After an eight-year hiatus, Hyosung is back in the quarter-litre segment. Rishad Cooper on the GT250R
‘Massive' best describes the Hyosung GT250R, a bike certain to delight those seeking pose value. The faired-in sportsbike commands a presence almost on par with its elder sibling, the GT650R, which lends the GT250R more muscle than usually associated with a 250. However, on the flip side, styling is indeed dated and at loggerheads with the lighter, leaner designs one commonly sees in India today.
The GT250R shares more than just body panels with the GT650R though.
Up front, you find similar twin disc brakes and an effective, two-stage projector headlight. The bike's analogue and digital instruments look dated too, but are legible. The palm grips feel decent and switchgear crisp, but these lack the finish and smoothness offered by the Japanese competition.
A highlight of the Hyosung is its massive 17-litre fuel tank that aids the sportsbike look and is nicely sculpted to fit the rider's knees. The fairing mounts a pair of useful adjustable rear-view mirrors and a large transparent visor which provides good protection from the elements when the rider is tucked into a racing crouch at high speed. The seating position can be tailored a little thanks to adjustable footrests. There's a small storage cubby under the split pillion saddle, as found on many sportsbikes. A LED tail-lamp gives the GT a modern look, while its split rear grab bars, though solid to hold, look awkward and nothing short of ungainly. A purposeful-looking silencer and the chunky 150/70-section rear tyre contribute to this new Hyosung motorcycle's muscular stance. While the GT250R doesn't skimp on features or equipment for its class, its styling, build and quality fail to match the lofty benchmarks in this class.
At the heart of the GT250R is a four-stroke, air-and-oil-cooled V-twin engine. As earlier, this short-stroke, DOHC power plant deploys four valves per cylinder. The engine outputs 28bhp at 10,000rpm, with a peak torque figure of 2.2kgm made at 8000rpm, channelled to drive the rear wheel through a five-speed gearbox. The soggy clutch proved a major damper, robbing the bike of much riding pleasure, but we thankfully faced no such hurdles from the GT's gearbox, which shifts smartly in a one-down, four-up pattern.
The exhaust note could sound better. Despite deploying a contemporary electronic fuel-injection system, the GT250R is noticeably devoid of pep low down in its rev range.
Dull initial power delivery here means sudden getaways demand a fistful of throttle and the need to keep engine revs hovering over 6000rpm and on the boil. Once past this point, however, the GT250R wakes up to get going in earnest.
This Hyosung engine feels best when revved between 6000 and 8000rpm, although protesting vibes do play spoilsport when gassing it hard. The GT250R accelerates past 100kph from a standing start in 9.96sec, after which it belts on to cross 120kph in 15.42sec. While this isn't slow, what is lacking is an unbridled sense of excitement, and the realisation that this is not as fast as its direct rival, the CBR250R (which achieves 0-100kph in 8.97sec and 0-120kph in 14.25sec) despite the Honda engine using only a single cylinder.
The GT250R uses a steel perimeter tyre frame and a dual-sided, rectangular section swingarm. It deploys upside-down front telescopic forks and a pre-load-adjustable monoshock at the rear. Tyres are 17-inch Shinko at both ends, which offer adequate traction in dry conditions.
The rider is seated in an out-and-out sportsbike riding position — torso set close over the tank in a pronounced lean down to the handlebars.
The aggressive riding position strains your arms and wrists, but no more than on any other sportsbike. The GT250R's front and rear suspension lack the confident feel desired from a sportsbike. Sure, a soft setup makes broken city roads less bothersome at low speed, but turn up the wick and the GT falls short of its sportsbike image. The steering of this massive bike also lacks the lightness and sharpness of its competition.
Around winding corners, the GT's age is amply apparent. It lacks the precise handling required to attack corners, and prefers being ridden at a steady gallop instead.
The GT250R feels more at home on the highway, where it displays good straight-line stability.
Effective braking is offered by the GT250R, with 300mm twin disc brakes in front and a single-disc unit bringing up the rear. The GT250R stopped from 80kph in an adequate 31.32 metres, although front brake feel at the lever can improve slightly..
Fuel efficiency isn't a crucial factor when hunting for a good sportsbike. However, our fuel tests show the Hyosung GT250R returns a healthy fuel economy of 26.4kpl in city traffic conditions, while on the highway delivering an even better 33.5kpl, no doubt assisted by a tall fifth gear.
The Hyosung GT250R is easily the best Hyosung bike Garware has so far introduced in India. Its big-bike looks could certainly prove a big draw to some, but there's still no single department in which the GT250R truly excels or rises above its quarter-litre rivals. The biggest thorn in the GT's side though, could prove to be the high price tag the company has hinted at, in the region of Rs. 2.5 lakh.
It's also sobering to know that the street-naked GT250, a motorcycle that will be better-suited to Indian roads, is also waiting under Hyosung's wings to take flight.