Interview With Shashi – a Hyosung GT650R Rider

Hyosung bikes are on the front for this whole month. Firstly, it was for the price discount which the company offered on its naked street bike – GT650N. Next reason was that this bike was awarded ‘The Best Import Bike of the Year – 2011’. Great going for the company.

We’ve one of our reader , Mr. Shashidhar who has recently got a new Hyosung GT650R for himself. Here is the exclusive interview which I did with him for BikeAdvice.

Naren: On the first note, Congrats to you for having got your hands on a Hyosung GT650R. What do you have to say about her?

Shashi: Thank you…Well, it is a fantastic experience to ride a bigger bike after dreaming of owning one for a really long time. I would like to talk about the safety part (The most important part for everyone who thinks of upgrading to a bigger bike).This machine is something that has to driven very carefully and with a lot of sense. You make a mistake on any other small bike, you will have ample time to correct, but if a mistake is made on a bike like this, you will definitely end up getting into a very bad situation as this machine simply doesn’t give any time to make corrections.

Naren: What made you fall in love with this particular piece of machine, though you’d another option in the market (Ninja 650R)?

Shashi: Naren, my story of owning this bike is with twists and turns. First I went to Probiking Hyderabad to book a Ninja 250R. I have ridden this bike a lot (approximately 400 KMS in all sort of conditions like good highway stretches, twisty roads, fast corners, ghats, bumper to bumper city traffic) and fell in love with the performance this bike offers at that price point. I never had any plans of spending anything more than 3 lakhs on a bike. This fit my bill perfectly. I saved up and I went and paid the booking amount on the 6th of October (An auspicious day Dussehra).

Immediately after I paid the booking amount, I came to know that the GT650R is in Hyderabad. I did not feel interested as this would kill my joy of booking the Ninja250R and I read a lot about it in forums that the quality of the bike is very poor. Finally I went along with 2 of my friends to have a look at the GT650R as my friends were keen on having a look at it. So i went along and saw the BLOOD RED GT650R. I was completely blown away by the presence this machine had. It looks like a proper supersports and i always had a keen interest for the supersports and superbikes. I was offered a pillion ride after the dealer came to know that I booked a Ninja250R an hour ago. I instantly liked the pull this machine had and decided that I would cancel my booking if like the bike after having a test drive of it.

I let my friends know of my intentions and they immediately told me that they would help me financially if I go for the GT650R. The Ninja 650R was never in my option list as this bike somehow did not catch my attention. I also heard that this machine sounded like a tin can. I had to choose between the Ninja 250R and GT650R as these are the bikes that I am interested in and the sound that these machines make is very involving for the rider. I got a longish test drive of about 25 KMS and i was impressed with the performance of the bike. The pull this machine has after 6K rpm is something that can be experienced only big bikes. It reminded me of the experience I had sitting pillion on an R1. I finally decided to go for the GT650R.

Naren: Can you explain us how you felt when you got this bike delivered to you?

Shashi: I booked the bike even before the showroom was put in place. Mine was the first booking and I happened to be the first customer for my dealer. I had a sleepless night the day I went to see it and another sleepless night after I had a test drive of it. One fine day, my bike reached Hyderabad and I went to witness the unpacking of the vehicle.

My friend clicked a lot of pics and I had a sleepless night again. From now on, the wait became unbearable as my bike had already reached Showroom and the only thing that was stopping me from having my bike was the inauguration of the Showroom. I passed time looking at the pics of the bike everyday. I used to go to the showroom every weekend, have a look at the bike and talk to the dealer and enquire about the inauguration date. The inauguration date was fixed and I got to take my bike on the 5th of December. I felt nervous when I started driving it. I started feeling comfortable with each passing KM and after 10-15 minutes, I was at ease driving this monster. I couldn’t believe that I was riding my first big bike.

Naren: How does she respond to you in terms of acceleration and how is the power you get outta her?

Shashi: GT650R is seriously quick and you have to be very alert everytime you accelerate her. A bigger bike definitely makes you a better and responsible driver. The power of the bike is awesome. The bike is still in run-in period. So, I will get to know about its true power after the run-in is completed.

Naren: What is the longest ride you went on the GT650R? How was the experience?

Shashi: I did a 60KM ride on the GT650R. The riding position is a bit aggressive and takes time getting used to. So, I had a little pain in the left shoulder as my left hand is the weakest link. The grip levels that you experience on this bike are beyond comparison to any Indian bike. It feels very grippy. Taking corners on a GT650R is awesome. It keeps you involved though it is not as flickable as the R15. The more I used the GT650R, the more comfortable i became. I completed approximately 800 KMS on the Odo and now I am very comfortable with the riding position.

Naren: When did your craze for bikes started? What was the bike you owned before getting the Hyosung for you?

Shashi: My passion for bikes started right from my school days. My schoolmates used to bring bike and car magazines to school. Most of them used to look at the pictures while I used to read about them. During our farewell party at school, one of my classmates bought a Hero Honda CBZ. It was bought almost immediately after the bike was launched. I was blown away by the looks and feel of that bike and became very interested in bikes.

