Stylish cruis­ing sets the pace

Hyosung’s GV650 is a se­ri­ous con­tender, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

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.

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