-faired sportsbike that turns heads wherever it goes. For 2013, it has received a restyled nose that looks sharper and aids aerodynamics. Bulbous air dams seen on the previous model have now been scaled down to look much sleeker and more with the times. The single headlight unit is now V-shaped and the wind deflecting visor is also more rounded, for better wind protection at high speeds. The GT650R is equipped with a refreshed instruments console, now including a digital speedometer and bold analogue tachometer, along with the usual array of warning lights. The LCD panel also displays a fuel gauge and temperature meter. The rider’s palm grips are comfortable and the control switches are nicely placed. The GT650R comes equipped with an adjustable front brake lever, although we noted that the adjustment dial for this feels rough and not as smooth to operate as required. The GT650R has a massive 17 litre fuel-tank with restyled side body panels and a sharp tail fairing. Its seat is smartly designed and matches the sporty appeal of this motorcycle. An elongated exhaust canister adds to the GT650R’s macho image. The GT650R gets new three tone colours, a mix of red, black and white. Machined alloy bits on the bike compliment its overall appeal, but quality and plastic fit-and-finish around the dash and indicators are rough, with jagged edges that deserve to be better on a motorcycle that belongs to this upmarket segment.
Hyosung has made changes to the ECU that make the GT650R an easier bike to ride within the city. However, it still houses a familiar four-stroke, 647cc, liquid-cooled, V-twin engine that puts out 72.6bhp of maximum power at 9000rpm, with peak torque of 6.2kgm at 7500rpm. The dual overhead camshaft engine breathes through four-valves and fuel injection is standard. The new GT650R still lacks adequate throttle response, power delivery feeding in with a slight delay. However, the 650R generates strong low and mid-range power, pulling with gusto from 3000rpm all the way up to 7000rpm. The GT650R doesn’t feel comfortable when revved hard, with some vibes making their way to the rider via the handlebars, footrests and the seat. The GT650R feels happiest cruising in a higher gear, keeping revs as low as possible. There’s a one-down, five-up pattern, six-speed transmission that goes about its job efficiently, allied to a well-weighted clutch. Final drive makes its way to the rear wheel via a sporty looking exposed drive chain.
The GT650R deploys a rigid steel frame and rectangular section swingarm. It comes equipped with fully adjustable Japanese, Kayaba upside-down front forks, along with a linked monoshock with pre-load adjustment at the rear. The GT650R has a hyper crouch to reach its clip-on handlebars riding position. The 2013 bike comes with adjustable footrests. The GT650R seat is well-padded, and feels surprisingly comfortable for a sportsbike, being roomy enough.
The GT650R is stable in a straight line even while clipping along at high speed. It’s a heavy motorcycle that won’t change direction without considerable effort, having said which, the bike does always feel stable in a corner. The GT650R rides on grippy Bridgestone tyres that feel reassuring when leaned into corners and braking hard. Ride quality is as good as to be expected on a sportsbike. The GT650R’s brakes have progressive feel and we would have appreciated a little sharper stopping power, considering the GT650R is such a fast motorcycle.
The GT650R has done well to look lighter and so much more contemporary. However, the motorcycling experience can improve further, the GT650R not having moved the bar as close to its rivals as expected. Its modest dynamics ability fails to inspire a true sportsbike experience and a few other niggles could still be ironed out. So, the new GT650R is better, but, has some way to go still before it is up-to-speed and at eye level with its more accomplished Japanese rivals.