Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Bike Chronicles of India

The Bike Chronicles of India


Ride Review: Hyosung “Hardcore” GT250R

Posted: 27 May 2012 09:39 AM PDT


Price of the GT250R will be made public on its official launch in the first week of June.. Posting here is a 230 kms first hand experience of the Hyosung GT250R..!!

Photo Credits: Gourab Das aka "MG". Visit his Photography page here

Hyosung GT250R: In a nutshell

USP (Unique Selling Proposition): Superbike like looks and street presence, Superbike like ergonomics

Good bits: Engine is very likeable, smooth and linear in its power/torque delivery; handling is confidence inspiring and fun to ride

Bits that could improve: Brakes, tyres, attention to details/finish on certain parts,

It is easy to label the Hyosung GT250R as another Superbike wannabe, but is it really so? After clocking 230 kms and spending some quality time (8 hours) with the Hyosung GT250R, if I have to sum up the essence of the bike, it would be, "Very close to a Superbike attitude & Ride experience".

In short the above one liner means that there is more to the GT250R than just a full fairing. Like a true blue super sports (600cc/1000cc) bike, the Hyosung GT250R is actually impractical as a daily commute tool and more of an occasional toy. Posted below is the detailed ride review of the Hyosung GT250R along with the ride experience of the same in [i] City [ii] Ghats and [iii] Highways



Styling, Fit & Finish: "It's hard for the average Joe to tell that the GT250R is not a 600/1,000 cc bike"

+ Big bike handsome looks

- Finish could be better on certain parts

It is difficult for someone who is not that much into bikes, to believe that the GT250R is not a 10 lakh plus bike (Superbike in short for that laymen)..!! Yes Sir, the GT250R is BIG in size. The GT250R shares identical dimensions with its elder sibling the GT650R. The size of the GT250R itself is reason enough to generate the interest/desire of the "desi" biker.

Along with the big dimensions the GT250R comes loaded with twin disc brakes at the front, upside down front forks and a 150 section rear tyre. In fact none of the other currently available small capacity full faired bikes in India, the R15, CBR 150R/250R or the Ninja 250R have the same kind of road presence as the GT250R. But all that bulk on the GT250R makes it tip the scales at a lardy 188 Kgs Kerb Weight..!!



Design wise the GT250R actually is slightly dated by international standards. The GT650R/250R is designed like the 600/1,000 cc bikes from the nineties. But since "desi" bikers missed those nineties and "pre" nineties Superbike era, the Hyosung GT brothers will still cut the mustard as a modern design in present day India.

So much for the burly good looks but a closer inspection reveals that Hyosung could have given the bike better fit and finish in certain parts. The seat cover material, plastic texture on the instrument control, the finishing of the ignition key slot, material used for the grab rails (which by the way looks awkward on a bike designed like a super sports) etc. doesn't give the impression of a "Premium" offering. The speedometer console also could have been designed better for a more up market and technical feel.

The GT250R looks handsome even if with a somewhat dated design. I personally liked the exhaust of the GT250R better than the one on the GT650R. With a little bit of attention to details and some improvement in fit & finish on certain parts, Hyosung can make the bike even more classy and premium.



Ergonomics: "Hardcore and aggressive riding stance on the GT250R makes the Yamaha R15's riding stance feel very comfortable..!!"

Swinging a leg over the big and burly looking GT250R will put a big smile on guys with short legs. I am around 5'5, and was extremely pleased to find the seat height of the GT250R very friendly for short legs. Therefore even with an extremely heavy 188 kgs of kerb weight, I was very comfortable and confident while putting both my feet on the ground. At the same time the GT250R is spacious enough to tall guys as well. MG is around 5'11 and even he had no issues at all.

+ Proper aggressive "racing" stance

+ Low seat height

+ Comfortable seat padding

+ Usable Rear View Mirrors

- Huge turning radius

- Impractical for daily use/commute

The riding position/stance is another USP of the GT250R. The handlebars of the bike is positioned like a 600/1,000 cc super sports bike. Leaning forward to reach for the handlebars and putting your feet on the rearset footpegs, let me tell you that a 600/1,000 cc Superbike don't feel too different..!!

Compared to the GT650R, the GT250R has a slightly lower seat, this results in a slightly less lean over to the handlebars and therefore results in a slightly comfortable stance compared to the elder GT650R.

Even the huge tank of the GT250R between your legs enhances that Superbike feel. The massive tank is also quite practical as it lets your thighs get a grip, which lets you not to put your body weight on the arms/wrists. The low positioned handlebars do limit the extent to which the steering can be turned lock to lock. This results in a huge turning radius for the bike. It actually takes an entire double lane road to turn around the bike..!!

