We take a spin on the most affordable V-twin cruiser available in the Indian two-wheeler market
It's been almost a decade when the Hyosung Aquila 250 was first introduced in India by Kinetic Motors. With limited options at hand, the cruiser starved bikers grabbed the 200 odd Aquilas that were brought to Indian shores. Sadly, the cruiser had to be phased out as there weren't enough after service options and spares were becoming difficult to procure.
The Aquila 250 is now back in its latest avatar, imported as Completely Knocked Down (CKD) units and assembled at DSK Hyosung's facility in Wai near Pune. But the motoring scene in India has transformed drastically in the last 10 years. Now there are plenty of 250cc-plus bikes in the market including several cruisers to choose from. To make matters worse, established players like Harley-Davidson and Triumph have set shop in India. So, does the modest Korean cruiser stand a chance this time round? Apparently it has a trump card up its sleeves. It is the most affordable V-twin cruiser available in India currently. Sounds like a valid point, but can it live up to the evolved expectations of Indian bikers? I went astride to find out more.
The first impression is that of a timeless, charming cruiser, which in other words mean it's fat and stout. The Aquila ticks all the right boxes necessary in the segment - a large tank, round headlamp, twin-analog-dials, wide handle bars, plenty of chrome and a V-twin at its heart. There is even a full chrome two-into-one exhaust system, silver alloy wheels which add a modern touch and two step seat with contrast piping that not just looks good but is quite comfortable too. In terms of design, there is nothing extraordinary about the Hyosung, but yet it manages to stand out in a crowd.
With it's body proportion, this 250cc cruiser appears to be larger than it actually is. Once astride, you realise that it's a pretty compact bike with extremely low centre of gravity. Some cruisers can make ordinary things like pulling the bike out of the parking lot seem like a Herculean task, which thankfully isn't the case with the Hyosung. The low seat height of the Aquila is perfect for an average built Indian, it's compact size and a kerb weight of just 179kg makes it really ease to manage. The bike also has good ergonomics as the wide handle bar, low seat and forward-set footrests which makes for fatigue-free riding on long journeys.
Crank up the 250cc, oil-cooled, V-twin fuel injected engine and you'd expect the cruiser to wake up with a beastly roar, but it emits an understated purr instead. Am sure there are plenty of company-approved exhaust available to fix that, including the menacing Gatling gun exhaust. The V-twin produces 26.5PS maximum power at a pretty high 9500rpm and just 21Nm of torque at 7,500rpm. Performance is adequate but there's not enough mid-range grunt and you have to keep the motor on the boil to get the best out of it. Moreover, it does not have the torquey character that you expect on touring bikes like these. This cruiser clearly has a sports bike soul.
On hindsight, it's smooth and free revving that can go all the way up to the redline. This fuel injected engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox and transfers power to its rear wheel via a chain drive. The gears are well spread out but it tends to find false neutral which can be annoying. It has a perimeter cradle frame which comes with 41mm telescopic front forks and coil-spring shocks at the rear. But the setup is firm and the bike tends to jolt over bumpy roads. The 16-inch wheels with 110/90 Shinko tyre and 15-inch 150/80 tyre, at the front and rear respectively, offer ample grip.
The cruiser gets single disc with 2 pistons caliper in the front, but drums at the rear. Not getting rear disc brake, despite the premium price tag, makes one feel short changed. No surprise that the brakes aren't exceptional and does a reasonable job in bringing the bike to halt in urgency. ABS is missed sourly, and we hope DSK Hyosung introduces a variant with the safety feature soon.
Priced at Rs 2.8 lakh ex-showroom Mumbai, it really isn't cheap, yet remains the most affordable V-twin cruiser offering in our country. It'll face stiff competition when the Harley-Davidson Street 750 starts rolling; which has thrice the engine size and is just about a lakh-and-a-half more expensive. The Hyosung Aquila 250 remains a unique option for buyers looking for a cruiser which is easy to maintain, has adequate performance and fits their limited budget.