Ringleader: Eric Putter
MSRP (2009): $6099
Average Fuel Mileage: 44 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: Warning label removal
Never one to discriminate against bikes (or babes) based on their country of origin, I'm going to live with this sexy Korean for a year.
Hey, don't laugh-this is serious business. During our initial 1062-mile dance, the newly fuel-injected GT650R proved to be a friendly partner that doesn't do anything untoward when gently manhandled. Other than a faulty brake lever adjustment wheel, the GT didn't exhibit any weird peccadillos, slap my face or step on my toes too hard.
Midway through our first song, after blowing 50 percent past the deadline for its 1000-kilometer (621-mile) break-in service, the middleweight V-twin was remanded to Hyosung of New Jersey in Metuchen. At 912 miles, it got the full spa treatment, oil and filter change and valve inspection. Three hours and $288 later, a well-dressed mechanic reported that all eight valves were well within spec and nothing else needed more than a furtive glance.
Unfortunately, going forward, the GT's maintenance schedule calls for a peek under its valve covers every 6000 clicks (3728 miles). For comparison's sake, Suzuki lets the SV650's valve train bang around for 15,000 miles before a preliminary inspection. In the coming months, we'll see if Hyosung's vigilance is warranted.
Armed with a clean bill of health, the GT was strapped to the Ivan's Performance dyno, where it made 64.2 horsepower at 9000 rpm and 42.3 lb.-ft. of torque at 7500 rpm. Compare that to a stock SV650's 67-horsepower run on the same dyno.
The GT's two-piston calipers and 300mm discs look better than they work. Bringing the brak
Weighed on DeMan Motorsports' ultra-accurate racecar scales, the fully gassed, ready-to-ride GT rolled in at 473 pounds, minimally biased toward the rear end (232 lbs. front/241 lbs. rear). That's a full 44 lbs. heavier than the last SV650 Motorcyclist tested.
With the critical figures generated, initial fixes on the agenda include getting the front stoppers to stop and the engine vibes to stop vibing. Brake pads and lines will assuredly do the trick for the former, while a set of anti-vibe bar ends will likely cure the latter.
Moving forward, more cheap-and-dirty fixes will be thrown at the GT in search of its missing mojo. Being that Hyosungs don't enjoy the same sort of aftermarket support as their Japanese counterparts, finding bike-specific parts will be a challenge, but we'll search far and wide for suspension, motor and ergonomic possibilities.
The mission of this long-term evaluation is twofold: 1) Bring the GT650R's performance closer to that of an SV650 with relatively inexpensive, cost-effective fixes; and 2) put an untested Asian brand's wares through the ringer while objectively reporting on how it fared in our not-so-delicate hands.