Guys who curse the Yamaha R15's riding position as too sporty should take a day's spin on the GT250R. There is no second opinion that due to the aggressive "superbike" like riding stance, the GT250R is impractical bike for city commutes/daily rides. Impractical yes, but once you are on the GT250R, you can sense it that all eyes on the road are on you.. as you are aware that everybody around know that you are on a "DHOOM MACHALE" bike..!! And this actually sets GT250R apart from any other 250 cc bike in the world. No other 250 cc bike in the world will give you the authentic stance of a Superbike.



Engine Performance: "Smooth, Linear, Likeable engine with decent overall performance"

The GT250R wakes to life with a typical V-Twin burble. Having ridden the GT650R earlier, I was expecting the GT250R to have similar vibey and noisy motor. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the GT250R does not have any pronounced mechanical clatter and also was quite smooth right down from low revs to its redline.

+ Smooth engine

+ Pleasant engine note

+ Linear Power/Torque delivery

+ Good roll on performance

+ Hiccup free Fuel Injection

- Engine Heat

Had the bike been at least 20 Kgs less in weight, performance from the same engine would have felt zippier. The GT250R's engine is not an out and out fire breather but then it's no slouch either. In fact in overall performance, the GT250R feels shade better than the Honda CBR250R and just a notch below the Ninja 250R.

The power and torque is quite linear with no particular favorite rpm spot. The characteristic of V-Twin engine is it's torque delivery and the GT250R's engine doesn't disappoint on that front. The bike does a 100 kmph at a leisurely 6,500 rpm in top gear. The tachometer might indicate that the engine doesn't build revs that fast, but then one doesn't need to redline the V-Twin engine to see speeds of 140 plus kmph on the speedo. The bike also is good on the roll on (acceleration in the same gear) performance. Another feature worth mentioning if the electronic fuel injection that performed flawlessly during the 230 kms test ride experience.

I managed to see a speedo indicated top speed of 150 kmph and felt that had there been a further open stretch of road, the bike could have done slightly more as well. The best part about the 250 cc V-Twin engine is that it is quite relaxed even at high rpms/speeds.

Engine heat: In a V-twin cylinder engine, the rear cylinder doesn't get the same amount of air flow while riding as the one at the front; therefore with an air cooled V-twin engine heat is actually not very surprising. On the GT250R engine heat was felt on the inner thighs. It was specially noticeable at slow/city/traffic riding speeds. During the ride I noticed that there are a few ways in which one can "try to beat the engine heat", i.e. prevent the heat from reaching your inner thighs.

[i] Ride when the ambient temperature is cool (like in the mornings/evenings). The daytime sun during the peak Indian summer won't help cool the air cooled V-Twin any faster.
[ii] Riding about 80 kmph and above is enough to cool the engine and not let it fry your legs

On 600/1,000 cc Superbikes a rider has no option but to take the heat generated by the engine in their stride. Therefore if someone is in love with the GT then he/she can always say that the engine heat adds to the "Superbike" character of the bike. But personally I would have preferred things to remain cooler.



Clutch & Gearshift: "The absence of 6'th gear is hardly felt"

+ No missed gears

+ No 6'th gear? No issues..

- Clunky gearshift

The GT250R might have just 5 gears but those 5 gears are well spaced out and one doesn't really miss the need for an extra gear. The clutch is well weighted had no issues while engaging/releasing the gears. The gears on my test bike was a bit clunky though.. not bad but not slick either. Also the shift effort could have had slightly more positive feel to it, especially while slotting into neutral. But let me add that there were no missed gear shifts during the entire test ride experience.





Ride & Handling: "Predictable and sporty handling for the road"

+ Neutral, predictable, sporty and stable handling

+ Acceptable ride quality

The GT250R comes with thick upside down front forks, a frame which is essentially is a cradle frame but with perimeter elements (not a proper perimeter frame though) and a linked type monoshock rear suspension. All these, along with a long wheelbase and low center of gravity give the GT250R very sporty handling. The crouched forward riding position and low seating also helps get the center of gravity lower. Handling is very stable at high straight line speeds and confidence inspiring and predictable around corners as well. In fact even the handling gives the feel of riding a 600/1,000 cc "Superbike".



Expecting a 600/1,000 cc Superbike to be nimble like a light weight street bike is preposterous. In similar fashion expecting the GT250R to be nimble in traffic would also be not right. The GT250R feels best on the highway or around twisties. The ride is also not bad as well for a sporty bike. It is neither too soft nor too stiff. The link type rear monoshock provides a good combination of ride quality and cornering fun.



Brakes & Tyres: "Things could improve here"

- Brakes could have been better

- Tyres lack grip

So far the GT250R had come across as a likeable package. Even with the idiosyncrasy and impracticality of almost riding a Superbike with a 250 cc heart, the GT250R is able to carry it off with élan. Had the brakes been as potent as the twin disc set up at the front looks, it would have been almost a near perfect experience.

