DSK Hyosung Aquila GV 250 review
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The pros: Comfortable riding position, nice handling. Lightweight, powerful engine and smooth gear switching.
The cons: Pillion seat is quite hard, no rear backrest, hard clutch operation.
The crux: If you are looking for an entry level cruiser with decent power and performance figures, fuel economy, refinement and looks, then the Aquila 250 is your steed.
Cruiser motorcycles are gradually picking pace in India, and a lot of credit can be given to Harley-Davidson for popularizing this culture. There was a time when there were only a handful cruiser motorcycles available in the country. Now these weren’t your premium class cruisers, these were more economical and looked, felt and performed pretty much like your average low capacity machines. But, times change and so has the Indian motorcyclists’ taste. They want cruisers, and are willing to pay a premium price for a machine that offers comfort, performance, style and of course a certain lifestyle tag that comes along. The latest entrant in the Indian cruiser market is the Aquila GV 250 by DSK Hyosung motorcycles. To give you a lowdown, the Aquila GV 250 is one of the handful (non-Harley) cruiser bikes available in the country. It is also the only 250cc cruiser on sale and categorically is one of the two sub 3 lakh cruisers in the Indian market. The bike was launched by DSK Hyosung at the 2014 Auto Expo and is the latest entrant in DSK Hyosung’s six bike portfolio. With the demand for lifestyle motorcycles increasing in the country, DSK Hyosung has picked a good time to bring in the Aquila 250, especially now when the cruiser culture is rapidly evolving not just among men, but also women. Every rider aspires a premium league motorcycle, but not all can afford one. That’s where DSK Hyosung steps in, filling in the gap that has been long existent in the Indian motorcycle market. Here is what we feel about the Aquila 250.
Styling - First Impression
The first thought that the Aquila 250 brings to your mind is – impressive. This is a well designed motorcycle which looks classy and is sure to get you noticed on the roads. The proportions are not intimidating and the ivory paint scheme is a respite from the usual dark colours that cruisers sport. The stance is short, rather stout, yet feels comfortable. The big curvy mudguard and the ample coating of chrome is something you wouldn’t miss even if you wanted to. There is chrome on the exhaust pipe, engine, mirrors, handlebar, tail light, grab rails, instrument cluster and even the headlamp assembly. DSK Hyosung has been extremely generous with the use of chrome on this motorcycle, and in a way it helps impart a niche feel. The exhaust note is peculiar of all Hyosung’s and could have sounded a bit better, not that we’re complaining.
Switchgear & Ergonomics
The instrument cluster on the Aquila 250 is a mix of digital and analog - the speedometer and tachometer are analog with a backlight useful during night rides, while the odo and the fuel level are digital, though we wish this panel was a bit bigger. The handlebars are well placed and the rear view mirrors offer good visibility. Riding position is comfortable and does not strain the arms and shoulders.
Rider seat is cozy, but the same cannot be said for the pillion seat which feels a bit hard, and certainly numbs the bum after a few miles. There is no rear backrest and the pillion is at the mercy of the rider and the grab rails to hold on to when cruising at high speeds. Good thing about the Aquila 250 is that the engine does not heat up much, which spares you the horror of roasting your leg.
The Aquila 250 weighs 179 kgs and thanks to its cruiser styling, it is very easy to pull it in and out of parking spaces without breaking into a sweat - it feels very light.
Engine & Performance
The Hyosung Aquila 250 as the names suggests comes with a 250cc V-twin oil cooled engine that churns out 26.21bhp and 21Nm of torque. On paper the torque may seem less, but twist the throttle and the Aquila happily trots ahead. Power delivery is linear and not once will you feel it lagging pace. Even in stop-go city traffic the Aquila has enough power to help you maneuver tight spaces without ever feeling that it may suddenly jump ahead - it always feels composed.
Highway cruising is a breeze and the engine does not feel fatigued even after long riding hours. Wind resistance is nominal and it feels torquey on straights, with plenty of agility when you need to cut your way through heavy traffic. Gear shifts are easy; though getting the bike to neutral is an issue on most occasions. This is particularly painful as it may leave you pinning the clutch at those long signals where you would not want to turn off the ignition. Overall refinement will leave you pleased, as it did me. We tested the Aquila 250 in peak Pune monsoons where we encountered some dry and mostly wet stretches. Even in these conditions the bike performed well and I managed a top speed of 130 kmph.
The Aquila GV 250 has a 14 litre fuel tank, pretty much the same as seen on the super premium cruisers. The fuel system is fuel injected. Well behaved riding will help you extract figures of upto 28kmpl, while maniacal riding will bring it down to around 21kmpl.
Ride & Handling
When you straddle the Aquila 250, you feel right at easy; the front set foot rests along with the brake and gear assembly take only a few seconds to get accustomed to. The ride quality on the Aquila 250 is comfortable and oscillates somewhere between soft and hard. The suspensions are sweet enough on your back when you’re cruising on good stretches, and smoothly tackle minor potholes and bumps; try taking it over craters which our roads are filled with and the jerks and vibrations are sure to be transmitted to your spine. The handlebar is just the right width for you to tackle elbow to elbow city traffic, as well a tight spots.
The Aquila definitely scores high on handling - taking corners is a breeze, be it in the city or the hills. But encounter even the slightest bump or unevenness in your cornering trajectory and this baby is easily fazed. Turning radius is short, and you have to be careful while turning it in small spaces as the forks easily touch the tank startling your turn.
Breaking the Aquila 250’s sprint is not a very pleasant experience as the disc brakes at the front and drums brakes at the rear don’t have adequate stopping power. Even at slow speeds of around 20kmph, braking is gradual and you’re left wondering if it will ever stop on time. DSK Hyosung could definitely do some more work in the braking department to make sure this one’s nose doesn’t touch someone else’s rear!
Overall the Aquila 250 is a well mannered, good looking motorcycle that serves its purpose of offering a pleasant cruising experience. Since it does not have any immediate competition in terms of either price or engine capacity, the Aquila 250 enjoys the novelty of being the only one in its segment. So far it has done brilliantly for DSK Hyosung as all the 125 units have been sold out.
Our take on the Aquila 250? If you are looking for an entry level cruiser with decent power and performance figures, good comfort, fuel economy, refinement and looks, then the Aquila 250 is your steed. Also the pricing of Rs 2.72 lakh ex-showroom Pune is something which will not put a dent in your pocket and you will always have its novelty factor to boast about.