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MD First Look: Hyosung GD250N

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It’s no secret we here at MD—editors as well as readers—are fans of single-cylinder streetbikes. Our article on the Asian-market Kawasaki Ninja RR Mono got a lot of attention as well as plenty of comments. And why not? A Single promises less weight, flickable handling, predictable power delivery and best of all, a cheap admission price. Sadly, we don’t think this bike will come to the USA.

And then one plugged-in reader—Gary—told us Hyosung would be bringing a new sport-oriented Thumper into the States, the GD250N. “Nonsense!” said my professional moto-journalist brain. Nobody had told me about this, and I’m friends with a guy who works at Hyosung. He would have called me…except, as Hyosung’s Garrett Wong told me, Allan didn’t work there anymore. No matter—Gary was right: the GD250N would indeed be coming to America, later in 2014. Tell me more, said I.

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Garrett pointed me to the S&T Motors homepage (the Hyosung corporation is separate from S&T Motors, but S&T uses the Hyosung name) for more details. The specs of the bike are modern, unlike some of the Korean company’s current offerings, which are based on very old designs. The motor is a modern-looking fuel-injected, liquid cooled dual overhead cam 4-valve Single with oversquare 73 by 59.6mm bore and stroke dimensions. Peak output (at 9500 rpm) is 28 horsepower, very competitive with Honda’s CBR300R and other small-displacement Singles, especially considering the bike weighs in at a claimed 345 pounds wet. Hyosung’s current 250 Twin, the GT250 and GT250R makes less power and weighs in at least 50 pounds heavier.

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There are a surprising number of quality features on the GD (which I’m pretty sure doesn’t stand for “Goddamn”). The swingarm is aluminum, the front brake disc measures 300mm and is gripped by a four-piston caliper pumped via braided line. It looks like there’s a tapered aluminum bar—nice touch. The rear radial is a fat 150/60-17 and handling should be good—the engine is a stressed member of the sexy diamond-trellis frame and the mass should be nice and low thanks to the underslung exhaust. Think supermoto with a comfy seat and manageable, 31.1-inch seat height. Wheelbase is a neat 53 inches.

Hyosung is proud of its new Single, showing it off at the Cologne Intermot show last year. It shared space in the booth with a fully faired concept sport model, and S&T hints of sponsoring a race series—can it challenge KTM in the quarter-liter class? That’s ambitious for a company better known for making clunky, old-tech commuters, but the world is changing rapidly. Expect the GD250N to carry a pricetag similar to the GT250’s $3799 when it rolls into Hyosung showrooms.

Thanks for the tip, Gary! I’m looking forward to saying, “Goddamn! That’s a fun bike.”

Gabe Ets-Hokin is the Editor of City Bike Magazine, and a frequent freelance contributor to MotorcycleDaily.com.

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41 Comments

  1. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    No issues with the styling here – I think the target audience will probably like it. I’d really like to see Hyosung bring in something truly competitive, at a competitive price. The CBR 250/300 is a nice bike, but overpriced and overweight – ditto the Ninja 250/300 (although it’s in a somewhat different category, being a more powerful twin).

  2. Dave Joy says:

    If Lego decided to make a motorcycle I think it would look something like this!

  3. jim says:

    Surprised nobody mentioned yet how high the pegs are…

  4. Don Fraser says:

    Sooooooooo, Hyosung will bring this and Yamaha will bring a 40 year old design and charge $6K and leave a near 700 cc twin in Europe? WTF?

  5. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    Love this trend of Koreans and Indians stepping up their game and forcing value across all manufacturers. I’d buy this bike or that new Buell/ Hero if I needed a smaller-displacement ride.

  6. kjazz says:

    Somebody needs to step up and build the “MF”250R, or maybe a “BMF”250R, or a FSOB250R, or…..

  7. Tyler says:

    Dang, a much as I like the retro styling of the soon to be released SR400, seeing this just above it made me forget that Yamaha was even on the same webpage.
    I gotta say, this would get my money first in a choice between the two.

    • MGNorge says:

      I think retro is something of a dangerous game. It has to ignite real passion or it won’t sell. When you pay in today’s dollars what looks like yesterday’s bike there has to be reason, something to hold onto. Some say they want to return to the simplicity, lighter weight and easier to afford bikes of yore but some things have to be modernized or too many people just won’t get it. I don’t mind looking at the Yamaha as a reminder of days past but I don’t think I’d go that direction either if I was in that market.

  8. Kagato says:

    I really like the snowflake wheels–and 28 hp is pretty good for a little scoot like this : – )

  9. Norm G. says:

    i’ll give ‘em credit on the styling. seats a lil’ bit panigale/K5 gixxer, with some KTM, buell, FZ09 in the mix. the white makes for a clean façade. someone’s studied at the “Hyundia school” of vehicle design. taking a screen snap now for i’ll prolly never see one. the only dealer (nearby) who would’ve likely bothered to risk this line just shuttered their doors.

  10. Andrew says:

    There are a few vids of this bike on youtube already. It appears to have a gear indicator which is a nice touch in this price range… I think it can be competitve as long as the price is right, especially compared to KTM – yeah it’s less than their 350 but more than their 200 – both of which are nice design on paper but in reality are showing signs of being made in India. I have more confidence in Koreans when it comes to quality – I’ve owned two Hyundai cars and both have been very solid, if not exactly exciting, Indian cars on the other hand tend to self-combust (see: Tata Nano)

  11. Stromridernh says:

    Jeez, there is something about singles that appeals to me. No mega HP and torque but power I control with my wrist. Maybe today’s HP generation should learn how to ride a bike where the rider is the ‘electronics’. I grew up without that stuff- up to me to make the bike perform. I applaud the manufacturers bringing back some of the old tech with a bit of updating.

