Introduced in Canada in 2007, the GT 650R
treated itself to a facelift in 2009 on top of switching to electronic injection, making for a more convincing engine. With a new colour palette and promising specs on paper, the Korean machine now has to prove its mettle against some very well-established competition.
|Ok, so the GT 650R is not a Full Monte Sportbike. It certainly does provide you with great fun for the money on a race track, as our own Squid Pascal Bastien found out over a full day of tire grinding at Mécaglisse. (Photo: Matthieu Lambert/Moto123.com)
The GT 650R projects an effective sport bike image, with an efficient windscreen topping dual superimposed headlamps reminiscent of the Ducati 999, a full fairing with big air intakes, a slimmer saddle, streamlined passenger grips and a big exhaust pipe pointing skyward.
Despite a few misses, i.e., the less than ideal plastic assembly, a clutch cable that touches the dash and poorly camouflaged electrical connections, the overall fit and finish is improving year-on-year, considering a sales price $800 and $1,600 less than that of its direct competitors, the Suzuki SV650
($9,499) and Kawasaki Ninja 650R
The 90-degree, injected, liquid-cooled twin-cylinder mill features 4 valves per cylinder and generates 84hp at 9,000 rpm, 4 more than the old carbureted version. Based on the first generation of the SV650, the engine continues to shine thanks to its extended working rev range, especially so in its fuel-injected incarnation. Throttle response is instantaneous from 1,500 rpm onwards, with a flat spot in the torque curve from 4,500 to 6,000 rpm, whereupon things get exciting with a second torque wind from 6,500 all the way up to the 10,500 rpm maximum. The non-invasive, guttural intake noise is delightful. Newbies will be satisfied with this lively, obedient engine. Never abrupt or overzealous, it’s the perfect learning tool.
And if you’ve ridden machines like the most recent Suzuki 650s that are powered by an evolution of this engine, you’ll no doubt note that the Hyosung version lacks a little lustre at high rpm and vibrates more than usual between 6,500 and 7,500 rpm – a range in which aggressive riders often find themselves while living it up on tortuous country roads.
The well distributed ratios of the 6-speed transmission require a little extra effort when shifting. On the upside, you get precise gear shifts, a definite advantage for all the tourists and cruisers among us.
|The clip-ons , hung below the highish upper triple clamp, provide some degree of road-going comfort as well as allowing track riders to slide well off the bike under hard cornering. (Photo: Matthieu Lambert/Moto123.com)