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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 Hyosung GT650R - Ride Review

Cool Sunday early morning - Check
Amazing ride companion - Check
Sumptuous breakfast - Check
Wide open roads - Check

It's time to fire up the 2011 Hyosung GT650R then!!

Thumb the starter of the GT650R and immediately you would realize, what an amazing motorcycle you are about to ride. I don't know what it is, but everything about the GT650R keeps you glued to the bike. It's very presence at stand still is a full blown thriller in itself, so one can just imagine what it would be like, if somebody rides it to it's potential. Crouched behind the wind screen, cruising an indicated 161 kmph @ 5.5k rpms and the only things that I see is a wide open NH8 in front of me and the rest of the world disappearing in the rvms faster than one can think of, and at that moment a thought spawns, as to why would I need anything bigger, anything faster and anything more fun than this, as the bike was easily doing faster than the fastest set of four wheels infront and then gone. The Hyosung GT650R is easily the closest you can get to riding a proper Super-Sports in India.

Thumb the starter and the 90° V twin bangs to life, idling at around 1.7k rpms. The note is brisk and there's a sense of urgency. Just a little fiddle with the throttle turns the tach niddle into a maniac who just wants to break free. Coming from the same gene pool of the mighty Suzuki SV650, the engine of the GT650R means serious business.

There's not much happening at the bottom low, but once you go past the 5k mark, things really go busy. The engine demonstrates a meaty middle and top-end. Here, we must realize that the GT650R belongs to the Super-Sports class, and it's meant for peak performance output. The distribution of torque is good all throughout the rev range and unlike the power distribution, you can feel the torque right from the bottom low.

Make Model
Hyosung GT650R
Liquid cooled, four stroke, 90° V twin, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder
Bore x Stroke 81.5 x 62 mm
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
Ignition  /  Starting
-  /  electric
Max Power
72.68 BHP @ 9000 rpm / 54.2 KW @ 8000 rpm
Max Torque
60.9 Nm  @ 7500 rpm
Transmission  / Drive
6 Speed  /  Chain-Drive

Shifting up through the cogs of it's 6 speed gear box, the GT650R builds up speeds faster than you would have expected initially and it comes as a surprise actually and specially for me and that was good as that allowed me to have more fun playing with the engine than I would have had otherwise. The gear box is smooth, but yes, it does demands a bit of effort for making the shifts, meaning it's not feather light and I actually liked that. Pushing through the gears, the speeds that I did were -
  • 1st gear - 65 kmph @ 6,500 rpms
  • 2nd gear - 120 kmph @ 6,000 rpms
  • 3rd gear - 150 kmph @ 6,500 rpms
  • 4th gear - 165 kmph @ 6,500 rpms
  • 5th gear - 161 kmph @ 5,500 rpms
  • 6th gear - 170 kmph @ 6,000 rpms

The engine felt butter smooth till the 6,500 rpm mark after which little vibes started to make their presence felt on the handle bar. But mind you, those were some sweet vibes, which I actually enjoyed and were nothing like "annoying". Such vibes actually make you feel that you are in midst of some serious business. One of the best things that I liked about the engine was that, it just refuses to heat up. After such a ballistic ride, the engine temperatures were very much in control and were no way brutal as one might expect.

But at the same time, as with the ST7, the fueling of the GT650R seemed lagging behind a bit if I suddenly opened the throttle. The power deliver instead of being instantaneous, was abrupt. This was not the case when I was opening the throttle smoothly,at which, the power delivery was absolutely smooth and linear.

Ride and Handling
The point to point stretch is of around 25 km from Manesar, Mcdonald resturant to Golf Course road through NH8. So, essentially there was ample length for me to check out as to how the bike holds up and how quick it is. Well, talking about being quick, it took me less than 15 mins to cover up the distance which included a 30 sec stop at a busy IFFCO chawk traffic light. So, there's no qualms about the GT650R being quick.

Doing speeds at an average of excess of 160 kmph in the entire stretch, there was not a single point when the GT650R showed signs of panic or getting out of control. The street and high speed stability of the GT650R is very pleasing and confidence inspiring.

