Ringleader: Eric Putter
MSRP (2009): $6099
Average Fuel Mileage: 44 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: Avon tires, Brock's Performance brake lines, Dynojet Power Commander, Hyosung handlebar, mounts, clutch cable and shift rod, Leo Vince muffler, Throttlemeister cruise control, Shad top case
Racking up the miles, this long-term episode includes ergo-nomic fixes, sport-touring upgrades and an injection of power that made the Hyosung more comfortable, competent and better-running.
To open up the ergos, the first order of business was removing the rearset plates that attach the footpeg assemblies to the frame. This mod shed nearly a pound while moving the pegs 11/4-inch forward and 1/4-inch down, but necessitated a shorter shift rod, which we sourced from Hyosung.
Drilling and tapping the top triple clamp let us adopt the handlebar from the GT650 naked
Next up, the R's clip-ons were swapped for the tubular handlebar and mounts from Hyosung's GT650 naked model. So equipped, the steel-braided front brake lines we installed previously needed to be replaced with a 3-inch-longer set ($119.95 from www.brocksperformance.com). A longer clutch cable was also sourced from Hyosung.
This yielded a 43/4-inch taller bar with a 1.5-inch shorter reach from the saddle, increasing long-range comfort. Swiveling the bar down so the front-brake master cylinder cleared our Puig aftermarket windscreen, the beta setup trapped the rider's hands between the grips and tank. Further experimentation with various aftermarket bars and mounts is needed.
Like waterproof riding gear and full-face helmets, cruise controls make the two-wheeled ex
A Throttlemeister mechanical cruise control and matching bar-end weight ($125 from www.throttlemeister.com) mostly quelled the buzzy V-Twin. In another nod to sport-touring, a 29-liter Shad SH29 top case ($100 in matte-black from www.shadusa.com) was installed on the passenger seat base.
Hyosung no longer imports the half-faired S-model, so I made my own. Removing the three-piece lower fairing, its 11 brackets and 34 fasteners dropped another 7.7 lbs. and gave the best of both worlds: a high-bar bike with real wind protection.
In a quest to boost the GT650's power output, drop a few more pounds and clean up its lean low-speed fueling, we bolted on a stealthy Leo Vince Oval Evo II exhaust ($379 from www.leovinceusa.com), teamed with a Dynojet Power Commander V ($369.95 from www.powercommander.com).
On Markbilt Racing's Superflow dynamo-meter (www.markbiltracing.com), this setup's peak gains of 2.3 horsepower and 1.2 lb.-ft. of torque don't tell the full story. In addition to dropping 3.3 lbs. of muffler weight, the LV and PC bestowed the GT motor with an additional 5-6 lb.-ft. of torque in the meat of the rev range-from 5300 to 6300 rpm-and 3-6 more horsepower from 4700 rpm all the way till the rev limiter kicks in at 10 grand. This setup clearly trounces the stock system, allowing the bike to run clean and smooth.
Even though the stock Bridgestone Battlax BT56 tires continued to offer good grip and were just past their half-life at 2200 miles, in the name of testing we had Hyosung of New Jersey (www.vespametuchen.com) spoon on a set of Avon VP2 Sports ($157.58 front, $226.13 rear from www.avonmoto.com). These high-performance, tri-compound skins offer good handling and traction in all conditions.
Over the past 2000 miles, a couple of small issues cropped up. First, the starter button broke off. Scouring Internet forums and talking with Hyosung dealers, this is a common problem rectified by purchasing a new right-side switch assembly. Next, the taillight bulb burned out-another simple fix.
More ominous was the Hyo's reaction to a heavy rainstorm. Trudging through axle-deep puddles in traffic, the motor went off-song, began running rough and then threatened to cut out below 2500 rpm. The neutral light stayed lit continuously, crazy codes flashed on the digital display and the horn stopped working. Thankfully, the bike never quit and, once it dried out, again ran normally.
Aside from this episode, the GT650R has cruised through its first 4000 miles without a hitch. In our next long-term installment, we'll tackle suspension upgrades, then transform the bike into a track-day weapon.