The brakes on the GT250R are not horribly ineffective but just that I wasn't 100% confident with its feedback. While braking I wasn't sure if I needed to apply less or more pressure with the fingers. I am sure that after spending some time with the GT250R, one would be able to adjust with the brakes. But the "Shinko" make tyres that come fitted on the GT250R should be on the must change list.



The tyres lack grip and under hard braking they tend to skid even on perfect tarmac. It was due to two such minor skids while riding on city roads, I wasn not fully confident leaning over the bike around the twisties. It is not a big issue though as there are a lot of good tyre options available (with the same tyre size and specifications) as an after market fitment. Anyone who is in the mood to get the GT250R should definitely change the stock tyres to some better tyre brands like "Pirelli" to enjoy the handling potential of the bike.



Electricals: "All izz well"

+ Decently powerful twin projector headlamps

+ Clever safety features

The GT250R comes with a twin projector headlamp set up. These lamps do a good job of lighting up the road ahead. Like on imported bikes, the low beam doesn't stay "ON" permanently, but can be switched On/Off. The GT250R also gets a neat looking LED tail lamp cluster and a digital speedometer + analog tachometer combo, which looks quite basic and could have been designed better.

To start the GT250R one has to press the clutch lever every time, even when in neutral. Also once started, if the side stand is put down, the engine will die down if one tries to slot it into gear. This according to me is a neat safety feature.





Posted below are the ride experiences of the GT250R on different kinds of roads:



City Ride Experience

Not the most ideal place to ride the GT250R. Due to its big size and weight and also due to its "extra large" turning radius, this bike in the city is like a cat in water. Also due to slow moving traffic, the engine doesn't get sufficient cooling and eventually the inner thighs of the rider will start to feel the engine heat.

That aside, the GT250R is definitely an attention magnet drawing second looks from the crowd.



Ghats /Hilly Twisties Ride Experience

Carving corners on smooth roads is what the GT250R loves to do. Thanks to its sporty and stable handling this bike is in its elements around the twisties. It was just that my experience with the tyres in the city did not let me enjoy the GT250R to its full potential. The suspension could be stiffened up further if one needs a focused track bike like experience, but the standard suspension setting is also quite good for spirited cornering.



Highway Ride Experience

I enjoyed riding the GT250R the most on the highways. Maintaining 100 plus kmph speeds was effortless and enjoyable. Due to the crouched riding posture wind blast is not felt as the full fairing and the visior cuts through the air around the bike. With the smooth V-Twin engine, it was a blast riding the GT250R at 130-140 kmph speeds on the wide, straight highways.

The riding posture being slightly less aggressive than the GT650R also helped matters. I did a near non- stop highway stretch of around 100 kms and could have ridden more if I did not have MG waiting for me for the photo shoot.





Final Verdict:



GT250R is not a bike which everyone can live with. Due to its size, weight and committed riding posture, the GT250R is impractical for everyday use. It is a "once a month" or maybe at best "once a week" kind of bike. This means that the owner has to either have a car of another bike in his garage for daily usage. The GT250R is not perfect either, the brakes could be better (tyres can be easily replaced with better ones), the fit and finish can definitely improve and the bike should ideally lose at least 15 kgs of weight.

Having said that, the GT250R does have a Soul and a Character of its own that sets it apart from the other 250 cc bikes. It has the "Soul of a Superbike" ( and not just a bike with a plastic full fairing ) and a "Hardcore" character.

Ladies and gentleman, the GT250R has landed in India, Hardcore riders may apply..!!





Hyosung GT250R: Technical Specifications

ENGINE
Type: 4 stroke, Air cooled, V-Twin (75˚) with oil cooler
Displacement: 249cc
Valves layout: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore x stroke: 57 mm x 48.8 mm
Compression ratio: 10.1:1 ~ 10.3:1
Max. Power: 28 Ps @ 10,000 rpm
Max. Torque: 22.07 Nm @ 8,000 rpm
Fueling: Fuel Injection

CHASSIS
Frame: Double down tube, double cradle frame
Tyre size front: 110/70-17 (Radial Tubeless)
Tyre size rear: 150/70-17 (Radial Tubeless)
Fuel tank capacity: 17 liters

DIMENSIONS
Wheel base: 1,435 mm
Overall width: 700 mm
Overall length: 2,090 mm
Overall height: 1,130 mm
Min. ground clearance: 155mm
Kerb weight (with 90% fuel , tools, etc.): 188 kgs

ELECTRICALS
Battery : 12v, 10 Ah




Hyosung GT250R: Photos

Hyosung GT250R Hyosung GT250R Hyosung GT250R
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Disclaimer:

This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.





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