Text – Faisal Khan; Pictures – Om Vaikul
Bike Tested: 2014 Hyosung GD250N
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 2.0 lakhs (est.)
The GD250N is a fierce rival to the Duke 200 and can get Hyosung the needed volumes.
The last two years have been a massive step in the right direction for affordable motorcycling. Credit does go to KTM for shaping up the sub 500cc segment with three very exciting offerings (with three more to follow). The success of the Duke 200 and Duke 390 has made others take notice but Hyosung is among the first to come up with a reply, with the GD250N, an all new, quarter-litre bike which is set to hit Indian roads later this year to compete head to head with the KTM Duke 200. The Hyosung GD250N is a naked street-fighter and on paper alone, it has the fire power to give the Austrian branded yet made in India motorcycle a serious run for its money. We got astride a prototype version of the Hyosung GD250N and here are our first impressions.
One look at the Hyosung GD250N and it’s amply clear that the KTM Duke 200 has been the inspiration for this quarter-litre naked. Just like the Duke, body panels are kept to a minimum and that really gives this bike massive street presence. The detailing on the GD250N is immaculate, we love the white finished alloy wheels which are given company by the white finished frame and offset monoshock. The GD250N has an underbelly exhaust which looks a bit too bulbous and that becomes apparent as this ends up scraping speed-breakers due to the low positioning. With a pillion rider on the GD250N, the underbelly exhaust scrapes every small bump on the road and since this is a prototype bike, we reckon DSK-Hyosung will resolve this issue before the bike goes on sale.
The Hyosung GD250N gets adjustable levers (only for the brake and not the clutch). The bike has a split seat with air vents on the sides. The seat has good cushioning but contrary to what it might appear, the GD250N doesn’t have an upright seating position like the KTM Duke. Instead, the posture is more sporty and you do end up leaning a bit forward with weight being transfered to your hands. The tank appears to be large but can swallow in just 11-litres of fuel. The rear styling is where this motorcycle looks the best with a tidy tail, LED tail light and wide rubber. The tyres are ironically the same size as that of the KTM Duke – 110/70/17 front and 150/60/17 rear. They are also the same make, aka MRF RevZ.
The instrument cluster is all digital and turn on the bike and it flashes the message “To The Max”. The console is quite large and thus easy to read on the go. It has neatly placed functions, like the gear shift indicator on the right, a large digital tachometer on the top and a speedometer right in the line of sight. There is the usual fuel, temperature, odo and trip meters but there isn’t the multi-information display like seen on the Duke, which showcases a plethora of information like range, distance to service, average speed, etc.
At the heart of the matter is a new 249cc, liquid-cooled, 4-valve, single-cylinder motor which outputs an impressive 28 BHP of peak power at 8500 RPM and 24 Nm of peak torque at 7000 RPM. This engine is a modern unit as can be seen by the specs itself. The GT250R has a V-Twin mill but has lesser output while also using air and oil cooling. It is also matched to a 5-speed gearbox while the GD250N gets a 6-speed unit. With significantly lesser weight to lug around, the GD250N will easily be faster than the GT250R and that became very apparent as soon as we gave this single the beans.
The Hyosung GD250N has quite a lot of power and it does pull with urgency although it doesn’t feel frantic like the KTM. Power delivery isn’t the smoothest around and the fuelling wasn’t sorted on the pre-production unit we sampled. The GD250N does rev to its 9500 RPM without much fuss and the sound from the motor is quite exciting to the aural senses. This bike has the performance and given the higher output, it can easily outrun the KTM Duke 200. Top speed is expected to be north of 145 km/hr. The 6-speed gearbox isn’t the smoothest around and feels notchy to operate. On our short ride, we did not face any heating from the engine.
The Hyosung GD250N uses a truss frame and the bike is quite light, weighing in at just 145 kgs. The low weight does aid in the nimbleness of this machine and it feels easy to chuck it around corners with plenty of grip on offer. The handlebar is well weighed too but feels a bit inconsistent as you turn lock to lock. The front uses upside-down forks while the rear uses a monoshock and the suspension itself is on the stiffer side resulting in the ride quality being too sporty for our road conditions. Braking duties are taken care by 300 mm and 230 mm petal discs at the front and rear with good enough stopping power although ABS should be offered considering Hyosung will price the GD250N at a premium over the KTM Duke 200.
The Hyosung GD250N is quite a likeable machine but pricing will play a major part in the success of this street-naked. The problem in this segment is that Bajaj-KTM have really taken the game forward and competing on pricing alone has become impossible for rivals. With the GD250N set to arrive via the CKD route, there is no doubt that this Hyosung won’t undercut the Duke 200. In that case, Hyosung will have to offer excellent quality, reliability and a compelling service experience to attract buyers to the GD250N, a motorcycle which looks quite promising at first sight. The glitches on our prototype bike are likely to be solved before the production model goes on sale and that will definitely make the GD250N a worthy rival to the Duke 200 in the Indian market.
The GD250N is the most exciting bike in the Hyosung lineup currently. It looks the part, has the hardware and the power with right pricing being the only thing standing between it and success.
* Engine output
What’s Not So Cool
* No ABS
* CKD price will put it at a disadvantage