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Hyosung and SVF650 to Make 2013 Year of the 650 V-Twin?

2013 Hyosung GT650R

Just ask anybody who’s owned one—the liquid-cooled, eight-valve 650cc V-Twin may be the ultimate motorcycle engine. Light, torquey, zippy and fun for novice riders as well as roadracers, it’s created a whole new class, dominated by Suzuki’s SV650 until Suzuki stopped selling it and its standard-styled descendant, the Gladius a few years back.

Well, rejoice, as 2013 will see not just the return of the Gladius (now called the SFV650), but also a re-worked and improved Hyosung GT650. And who is Hyosung, you ask? We have yet to test one of these Korean-built machine at MD (although I have for other publications), but the company has been building a line of 647cc V-Twin standards, cruisers and sportbikes for some time now, sold in the USA under the Hyosung, UM and ATK brands.

2013 Hyosung GT250R

Does it sound like an SV knock-off? Actually, although it shares a basic engine configuration and similar bore/stroke numbers, it has no parts in common, although it has a very similar power output (which should answer the charge of Hyosung building reverse-engineered SV650s—there are so many important differences between the powerplants it’s more a story of convergent evolution). It’s bolted into a heavy, industrial-looking steel frame that makes the bike weigh in about 50 pounds heavier than an SV, although it’s not much heavier than Suzuki’s (also steel-framed) Gladius.

But the Hyosung (say “Yo, Sung!”) has some problems. The GT650R sportbike suffers from old-looking styling and componentry that while somewhat effective, is made by companies you’ve never heard of, like TCIC Brakes. According to a Hyosung insider, that will change with 2013—the new GT650 standard and GT650R will use Delphi electricals, KYB suspension and one of the big Japanese brake manufacturers, probably Tokico or Nissin. Also, as you can see in the lead photo, the styling has been freshened up to a very satisfying (and suspiciously GSX-R-like) degree. That styling has been extended to Hyosung’s GT250R as well.

The best part of the update may be pricing. The updates can be yours for the additional cost of…zero. That’s right, we understand Hyosung will be leaving the MSRP of the GT650R and GT650 alone at $6299 and $5599 respectively. Two-tone paint schemes will reportedly be a $200 premium (they were $400 extra last year). With around 70 horsepower at the wheel, cartridge forks and dual four-piston brakes, that’s a lot of value when Kawasaki’s (very good!) Ninja 300 starts at $4799.

Suzuki SFV650

Suzuki announced it will be adding the SFV650 to its lineup for 2013. What’s an SFV650? It’s the motorcycle Formerly Known as Gladius, back with a swanky new gray/black paint scheme. We’ve yet to test this bike, but it should be entertaining—that SV motor is as good as 650 V-Twin fanatics say it is, and the low seat and wide bars should make the bike a fun and easy handler. It’s priced at $7999, which may drive some curious budget-minded folk into a Hyosung (or ATK) dealership. Whatever happens, there will be a few more middleweight V-Twins on the road—a very good thing.


  1. Ylism says:

    I have a 2006 SV650n, love the bike, it gets great MPG, and it has good power, in a lite frame, I wish they would make the 2 gen type again, I would buy a SV1000 in a heart beat. Even considered the DL1000, but it’s so taller, and down on power, over the SV1000. Will be talking a look at the new SFV650, just wish them made a SFV1000 at lest it would have more power, to carry the weight around. Maybe look into the 2013 hyo650, if they fixed the bad things, like they say, only time will tell.

  2. I just hope this 2013’s Hyosung GT650R edition would be a great buy, I have been waiting for this. I also hope that I just didn’t expect too much. So when would this be out in the market?

    • Gary says:

      I’ve seen on Hyosung’s Facebook page that they should start arriving in about a month or so. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  3. barney says:

    Yeah, just what the world needs, yet another of the already hundreds of indistinguishable, plastic covered, ugly garish sport bikes. If Hyosung wants to sell bikes they need to look at what the non-Harley custom builders are making. Take a look at the styles shown on BikeExif and similar websites. It needs to be classic looking, the engine should be a major part of the design aesthetic. For instance Kawa’s new W800 air cooled engine, take a look at the modern Triumph Thruxton and Norton Commando.
    The taste in motorcycle aesthetics is moving rapidly back toward classic design cues, ie: polished exposed engines, air cooled all the better. The world wants new classic looking UJMs.

    • Gary says:

      I wouldn’t exactly say the “world” wants these old standard style bikes back again, mostly only those that either didn’t or couldn’t afford to have them when they were younger. I also had these UJMs way back when, and I’m certainly not loathing after them now. Hyosung does have more than sport bikes, including the ST7 “classic cruiser” and the GT series which is their standard style bikes.

