Stylish cruising sets the pace
Hyosung’s GV650 is a serious contender, writes Craig Duff
THE growth in cruisers is a global phenomenon and Hyosung wants a bigger slice of that pie chart. And based on the performance, cost and quality of the traditional-looking cruiser (the futuristic-looking Aquila Sports will stay in the stable), they’ll do well, especially when you compare it with the carburettored Yamaha XVS650, which leads the cruiser sale charts for the first six months of the year.
In many ways the South Korean bike company mirrors the four-wheeled Hyundai brand. Both began as ‘‘ cheap and cheerful’’ vehicles whose selling points were reliability and price. They’ve quickly matured into serious contenders.
In the Aquila Classic’s case, buyers who spend $10,000 will be getting the most powerful LAMSapproved machine on the market, with the GV650C V-twin producing 47kW and 58Nm. Fully licensed riders can opt for the GV700C with a 3mm longer stroke and 46kW/64Nm that translates into marginally more relaxed riding.
I’d be happy with the 650, which outperforms its big brother over 7000 revs without conceding much below that. On the road the Aquila Classic is a revelation. The ground clearance would be impressive on a regular bike, let alone a laid-back cruiser, and it hauls itself up the winding roads through the Adelaide Hills at an impressive clip. The seat is plush, a 17-litre tank gives decent range and there’s only a minor buzz through the footpegs when you give it a bit, which means you can actually see what’s falling behind in the mirrors.
Twist the grip and the fuel injection responds instantly, though it also brings a minor gripe at city speeds — you can’t help but jerk when rolling back from a trailing throttle around 40-50km/h. Hyosung has quickly responded to the criticism and a software update is already available to cure the problem.
The suspension is a similar story. It’s as composed as a opera attendee at cruiser speeds, letting you feel the road without feeling your spine hit the base of the seat. Push harder and the damping can’t quite cope with successive hits. That translates into ever-smaller bounces as it tries to catch up after hammering a series of bumps.
Few people who buy this bike will ever encounter it — it is a cruiser, after all — and Hyosung will be more than happy to sell you the GT650 if you’re after a conventional bike that likes to play at the upper end of its rev range.
Back to the best bits. The seat height is 675mm, so even kids can sit on it and put both feet down. Add to that footpegs that can be easily adjusted for basketball power forwards or jockeys and it’s easy to get comfortable.
It’s not a Harley— the black cable ties on the handlebars remind you of that— but it is a wellfinished, supremely practical bike that will take you to work and on a weekend ride in style. And that’s what riding — and Hyosung, is all about.