Frame Steel, double pipe
Front Suspension
41mm Oil USD forks, 120mm wheel travel
Rear Suspension
Progressive linkage hydraulic monoshock, 100mm wheel travel
Front Brakes
2 x 300mm discs
Rear Brakes
Single 270mm disc
Front Tyre
Rear Tyre
Seat Height820.42 mm
215 kg
Fuel Capacity 
17 Litres

The front and rear suspensions provide excellent feedback as to what's happening front and rear. The rear suspension settings felt just ride for the high speed highway blast and felt very comfortable. I could even feel the feedback from the brake rotors of the twin 300mm discs which provide excellent braking performance all round. The rear brake also does an excellent job of shaving the excess speeds pretty quickly, though one has to careful with the rear brake as it might just develop a tendency to lock up.

The ergos of the GT650R, though are quite aggressive, but they are very much comfortable while riding on street. Get your riding posture correct and you won't feel any difficulties on wrist or on your back. One might laugh at this, but I found the saddle of the GT650R a bit more comfortable than the saddle of the ST7. I was feeling very much at home astride it and blasting through the traffic on NH8.

Once in motion, you don't really feel that the GT650R actually weighs 215kg kerb. It's very easy to change direction, and the cockpit provides ample room to the rider to do quick adjustments to lean the bike into corner. The GT650R just loves to corner, however coming out of the corner needs some efforts. The mid-corner performance of the GT650R was amazing the bike just loves to be thrown into the corners. The rubber on the GT650R was providing good traction, but I would have loved to have a different and more softer compound go in.

The slightly elongated wind screen does a wonderful job of cutting down the wind blast once you crouch behind it. Again, while crouched down too, I was having enough room to adjust and felt very much at ease.

All in all, one cannot complain about the ride and handling abilities of the GT650R in any way. If it's not better than it's Japanese counterparts, it's not lagging behind either.

As I've mentioned earlier too, the equipments used on the GT650R is quite contemporary, if not flashy. The analog tach is fun to watch as it dances on it's axis to the tune of the throttle. The speedo is digital along with the temperature gauge and other metering. The instrumentation cluster might look dated in comparison to it's counter parts, but it displays all the required information and that also in a very prompt manner, so one should not have any complains about that. I would have loved if there was the immobilizer to incorporated in the GT650R, but nevertheless, it's a good to have feature and one should not crib if it's not there.

Like with the ST7, the horn sounds quite puny :)

Quality and Reliability
To be honest, between the ST7 and the GT650R, the ST7 is a better built bike. The choice of plastic does give a budget feeling and entire fairing assembly should have been given a little more attention to. The choice of material used for the controls like the engine kill switch, the indicator switch, leaves a feeling of wanting for a bit more. But what the heck, we have to be fair with the bike. Having ridden the GT650R and known a bit, as to how things work, I'm sure that these small things are nothing which cannot be sorted out with after markets. The plus side is, we are getting a performance machine which can out perform the majority in any given day.

Overall, Hyosung has a an absolute winner in their stable in the form of the GT650R and is the ideal platform to learn for anybody who wishes to graduate to the liter class in future. It's a must have machine, that would give one the clear picture as to what sports biking is all about. More than anything else, it's a great learning tool and I'm very thankful to the Hyosung Gurgaon team, for giving me this opportunity to explore the GT650R and myself.

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  1. Good review.Well written and elaborate.

  2. @Anonymous
    Glad you liked it :)

  3. nicely put together views on the 650! liked it!

  4. At what holy (or should i say unholy) hour of the day were you able to ride @ 160 kmph on that stretch where its hard to see anything beyond the rattling butts of monstrous trucks! :)

    But assuming that you did, it must have been a fantastic experience. I wouldn't want to be a pillion rider anytime at those speeds though :)

    Nice review and good photo coverage too.

  5. @Anonymous
    Thanks for appreciating the review and your comments.

