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Review: Hyosung GD250N
Driven May 2014
The quirky looking specimen you see above is a pre-production version of the naked sportsbike DSK-Hyosung plans to launch in India, in the next few months. As you read about this not-yet-final version, the Korean bike maker is almost ready with an India-spec model, awaiting a thumbs up from the authorities.
So why review the bike at this point, you ask. Well, for the same reason as why a chef tastes his food before sending it out of the kitchen. Or why you would drop in and check on your under-construction dream home. All to make sure the end result is exactly what you had in mind. So when we tested the ‘almost there’ GD250N, that’s what we went there for – to check if Hyosung has gotten the plot right with this motorcycle.
And get it right it has. This particular motorcycle is a hand-assembled GD250N, brought to India especially for the 2014 Auto Expo. Although the bike featured here is a Korea-spec model, we don’t expect its handling and performance to differ too much from the bike that goes on sale in India in June.
Back to the plot. From the moment you set your eyes on it, the GD convinces you of its intentions – this is no commuter bike. This thing can be your daily ride while offering more fun at its bars. Its ‘KTM-inspired’ design is attractive, and a closer inspection shows that Hyosung has paid some attention to the details. What we liked on the GD were its triangular headlamp with the tiny cowl on top, the long fuel tank
with its geometric designs going all the way to the rear seat, the exposed rear monoshock, those neat white alloys and the attractive rear-end. Overall, the GD looks and feels like a very compact motorcycle.
The GD250N’s primary responsibility will be to light up those boring daily commutes while also being able to handle long weekend rides effortlessly. And in our 300-odd km ride over the course of two days, we found the GD well equipped for the Indian road conditions thrown at it. The 250N’s sporty stance and tipped-forward seating position make you think it won’t be a comfortable ride in slow city traffic, but to our surprise, commuting in congested Pune traffic was a breeze. But it would have helped if the handlebars didn’t require the rider to stretch out all that much.
Manoeuvring through traffic or changing direction at city speeds, the GD follows rider inputs dutifully. It isn’t as nimble as the 200 Duke, but isn’t too far off either. The Hyosung loses points with its wide turning radius, which makes U-turns quite a task. That aside, it’s quite a capable tourer, and cruising at triple-digit speeds is easily done.
High-speed stability is good, thanks to the firm suspension set-up. Not to worry though, because it isn’t stiff enough to rattle your bones on broken surfaces. Rather, it maintains a good balance between comfortable ride and sharp handling. It isn’t shy of changing direction quickly and can be thoroughly enjoyed on twisty mountain roads.
The most impressive bit about this Hyosung is the newly-developed liquid-cooled, 249cc, single-pot motor, and the 6-speed gearbox combination it houses. In its current state of (Korean-spec) tune, the GD250 managed to tackle both, urban chaos and high-speed cruising quite well.
Power delivery is linear and very useable from as low as 3,000rpm all the way to its redline at 9,500rpm. It also pulls sweetly in higher gears at lower engine speeds without stressing the motor, and doesn’t call for frequent gear changes. We understand DSK-Hyosung is working on the India-spec motor to further suit our riding conditions, which gives us hope that things will only improve from here on.
That said, our initial impressions of this single-cylinder engine are positive, and it felt better in terms of power delivery compared to the twin-cylinder, 250cc motor from the Korean’s sportsbike range. It’s a good thing that Hyosung has decided to bring its single-pot motors back into production after a brief interval.
The gearbox too felt smooth to use but we did experience occasional false-neutrals and unusual rev limits at 4,500rpm in fourth gear. Nonetheless, this being a pre-production model, we expect these glitches to be ironed out by the time the road-ready version comes to India.
Fit and finish levels have been good, and build quality doesn’t look cheap either. Rider comfort is well taken care of, and while the pillion seat may not be as comfortable, it’s still a bit better than the wafer-thin seat on the KTM.
The Hyosung GD250N has a very capable rival in the KTM 200 Duke, which rules the roost when it comes to power-to-weight and value for money. And with 155kg of weight and 27bhp on tap, the GD is quite some distance behind.
And when it comes to pricing, the Hyosung may be at a further disadvantage. Since it will be assembled in India, the GD is expected to cost upwards of Rs 1.6 lakh, which is around Rs 30,000 more than the Duke’s tag.
And so, even before it gets here, the Hyosung GD250N certainly has its work cut out.
Liquid-cooled, 1-cyl, 249cc, 27bhp, 24.17Nm, 6M, fuel tank: 11 litres, 36kpl, 155kg, wheelbase: 1,346mm, ground clearance: 135mm, Rs 1.6 - 1.8 lakh (estimated)
The GD250N seems to be a well-engineered product, but Hyosung will need to work hard to match KTM’s attractive pricing.