2000 km in 24-Hours on a with Korean Hyosung GT650 Comet
by Mallu Helin
In 2004, a new Korean motorbike called the Hyosung GT650 Comet became available in the European market. I was very curious what kind of bike they have produced in comparison to Japanese bikes, which are quite familiar for me after 20 years long distance riding. Because as far as I know, nobody in the world has ever ridden any Iron Butt ride with a Hyosung, I became very inspired about thinking to be the lucky first one.
After 3 accepted (SS1000, BB1500, SS2000) IBA rides I was quite credible when proposing my idea for Hyosung importer in Finland. So, we made a deal:
I got the bike for 24 hours and during that time I was allowed to ride so much I wanted. Afterwards I'll write a report about the trip and give my comments about the bike.
Thank you, Hasse & Jarge! Here you are!
LET'S GO !
I decided to try SS2000K (1243 miles in 24 hours) that is quite new kilometer based performance in Finland, but I knew it could be hard to be successful in this attempt in because of Finnish common speed limits 80 100 km/h (50 62 mph).
The weather was just perfect, sunny day, plus 20 degrees C (68 F) and no rain coming.
Feeling was really great!
The bike I got was almost brand new, 300 km (186 miles) in odometer, dark blue beauty with a little windscreen.
First I had to eat a good lunch at the service station that was both my starting and finishing point, looked for witnesses, filled up the tank and dreamed about at least SS1600K...
I had a plan to ride our country from south to north and then come back using the same main roads. So, the front wheel of Hyosung was indicating the direction of the North Pole during the next 12 hours.
Because of quite gusty wind the bike was shaking a lot on the motorway in the beginning of the trip and sometimes I really had to concentrate to keep it on the right traffic lane. I had to slow down for a while and take it easy. This phenomenon didn't happen when the direction of the wind changed to blow from behind.
I really liked the powerful 650 cc V-twin engine that gives very good efficiency and from the other point of view the bike is very easy to ride. It was always fun to speed up using the power of the engine and it really made me smile. The sounds are also great even using the original 2-1 exhaust pipe.
All the switches on the handle bar were in familiar places, and riding was very comfortable although I am quite a small rider. However my legs were reaching the ground well, so it helped a lot in turns when using slow riding speed.
Changing gears was easy and because of the engine; I didn't have to change the gear so often as I was used to with Japanese 600cc row engines. The gearbox was silent to use and only putting into gear 6 was sometimes a little bit strange. The motion of the gear lever was shorter when using gear 6 and that made me feel unsure if the gear was switched well.
Because I was on the Iron Butt-trip it would have been nice if there was a clock in the "cockpit". Now I decided to use my watch, and I put that into the tankbag. Maybe the engineers have thought no one needs a clock when riding a motorbike
After the first 500 kilometres (310 miles) I felt the first symptoms about tiredness in my back. Maybe I just thought so
It couldn't be true
I just had to do some gymnastics more often and it helped immediately.
It was Sunday evening and there wasn't traffic a lot on my way. I saw many different racing cars being transported south. There has been a national race near the border of Finland and Sweden this weekend, but my driving direction was north and those "caravans" didn't disturb my travelling.
We have the Midnight Sun -phenomenon in northern parts of Finland (and Scandinavia) and thats why the sun is shining all night long at the summer time. It is also just a perfect thing for Iron Butt riding! Midnight sun is the result of the positioning of the Earth and Sun. Near the North Pole the sun keeps above the horizon half a year and correspondingly there is very dark and cold during the other half. We call that period of darkness in winter with the Finnish word "kaamos".
I was riding the whole night inside the reindeer rearing area, so I had to slow down because of those animals. I really had to use extra concentration for this.
Suddenly one big male reindeer with huge horns jumped on my way, and I really took fright at that animal. The northern fells are grazed by reindeer because it's one of the main sources of livelihood in Lapland. Reindeer is following the herd and they can make their way free on the fells. It is not a surprise to have an accident with reindeer, because they are not afraid of traffic at all.
