Ride Review/Experience of the Garware-Hyosung GT650R
Foreword: "At the outset I would like to express my gratitude towards Garware Motors for arranging a ride experience of their GT650R bike for me last Saturday. I picked up a white GT650R from their showroom at Bhandarkar Road in Pune and took it to for a 100 km ride to Lavasa and back. The terrain consisted of mostly smooth roads with twisties round the ghat/hill sections."
+ Attention grabber in Indian traffic
+ “Boy racer” riding stance / looks / attitude
+ Decent handling
+ Manageable seat height for a short guy
- Issues with the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection)
- Vibey engine
- Budget finish on cycle parts
Looks/Styling: ‘”Big, Burly looks; reminiscent of the Super Sports bikes from the 1980’s-90’s”
A copule of decades back our Bollywood silver screen protagonists used to a bit “Pulmpy”. Being “well fed” (Mota-Taaza) was considered a symbol of being prosperous. Unlike the current crop of actors where “lean is in” and “six packs” are common and almost de-facto, things were a bit different back then.
With its bulbous fairing and huge tank, the GT650R does have a brawny look to it. But then the styling of the GT650R is also reminiscent of how big bikes were styled back a decade or two. Unlike the current trend of designing bikes by making them compact and light, the GT650R is still styled in a big and bulky way.
But to most Indians who have hardly seen Super Sports bikes in flesh (thanks to import laws till a couple of years back), being big (Mota-Taaza) would definitely be still more desirable/impressive than lean, compact designs.
• GT650R Single Tone: Rs 4,85,000 (Ex showroom) & Rs 5,36,000 (On Road Pune)
• GT650R Dual Tone: Rs 5,00,000 (Ex showroom) & Rs 5,52,000 (On Road Pune)
Fit &Finish: “Could improve for a bike which costs half a million (plus) Indian rupees”
At around Rs. 5.35 Lakhs (On-road Pune) the GT650R is worth a small fortune for a middle class Indian. One can get a decent hatch back car for that kind of amount. After spending such an amount one would expect high levels of fit & finish.
The GT650R looks good and impressive under showroom spotlights and even on the road. But get closer and the details (or the lack of it) becomes apparent. The plastic quality of the dashboard, the finishing on the clip on handle bars, levers, the quality of material used on the seat and even the decals used on the fairing looks and feels a bit budget fare.
Riding Stance/Ergonomics: “Super Sports inspired riding stance fulfills “boy racer” dreams”
Being on the shorter side, I was a bit nervous regarding the seat height of the GT650R. The specifications sheet did read “790 mm” but I wasn’t convinced. But when I did get astride the GT650R, the seat height was pleasantly manageable for me.
But still one has to be careful while taking a u-turn on the GT650R as it has a large turning radius also the low set handle bars interfere with the tank at full lock. The 215 Kgs of kerb weight also makes pushing around the GT650R more than a handful.
The riding stance on the GT650R is extremely sporty. With the handlebars set lower than the tank, its makes for an aggressive and crouching riding stance. Not only does the GT650R have the looks of a full sized Super Sports bike, it’s got even a riding stance to back it up.
Personally I found the extreme crouched riding stance too uncomfortable to ride for more than 30 mins at a stretch. The extreme riding position was punishing my forearms and upper back which actually got a bit sore the next day. But that is how a Super Sports riding position is supposed to be set up as.
One issue with the bulky tank of the GT650R is that it gets in way of the rider’s abdomen. Guys with a prominent paunch will definitely find riding the GT650R a tough chore.
Clutch & Gearbox: “Slightly Notchy”
The clutch on the GT650R did not give me any issues but the shift quality of the gearbox was a bit notchy in operation. With the engine running and the bike stationary, it was difficult to return back to neutral after the first gear was engaged. Although there were no missed gears or false neutrals encountered during the ride the shift quality of the GT650R could certainly improve.
