Hyosung Aquila 250 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300 vs Suzuki Inazuma: Comparison Review
- by Vikrant Singh
- Jul 28, 2014
- Views : 84317
Three bikes. Three different genres. But one common trait - twins. Here's how the story unfolded...
Meet the twins. No these aren't identical, paternal, or related to each other in any way. But, what does connect them are their engines. All three run twin cylinder engines and are in fact the cheapest twins one can buy from their respective maker's stables. Now, if you are looking for the best bang for your buck in this category, go buy the KTM 390 Duke. End of story.
However, if like us, you find multi-cylinder motorcycles charismatic (even if they just have two cylinders), read on, for even though the three are twins (that doesn't quite read right), these bring different genres of motorcycling to the mix; each with something special. Phew! That was a long sentence.
The plan isn’t to give these bikes the proper comparison test treatment, though. Instead, we want to bring forward the abilities and the character of these motorcycles to help you decide which route you might want to take. So, here goes…
Cruisers, as the genre demands, need to be laid back, comfortable motorcycles that are meant to traverse long distances; given of course there isn't too much hard cornering involved. These also need to be blinged out and need to have the eyeball grabbing ability pretty young things would give up a limb for. The Hyosung Aquila 250 ticks quite a few boxes here, if not all. It is a large motorcycle - large fuel tank, large fenders and large street presence. The meaty forks and the fat tyres give it additional visual mass. And, of course, there's chrome – a must for any cruiser. Lots of it, in fact. From the head lamp to the mirrors, the fork covers, the instrumentation pod covers, the side trim and the exhaust are all covered in chromium. The wheels are a shiny silver too.
The Aquila 250 has the right stance for a cruiser. The handle bar is wide, the seat is low and the footpegs are positioned forward. And with its kicked out front forks it makes for one authentic looking cruiser. The fact that it stands out in a crowd, is half the battle. This also makes for comfortable seating. The rider's saddle is well padded, the handlebar is easy to reach and hold, and the footpegs though forward, aren't excessively so.
It’s an easy bike to ride too. It isn't a pain to park or ride at slower, city speeds; it has good straight line stability; and surprisingly, it isn’t bad at cornering either. The balance is good and the throttle response, predictable. We like the brakes too. The ride quality could have been better and is very un-cruiser like. It wallows a bit over undulated roads, and that’s fine, but over potholes and bumps - unless these are slight - it returns a bumpy, stiff ride.
The engine - the only V-twin here - doesn't have that classic cruiser character either. It doesn't have a wave of torque which one could ride on all day long. The engine is happier, peppier and more likeable towards the top end of its rpm range instead of packing solid low and mid range torque. It displaces 249cc, is fuel injected and makes 26PS of max power. The peak torque of 22Nm comes it at a high 7,500rpm; the reason why the bike feels more at home when revved. It's not exactly a butter smooth engine.
The street naked
The Suzuki Inazuma on the other hand, does; have a smooth engine, that is. Now this one is a street naked, and therefore it must have aggression. A bit of vibes and an engine that feels like it’s straining on the leash is a given. Not, with this Suzuki, it isn’t. The 248cc fuel injected and liquid cooled parallel twin is a study on how smooth, linear and adjustable an engine can be.
And we love it. At 25PS, it is the least powerful here but it is a unit you can live with en route to work, out on the highway, and as we found out, even on a winding road. Because it is so refined and easy revving, not to mention reasonably torquey, you can either rev the day lights off the engine or ride the torque curve at higher gear and low speeds, and it will do your bidding on both counts with equal aplomb.
But, it’s not just the engine on the Inazuma that doesn’t do the street naked genre justice, its styling doesn’t fit the stereotype either. A street naked needs to be either gorgeous or scarily aggressive looking. It must have a large and chiseled tank; a lot of visual mass in the centre; and a sharp but stingy tail. The Suzuki has a large tank, an exposed engine and in fact a bikini faring, but it’s totally old-school, bulbous and visually, not as alluring as one would expect a modern street naked to be.
Get past the looks and there’s lot’s to like. The Inazuma has a large comfortable seat, upright handlebar and neutrally positioned footpegs. It's not only an easy motorcycle to mount, but the most comfortable of the three to spend long hours on. It has light controls, easy to read instrumentation, and once off the stand and rolling, it isn't difficult to manage either. It has the most sorted ride quality of the three bikes here too. It’s soft but not overly so. And, the suspension setup is so well judged that the Inazuma makes for a decent handling motorcycle as well. We wouldn't term its handling sharp or incisive, but if you are willing to commit, the Inazuma will stand by you.
The sports bike
Sharp, incisive, and fast. That’s what defines our sports bike in the group. The Kawasaki Ninja 300. It is the most expensive of the three bikes here, and honestly, it looks the part. If there’s one thing the Indian bike buying public likes more than a cruiser, it’s a fully fared motorcycle. And, that it is the best looking motorcycle here just adds to its points’ kitty. It looks racy and modern, like the ZX-10R – the layered fairing, the edgy twin head lamps, the multi-spoke alloys and the sharp tail give it the appearance of a motorcycle built for speed.
And that it is. Not only is the Ninja 300 the most powerful here, it is the quickest to 100kmph and has the highest top speed. The Kawasaki uses a parallel twin as well. It displaces 296cc and makes 39PS of max power at 11,000rpm. The peak torque of 27Nm is better than the other bikes too and it can be felt with the sort of potent tractability the Ninja offers, both when riding in the city and cruising down and overtaking on the highway without having to touch that gear shifter often.
But, only a proper set of twisties can bring out the best in the Ninja. And what a delight it is! Riding the Ninja around a set of corners makes you feel like a more skilled rider. It does everything for you. It tips into corners with accuracy, holds the desired line without a hint of hesitation, and because those tyres grip so well, you never really run out of lean angle. It’s easy and quick to pick up and drop around a series of quick corners and when the straights arrives, it simply disappears on the other two bikes without even trying.
It is the least comfortable of the three motorcycles, we agree. The footpegs are rearset, the handlebar slightly higher and far than they should be and the seat is the least comfortable of the three as well. It’s also the least practical of the three bikes. And if you end up dropping it, it would be the most expensive to fix as well.
Our three heroes might represent different genres but only one truly does justice to its type. The Ninja 300. It promises and delivers on a complete sport bike experience, only scaled down. It has the looks, handling, braking, performance, and what have you measured to the T. If full leathers, race boots and kneedown is your thing, get the Ninja.
If open face, straight roads and stretched out legs is what you prefer, the Hyosung Aquila 250 comes close, but misses a few tricks. It looks the part, sure. And it has the right seating ergonomics too. It has the poser value that neither bike here can match. And it brakes surprisingly well. What it needed though was an engine with better torque characteristics and a cushier ride. This one is for the poser who’d take short rides and polish chrome.
The Inazuma is the most unlike its genre of bikes. It doesn’t have the style, the engine character or the presence of a street naked. It’s more like a touring motorcycle with its lovely ride, planted straight line stability, and predictable handling. In fact, it is sold internationally in a touring version called the GW250S with a tall screen, half fared looks and panniers (optional extras). That’s what we needed here. But, if saddle bags and sabbaticals is what you want to do, you can’t do better than the Inazuma. That it doubles up as a comfortable everyday motorcycle to go to work on is just an added bonus.