words - Mark Fattore
photos - Lou Martin
After a few quiet years, Hyosung has hit back hard

Korean brand Hyosung has been a massive success story in Australia, particularly since the Melbourne-based PS Importers became the national distributor in April, 2006.

PS Importers also has Triumph and Piaggio in its artillery, and also owns the well-known Peter Stevens Motorcycles dealerships in Victoria and South Australia (in the interests of transparency, I have to declare that I worked for PS Importers from 2005-2008. I, on the other hand, have nothing to do with Valvoline, Qantas or Telstra…).

The principal success for Hyosung has been the fully faired GT250R, which was the biggest selling 250cc in Australia until the Kawasaki Ninja 250 became the hottest quarter-litre ticket in town.

However, the GT250R was at the vanguard in proving that the 250cc market wasn’t the moribund waste land that many people – and a I dare say manufacturers – previously believed, and it’s undoubtedly been a trigger for a number of new releases over the last few years – or older models tarted up to current spec. And that’s been good news for novice riders.

The genesis of the whole Hyosung phenomenon has been great bikes at a bloody good price, and nothing has changed on that front, particularly as the brand is finally starting to reap the benefits of being a part of the massive S&T Group of Industrial companies.

Hyosung joined S&T in 2007 and, while it’s fair to say the relationship didn’t reach any giddy heights in the first couple of years, things have now bedded in and are moving along nicely, as I found out recently when I attended the Australian media launch for the 2010 650cc range of bikes, which have all moved to electronic fuel injection.

The 250s are also EFI in 2010, and we’ll be testing those at a later date.

There are four Hyosung 650s: the GT650 naked, GT650R sportsbike, GT650S tourer and GV650 power cruiser.

Unlike most manufacturers, which source their fuel injection systems externally, Hyosung doesn’t have to, which is another strategic benefit of being a part of the S&T family. For more information on S&T, click here.

Not only has the fuel injection given the 650s another level of refinement, but this internal collaboration has proved to be a major cost saving for Hyosung, which was originally looking at using Japanese fuel injection before it tapped its S&T buddies on the shoulder.

While EFI is the headline news, the three GTs also have a sharper, more modern look for 2010. There are also uprated brakes with four-piston calipers, revised instrument clusters, new satin finish handlebars, more streamlined tail pieces, new seats, new LED tail lamp, new clear turn signals, and new footpeg and pillion peg hangers.

Other than the clear signal lenses, the GV650 maintains the same styling.

The 650s are powered by a 90-degree liquid-cooled V-twin, which is now Euro 3 compliant with the EFI. The GTs claim nearly 80hp at 9250rpm, with the GV a smidgeon more. Torque is identical across the board with 67Nm at 7250rpm.

All the Korean missiles are also available in LAMS configuration, and produce nearly 54hp -- a whopping 21hp more than the old carburettor LAMS 650s, which were simply too undernourished compared to their competitors.

Prices (before dealer and statutory charges) for the bikes are as follows:
GT650S - $8590
GT650 - $7990
GT650R - $8990
GV650 - $9990

The GT650S has actually dropped in price, as it used to include a suite of extras such as soft panniers, a tank/seat bag, heated grips and a carry rack. Those items have now been removed: customers just didn’t dig the whole thing, and Hyosung has listened.

Click the following link for a list of Hyosung accessories.

This is evolution that pushes all the right buttons. The EFI engine is much cleaner, smoother and responsive, the brakes have taken a quantum leap, and there is a level of refinement that just wasn’t there before. And there’s no coughing or wheezing from a cold start.

For Aussie conditions, 80hp is a nice number to have at your disposal, and the 650s certainly come to the party on that score. And for a first attempt, the EFI is a winner: there’s no nasty snap off a closed throttle, just crisp acceleration from the bottom end to the 10,500rpm rev limiter.

But like most engines of this ilk, if you show some mercy and change gears a lot earlier, the ride is just as rewarding.

Our ride inland from Newcastle certainly traversed some bumpy territory, but the Hyosungs never became nervous and soaked up the deflections with ease. I only witnessed one ‘moment’ when a fellow journo became airborne after hitting a bump sticking out of the tarmac like a festering pimple. Robbie Maddison leaping the Thames was nothing compared to the theatrics I saw.

That near miss was a function of slipshod road management: the Hyosung was blameless.

My favourite Hyosung is the GT650. I’ve always felt the most comfortable on it, and that feeling again returned during the launch. It’s just a no-nonsense can-do machine with great ergonomics; it corners well with its short 1435mm wheelbase, and has impeccable manners. Certainly bigger than the sum of its parts.

My friendship treaty with the GT650 certainly doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of the others 650s, with the GT650S the next in my pecking order.

Sans all that previous touring stuff, the bike’s now a lot less uncluttered, which I reckon is a good thing. It’s now a more bare-bones long-haul machine, and the resculptured seat helps out on that score.

The brakes. Wow. They have gone to another level in four-piston configuration on the GTs, although this is probably where the stoppers should have been from the outset of the range.

The previous Hyosung brakes were an Achilles heel: they were wooden, squeaky and fairly miserable sods. Not any more.

Another major improvement is in the digital instrumentation, which previously had the wrong pitch (the bottom bit of it was hard to read) and was nearly impossible to read in sunlight.

Now the illumination and resolution is a lot better, so those concerns have been addressed.

The middleweight market is hotting up at the moment, with bikes like the Suzuki Gladius and Yamaha XJ6N  recent additions, and let’s not forget the reintroduction of the BMW F 650 GS.

Hyosung has always been a serious player, and the updated hardware means that it’s really game on. The Hyosung 650s are now extremely good packages at a bloody good price, and that’s just something consumers can’t ignore.


Type: Liquid-cooled, eight-valve, four-stroke, 90-degree V-twin
Bore x stroke: 81.5mm x 62.0mm
Displacement: 647cc
Compression ratio: 11.6:1
Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection
Emissions: Euro 3

Type: Six-speed, constant mesh (GV650: Five-speed, constant mesh)
Final drive: Chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate

Frame type: Dual lateral oval bar (GV650: Perimeter cradle)
Front suspension: 41mm USD forks, adjustable for rebound and compression, 127mm travel
Rear suspension: Monoshock, adjustable for preload (GV650: Dual shocks, adjustable for preload)
Front brakes: Twin 300mm discs with four-piston calipers (GV650: Twin 300mm discs with twin-piston calipers)
Rear brake: 230mm disc (GV650: 270mm disc)

Claimed dry weights: GT650 196kg, GT650S 203kg, GT650R 208kg, GV650 220kg
Seat height: 790mm (GV650: 705mm)
Fuel capacity: 17lt (GV650: 16lt)
Wheelbase: 1435mm (GV650: 1700mm)

Claimed max power: 80hp at 9250rpm (GV650: 81hp at 9000rpm)
Claimed max torque: 67Nm at 8500rpm

Price: $ GT650S $8590, GT650 $7990 GT650R $8990, GV650 $9990
Testbike supplied by: PS Importers (www.hyosung.com.au)
Warranty: 24 months/unlimited km

*Manufacturer's recommended price before statutory and dealer delivery charges.

To comment on this article click here Published : Friday, 31 July 2009
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