Hyosung X4R: Learning can be fun
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Sharp chassis, race looks and a willing powerplant, the X4R goes as good as it looks
With its popular GT250 and GT650 learner legal machines supplying the perfect combination of affordability and performance for many new to riding, Hyosung has made a name for itself in the LAMS market.
However, with the GT250R getting a bit long in the tooth, 2015 saw the unveiling of the X4R, the Korean company's sportier offering for learners.
Compared to the full-sized GT250, the sportier X4R is diminutive, but a total length of 1937mm and a wheelbase of 1346mm means the X4R is 343mm shorter than the older GT250 and also has a 100mm shorter wheelbase. That's not only instantly evident when you hop onboard, with the X4R feeling toy-like, but also by the way it tips into corners at lightning speed. If you want to feel as if you're racing a Moto3 machine, this is the bike to achieve just that, as it makes a mockery of any corner.
At the heart of the X4R is a fuel-injected, 249cc single-cylinder, DOHC powerplant, with four valves per cylinder pushing out a claimed 28.4hp @ 8500rpm and with a torque figure of 26.1Nm a full 1000 revs lower.
Again, when compared to the GT250R, that's only a slight drop in horsepower and a gain in torque, which, if combined with the saving in weight, makes the single-cylinder machine a better performer than its V-twin sibling.
The rest of the gear on the X4R is much the same as the GT, with a single 300mm brake rotor gripped by a four-piston caliper up front and a 230mm at the rear.
The forks are slightly smaller at 38mm in diameter and, like the GT, there isn't any adjustment. But with the firmish settings and the light weight, the X4R feels on the sporty-side with the standard set-up which fits in well with the rest of the machine.
The rear-set footrests are set high and the clip-on 'bars help to keep you in a tucked position. And, but with the saddle set into the bike, the fuel tank is positioned well to help take the weight off your wrists. This makes the X4R surprisingly comfortable, especially as the small screen is angled sufficiently to deflect a reasonable amount of blast away from you.
Being a 250cc, single-cylinder sports bike, revs are the name of the game; and the little Hyosung doesn't start getting into its stride until the revs are well over 6000rpm. It's here the fun begins, especially as our X4R was fitted with a set of aftermarket pipes, which made the Hyosung sound much gruntier that it was.
With six gears to play with, the clutch was a bit fiery when first pulling away. But after that it didn't need to be bothered, as the short throw of the sporty gearbox meant cogs could be selected quickly and easily, simply by chopping the throttle slightly.
That's important on a bike like this, because you need to be able to dance up and down the gearbox to keep the motor spinning in the sweet spot.
If you manage that you'll be travelling at a decent clip on the X4R, especially when you realise you don't have to back off for many corners.
With the feedback from the firm suspension working well with the trellis frame, the Hyosung gives you loads of feedback from the front, encouraging you to push further and harder into the turns, all while trying to avoid dropping any speed.
Yes, overtaking takes a bit of thought, as, even with a bit of pace as you're approaching the car in front, there still isn't enough power to open the throttle in top gear and grunt past. But keep the little engine spinning and you're past one victim and on to the next, making the journey much more entertaining that riding a bike with a huge amount of horses.
If you've been riding dirt bikes or been on other learner machines for a while, you're going to love the X4R.
It's involving, fun, it looks cool and sounds grouse - at least with the aftermarket pipes.
And, if you were thinking about going on a track day, this would have to be one of the most fun learner bikes imaginable.
Engine: 249cc Liquid cooled DOHC 4-valve Single cylinder
Pro: Race replica looks and feel
Con: No ABS, low power output