Robust built and attractive design make the Hyosung GV 650 a significant motorcycle

Korean bike manufacturer Hyosung’s second product, since joining hands with DSK Motowheels, is ready to hit Indian roads — the GV650. Can this modern cruiser raise the bar for Hyosung motorcycles and set a good example for other cruisers to follow in the Indian market?

First, the GV650 grabs your attention with its eye-catching design. The bullet headlamp, wide pulled back handlebars, the fluid, swept-back design and large tracts of chrome leave no room for doubt that this is a cruiser. However, a wide but tightly compressed 16-litre tank and neatly exposed tubular frame have a modern minimalism to them. The long, mock air-intakes add a dash of aggression, while an LED tail-lamp bends beautifully inside the boat-tail fender. The exhaust end can also make a statement all its own, thanks to its sheer size.

This Hyosung goes on to surprise you with its level of fit and finish. The GV650 feels more durable than all the other Hyosungs we’ve experienced before it. However, the rear-view mirror housing could be better finished, as could a few rubber parts and the front brake master cylinder and switches. The palm grips are good on the GV650, and build quality is now just a notch or two away from class-leading motorcycles.

Astride the Aquila V-Pro (as the GV650 is badged), you’ll find that the ignition slot is placed a bit awkwardly in true cruiser tradition, but it’s still more accessible than most cruisers. Turn on the key and the white backlit LCD display shows a big, easy-to-read numerical speedometer and fuel gauge to the right. The two-piece seat offers a wide, well-padded saddle for the rider, while the pillion seat is raised and narrower.

The GV650’s strong rumble originates from its 647cc, liquid cooled, V-Twin motor; the very same one that does duty on the GT 650R. Hyosung has however made changes to smoothen the transition. The GV650 now uses a five-speed gearbox and its gearing is focussed towards low stress riding. However, the 74bhp of power on offer is a smidgen more than the GT650R. Torque at 6.3kgm is also a shade more and kicks in 250rpm later at 7500rpm.

Generally, transplanting a sportsbike motor into a cruiser isn’t the best of ideas, but five minutes on the GV650 is enough to erase all my reservations. Partially because, the GV650 gets a five-speed gearbox with altered ratios and a taller final-drive for a more relaxed feeling ride. Final-drive is also via a belt for lower noise levels and maintenance. Crucially, the GT650R’s V-Twin doesn’t like being revved too high and remains happier going about its business lower down in the rev range, and is well suited for duty on the GV. Tweaks to the engine calibration have also resulted in a much cleaner power delivery. As a result, there’s ample response low in the rev range, and this only gets meatier as revs climb into the mid-range. The motor is responsive all-round, posting an impressive 0-100kph time of 5.1 seconds. 140kph comes up in under 15sec, which is neck-to-neck with its sportsbike sibling! However, push past an indicated 100kph and engine buzz crawls through the seat, up the handlebar and through the footpegs, gently reminding you it’s time to turn the pace down. On the GV650 too, the cruiser philosophy is best experienced as the speedo clicks through the nineties. Slower traffic on the highway won’t be a problem either, as a flick of the wrist or a single tap at the mechanical feeling gearbox brings you quickly to the next stretch of open road.

Riding a cruiser isn’t about sheer performance, it’s more about the experience in the saddle. On the GV650, you feel a little like you’re sprawled on the motorcycle rather than sitting on it. The forward-set foot pegs have two stage adjustments, a boon for shorter riders. The wide handlebars aren’t overly tall and give the rider good leverage, making steering this 240kg bike no bother, even at lower speeds.

Despite its heft, the ride quality is more accommodating than expected for this type of motorcycle. The upside down front forks are adjustable for compression and rebound damping. The twin shock absorbers at the rear felt like they were set a bit too far on the soft side, resulting in a fair amount of pitching over choppy roads.

Sweeping through corners, it’s almost too easy to scrape the cruiser’s footpegs. The tubular double-cradle frame is stiff and the Bridgestone Battlax tyres are grippy, so the GV650 is easily enjoyed over a good set of switchbacks. Sure, the lean angles are only as generous as can be expected on a low-slung motorcycle like this. However, the rear suspension can get unsettled by mid-corner bumps if you push too hard. Getting the Hyosung slowed isn’t an issue, as its 284mm double discs offered strong bite for the front. All in all, the GV650 is an enjoyable cruiser to ride on a long road back home.

The GV650 makes a pleasant surprise from Hyosung. Reasonably robust build quality and attractive design make this a more substantial motorcycle than its siblings. Not only does it feel more durable, it’s also equipped with an engine that delivers impressive performance. Enjoyable dynamics add to its cruiser charm, even if a few rough edges remain.

Only Hyosung’s current premium pricing for its motorcycles in India could come in the way of the GV650’s fortunes in India. Price this motorcycle right (Rs. 5 lakh-estimated), and the GV650 is sure to make a winning formula for the Korean bike maker.