Long before the Ducati 916 attained its legendary status, the European motorcycling press had a few not-very-nice things to say about it. The 916cc, L-twin motor was low on power as compared to the Jap in-line fours of the era, but the creamy, even torque spread more than made up for it. The problem was with something else, however. Something more elementary.
The riding position of the 916, some said, not only came in the way of exploiting the full potential of the motorcycle, but also came in the way of riding it in perfectly ordinary conditions. It took four WSBK season titles (1994-1996 and 1998) and then two more from the 996 (an evolved 916, essentially), at the hands of Carl Fogarty (1999) and Troy Bayliss (2001), for the 916 to entirely silence critics. The numbers Nine One Six gave Japanese manufacturers sleepless nights, year after year. ‘Uncomfortable riding stance? What?’
Such irreverence towards ergonomics is today referred to as ‘character’. Character, you must understand, is not just an oddball feature (in the case of Renaults, they’re referred to as ‘charming French quirks’) but an unconventionality that is but an ingredient in an otherwise brilliant package.
The Hyosung Comet GT 250R’s flawed ergos do not, by the above definition, qualify as character. A Ducati 916 may have been the god of wrist-kill, but it also had the ability to leave its competition in the dust. Does the Hyosung GT250R have that performance edge to overshadow not only its own ergonomic shortcoming but also its closest 250cc competition (the Ninja is due for replacement soon, so it’s not in the reckoning) – the Honda CBR 250R?
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