  4. GT650Schultz says:

    So they’ve updated Hyosung for 2013? Took them long enough… My 08 GT650 has a joke of a suspension and brakes for a sports bike… Guess it’s worth a look, but they really need to work on the weight.

  5. kirk66 says:

    It took nearly 20 yrs for Hyundai to produce a car that wasn’t a bad copyof someone else’s car. Hyosung is new on here, but worthy as they are continuously learning from their mistakes. Give them 5 more years and they will have products that will compete with their Japanese rivals.

    • Gary says:

      I think you will find some or most of their models are competing right now, some even better in some areas than the Japanese. They seem to be improving rather quickly.

  6. soi cowboy says:

    I had an sv. Great little bike, engine kinda like a john deere tractor. No shortage of power though. I thought the gladius was ugly to begin with. It must be just a cost saving project to replace the aluminum frame with cheaper to manufacture steel. That is fine for the street (and anything less that wsbk racing) We must demand a return to proper rear fenders. The plastic ones flap like the tail feathers of a burlesque dancer. And proper mounting points for a trunk and bags.

  7. Gary says:

    YES! Finally! Hyosung gets a story here. And what great looking machines. These new machines I’m sure and even the ones from the last couple years will show that Hyosung can and does make some great machines. The performance of the 250’s and 650’s are equal or surpass some of the more well known names. As some mentioned, the weight is the next thing that might need reduced a little. Looking forward to more about these bikes!

  8. Joey Wilson says:

    To me, if Suzi can bring in this year’s Gladius (which will become hot sellers in 2015 once they’ve sat unsold since 2013), they could certainly bring back SV’s, which are still sold in other markets. OK, which one of these is NOT like the other two: FZ6R, Ninja 650, and the Gladius. Substitute an updated SV650SF in that lineup, and it’s ON.

    If there is any point where they are impacting GSX/R sales, I would think it is nowhere near the impact caused by stiffer credit requirements vs. the ‘old days’ and nosebleed insurance rates. The days of soaring performance hikes and 2 or 3 year replacement/development cycles is over. High-perf 600’s are especially tough sales these days.

  9. JPJ says:

    I’m also a former owner of a 2000 SV. I’m excited to see Suzuki bring this model back to the states. It is an excellent all around bike. I would like to see Suzuki add to the line of V-twins as in past. My thoughts would be for Suzuki to make a 1200cc V-twin for the V-Strom line, then tweak the same powerplant and give us a “SV-1200R” ! This bike would fill in the line of current competition from Europe, KTM,Ducati, as well as Buell. The Suzuki would not need all the top of the line components so pricing would be very competitive. How bout’ it Suzuki ? 4 new bikes from 2 powerplants ?

  10. Jason says:

    As a former SV owner, I understand the nostalgia over the Suzuki V-twins, however, I’ll suggest that you are are thinking like customers and not businesses. While some of the manufacturers run V-type engine configurations at the motoGP level, the inline is and will continue to be their bread and butter simply because it is just plain easier to design for. While the Japanese companies could attempt to compete in the market they would be up against steep competition from firmly entrenched luxury brands. They will not beat these brands at their own game and certainly not at the price consumers are used to paying for Japanese motorcycles. Finally, cheap amazing motorcycles like the SV directly competed with sales of their flagship motorcycles. Motorcycles they make more money from. I loved my SV. It is probably the most fun an enthusiast on a budget could hope for. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for that lightning to strike twice.

    • John Tuttle says:

      “the inline is and will continue to be their bread and butter simply because it is just plain easier to design for.”

      Possibly easier to design for, but the engine itself has advantages in terms of compactness and reduced mass, and even simplicity, since you have only half as many camshafts, and half as many timing chains. The mass is less because instead of separate cases for each cylinder, some of the case weight is shared by the two cylinders. And contrary to what so many people evidently believe, the cylinder arrangement has no inherent influence on the engine’s torque and power curves. The bore/stroke ratio has that sort of influence, but the cylinder arrangement, in and of itself, does not. The cylinder arrangement does influence the balance and vibration of the engine, and the V configuration has an inherent advantage there, since with appropriate weighting (unbalancing) of the crankshaft, most of the 1st-order motion of the pistons can be cancelled, whereas to do the same with a parallel twin, two balance shafts are required, one in the front and one in the rear. But, if two balance shafts are used with a parallel twin, 1st-order motion cancels fully, whereas, with a V-twin, 1st-order end-over-end rocking motion remains, just as it does with a boxer twin. The V-twin engine is slightly more narrow than the parallel twin, which leads to a slightly skinnier motorcycle, but parallel twins are already skinny enough that this isn’t really much of an advantage. The significant advantage of the V-twin is that vibration can be reduced to a tolerable level without having to use a couple of balance shafts. But nowadays both Kawasaki and Honda make parallel twins of similar displacement, both using single balance shafts, which, together with an unbalanced crankshaft, comes within a hair of fully cancelling 1st-order motion. I haven’t driven either of them, but it is likely that they are both as smooth as a V-twin or very nearly so. And any differences in performance have nothing to do with the cylinder configuration.

