Hyosung GT250R Review: xBhp’s Ride Report
Text: Satadal Payeng
Photos: Gourab Das/ MG
Special mention: I would like to thank MG for the amazing photos and the best ever photo shoot of my life till date.
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”.
My one liner about the bike 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”
It is difficult for someone who is not that much into bikes, to believe that the GT250R is not a 10 lakh plus bike..!! 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 out of place 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.
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..!! 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.. The next day, they’ll rate the R15 as a comfortable street bike. 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..!!
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.
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 felt 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 has 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.
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”
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”
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.
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 was 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”
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.
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.
GT250R is not a bike that everyone can live with. Due to its size, weight and extreme 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
Type: Air cooled V-Twin (75˚) with oil cooler
Bore x stroke: 57 mm x 48.8 mm
Compression ratio: 10.1:1 ~ 10.3:1
Max. Power: 27 Ps @ 10,000 rpm
Max. Torque: 22.07 Nm @ 8,000 rpm
Fueling: Fuel Injection
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
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
Battery: 12v, 10 Ah
Honda CBR150R review
After parting ways with Hero Motors, Honda seems to be trying real hard to capture its share of the Indian motorcycle market and seems to have some serious plans under its belt. After capturing a large pie of the premium motorcycle market with the CBR250R, they have set their eyes on the next big thing, the 150 cc performance segment which is exactly where the volumes are. They had unveiled the CBR150R during the Auto Expo 2012 and it was clear on that day itself that if Honda could price it really well, they would give some serious competition to the current segment leader, the Yamaha R15.
Text: Sunil Gupta
And while the xBhp GIR team was circumnavigating the country, they finally launched the CBR150 in the market. During our stay in Bhubaneshwar, we got our hands on this baby CBR, thanks to PGL Honda there. They gave us the machine for a full day to ride around on and it was good as we had a G2G ride to Konark and some 30 kms further towards Puri planned for the same morning. So we got a nice respectable distance to do on the bike and get to know it well enough to put up a reasonable first-ride review here for you all.
The bike looks more compact and proportionate than its 250cc elder and so appears more lithe and athletic. It is of course lighter than the 250 and almost the same weight as the R15 V2, its contemporary and a direct competitor. Comparisons with its elder sibling are inevitable and so seen externally the exhaust is a tad smaller and a closer inspection reveals a steel tube constructed twin spar frame in place of the Trellis type diamond frame on the 250. The plastic panels are again almost identical except for being slightly smaller and somewhat skinnier. The switchgear apparently comes off the Stunner sans the ‘engine kill switch’ and the ‘pass switch’ is a disappointment. The sitting posture is sporty and quite like the 250 with the pegs a trifle more rearset in the 150. Overall fit and finish is not absolute Honda but it is not that bad either. Paint quality is good and the overall touch and feel factor is appreciable. The 150 in fact looks a lot better aesthetically than the 250. But then ‘looks’ are very subjective and so not much stress can be laid on such individual opinions.
The engine has a now common layout of 4-valves, a double overhead cam and an under-square bore to stroke relation, makes for a quick revving and free breathing engine. And so it is with this little Honda motor. The 149cc engine produces almost 18 BHP but a very high 10500 rpm. The same story repeats itself for peak torque which at 12.66 Nm is again met at a high 8500 rpm. The 6-speed box, though slick and smooth, further adds to the pilot work levels here. This makes for a bike that needs to be revved hard and high to get to its promised performance levels. Not that the engine does not like to rev but then doing it say for an hour during a longish cross-city commute is stressful for the rider at least if not for the bike. The R15 peaks a couple of thousand rpm’s below this 150 from Honda and so apparently this 150 is a handful when used within city. The engine showed no signs of fatigue though and neither did it appear to heat up more than normal during the short stint we had the bike for. We cannot give any specific mileage figures after just a few hours of usage but somewhere between 30-35 kmpl seems relevant.
Handling is appreciable on all counts. Though not as flickable as the Duke or as razor sharp as the R15, this CBR manages pretty quick turn-ins and with good sense of security for the rider. On smooth tarmac the bike feels planted and requires just a nudge to change direction seamlessly. The suspension is just the right mix between plush and hard, a combination that one sorely misses on the 250 CBR. The stock tyres were MRF Zappers and yet the bike felt very poised during hard cornering. Cross wind stability is good, something we appreciated when riding next to the sea on the way to Puri from Bhubaneshwar. The seat felt good during the short 60 km run and we feel a little more firmness in the padding would make for more comfort during day long runs on the open road. Pillion comfort is a lot better than it is on both the R 15 and the KTM Duke 200. There’s a lot more of the ‘spaciousness’ element associated with the butt-perches on this 150.
We did not use the bike after dark and so cannot comment on the headlight performance but seeing the size and shape of the reflector and inferring from the on-paper specs, this should be similar to its elder sister the 250. Instrument console looks a trifle down-market compared to the 250 as it comes without the silver edges and such frills. But it is functional and quite legible even in bright sunlight. Switchgear as told elsewhere comes from the Stunner and is functional but feels out of place on a premium product like this one. The brakes are sharp, give great feedback and did not fade despite repeated usage in hot weather.
Pricing is one Achilles’ heel that this new entrant from the Honda stables has been burdened with. More expensive than both the Yamaha R 15 V2 and the KTM Duke 200 and with not any spectacular gains either in terms of performance or additional value for money, Honda will have a hard time convincing prospective buyers as to the additional premium in the price. The CBR150r does have that Honda racing DNA carousing through its insides and it shows in bright flashes when you push the bike through the paces. What remains to be seen is how the motorcyclist in India takes to this bike that comes forth as a mix of the commuter, tourer and a track machine.