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Hyosung GT250 Review

Royal Enfield C5

Bike Clock Review


Twin Cities Rider Review of the Hyosung GT250

Hyosung GT250Quarter-liter (250cc) motorcycles used to be fairly common. It wasn't all that long ago that a fair number of new riders moved UP to a 250cc bike from a 125cc "starter". Just a scant few decades back, a 750cc motorcycle was a whopping HUGE machine. Now, 1100cc cruisers are "mid-sized" bikes. Like a great many riders of my age (contrary to popular belief, I did NOT go to grade school with Abraham Lincoln) I followed right along with the bigger-is-better trend in motorcycles. From 125cc (and smaller) bikes in my youth to Goldwings (1000cc to 1500cc - haven't owned an 1800.... yet) I owned and rode bigger and bigger bikes. In 2004 I took another look at scooters (had a Vespa in college) and enjoying those smaller and incredibly FUN machines led me to re-examine smaller displacement motorcycles. Apparently I'm not the only one giving the 250cc class a close look.

Kawasaki has pretty much OWNED the 250cc class "sporty" motorcycle market since the introduction of the 250 Ninja in 1986. This bike retained its configuration until 2007. The re-designed 250 Ninja is still a great and very popular bike. Last year Honda came back into the 250 market with its CBR250R. For a few years now, the Korean company Hyosung has offered another option in their GT250.

Hyosung GT250R and GT250 Naked

This is the "standard" or "naked" version of Hyosung's sportier GT250R. The "R" version has a sport-bike full fairing and clip-on bars along with a much more aggressive riding position. The naked GT250R offers a proper handlebar and more upright riding position. There is little "bikini" fairing on the GT.

Bob Hedstrom Mill City Motorcycles Hyosung GT250I picked up the Hyosung GT250 from Mill City Motorcycles, the alter ego of Scooterville in Minneapolis near Cedar & Franklin. This bike is not my first foray into the world of 250s. It's not even my first bike in this class in recent years. I have a Kawasaki Ninja 250 in my garage that I really enjoy. That bike is a blast to ride around town and on shorter out-of-town trips that involve twistier and less populous roads in the area. It would be fair to say that I had a bit of an attitude about the Hyosung not being able to live up to my experiences on my Ninja. After a few days and 143 miles, I couldn't have been more wrong. Pushed hard, the Hyosung GT250 doesn't have quite the handling of the Ninja, but in just about every other category it is as good and sometimes better than my beloved Kawasaki.

Let's get the usual stuff out of the way. I did GPS verifying and the Hyosung GT250's speedometer is a touch optimistic which is pretty much normal for any motorcycle or scooter that I test. At an indicated speed of 30 MPH, the actual speed was 28 MPH. At and indicated 50 MPH the actual speed was 47 MPH. At an indicated 70 MPH the actual speed was 66 MPH, so the GT250 is about 6% optimistic. As the test bike was new, I didn't push it too hard for top speed but I did see a GPS verified 85 MPH and would guess that after break-in (and with a rider who DOESN'T weight 217 pounds) the top speed is going to be in the 90s. My fuel economy during the review was 62 MPG. Again, after break-in and with some less furious riding this could probably be improved.

Hyosung GT250 Brakes

The Hyosung GT250 is powered by a 249cc air & oil cooled 75-degree V-Twin engine with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. It is fed via fuel injection UNLIKE the Ninja which is carbureted. This is a big deal. Fuel injection eliminates most of the common issues with small displacement bikes in Minnesota. No choke to play with on cool mornings, no ethanol blended fuel problems, smoother power delivery, and in all likelihood better fuel economy. The transmission shifts through five speeds and power gets to the rear wheel via a chain. Single discs front and rear slow the bike down. The bike is suspended by an inverted 41mm front fork and a single shock handles the duty in the back. There is pre-load adjustment on the rear. How does the GT250 compare to the competition?

Hyosung GT250 Kawasaki Ninja 250 Honda CBR250R Comparison

It's the biggest of the bunch. It weighs as much as the liquid-cooled Ninja and has longer wheelbase than either the Ninja or the Honda CBR250R. It's also much taller than either bike. Whether this is good or bad depends on you. If you are inseam-challenged, the Hyosung GT250 is not going to be as friendly to you. There is supposed to be a lowering kit available from Hyosung, but I have yet to see it installed. The longer wheelbase is going to mean that the Hyosung feels like a bigger bike when you're riding it. If you are taller, the Hyosung is going to offer you a lot more room and comfort than the Kawasaki or the Honda. The Hyosung is $500 less expensive than it's competition and in this price range that's a fair amount of money.

Hyosung GT250 Dash

The Hyosung GT250 has a combination dash display with an analog tachometer and a digital "pod" next to it. Generally, I prefer all analog gauges, but this one was easy to read and worked well. When the key is turned to the "on" position, the fuel system charges and the display cycles through illuminating the digital pod and running the tach up and down. There is a small cubby under the rear seat that holds the owner's manual and tool kits as well as providing battery access. The mirrors are wide enough apart for me to see what's behind me and all the controls appear well-made and functioned flawlessly. The two little "horns" on the rear act as grab-handles for a passenger.

Hyosung GT250 Rear Cubbyhole Storage

A lot of the riding on my Ninja 250 is metro area commuting. I cover a mix of surface roads and highways on my regular routes and I rode the Hyosung GT250 on the same roads. I also spent a little time on some of the wonderful twisty roads just across the border in Wisconsin. Right away I noticed that the Hyosung was MUCH more responsive in the lower RPM range than my Ninja. The Kawasaki's little parallel twin needs to be revved and revved HARD to get much out of it. Not that it isn't immense fun to wind out that little screamer, but for commuting duty the stronger low end is a big plus. Hyosung's small V-Twin makes nice torque and I never felt underpowered in metro traffic. For me, the ergonomics of the Hyosung were also better than the Ninja. With the exception of seat height, the riding position on the GT250 was more comfortable than my Ninja. I am one of those with inseam issues, and have long ago learned that one doesn't have to be flat-footed at a stop to be comfortable. However, most newer riders feel more confident if they can plant their feet on the ground at a stop while still perched in the seat. Braking on the Hyosung more than up to the task of my daily riding - easy to modulate and powerful. Vibration while riding was minimal.

Getting out of the city and on to the twisty roads and the Hyosung GT250 continued to impress. It wasn't quite as quick to set a line in a turn as my Ninja, and when pushed harder the Hyosung felt a little mushy. Running harder and faster the high-revving Ninja with its superb handling would win out, but the Hyosung was more comfortable for me over longer rides. The same components that make the bike feel bigger than it's competition are definitely a benefit as one racks up the miles.

Hyosung GT250

I was sorry to have to take this fun machine back to the dealer. I'd want to come up with a luggage solution if I owned one (even a sporty bike can be pressed into duty for errands). The Hyosung GT250 would be an excellent choice as a first motorcycle, especially if you taller, but it's much more than that. With it's nice low end response (compared to other 250s) and trouble-free fuel injection, the Hyosung GT250 is a wonderful commuter and won't let you down on shorter out-of-town trips. If you're looking for good fuel economy, reliability, low cost and FUN, check out this bike. 

David Harrington


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