Ringleader: Eric Putter
MSRP (2009): $6099
Average Fuel Mileage: 41 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: EBC Double-H Superbike brake pads, Encore Performance fender-eliminator kit, turn signals and flasher relay, Puig windscreen, Spider grips, Spiegler brake lines, Two Brothers Racing M-2 slip-on and P1-X Power Tip.
Slumbering through winter hibernation in an un-heated, East Coast garage, my long-term Hyosung woke up to a few fixes and upgrades.
The bike's weak-willed, wooden-feeling, dual-piston front calipers were first in line for aftermarket attention. A swap to EBC's sintered copper alloy, Double-H Superbike brake pads ($36.21 per pair; www.ebcbrakes.com) yielded better feel and greater stopping power with less effort. Still not quite up to modern standards, the braking system got Spiegler hydraulic lines ($119.95 front, $56.95 rear; www.brocksperformance.com). The stainless-steel replacements provide firmer lever and pedal feel, as well as expansion-free performance. And the 2010 GT650R's higher-spec, four-piston front calipers are on order to deliver yet more braking power.
The toughest part about bolting on the Two Brothers exhaust was hacksawing this flange off
Next up: a beautiful Two Brothers Racing M-2 slip-on ($499.98; www.twobros.com) in a sweet carbon-fiber weave to replace the clunky muffler, saving 7.4 pounds. It's super-loud as delivered, so we toned down the bark with Two Bros' P1-X Power Tip ($34.98), which allegedly lowers noise output 3-4 decibels with no significant reduction in power outout. The net result is still a bit loud for suburban riding; we'll judge its efficiency when the bike goes back to the dyno with a new fuel-injection controller.
An Encore Performance fender-eliminator kit ($94.99; www.hyosung.biz) drops another pound from the hefty Hyo and spruces things up a bit as well. This simple, black-painted steel bracket came with Encore's smallish,1 x 1-3/4--inch LED turn signals ($32.99) and flasher relay ($24.99). But even with decent instructions, installation took 2 hours. Once the tail section's 15 fasteners were removed, mounting required drilling two holes in the plastic undertray and rearranging the flasher relay plug's wires.
Another "vanity mod" was replacing the GT's silly looking, dimpled windscreen with a 3mm-thick, high-impact acrylic Puig Racing shield ($84.95; www.puigusa.com). A bit taller than the stock screen, its light-smoke coloring complements the Hyosung's looks.
The rear grab rail was deleted, subtracting another 2.2 lbs. This left two unsightly inden
Back on the functional side, a set of Spider Grips' dual-layer Slim Line SLRs ($16.95; www.spidergrips.com) quells some of the V-Twin's vibes before they get to my hands. They would work better with a set of bar-end weights (the 650R's aluminum bars have none), though the current handlebar setup means more efficient vibe-canceling will have to wait.
This newfound stop-and-go power put a dent in fuel mileage, especially since the bike has been ridden progressively harder with the latest changes. After replacing the malfunctioning brake lever with an Encore Performance unit ($19.99) that looks suspiciously similar to the ones employed on most 1990s Hondas, the GT650R has proven to be a trouble-free ride. Next time we'll focus on suspension and ergonomic mod's to make rolling up miles easier.