As much as we would have wanted the GT650R to do well in the Indian market for being the first middle weight sportsbike in the country, the bike has been selling just about decently. The only spanner in the works for this Korean motorcycle apart from its own shortcomings was perhaps the launch of the critically acclaimed Kawasaki Ninja 650R at a more affordable price. To boost sales further and make the Hyosung brand popular, Garware Motors has now launched the GT650N, a naked version of the GT650R.
For the GT650N Hyosung have done away with the bulky looking fairing of the GT650R, and replaced it with a trapezoid-shaped headlamp unit, which looks inspired from the MV Agusta Brutale. The headlight itself looks nice, but the rounded shroud surrounding it tends to spoil its looks. Hyosung have also given the naked a taller, single-piece handlebar, which looks nice, and makes for a comfortable riding posture. That apart the rider’s footpegs have been moved slightly forward and the overall height of the motorcycle lowered by 35mm to make it more comfortable. Apart from the headlight change, the naked is visually identical to its faired sibling, but it looks a lot better than the fully-faired GT650R. The exposed tubular twin-spar frame, blacked-out engine, fat forks and tyres give the GT650N a brawny feel. However, when launching a naked motorcycle, manufacturers generally tend to tweak the engine so as to make the bike more rideable, apart from the mandatory cosmetic changes. But Hyosung in this case did not deem it necessary to make any changes to the GT650R’s engine, or any of the cycle parts, and the bike is mechanically the same.
The GT650N uses the same 647cc V-twin mill, which itself is based on the old Suzuki SV650’s V-twin. As a result, power and torque figures remain unchanged at 73.7PS at 9000rpm and 60.9Nm at 7500rpm. By shedding its fairing the GT has lost seven kilos, which sounds like a lot, but the same does not really affect the naked’s performance as compared to the fully faired version. Given the fact that the engine is mechanically the same, there is no change in terms of feel or power delivery. The engine feels fine till about 6000rpm, but cross the 6k mark and it starts feeling and sounding harsh, which is surely a deterrent when trying to ride fast. In terms of numbers, the naked sprints to 100kmph from standstill in 5.2 seconds, which is nearly identical to the GT650R’s time of 5.18 seconds. Maximum speed achieved was 168kmph, but the bike seemed to have some more in reserve. However, the naked just manages to edge out the GT650R by fraction of a second in the quarter mile run. The GT650R had managed to achieve the feat in 13.92 seconds at 156kmph in our tests, whereas the naked did the quarter mile run in 13.89 seconds at 159.2kmph. The two bikes are again close while braking from 100kmph to 0. The GT650R managed to come to a full stop from 100kmph in 3.76 seconds, covering 44.65 metres in the process, while the GT650N managed to stop in 3.5 seconds, covering 43.1 metres in the process. The weight loss does not really affect the GT650N’s fuel efficiency figures either, and the naked covered 19.5km on a litre of fuel in the city, and 27.5km on the highway. This translates to an overall efficiency figure of 21.49kmpl.
The raised handlebar does make a difference to the GT650N’s handling, and gives it a lighter feel when riding in the city. Cutting through traffic on the naked feels a lot easier than the GT650R’s aggressive, forward biased riding position. This makes the naked impressive in the city for daily commutes. The same should also be a boon on the highways, since the riding position now feels a lot more relaxed and should make for comfortable riding even for extended hours. However, Hyosung have not made any changes to the GT650R’s step-type seat and though spacious enough, the seat could have been made softer. The raised handlebar helps around corners as well, but the bike feels heavy tipping into corners, and hence riding the naked through twisties requires nearly as much effort as the GT650R. Tyres are the same grippy Bridgestone Battlax the GT650R sports and they perform well on the GT650N as well. The rider’s footpegs that have been moved forward feel a bit oddly placed, especially when leaning into a corner, and I felt the position of the footpegs was better on the GT650R.
Nearly six months since the launch of the GT650R, Hyosung have realized that its pricing is one of the reasons why we do not see a lot GT650Rs on the roads. To take care of this, Hyosung have launched the GT650N at a competitive price of Rs 4.39 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi. However, Garware still need to work a lot on the motorcycle in terms of improving feel and refinement and need to iron out the rough edges, which unfortunately are still aplenty. If they can do that, Garware do have a highly capable product at hand, which they are now offering at a competitive price as well.