      • Dave says:

        Another advantage of V-engines is that they remove back torque on the crank shaft when in an inline engine both or all 4 pistons come to a stop, all at the same time, twice per crank revolution. In a twin when one piston is at BDC or TCD the other piston is mid stroke moving at it’s highest speed, driving the stopped piston past it’s stop. This is the effect that Yamaha achieved in an I-4 engine with the R1’s “Cross-plane” crankshaft.

  11. mpolans says:

    $8000 is steep, but Suzuki isn’t gouging, they’re just having problems with a strong Yen vs the U.S. Dollar. Abou five years ago, the exchange rate was about $1.00 US = ¥115. Now, it’s around $1.00 US = ¥77. That makes everything in Japan 30%+ more expensive to buy with US dollars. If you account for the change in exchange rate, it’d only be about $5,500. This doesn’t mean I’d to out and buy one, but it does show how much trouble the Japanese manufacturers are in, especially those who sell products made in Japan and have to pay Japanese labor rates vs 3rd world or even U.S. labor rates.

  12. M. says:

    Really… all these bikes do is make me want to look for a decent used SV on craigslist. More bike, half the price. Sold.

  13. stinko says:

    I have a hyosung gv250 and love it!! Best 250 you can get, people don’t believe its a 250 when you tell em. I hope hyosung really starts to take off more in the states; they are great bang-for-buck bikes.

  14. Tom says:

    I’ve owned both the 1st gen and the 2nd gen SV 650s and both were a blast. If I was in the market for something similar today I think I’d have to buy the Hyosung. That Gladius has something of a “girlie-mon” reputation.

  15. John says:

    You’ll see many SVs at any local track. Small suspension upgrade with stock engine, and you’d be suprised at how many 600 riders get shown an SV wheel.

  16. Norm G. says:

    still can’t get my head around the “brain fart” suzuki had surrounding the SV650. from outside appearances, one would’ve thought it was a good seller…? cult status for all intents and purposes. or could it be that “good seller” doesn’t necessarily mean “profitable” in bike world…?

    • HotDog says:

      Is it really possible for a bike company to make a nice profit? I read on one Euro site that Yamaha makes 4 1/2% of it’s total profit from bike sales in the U.S.! Americans seem to want lumbering behemoths, that pose well in front of a bar and that’s all. I just got off a 1800 Wing and got a 12′ 650 V-Strom. I’m shocked at the handling, fit, finish and responsiveness. I find myself saying, “Suzi sells these things for 8 grand? Really? It seems that it should be more”. Small displacement is where it’s at for me and our ilk.

  17. Dave says:

    $8K for a Hideous I mean Gladius. Why would you do that when a V Strom can be had for 0nly $300 more at full list price??

  18. Eric says:

    Here in Canada, the cost for a SV650S is 8399$. The Gladius is 100$ cheaper as the Ninja 650. Note that it’s for the 2012 model year. We’re still waitinf for the 2013 cost. Suzuki Canada didn’t quit on the SV (except for the standard model) et the Gladius.

  19. casatomasa says:

    I undrestand a version of this engine is used in the Wee-Strom which their owners are crazy mad over. The new bike does seem a little expensive compared to the Wee-Strom, which comes with ABS for only $300 more??

  20. Nicolas St-Germain says:

    My wife has the Hyosung Comet 650 2006. The only good thing is the engine. It’s very heavy, very poor brakes and terrible suspensions. You need a 4 lane boulevard to make a “U” turn but at the same time the angle of the fork is so agressive is’t almost dangerous if you sneeze while riding on the highway.
    I read reports before buiying the Comet but nobody talked about long term use or parts avalability. It is a concern. Our Hyosung shows less than 5000 miles and we changed the rear master cylinder and disc (the disc is my wife mistake but we did wait for it), generator and stator. We are still waiting for the stator, at least 4 weeks.
    We bought it new in 2010 and we paid it half price, so we’re not depresive about it but we would not buy it again even for a third of the price.

    Nick and Gee

  21. Provalogna says:

    Gladius styling makes me not glad for us.

