This article was published on xBhp.com (2007). The follwing is the article script.
Cometh O Comet
Text and Photography: Sundeep Gajjar (Sunny)
God forgive all those who swore and did unthinkable things to their bikes just to get get that speedo needle one notch up. In a country where real performance sports bikes dot the land as sparsely as the green grass in the vast empiness of Rann of Kutch, any bike with decent power was to be welcomed with a red carpet and flowers from the power hungry bloodhounds. I have never been a big fan of naked bikes, but that was about to change. Before I saw the Kinetic’s imported Hyosung Comet, I knew that it was big and that it was naked, but wasnt too eager to max it’s engine out and review it. You see, ignorant men like me with a negative mindset can be really dangerous to the product review of a new bike. But at the end of the day when a new bike manages to harvest all the ignorance and negativity in you, its understood that its not just another new kid on the block.
It was not the first time I was going to ride a ‘big’ bike, earlier being the Fireblades and Blackbirds. But this one had a feeling of being attainable - the kind of bike which you can afford to keep in your parking lot and thrash around without fearing involuntary front wheel liftoffs.
My initial response after seeing the red Comet for the first time in flesh was - ITS HUGE! Make no bones about that. And its damn good a looker too. One can stare without getting bored at the huge and gracefully sculpted tank with awe. Once you sit on the bike you just see the tank below - nothing else! I had this kind of feeling when I first rode the Fireblade. It definetely renders you as a new confident man! The next thing which strikes you is that you have sunk into the bike with its huge tank and rear step up seat. It gives a cosy and well planted kind of feeling, same as in the big superbikes The dials are a bit too outdated, but they also dont demand any digital gadgetry, even the Hayabusa didnt use to have any digital consoles! Still, i reckon the dials could have been better, i would have preferred them to be matt black rather then chrome. The best part for many individuals would be its meaty front ( 110 ) and rear tyres ( 150 ) with a superbike profile (17″). The only other bike I have ridden in the same engine capacity enough to better these figures is the 4-stroke 4-cylinder inline 250 CC Honda Hornet with its 130 front and 180 rear ( borrowed from the Fireblade series).
This coupled with the rear monoshock and the trick looking golden colored USD forks giving it a big bike look, which belies its 250cc capacity.. Finally, methinks, some people can get away by writing DUCATI in big fonts on their bikes!
The exhaust is a little small for my liking but its gives the impression that the bike is bigger when evaluating it as a package. There is a warning engraved on the exhaust which is says “DO NOT TOUCH MUFFLER BECAUSE HIGH TEMPERATURE”, and you bet! The only thing they forgot is to paint the warning in a flashing red as the exhaust gets really, really hot. I shudder to think about the poor dog even gets his wandering nose even close to the exhaust of a just parked-in bike!
As the next step after admiring the bike and checking it 360 degree, I reached out to the electronic starter button on the right side and pressed it a couple of times before the engine came to life. If one has heard how Superbikes start then they will know that the Comet starting routine sounds very similar and healthy. But the similarities end there and then. The original Comet 250 has a well tuned 2 into 1 header with a short megaphone and is very good at getting the most out of the engine but the exhaust note is very timid and sounds like someone’s really trying really hard to get the cold out of the nose. I said ‘original’ because the Comet homologated in India under ARAI has been made to shed 3 odd BHP. You can supposedly reclaim what is yours by removing the catalytic converter fixed on the Indian version.
The 250 shares a lot of stuff with its bigger 650 counterpart and as a result looks quite huge and massive for a 250. Infact on many occasions , i found people asking me if it was a 600cc machine! The inverted forks are a first in India and so is the rear disc brake, these features combined with the mono-shock,fat rubber,massive tank and muscular body give it a very purposeful look. The only things i found out of place were the rear-view mirrors and the switch gear quality which are certainly not upto the mark. The 250 engine is also shared by its cruiser counterpart - the Kinetic Hyosung Aquila. The Aquila, having a longer wheelbase is a little laid back as compared to the Comet. The Indian versions of Comet and Aquila have 27 and 26 Bhp respectively.
Hyosung has worked with Suzuki very closely in the past and its influence can be seen in the engine and the frame. The engine comprises of two cylinders placed in a 75 degree V - arrangement with DOHC 4 valve per cylinder, with twin downdraft Mikuni carburettors providing good carburation. The engine has been kept simple with air-cooling coupled with an oil cooler aimed for reliability. Many people mistake the oil cooler to be a radiator. So the cooling system is still air based. The engine is high revving and will attain 9000 + rpm quite easily. The engine is mounted firmly in a steel double - cradle chasis. Some might find it familiar to the Kinetic GF series frame.
The downside of the bike being so big is that most bike enthusiasts invariably start expecting some really out of the world stuff, they forget that its only a 250 CC V-twin engine which manages to churn a respectable 30 odd horses. Once you keep in mind this abberration, go ahead and sink yourself into it, everything gets clear about the nature of this bike. If you zero the throttle and then pull it wide open suddenly then it seems to hesitate a little in accelerating, but if you roll it gradually then it will mass on the speed figures steadily.
The Comet handles really well except while nearing its speed limit of around 140 kmph. This is primarily because of the factory set soft - suspension, you will rebound like a baby on the belly of laughing buddha! The suspension is adjustable but is a real pain to do so. You wil have to open up quite a little bit at the back to reach the adjustment mechanism. However, for the Indian roads it is recommended that you leave the suspension as is if you do not intend to push it real hard, and if you dont think the Indian roads and testing tracks. The Comet offers an option for dual disc brakes up front ( it comes with a 300mm disc up front ). Besides this a 220 mm disc break at the rear complements the front while breaking hard. In sport bikes like the Comet one ideally should press the front breaks first ( barring loose gravel or very wet conditions ) followed immediately by the rear brakes, a kind of manual CBS ( Combined Breaking System ). The brakes are made by Daesung in Korea and do the job well, bite like a snakebite. The rear 150 and the front 110 add to the confidence while cornering hard, even in the wet.
The bike is big enough. Even the 6″ + hunks will find it comfortable, thanks to the 650 chasis. Anyone less than 5″ might have to practice a little bit of yoga before they attempt to take U-turns et al. The humungous tank makes it very easy to rest on the bike while doing high speed runs, which somewhat makes up for the lack of fairings ( naked bikes arent supposed to have one anyways ). If you are the owner of any Indian production bike and want to upgrade to an attention harvester and a performace two - wheeler in one - go for the Comet. It’s just the matter of seeing the bike, sitting on it and having one high speed run on a good road - you’ll book it.
Once you get the feel of the bike it is a matter of time that you will discard any respect for other two - wheelers on the road with the mountains of confidence which this bike imparts to its rider. Barring other high capacity imported bikes, no other Indian production bike can beat you on the Comet, rarely in traffic if you are a good rider and never on a straight. You will just find overtaking with incredible ease and braking harder wthout the fear of losing any of the wheels. For stunt freaks this is the best bike they can get to show off their love for saving the one wheel. The incredible big bike feel coupled with the naked agression that this bike exudes renders the stuntesmen to a new level of capability and possibility.
Kinetic deserves a big pat on the back for bringing the Comet here even if it is for a limited run only. I’m sure it came at the expense of quite a few headaches for them (homologation etc). Getting any thing done in this Red Taped and custom mad country of ours is not an easy task. And I’m sure when u keep this in mind that the 1.7 lakh price tag is a very decent one. Kinetic didn’t need to do what it did, but I’m sure glad it did and bought us that one small but significant step closer to the liter class monsters.