GT650R - Specifications
Type: Liquid cooled, DOHC, 8-valve, 90 Degree v-twin,
Engine Capacity: 647cc
Max Power: 73.6 Ps / 54.2kW @9,000 RPM
Max Torque: 60.9Nm @7,500RPM
Fuel System: Fuel injection
Transmission: 6 - speed
Length x Width x Height: 2090mm x 700mm x 1,135mm
Wheel Base: 1,435mm
Seat Height: 790mm
Front: Semi floating Double discs, 4 pistons calipers,
Rear: Single disc, 2 piston caliper Suspension
Kerb Weight: 215kg
Fuel Efficiency: The showroom guys quoted a figure of around 17-18 km/l for the GT650R, which after the 100 km ride, I found was more or less accurate for the bike.
Engine Performance: "Vibey engine, EFI wasn't sorted”
The GT650R comes to life with a rather loud roar of the twin cylinders. But what hit me instantly was the vibrations from the twin cylinders. V-Twin cylinder engines are inherently vibration prone compared to inline engines but coupled with the large 650 cc engine, the vibes on the GT650R was quite prominent.
The engine does have a good low and mid end grunt and it’s easy to reach 140-150 km/hr pretty effortlessly. Top speed will be easily another 30-40 km/hr more. But then it’s just that holding on to 150 Kmph itself is easier said than done thanks to the engine which seems to have a mind of its own. Coupled with the extremely sporty riding position, riding above 8,000 rpm for long periods will make the palms go numb.
During the ride, I did face some issues with the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injeciton) of my test bike. The GT650R that I rode misfired quite a few times. Especially noticeable while downshifting/engine braking. Probably the test bike that I rode needed some kind of tuning up (similar misfiring used to occur on my Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi bike as well).
The engine also heats up a lot (which is by the way a typical trait with motorcycles with big engines). Especially in slow moving traffic the engine heat becomes really bothersome and your inner thighs feel that they are next to a "tandoor". Things do get better once you hit the open road.
Handling & Braking: “ Good enough to keep you entertained”
Given the Super Sports type looks and a Super Sports type riding stance it would be a shame if the handing doesn’t live up to the corner carver attitude.
The handling is good enough to get the GT650R some brownie points. I wouldn’t say that it as forgiving and stable as the Ninja 250R but at the same time it is evidently better than the handling of the 2011 Ninja 650R. I found the brakes, especially the front a bit too sharp to my liking, but then again compared to the current Ninja 650R, it is a better handling & braking package.
On the race track the GT650R would not score very highly for its handling as a track tool but for highway rides, it is good enough to keep the rider entertained.
USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of the GT650R
In terms of engine performance, the GT650R is NOT a true middle weight super sports bike like the (v-twin) Ducati 848, (triple inline) Triumph 675 or the famed inline 4 cylinder fearsome four’s i.e the Kawasaki ZX-6R, Suzuki GSX-R 600, Honda CBR600RR, and Yamaha R6.
The GT650R is actually comparable to what are basically street bikes like Kawasaki Ninja 650R/ER-6F both in terms of engine performance and also in its pricing. But then 70 odd bhp is more than enough to satisfy one’s need for speed.
In terms of looks I am sure that 99.9999% of “desi” guys/gals out there (in front of whom you’ll be riding this bike), will be convinced that the GT650R is a bike which is on the same level (performance/looks/attitude/flaunt value) with bikes like the R1 & Hayabusa just because of the way it looks..!! And that itself is a huge motivation for most guys to put down half a million rupees for this bike.
Summing up: “The GT650R is a hard edged character..”
Along with the GT650R, Gareware had also arranged for a ride experience of the ST7 cruiser. Compared to the GT650R the ST7 had overall better finish. The engine on the ST7 was also smoother and revved more eagerly than the GT650R’s engine. But at the end of the day it was the GT650R which left an impression on me.
The GT650R might be crude, unrefined and might not have the best finish. But I have to admit that it does seem to have a character. The punishing riding position, the sporty handling, the “Big Bike” looks all combine to create a bike with a character that is “rough-hard edged”.
Hyosung GT650R Photos:
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