  22. Michael Esdaile says:

    The 650 Hyosung engine is well made and should last for a very long time. The chassis needs an update through as that frame is very heavy. I tried picking one (a bare frame) up from the floor of a workshop and it was a two hands and two arms operation. The wheels are also very heavy. Same thing with the wheels of the 250. The 75 degree 250cc V-twin engine in the GT250 has also proven very reliable, with some owners getting around 100,000 kilometres with no problems. As Todd says, the Hyosung 250 frame is very similar to that from the old GS500 Suzuki but the V-twin engine is quite compact. There is no doubt a smaller, lighter frame could be built around that neat little engine but then Hyosung would have to invest in new fairings, fuel tanks, seat and tail as these are all currently shared with the GT650…

    • craigj says:

      My only exposure to teh Hyosung is a guy I know of in Florida. He keeps blowing up his 250 which in his experience, is actually quite fragile. I’d be quite interested in a 650, but the “R” type bikes are too small for me. I’d like to see what Hyonsung would do taking that engine and putting it in a 650 VStrom frame and styling. Oh, and please would they stop using the Korean Hyosung name and use the acquired American ATK name? Thank you.

      • Jason says:

        Actually Craig, Hyosung USA (branded as Hyosung) is a distributor for S&T Motors (Korean parent company) and has been for many years, but for some reason the parent company is still allowing 3rd party distributors such as ATK (current), with Alpha Sports and United Motors before them (both now defunct).

        The ATK commitment might actually be a good thing for getting their name out there as (from my understanding) ATK’s are being distributed through a small network of Harley Davidson dealerships.

  23. Allworld says:

    For about $6K,”out the door” price, the Hyosung GT650, maybe a steal. Vehicles are not good investments, so if you can ride it around for 3 or so years and then turn around and sell for what it cost to maintain it over the course of time you owned it, that’s not bad.

  24. Honyock says:

    Once there was a naked SV650, with a proper 7″ round headlight and a modest flyscreen that gave it a classic look from the front, and a sleek sportbike tail (with the coolest taillight on any bike, ever) that was acceptable in any company. Why they transmogrified it into the Hideous, er, Gladius, I’ll never understand. Did they get a good deal on Daliesque melted headlights that were rejected by Triumph for being too ugly?

    But a new fully faired SV, but with gentlemanly ergo’s like the Ninja 650, would probably tempt me into serious financial trouble.

  25. MotoRico says:

    For $800 more than the Suzuki, one could buy a Ducati Monster 696. That really demonstrates to me the absurdity of the price of this iteration of the SV.

  26. Dave on the Rex says:

    Tell me again why Suzuki quit w/ the SVs? I missed the memo on that one, did we not have any warning?

    I went and got my ZRX new in a panic when I learned they weren’t being imported for 2006, I would have done the same for the SV. My bad.

    • Dave says:

      I’m guessing that it’s too expensive to make at an acceptable profit margin today. A lot has changed in the world economy since 2003-4 (last major re-tool of the SV). I bet a newly minted SV would cost close to $10k today. FWIW they made enough of them that the used market is pretty well served.

  27. kawzies says:

    New bike prices are out of control. For 8 grand I’ll get a used bike with 130-170HP and 10X the features of a 650 nekkid that’s just broken in.

    • Philip says:

      I agree used is hard to beat right now. Japan is fighting a strong Yen, it’s bad for them as they sell less exports and bad for us because the price just doesn’t make sense.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “New bike prices are out of control.”

      no, the prices are directly PROPORTIONAL to the amount of technology the manufacturers put into them and the amount of entertainment/pleasure you get from riding them. what’s next…? new ferrari prices are out of control…?

      • soi cowboy says:

        Canadian dealers are getting slaughtered by US imports. Lower mainland has a couple importers bringing in used bikes from the states. Of course the big four are taking the ‘honorable’ route and not allowing their dealers to sell US bikes. Just saw my local red dealer leave town.

  28. Marc says:

    Not sure how Suzuki can justify $8k for the Gladius. A Street Triple runs $8.9k and a Ninja 650 runs $7.5k – both are more bike (as was the old aluminum-framed SV650, IMO). It’s only the absence of a er-6n from the US in 2013 that gives it any kind of category.

  29. todd says:

    When you compare the Suzuki SFV with the Hyosung GT (minus fairing) you may wonder if Suzuki is working with Hyosung again. Actually the Hyosung version looks a bit nicer.

    It also looks like the “Yo Sung” 250 still uses the (or a modified version) Suzuki GS500 frame. I think eventually Suzuki will wish they never let their non-compete agreement expire…


  30. Jeremy in TX says:

    $8,000 seems much steeper than I remember the Gladius being, and a solid 35% more than a mid-decade SV650. Talk about inflation.

    Perhaps that is the price for the SVF with ABS, updated suspension and brakes? That would be worth the extra $.

  31. TimC says:

    Suzuki proves once again – very unfortunately as the bikes are good – that its stylists need to be lined up and slapped.

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