  12. Ziggy says:

    Well, I guess you gotta review something today…

  13. frank says:

    Nice. Size wise, the exhaust seems a bit overkill for the bike, but no real issue. A nice around town bike. For those of us who only own one bike at a time, a 300 or better yet 300+ might make it a more versatile choice by allowing it to cruise at less than 9000 rpm here on California highways.

    Also, hope they extended their maintenance intervals on the new bike…theirs have been required much more frequently than most modern bikes. It’s easy to get caught up in a pretty, or depending on the number of drinks, even a not so pretty face sometimes. You’d become a great wing-man by including that information in your reviews for those of us who don’t do the work ourselves, and want some idea of what it will cost us if we decide to let her move in.

  14. Lenz says:

    Looks a little “clunky” and perhaps the power to weight ratio would benefit from an increase in capacity to 350cc however simplicity, light handling and versatility plus sharp acceleration works for me. These emerging brands are very interesting.

  15. Randy says:

    I just don’t see this competing with Honda and Kawasaki (and KTM and Hero)- how does Hyosung stay in business?

    As mentioned already – maybe 325cc.

    • Gary says:

      Guess you didn’t see the comment:

      “Peak output (at 9500 rpm) is 28 horsepower, very competitive with Honda’s CBR300R and other small-displacement Singles, especially considering the bike weighs in at a claimed 345 pounds wet.”

      This bike also recently took 1st place in this past November’s Korea Road Race championship at Korean International circuit located at Yeongam. It was the ONLY GD250N that entered the race, and it trounced the rest of the field that was all Honda CBR250R’s.

      It appears that this model will be another success just as the original-to-the-States GV650 Aquila was back in 2005-2006. However, Hyosung’s (or S&T) is not the same as even back then as their performance is top notch for the class- even better than some larger bikes, and the quality control and componentry have took a huge step up.

      And Gabe, I think you were referring to me. Your very much welcome for the tip!

      • Randy says:

        The GV650 Aquila was successful? Right, I see so many of those around. So, unless this is going to go through some rapid improvement it’s coming in a little ahead of the Honda 250R (who knows with the 300) and the Ninja 300 would trouch it.

        But Hyosung hasn’t done that in the past. It brings out a somewhat cheaper not quite as good as the more expensive competition model, and it rides the model FOREVER, long past when a discerning buyer would consider one. Like I said, I don’t see how they stay in business. I think the bikes are so cheap to make that in the end they somehow come out in the black.

        Don’t know about the race, who the riders were, what’s allowed on the bike. With equal riders if the GD has 28 HP at the wheel it’s definitely going to out pull the 23 hp CBR’s on the straights and out of every turn. OK. And one Ninja 300 in that race would have crush it like a bug.

        Maybe in a country that restricts to 250cc it will be The Bike to get. Given the choices I (my wife actually) would definitely take the Ninja first, the Honda 300 second (reputation counts). If the GD was a lot cheaper, and was more on par with the Ninja’s performance, then, maybe.

    • Dave says:

      The battleground markets for these bikes mostly have a 250cc license restriction/levels. This will be competitive by being lower priced with nice features (presumably).

  16. David Duarte says:

    There’s no dealer in Connecticut. That’s a deal breaker. Otherwise, it looks very cool.

    • Gabe says:

      I know! Because it takes like what, 20 minutes to drive across Connecticut?

      • cthuskie says:

        for informational purposes only ! hahahahahahaha !
        Thompson , CT ( NorthEast corner ) to Greenwich , CT ( SouthWest corner )
        is 138 miles ,
        a 2 hour drive for most
        Enfield , CT ( middle of state Northern border )
        to
        New Haven , CT ( middle of state Southern border )
        is 60 miles
        and
        New Milford , CT ( Western border middle of state )
        to Plainfield , CT ( Eastern border middle of state )
        is 106 miles

      • Norm G. says:

        close, 2 hours.

    • billy says:

      Ya, and you wouldn’t want to be too far from the dealer if you owned this.

  17. Larry says:

    I imagine if its not to buzzy and the seat height fits my daughter and I (damn long torsos), I guess we’ll be making a trip to the S&T dealer.

  18. Provologna says:

    Wow! I dig it. What’s not to like? As the old saying goes, “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than to ride a fast bike slow.” Not that this little 250 is necessarily slow vs. the average cage, but it’s a lot slower than a 170mph 600cc Supersport.

    Imagine the difference in insurance fee for the above two bikes, not to mention fuel, tires, and every other service expense.

    First order of business: remove the head and send it to my friend for a valve/port job (Doug Henry’s AMA Supermoto Crew Chief…my buddy’s street legal YZF400 had 14.0-1 C.R. and did not pre-ignite burning Pemican fuel in Mexico).

  19. MGNorge says:

    I like its funkiness. Reminds me of a Buell in many ways at first glance.

  20. Tom says:

    I like it. Kinda like a poor man’s KTM.

  21. Jeremy in TX says:

    Sharp looking little bike. They missed the 300cc memo, though. I’d be surprised if a 250 at this pricepoint made comparable power and torque to a CBR300, but who knows?

    • MGNorge says:

      Most assuredly not on torque. Max torque output closely follows displacement, give or take a few. A 300 has an increase of 20% in displacement over a 250.

    • Gary says:

      Read my response to Randy.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        All that is talked about is peak hp, though. That engine would have to be in a pretty high state of tune – similar to a Yamaha WR250R – to truly be competitive with Honda’s 300. The weight figure is impressive.

  22. GearDrivenCam says:

    It’s nice to see more choices in the 250cc range emerging. The Hero/Buell HX250R would seem to be a pretty good competitor for this bike, with a wet weight that is 40 lbs less, and boasting 3 more hp.