    ROFL.... "rattling butts of monstrous trucks" :D... thanks to having a look at the review :)

    That unholy hour was early morning around 8ish I guess, when the rattling butts where there, but a bit spaced out, and with the kind of handling the GT650R has, you can always make your way through :)

    Well, not at those speeds, but would love take you for a ride one day (I mean on my motorcycle) and then discuss your expressions after that :)

  6. Great review there Sajal dude.. one can make out from your enthusiastic review that you are very much into the "Super Sports" genre of motorcycles.

    You haven't mentioned whether the GT650R is in your wishlist.

  7. Payeng Dude, the GT650R has to be on the wishlist of any motorycle enthusiast who loves sports bikes. It's just such an amazing package.

    It's such a great era in Indian Motorcycling that multiple options are now available in every segment of motorcycles.

  8. hope....I wud have been there with you as pillion rider :( but may be next time.

  9. @minu,

    aahaa, my dream pillion is back on my website!! Welcome back mam :)

  10. Hi,
    Very nice review, it was really enjoyable. I might book a red gt650r for me soon but i still am not sure about the service and spare issues, your review has given me a push that the bike is good..

    Had a small TD but couldnt take it above 6500 rpm, are the vibes too damn bad and any other bad thing you found about it?


  11. @Raj,

    Thanks for reading the article.

    Well, personally (and it might be only me), I was expecting some vibes from the motor, as it's characteristic to a V-Twin. There would be vibes and those vibes would be enjoyable, there has to be some feedback coming to you from the motor. I took the bike past 6.5k rpms, and I did feel vibes... but they were enjoyable and teased you to push it a bit more.

    It's a totally fantastic package to own.

    For the Spares and Service, well Hyosung in India is new as is Garware, and there might be some initial issues, but again that has been the case with every manufacturer who brought in their biggies. With time, things would smooth out for sure.

    Ride Safe :)

  12. @raj if ur in pune u can find husang out let in fc road n its sevice station in uni road near symbois international collg.. (some where round there)...


  13. @Dinesh,

    One of the GT650R owner I know claimed to have topped out at 210 Kmph, but I would say that something close to 200 would be more realistic.

  14. Hi Sajal,

    Great article!!!
    I am planning to buy this beauty soon ( 1-2 months), but just got some doubts that i need to clarify..

    1. is it balanced in traffic. (slow speed)
    2. what about the handling at 150 kmph.
    3. what about the servicing..
    4. pillon ride ? is it too lean on the rider.
    5. what speed you need to keep till first servicing.
    6. what about the breaking!!
    7. Ninja 650 better option ( suggestions please) - i dont like it much ;)

    lots of questions


    1. @Anonymous,

      So, here are the answers :)

      1) Absolutely. Balance in traffic is not problem at all. It's only that it feels a little heavey on the feet because of it's 200kg weight and little hight seat height. Apart from that no problems. I myself had taken it to a traffic light halt to check just that.

      2) Forget about 150, at 170 too, it's rock stable. I wish it only that fuel injection that tad bit smoother.

      3) Well pal, to tell you the truth, Ducati and Hyosung and two brand, who have been a let down a bit in terms of availability of spares and servicing. Not sure about your location, but please do confirm about the service availablity and spares. I know there has been a lot of blabbering about the serivce over the internet and specially on FB, but believe, it's not as bad as it has been projected to be.

      4) Pillion ride is not bad either, but yeah, would say that with the sporty seating position of rider, the pillion would be in for a cultural shock on this ;)

      5) Till first service, it's below 6k rpms at each gear

      6) Breaking is decent enough, but yeah, that's the first aftermarket change I would resort to if I had this bike.

      7) Well, man you cannot compare the Ninja with the GT in any way, very different bikes, and if you speak about a wholesome package, including quality, service and availablity of spares, then pal, Ninja is definitely a better package. With the 2012 version coming up with many design and cosmetic upgrades, I would suggest you feel up the Ninja 650R too before you make up your mind. But yeah, if you want a Super Sport in your budget (not sure when the Triumph Daytona would be launched) then the GT is your steed, but if you want a 650cc, do anything, go anywhere kinda motorcycle, then Ninja would be your best bete.

