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Review: Hyosung GT250R
Driven July 2012
Over the last decade, the rise in engine capacity in bikes has been a painfully slow crawl, from 150cc to 180, then to 200, and so on... But that rise in cubic capacity has not been matched by a rise in the number of cylinders from one to two in the quarter-litre class – after all the fuss, there’s still only one twin-cylinder 250cc bike in India, the Kawasaki Ninja 250.
Trouble is, sure, the Ninja does have twins that pack lots of punch, but it’s let down by a dated instrument cluster, limited colour options (green and black) and the lack of updates since its launch three years ago – three reasons why we think the Rs 3 lakh price tag is not justified.
Enter the Hyosung GT250R, which promises to bring sports biking to the masses. If the Comet badging on the bike looks familiar, don’t be puzzled. This is the same company that brought you the Comet 250 twin-cylinder bike under the Kinetic badge back in 2003. Trivia aside, thanks to Garware, Hyosung is back with a 250 and yes, this is a V-twin.
Unlike the Comet, which was a naked street bike, the GT250R is clad from head to toe. And it looks exactly like its GT650R sibling. Parked flank to flank, it’ll be hard to tell which one carries the smaller engine.
On the surface, the two-tone paint job and twin air intakes on either side of the headlight contribute to the sporty look. The GT250R is dimensionally the bigger bike compared to its rivals, the Ninja 250R and the CBR 250R. And like every good Korean value-for-money product, the GT250R comes feature packed, with dual disc brakes in front, inverted front forks, projector headlamps and an LED taillight – none of those are available on the Ninja or the CBR. On the flip side, a closer look at the GT250R reveals panel gaps in the fairing, and overall fit and finish was nowhere close to its Japanese rivals.
Back in the office, after a long, pointless discussion on which bike the GT250R borrows its design cues from, we had a go at it. First thing you notice when you get this bike running is the extreme riding position. It reminds you more of a litre-class bike, on which you typically have to stretch all the way forward to grab the handlebars. This is great if you decide to take the bike out for a track day, but in city traffic or over long rides, it can get tedious.
Add to that the large fuel tank and the bike’s overall proportions, and you see why low-speed manoeuverability in traffic feels compromised. These would normally be compromises you could live with if a twist of the throttle sent the bike rocketing forward. In the GT250R, that doesn’t happen either. On paper everything looks perfect – the 250cc V-twin cranks out 28bhp and 22Nm of torque, which sounds strong. But out on the road, the GT250R lacks the punch we’ve come to expect from such bikes. The Honda CBR 250R had a lot more low-end grunt despite having only one cylinder.
Still, things improve past 5000rpm – keep it on the boil and you can squeeze performance out of this bike. It’s not that the motor lacks power; the GT250R reaches triple-digit speeds quickly and stays there without fuss. It’s just that it delivers all that power more like a dull old family car than a sports bike.
Power aside, the bike handles pretty well at higher speeds. Ride is just right – it’s not too harsh on your spine even when you ride over some potholes. Corners very well too, especially given how big this bike is.
Overall, the engine needs more low-end grunt, and riding position needs to be less extreme. If you’re in the market for a good-looking sports bike, the Hyosung GT250R ticks all the right boxes. It does everything its Jap rivals do, but not with the same level of refinement.
A much-needed option to the Ninja 250R. Comes packed with features not seen in this segment. Looks the part but the lack of power disappoints.