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Powerful but unrefined

The Indian two-wheeler market has been the money bag for many companies. For Korean major Hyosung, it was only natural to enter the Indian market. The sporty GT650R aims to make waves. But will it succeed?

autos Updated: Feb 10, 2011 01:22 IST
Rishad Cooper

The Indian two-wheeler market has been the money bag for many companies. For Korean major Hyosung, it was only natural to enter the Indian market. The sporty GT650R aims to make waves. But will it succeed?

The first impressions are very good. Equipment levels are high and the GT has neatly stacked headlights, a broad visor that protects you well when riding fast, and several machined-alloy bits. We liked the bike’s aggressive-looking twin intake spouts, the bold digital speedometer and analogue rev counter.

Looks and build
The GT650R has a neatly sculpted 17-litre tank and the fairing packs a plethora of smartly placed cuts and creases. We liked the tail-light as well with its smoothly contoured fairing and solid-feeling alloy grab bars. Six-spoke alloys, a massive, purposeful-looking silencer canister and an exposed chain add to the sporty aura of this Korean GT.

Power and torque
The GT650R comes with a four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC and V-twin format engine. Fuel injection is stock kit, although we found that it lacked the crisp, light throttle response expected from such a bike. Instead, it suffers from an irritating delay each time the throttle is cracked for power. This apart, a peak power output of 72.6 bhp at 9000 rpm feels respectable.

The GT650R has a six-speed gearbox, shifting in the one-down and five-up pattern. The heavy clutch engagement could improve, we would like to reserve judgment on gearshift feel till we get astride for a longer ride. The GT650R comes with a sturdy steel frame. Its riding saddle offers more comfort than your eyes will let on. The riding position borders on out-and-out sports, with quite an uncomfortable lean down into the handlebars.

Ride quality
While ride quality was closer to plush than harsh on our test bike, we found the GT650R a tad slow to turn-in. It takes effort to make quick directional changes, the GT feeling heavy, but also stable and well balanced through the corners. Straight-line stability is excellent, even when flirting with high speeds.

Hyosung gt650r
Price: R4,80,000 (estimated, on-road)
On sale: March 2011
L/W/H: 2090/700/1135mm
Wheelbase: 1435mm
Ground clearance: 165mm
Fuel tank capacity: 17 litres
Kerb weight: 215 kg
Engine layout: V-twin, liquid-cooled, four-stroke
Displacement: 647 cc
Power: 72.6 bhp at 9000 rpm
Torque: 6.2 kgm at 7250 rpm
Specific output: 112.2 bhp per litre
Power to weight: 337.7 bhp per tonne
Gearbox: 6-speed, 1-down, 5-up
Front suspension: Upside-down telescopic forks
Rear suspension: Monoshock, rectangular swingarm
Front brake: 300mm discs
Rear brake: 230mm disc
Wheels: 6-spoke alloy
Rim size (f-r): 17 inches
Tyre size (f-r): 120/60 x 17-160/60 x 17 inches

Verdict
The GT650R is without doubt a very competent motorcycle, but it’s raw and a bit unrefined or supremely talented as it is increasingly becoming the norm here.

While it’s true that the Indian bike market is on a roll and very bullish, it is also true that it’s not a cakewalk and is extremely quality conscious with some strong competition.

The GT650R comes with its rough edges, which Garware and Hyosung have to brush up. They also need to make sure that their flagship model is launched with a better price advantage than what the feeders say. It is this that will ultimately hold the key to the GT650R garnering a chunky share of the Indian market.