      Hope that helps.

  15. Great thorough review, well done. I'm looking at the 2012 version which is even better! Your thoughts and input have been helpful and appreciated, safe riding:-)
    New Zealand.

    1. Thanks Rob!! Do share your ride impressions :)

  16. Hey man, Picking up my GT650R after work today ! It's my first bike and im going to get it in about 5 hours !!!!! :D GREAT REVIEW MAKES ME WANT IT EVEN MORE

    1. Hey Stev,

      Thanks for coming and having a look at the review.

      All the best for your new ride. For a first bike, the GTR might give a fair bit of scare, but nothing much to worry. Honestly GTR has been thrashed for it's quality and what not. But my honest feeling is, that the GTR is an underdog with immense potential. Just maintain it well and it would give you the thrill of a life time. :)

      Ride Safe and Happy Riding.

  17. Thanks Sajal, Everything you mentioned was spot on. Have had the bike for just over a week and loving it ! Just a little problem with the FI light flashing at high RPM's which some people have been having issues with. Mechanic says it could be the coil or TPS. other than that it is truely a BEAST !

  18. Hi Sajal, Also .. can you recommend any modifications that could be made to the 2010 GT650R LAMS model that could make it that little bit better?

    1. @Steven

      I would suggest anything to shave off some weight off the bike would be amazing... like CF Slip On and other CF body panels would be amazing.

      Rest... be it the GT 650R or the Hayabusa.... the list of mods are endless :)

      Happy and Safe Riding man.. and keep us posted :)

  19. yes i feel the weight reduction is a must..go for an aftermarket exhaust like Tbr carbon..and there you lose easy 4 to 5 kgs..but the exhaust would cost another 20 to 25k..love the 2013 design..looks more sharp..hope with time they do a lot more changes..i have another 3 to 4 years only then ill be capable enough to buy a big bike..but still im a bike fanatic..can't help it..:)

  20. hey!!just wanted to know if they've got the naza blade edition and if it wud be worth it,but nyc review and congrats man,CHEERS!!FELLOW RIDER

    1. @Anonymous
      Nopes.. the Naza blade edition is not available here in India. Thanks for your comments and liking my writeup

  21. YOOO .. now I know who you are, I met you in the showroom on the same day, I was there to have a chat with the guys, although they dint have any reply for some of the questions I had such as 'cost of few spares' , 'service support' , etc...
    Kool review though, wudn't buy this bike as long as there is hope of triumph launching shop in India :)
    Good job buddy , Keep it up !! I live on Golf Course road too, lets catch up on beer, treat is on me.

    1. :) World is kinda small... and the Internet is even smaller

      I live in Sector 57 - not very far from Golf Course!! We can definitely meet up :)

  22. I own a GT650 and at 5,000 RPM the indicated speed is actually 121km/h. I don't know where you got the figure of 160km/h, but it is completely inaccurate.

    1. @Anonymous
      I for sure know what I read on the speedo and the tach - 160kmph @ 5500 rpm in the 6th cog. If you are still getting close to 121 kmph, then I guess, you need to get your bike checked coz honestly the numbers you are talking about are delivered by the Duke 390 which has almost half the power :)

    2. I also own a 2017 hyosung used gt650r. N i also cudnt go past 120kmph on highway @around 5000rpm. Am not happy wit gt650r so selling it n gonna buy ninja 650 or benelli 600i

  23. Just bot a used hyosung gt650r. Am horrified wit th riding position as th handle bar is so low it creates neck pain. N on th highway it suddenly pikd up speed to 120kmph then automatically slowed down to 85kmph it was shocking coz i was pulling th accelerator completely. Wanna sell 2017 hyosung gt650r asap n buy ninja650 or 600i. Benelli 600i is super awesome compared to this disastrous hyosung gt650r. N th bloody ģear shifts r f@#÷%_g so hard that i had literally pull my entire leg up to change a gear. WTF hyosung ???


Item Reviewed: 2011 Hyosung GT650R - Ride Review Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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