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What it's Like to Crash a Motorcycle

“Damn it. John Burns thinks I’m a dick.”
That was one of the predominant thoughts going through my head as I slid down a Florida highway at 60 mph back in March.
It’s weird how the mind works. Time slows in a crash. Every tiny image burns into memory, so your brain can replay it over and over and over at night for the next who knows how many weeks.
In the moments before I crashed, I was riding the Harley-Davidson Street Rod along County Road 34 in central Florida. I’m not sure which county. The accident report simply records it as “County Code 61,” but the internet can’t agree on which county that is. Maybe I was in Indian River County; maybe I was in Suwannee County; maybe I was in Flagler County; I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter; I was somewhere. The road passing through that somewhere was long and straight – not the sort of place where one usually crashes – and the weather was perfect.

“My God, I am so happy,” I was thinking. “I am so incredibly lucky to be here – to live t…

What I want: Hyosung GV250

One of the things you'll see from British motorcyclists on various internet forums is the belief that no one would or should want a 250cc bike. The space between a learner-level 125 and a 500 is no man's land, they claim. But they claim all kinds of things, which is the modus operandi of internet forums, I suppose.

A fair few manufacturers offer 250s in the UK. Honda has the CBR, Kawasaki has the Ninja (actually a 300, but close enough), Suzuki has the Inazuma, and KTM has the Duke. Meanwhile, Yamaha may bring the YZF-R250 to the UK and there is talk of Suzuki reviving its Hustler name for something in the 200-300 range, as well as introducing the Z250.

On top of this, you have 250s (or close) from lesser-known manufacturers like AJS (who offer several 350s: the Stellar, the EOS and SPT), Daelim (who offer the unexciting VJF) and Hyosung, who offer the GV250, the GT250 and the GT250R. No doubt, there are one or two others I failed to mention (1). 

With so many bikes of this size on the market, I don't think you can claim no one wants them. Certainly I do. And among the aforementioned blur of seemingly incongruous letters and numbers are several bike models I'd like to have. In terms of visual appeal, the Hyosung GV250 leads the pack for me.

I'm a cruiser guy.

I think.

I don't actually know because I've never been on a cruiser. But I definitely like their look and the not-worried-about-getting-there-first attitude they exude. I don't want to take corners at butt-clenching speed. The appeal of motorcycling to me is the freedom to wander, and as Howlin' Wolf sang: I'm built for comfort, not for speed.

The only cruisers I can find in the below-500cc range are those provided by AJS and Hyosung. I only just found out about AJS this weekend and have had little success in finding reviews of their bikes beyond the usual racist/pointless laments that they are manufactured in China.

More information can be found about South Korean manufacturer Hyosung – most of it positive or neutral. And I've found forums in both the United States and Australia singing the praises of the GV250 (also known as the Aquila or Mirage). It's the right look, the right size and the right price. I want it.

Maybe.

What causes concern for me is Hyosung's poor UK infrastructure. Go to its (substandard) website, do a search for dealers, and you get a list featuring some dealers who have gone bust or whose websites make no mention of Hyosung. I sent a query about dealers more than a month ago and still have not heard back. The closest Hyosung dealer I can find is GV Bikes (2) in Taunton – some 84 miles away.

All this makes me nervous. I worry I'd find myself in the wilderness in terms of servicing and repair. So, although I love the look I'd probably choose something else.

–––––

(1) It's a shame that Cleveland CycleWerks bikes are not available in the UK.
(2) Nice website from 1999, fellas.

Comments

  1. I'm just now starting to see Hyosungs on the road in the USA, despite having been marketed here for the past several years. I remember seeing them in person at motorcycle shows and they looked really low quality, a lot of plastic, and they felt rickety when I sat on them. My biggest concern is not finding a shop that can work on one.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I have to say that I am less and less sure about a Hyosung. I think I'm just charmed by the price more than anything.

