Hyosung's GT650R Comet feels a bit bigger and bulkier than Suzuki's SV650S and is never quite as comfortable. The Korean bike's seat is a half-inch farther from the pavement, but the Suzuki's seat is a half-inch farther from its footpegs-a more noticeable difference than you'd think. The Comet's bars have more than an inch of extra rise but still put more weight on hands and wrists.
Meanwhile, the Avitar (we know Webster's says Avatar so save the e-mails) is genuinely comfortable for laid-back urban trolling. The mercifully humane riding position is actually roomier than a Harley-Davidson V-Rod or Honda's standard VTX1800.
Off The Record
Age: 35Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 128 lb.Inseam: 33 in.
Sitting on the GT650R Comet on L.A.'s hectic Western Avenue in the heart of Korea Town, waiting for photographer Kevin Wing to get set up, I read the warning label atop the gas tank: "Do not be touched on muffler because it is hot." I'd been trying to remain objective, but it was hard not to laugh.
Meanwhile, I was squirming in the seat. The Comet's fuel tank is wide, which made me grateful for my yoga classes. The turning radius is large, too, and a few hours spent making U-turns for Kevin's camera resulted in some close calls with parked cars. But otherwise, the bike wasn't that bad: It performed like every other 650cc twin I've ridden. I don't particularly care for the blinged-out paint scheme, but the Buddhist monk we met seemed to like it. To each his own.
The GV650 Avitar, on the other hand, definitely wasn't for me. It had been a long time since I'd ridden a cruiser, so I kept forgetting that my feet go forward and I can't late-brake at stoplights. Forget U-turns: This thing is so raked-out, I had to ride around the block! Despite my difficulties, I think cruiser fans will enjoy this bike. It looks cool, feels like you're sitting on the couch and is extremely easy to ride-as long as you're going straight.
Art Director, ATV Rider
HEIGHT: 5' 8"
WEIGHT: 128 lb.
INSEAM: 33 in.
Most of my street experience is on a Suzuki DR-Z400SM single, so that's what I had to base my opinion of the Comet GT650R on. Right off the bat I noticed how much more powerful the Hyosung was. When I found myself in a crowded pocket of traffic, I had the option of giving the bike a little throttle and zooming out of the claustrophobic spot in a hurry. The bigger bike felt a little heavier in slow turns, the ergos were a little cramped and first and second gear were a little rough when cruising along at a slow pace. But overall, I liked the bike. If I had to choose between the DR-Z and the Comet, it'd be Hyosung all the way.
My opinion changed after riding a Suzuki SV650S, however. The SV might be $500 more expensive than the Comet, but it's apparent where the extra money went. From build quality to performance, it really wasn't a fair fight. I'm not talking about splitting hairs here, either-the difference was obvious even to this beginner.
At six-grand the Hyosung is tempting, but my advice to other new riders is to wait a little longer and save your money for an SV.