I continued riding and kept the warning of the reindeer area in my mind.
Everything was going just fine when I reached my turning point after the midnight in Sodankyla. I ate a little and just jumped around on the yard of the gas station. The temperature was about 12 degrees over zero (53,6 F), and I had to wear some extra cloths under my coat.
COMING BACK FROM NORTH
Now I had to continue my trip back to South. I wasnt sure about the total kilometers of my planned journey, I didnt have time enough to calculate that beforehand. I was a little bit concerned about this and tried to phone to couple of guys in IBA Finland so they could help me to ensure quickly the kilometers using the digital map. But they couldnt help because they were on their own trips at the same time
So, I just had to believe I would have kilometers enough at the finishing point. I knew also I didnt have time to ride any extra kilometers
Stupid me, why didnt I check this before with care
Hyosung became more and more comfortable during the trip, and also the brakes were responding to my commands much better than in the beginning. The front brake was quite inefficient, but it changed for the better all the time.
The engine was sometimes spiting when tachometer showed about 7000 rpm and I never knew what was the reason for that. Maybe I got unclean gasoline from one gas station or there were problems in the ignition system of the engine. I really dont know, but that was sometimes disturbing when speeding up.
At the gas station of the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, I showed the bike to one young guy, who came to me and asked a lot of questions about the new bike. He was very excited and praised Hyosung as a beautiful and interesting motorbike.
He was right. Maybe he has his own Hyosung nowadays...
The first time I felt a little bit sleepy was in Oulu, after about 1500 kilometers (932 miles) riding. I rode to one resting place just near the main road and took a short nap on the bench. It refreshed me a lot and gave strength to continue.
Now I was sure about reaching the normal SS1000 or SS1600K but still I was dreaming about an SS2000K. I had enough time left, so if everything goes perfect, it wasnt impossible to reach 2000 kilometres (1243 miles) in 24 hours
But only if everything goes well
That would be absolutely big thing especially in Finland, because I would be the first woman to manage in this and we had only two guys who has done the 2000K before
Thinking of these things gave me some extra motivation to continue and because I felt just OK and the bike was so fun to ride, there was no reason to stop before the planned service station.
Then I stuck to roadwork in the Middle-Finland, but I had decided to arrive in time for the finishing point
There is two signal lights in Hyosung's cockpit to show the amount of gasoline.
First one is the sign of 50 % filling and second is like "reserve". There is about 2 3 litres (0,5 gallons) left when the second warning comes, so with Hyosung's fuel consumption it means about 70 kilometers (45 miles) capacity. The function of these lights was just precise and the rider can certainly trust them.
In curves Hyosung wiggled a little but if I didnt do anything to prevent that and rode just relaxed it wasn't bad. Maybe the rider can adjust the suspension better, but unfortunately I havent got time for that. On a bumpy road the rear suspension felt too tight and my legs and back came off the bike twice. I just jumped to the air from the saddle and dropped back in the same second.
Hyosung is a perfect bike for this size of rider than I am. I'm 160 centimeters (5 feet 2 inches) and I havent any problems with my shortness. I suppose Hyosung works well with most of the riders who are at least as tall as I am.
The angle of riders knees is quite tight, but I havent problems with that either.
On the final motorway part of this trip I reached the timetable again and in the finishing point I had only 3 minutes of 24 hours left. Like I told before, I was not sure about the real kilometers of this trip but Hyosungs odometer showed 80 kilometres (4%) extra. I just hoped it was enough!
Official result was 2011 km (1,250 miles) in 23 hours 57 minutes.
Afterwards it was really nice to get my certificate of SS2000K !
And I was that "lucky first one" woman in the World !
Mallu from Finland
Special THANKS for:
My loving and supporting fiancé, PH.
Elcat Oy / Hyosung importer in Finland
Moto-Parkki / Bike dealer in Valkeakoski (Finland).