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    2. The Hyosung GV 250 is a great, reliable bike to learn on and is a nice introduction to the cruiser market. Mine is a 2007 model with only 15000km on the clock. Picked it up for $ 1500 (Australian) a few weeks back. 400km to a tank of gas which costs about $ 20:00 to fill! It will happily go along at 110km/hr all day- which is the speed limit over here once your out of the City (Perth, Western Australia). If you want to be going much faster than that then you don't really want a cruiser any way....

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  2. Well, I once had a new red Yamaha YBR 125 Custom. I wanted something a little economic and it sure was economic (110 mpg+). On the quality-control side, the rear swinging arm and both fork stanchions popped up rust and had to be replaced after just a few months of ownership.

    Hmmm... The main bug bear, which I found during a trip down to the south of France (why not - Gustavo did 89700 km on his YBR 125), was the lack of grunt usually when trying to overtake a slow-moving lorry going at 45 to 50 mph. In fact, a total lack of power might be more accurate.

    On my return from France, I figured out that the lack of power was always going to be a problem with the Yamaha particularly for touring in Europe which I intended to use it for. Then, last November, I tried out a black Suzuki Inazuma 250 and bought it, there and then, trading in my Yamaha YBR 125 Custom for it.

    At £3499 on-the-road, I feel that the Inazuma is a bargain and is very well-suited to those owning a new A2 licence or older bikers returning to motorcycling after a break. I knew I would get used to its modern looks given enough time and I did. It achieves 95 mph quite easily, has a fuel economy of around 75 to 110 mpg (I average 85 mpg) and it handles superbly, at least as well as the Suzuki GSX750F (Katana) motorbike I had a few years ago.

    The new Honda CB500X is yet to come out in March 2013 and the Honda NC700X had a chain recall last September which worried me a bit about quality-control. So, as I said, I went for the Inazuma as I was looking for a motorbike that I could keep for a fair number of years and rely on for getting around as a streetbike as well as for long-distance touring in the summer months.

    So far, no problems with the bike at all. Changing the oil regularly is the only thing to remember. The bike runs great and I've finished the running-in period. With a spray coating of Muc-Off Motorcycle Protectant at the beginning of winter, there has been no corrosion on the bike even when left outside under cover.

    Its weight of 183 kg actually disappears after you go above 15 mph and what other bikers have said about it being made in China (and must therefore be rubbish) turns out, in fact, to be nonsense. When I'm out on it, the bike gets a lot of attention and many bikers think it's a new 500 twin. The seat is amazingly comfortable particularly with the small black sheepskin (with elasticated band) that I covered the rider's seat with.

    This coming June, I'll be heading through western France and Spain, whilst camping on the way, so if you want to follow along on my travels, feel free to visit my personal blog at Black Inazuma Adventures where I've put some information on the Inazuma.

    So, do I recommend the Inazuma? A big 'Yes' from me. It's one of the best bikes I've ever had and I've had a few dozen from all ends of the bike spectrum. If you don't spend it, you don't need to earn it is the way I look at it and if you haven't got a job but have anything like a car or something else that can be sold, I recommend you sell up and get a bike now - better to ride now than wait till you're older, wealthier but probably much less-abled. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Interesting that you say all that. I have thought a lot about the Inazuma. I am worried about the bike's size, though. I'm 6-foot-1 and am concerned that the "confidence-inspiring" seat height mentioned in Inazuma literature will translate to my feeling squished.

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  3. Well, at 6-foot-2, I was worried at first that the bike was too small but in practice it works out just OK with my long legs on both sides of the tank just in the right place. The Honda CB250R had foot-pegs too far back for me. You could try http://cycle-ergo.com to get an idea of posture on the bike. The program also has the option to show posture when both your feet are down. Cheers for now!

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  4. Thumbs up for your comment @Black Inazuma. Actually I am planning to buy a comfortable bike and confused to decide b/w cbr250r and Aquila 250 . Your comment exactly specified my requirement. Also Can you suggest me a best bike under 4 lakh price for city traffic and occasional long drive. I'm 6'1 nad 95 kgs. Appreciate your response. Thanks.

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