Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Car Lover, Feb 18, 2013.
Remember the Hyosung Aquila that was sold in the country more than a decade back? With its 250cc liquid-cooled twin, the bike was quite a hit for those who had the money but back then had no options for a powerful, flashy machine. Despite Hyosung being a brand unheard of, the limited numbers of the Aquila that were imported got sold out quickly. However, by the time Hyosung decided to come back, which is two years ago to be precise, the Indian motorcycle market had evolved greatly, purchasing power had gone up and the Indian buyer had a variety of options to spend his money on. Having said that, Hyosung’s ST7 has enjoyed nothing more than moderate success in India, especially with Harley-Davidson setting up their assembly plant and entering the CKD space and putting into market some exquisitely priced cruisers. But the DSK group, Hyosung’s new partner in India, has a plan in place to help the brand grow, and reach out to a larger audience. The Pune-based DSK group is known primarily as a Maharashtrian real estate giant but has been associated with the automobile industry through its dealerships, but is now hoping to emerge as a serious player in the auto market.A GT650R update was required - DSK feel the similarity in styling between the 650 and 250 was hampering the bigger bike’s image. DSK also felt they needed to increase their presence in the cruiser space – the ST7 was not as successful as they wanted, especially with stiff competition from the entry-level Harleys. To take care of that DSK-Hyosung have launched the Aquila Pro, a name they believe will help bolster their image given the Aquila 250’s success in the past. The motorcycle is also sold as the GV650 in several markets abroad, but Hyosung chose the name Aquila Pro for India, hoping to leverage a fairly well-known brand name.
So what is the Aquila Pro like? At first sight, the Aquila Pro reminded me of the Harley-Davidson V-Rod. The Korean bike is long and sits low but the biggest trigger for the V-Rod image is the shape of the fuel tank and how it sits on top of the frame rails. It is dramatically different from the ST7 which is clearly a much more traditionally styled cruiser whereas the Aquila Pro - like the V-Rod - breaks a few rules and ends up looking a lot more modern.
Now Harleys are well known for inspiring all manner of cruisers, not least the Japanese ‘versions’ that are regularly rolled out to try and compete with them back in the USA. And Hyosung have followed the same principles. Just like the ST7 reminded me of the Fat Boy, this one is a mix of Night Rod and V-Rod from several angles. The modern design cues continue onto the fuel tank, and end with a nice looking LED tail light. Lots of chrome adorns various parts of the motorcycle, and the engine looks nice with its part chrome and part black finish.
The Aquila Pro gets upside down forks at the front as opposed to the ST7’s conventional forks. The short time I spent on the bike told me that these enhanced the bike’s handling as compared to the ST7. The Aquila Pro felt comfortable to ride, and I felt comfort levels wouldn’t change significantly even over longer distances given the soft seat and relaxed riding The bike gets twin discs upfront, in keeping with the increased performance as compared to the ST7. The performance gain is courtesy the GT650R’s 647cc V-twin engine which does duty on the Aquila as opposed to the ST7’s 678cc V-twin. In this guise the engine has been tuned for better bottom-end and mid-range, which is evident from the word go. On the sportsbike this very engine felt lethargic unless revved hard, but on the Aquila Pro it feels a lot sprightlier. Power output is the same as the GT650R, which is an impressive 74.7PS at 9000rpm as compared to the ST7, which despite the marginally higher engine displacement of 678cc produces only 58PS at 8000rpm. The Aquila’s torque rating is higher too, with the engine churning out 62.1Nm at 7500rpm in this guise as compared to the ST7’s 57Nm at 6000rpm. The Aquila produces its peak torque higher than the ST7 in the rev range but felt punchier in the city, which is where I got to ride the motorcycle. The engine feels smoother too as compared to the GT650R, but some amount of vibration can be felt through the footpegs as revs rise. The throttle feels jerky as you open it causing the motorcycle to lunge forward at crawling speeds, but feels smoother once you go faster. Gearshifts are not bad, but shift quality could have been better.
Overall, the Aquila Pro feels a lot better than the ST7 – in terms of design, feel and performance. However, panel gaps are not uniform, and the yawning gaps between the fuel tank and chassis spoil the show. The engine feels smoother than that of the ST7 or the GT650R but I felt there’s still room for improvement. Hyosung has priced the Aquila Pro at Rs 4.99 lakh, ex-showroom, New Delhi which just about justifies the package. But only a full road test will help judge the motorcycle better. If Hyosung really wish to compete with the Harley-Davidson SuperLow/Iron 883 or Suzuki Intruder M800, they need to smoothen out the rough edges on the motorcycle.
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