I started asking my parents to buy me a Hero Honda CBZ. MY parents gave a strict “NO”. They said, “You are underage, don’t have a license, don’t know to drive a bike. First get all of these and then we shall see”. After i learned to drive a bike and got my license, my parents told “complete Engineering and then, we’ll buy you a bike”. I was pissed off and kept asking for a bike everyday. Finally, they agreed to buy me one. Unfortunately Hero Honda CBZ was not available in the market. CBZ star production was stopped. My friend recently bought a Pulsar 150 UG1.  My parents convinced me to buy it and so i got my first bike “The Pulsar 150 UG1”. I learnt everything related to highway driving on this bike. I used it for 6 years. When my parents were about to buy a bike for my younger brother, I asked my parents to consider buying the Karizma. They said they have no problem if you pool in the extra money. So i pooled in 20,000 and got the “Karizma”.

I dropped my pulsar once after completing 4000 KMS. Right from that time, i went to numerous service centres to get the fork aligned properly, but no matter what i did, it just didn’t feel like the way it was when i bought it from the showroom. I decided that i will never drop a bike ever again. So, I used the Karizma without dropping it for 3 and half years. Next a friend of mine bought the R15 immediately after it was released. I drove it on the highway and was mightily impressed with the performance of the bike. I also wanted to get used to the supersports position as I intended to buy a big bike and so I bought the R15. This was a special bike to me as it is the first bike I bought it with my own money and did not depend on parents. The feeling of owning a bike without depending on parents for money was awesome. I could get to learn the art of cornering on the R15.


Naren: What’s the top speed you managed to attain with this bike? Did you observed your bike puffing and panting at that speed?

Shashi: The top speed I did was 143 KMPH. I could do this speed even in the run-in period. The bike touched this speed without any difficulty. You feel that this bike can do speeds very easily in excess of 200 KMPH.

Naren: Can you tell our readers what kinda bike is the Hyosung GT650R exactly. A track machine or a tourer or a power commuter?

Shashi: The GT650R is definitely not a tourer, but I will be using it for touring. It is a bike that can be used for track days. You can learn a lot about track riding using this bike. Other supersports may be much faster than this but you can learn with this bike on the track.

Naren: How was the response from showroom when you initially visited to take a look at the bike? Also tell us how is the servicing from the company’s side?

Shashi: I dealt directly with the dealer. I met him and had a look at the bikes even before the showroom, the support staffs, the salesmen were in place. I had a good experience with the dealer. The current situation in the state of “Andhra Pradesh” made it difficult for him to get the work done on a fixed time frame. There was a strike that went on for 43 days. Everyone faced problems during this strike. There was a delay in opening the showroom due to this strike. I cannot comment about the service as i did not get the bike serviced. I will be able to tell more about this after the service is done.

Naren: Which is your dream bike by the way? Why?

Shashi: My dream bike is a powerful track machine that requires a lot of skill to ride. I like to ride a machine that is uncontrollable to normal people. The Ducatis, Kawasakis and BMW S1000rr appeal to me. The Ducatis for the immense history the company has, the Kawasakis for the mental bikes they are and the BMW S1000RR for the performance it has.

Naren: What do you think are the major head-turners of this bike?

Shashi: The unique headlight design from the front, the black air scoops below the headlight on the sides of the fairing give it a unique look. The humongous tank, the very aggressive riding position, the big engine crankcase, the meaty rear tire and the LED taillight give it a unique look. Personally, the tail section of the bike looks the best.

Naren: What’re the drawbacks you felt about the GT650R so far?

Shashi: The bike vibrates a lot due to which the front fairing makes a stupid and irritating noise (this is observed only in 3.5 to 4K rpms). The overall quality levels are nowhere near the quality levels of the Kawasaki. The paint quality near the edges of the tank is poor. There are gaps between the frame and the tank. The paint job is not as perfect as the Kawasaki.

Naren: If there is one area where you would say Hyosung should concentrate more, what would it be?

Shashi: The quality of the bikes can be improved to be on par with the Japanese bikes.

Naren: Would you recommend the Hyosung GT650R to our readers and others who are interested? Reasons?

Shashi: I would recommend this bike to people who want an aggressive riding position, who do not have the budget to buy a proper supersport but want a bike that feels like a supersports. This is the best supersports to buy in the Indian market at this point of time. If you want a relaxed riding position, please don’t think about this bike and blindly go for the Ninja 650R.

Naren: How long have you been following BikeAdvice? What is your notion about us?

Shashi: Whenever I wanted to read about reviews of a bike, I would look at BikeAdvice. This is a great blog to get information about a bike. I strongly feel that the material available in your blog is good and you guys are on par with the other BIG so called established magazines. I also believe that you guys will have many subscribers if you guys decide to start a magazine.

BikeAdvice thanks Shashi for his time and efforts taken to come up with this interview. Happy Biking to you!

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