The first time I hopped on the bike, I was taken aback by how committed and focused riding stance it offers. If you think the stock GT is sporty, this is way more aggressive than that. You have to bend quite a bit to reach the handlebar, and then the rider footpegs are where pillion pegs sit on the production bike.
The ergonomics are undoubtedly aggressive, but all the discomfort fades away amidst the loud, roaring, and thrumming symphony it generates. It reverberated beautifully around the race track.
Once out on the track, the changes made in the bike started showing their effect instantaneously. The first major change that was quite pronounced was acceleration. It was noticeably quicker as compared to the stock bike. It was quite eager to reach its redline, owing to the revision in the final drive ratio. The front sprocket of the bike has 14 teeth instead of 15 in the stock bike. While this made the motorcycle peppier to exit out of the corners, it also meant I was hitting the rev limiter pretty early on the straights. That being said, this engine is quite forgiving due to the abundance of torque available across the rev range which means incorrect selection of gear around corners wasn’t a big problem.
Then the tweaked suspension setup also helped in inspiring confidence around the track, without feeling squishy and unstable. And given the bumpy track that the Kari Motor Speedway is, the undulations were soaked neatly, without disturbing the motorcycle. But the star of the show were the soft compound tyres by JK, wrapped around its 18-inch spoke wheels. These rubbers never made me feel nervous by delivering commendable grip and feedback.
Well, it was not all roses though. Despite the major weight reduction measures, the bike weighs about 178 kilograms, which is pretty heavy. I had to literally muscle and fight the bike to make it do the things I wanted it to do. At times, I couldn’t gauge its lazy responses properly and ended up running wide around certain corners. And the heft also affects the braking as you have to go really hard on them to stop in time. The feedback from the front brake lever isn’t very impressive either.