Sep 26, 2011

9 Garware-Hyosung GT650R: Ride Review

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."

What’s Hot?:

+ Attention grabber in Indian traffic
+ “Boy racer” riding stance / looks / attitude
+ Decent handling
+ Manageable seat height for a short guy

What’s Not?:

- Issues with the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection)
- Vibey engine
- Budget finish on cycle parts
- Weight

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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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


Sajal said...

Pretty dissapointed?? :)

Shaiju B said...

Typical review from a biker next door. Thats what I felt after finishing the reading. Surpirsied to hear about the niggling problems regarding EFI for a 5 lac bike. After all one can get a car punching more power than this one for the same price.

Anonymous said...

I hope that they (Garware) take this review as an honest feedback and pass it on to Hyosung so that [they can they can] satisfying and even surpass our expectations in the future."
they can written twice...

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Sajal, I wouldn't exactly say that I am disappointed.. but now I am pretty sure that Super Sports riding position is not my kind of tea.

@Shaiju, thanks bro

@Above, thanks for the correction

Sajal said...


Well the Super Sports class does demand a level of physical fitness to be comfortable, specially the torso region and you made the point spot on when you said - "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." This would be the case with all Super Sports machines.

I was a bit surprised as you felt so much feedback from the engine. It can be a case that the bike you were riding did receive some unfair treatment and needed servicing. When I rode the GT650, there were fueling issues and vibes, but I felt that only past 7k rpms, and at such high rpms, I was already going ballistic.

I would say, unless and until the Indian market does not open up for the 600s, this is the best suited option, but the overall build quality definitely needs to go up and the weight needs to come down.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


I had the opportunity a true 600 cc Super Sports a few months back, and although the stance was extreme, the tank did not interfere with the abdomen too much on that bike.

The bike I had received had already clocked 2K.. so yes maybe.

The GT650R is a unique offering in India with some good "vibes" going for it.

Srikeerthi K S said...

Was expecting this after seeing your FB photos! A mota - taza review :)

SriGuru said...

Briefly owned a Hyosung 650 GT V-Twin (carb) - I enjoyed every second on it - of course the Kawasaki 250s are something, can't compare. Would buy easily the new discounted GT 650 V-Twin, although EFI is so different from carbs. My GT 650 impressed my friends that owned Buell, Harley, Kawasaki Pre-Ninja and the like...

shekhar said...

i have been hearing about the vibes issues with this bike....
Could u please compare it vibes with any other present indian bike ..... just to give an idea...... afterall a lot of vives can be irritating at times....

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