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Learner Legal Motorcycle

April 18, 2008

Hyosung 650GT

Thinking of buying a learner motorcycle?

If you research what bike to buy the HYOSUNG 650GTL (Restricted to 25kw and learner legal in Australia) and variants keep coming up along with the question are they any good? Well I intend to let any readers of this blog know what my experience of this bike is, What’s good and what’s bad. That’s what this blog is about, my experiences with this bike.

Along with related information. I was a bit of a fence sitter. Did I want to spend my hard earned money on a Korean Motorcycle? I liked the bike but did I trust the Hyosung product enough? Should I spend almost $3,000 more for a Suzuki Sv650? Should a by a used Jap bike? I decided to buy a new Hyosung.
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Collection from the dealer
I took delivery of a spanking new (08 build) Hyosung 650GTL (restricted) Saturday 19th of April 2008 and have detailed my experiences of this bike here. Collection was a good experience a good look over the bike revealed no apparent faults.
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Day 1

Leaving the dealer the bike ran smoothly with no throttle lags or hesitations, gearchange was perfect despite being brand new (8 km) very positive clutch action, brakes need bedding in but seemed well balanced. Very good comfort and stability on a country road I know to be very bumpy on a 250 Yamaha Virago, nice ride home bike now has 21 km on it. A check over when I got home revealed the riders seat which has a quick release to access some serviceable fluids had come unlocked and was very reluctant to re-lock, it seems to have locked after several attempts and I guess this is down to being new and still tight, otherwise all seemed fine. I expect to put on about 100 km tomorrow and will update then and try to add some pictures.
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DAY 2

Starting from cold (10C) I found I needed to use about 3/4 choke and it settled back to about 1/4 after a few seconds, good idle speed control on choke. Choke off completely after about 40 seconds engine fully responsive no nasty jerk on 1st gear selection. Trying to turn bike around on my drive I realized it has a quite restricted steering lock, this is only a problem at 0 kph I have done some U turns in the road and found no problem at all. My trip today was up to the Starplex swimming pool just out of the Adelaide metro area (Gawler) with a short burst up the highway (15km) bike ran great, was passed by a 2 trailer car transporter which was doing about 110 kph in the 90 kph zone on the dual highway going out into the country and was impressed to note the Hyosung was not knocked about by it going past, it was however a bit unsettled by the turbulence behind it when it pulled back in my lane. After swimming it was time to go out into the country to add some miles.

The Adelaide hills area are great biking country with lots of curves (even if some of the roads are real country lanes) and many sweeping vistas. I took a comfortable pace (am running in after all) out to Kersbrooke and then swept back via Tea Tree Gully. Initial impression of this bike is IMPRESSED, I am struggling to believe its restricted? Handling seems really solid (if a bit hard at the back) but the suspension is adjustable and I will play with that later. Despite still on new tyres and unfamiliar with the bike I find the handling inspires confidence with a CAPITAL C. The brakes still seem a to need a lot off pressure and the front has shed a fair bit of dust and has become noticeably noisy with the back starting to groan (like the demo bike did) I think this is down to gentle usage due to the strong engine braking. The exhaust produces quite a lot of plops, and blurps and flopping noises on overrun which really feels like character and generally a muted but satisfying sounding bike. Now covered 135 km

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Day 7

Bike has now covered 220 km’s at 210 km the fuel light came on for 1/2 tank and it took just over 9 liters to refill, so at this early stage fuel consumption = 4.1 liters per 100 or 69.1 MPG (UK) 57.5 MPG (US). I am sure this will improve as the k’s build up. The engine is starting to loosen up and I have so far found only 2 problems with the bike. Both dealer preparation failures, 1 very minor the left fork cassette was not fitted correctly meaning the writing for the adjustable preload and damping rate were at the back and gave no visual clue as to the setting (took 2 Min’s to fix and was really only cosmetic. The other fault I had to pull over at the side of the road in heavy rain at night to fix, (1st time out on it at night and the rain made it easy to pick up on). The headlamp had just been bolted in, but not adjusted. On dip beam it was pointing up into the sky, this is clearly a safety issue and will be brought up with the dealer at 1st service. The bike is generally comfortable, the seating position excellent for my 179cm and the bike is very light and responsive to handling input on the road. The build quality appears quite good to me.

Returning to motorcycling after a 32 year forced break. (Wife get rid of that thing if you want us to keep getting along) I am comparing it to bikes built in the 1970’s. The design and function is much better than Honda and Suzuki from that era and the fit and finish is only a little inferior.

Comparing it to the the new (2007) 250 Yamaha Virago I brought in deference to how long since I had ridden. The Virago choke cable buzzed and drove me nuts being louder than the exhaust at anything above 100kph and was unfixable by the dealer, the twist grip slid up and down the handle bar 4mm and was also unfixable, you had to have the brake on when 1st selecting gear for the 1st time when cold or the bike jumped forward, the exhaust had rust spots in the welded silencer bracket and on several other plated bits a week after purchase and riding it home in the rain. Dealer preparation also fell down with the front brake lever pointing up slightly and the clutch lever pointing down a bit I had to adjust the brake lever down 9cm to get a decent position, it also was supposed to have a full tank of fuel at delivery and ran out at 80 km (thanks to the reserve I didn’t have to walk, why should I have checked it ?) By 1st service I realised the windscreen was damaged because the cables had not been routed to miss the perspex, this took only seconds to move the cables so they weren’t rubbing on the screen.

I think build quality overall on this Hyosung is as good as my last years Yamaha, Don’t let anyone tell you different. There is some cheap stuff but everything works and seems adequate (or better) its not claimed to be an MV Augusta and it doesn’t cost $30,000 it’s less than $8,000 ride away and seems a fantastic bike for the money.

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Day 22

(May 11th) The bike has now covered 368km and I am still very satisfied. It’s starting to run in now so I am giving it more throttle, and you can tell its restricted, its still a lot quicker off the lights than most cars mind you and the torque makes for an easy and flexible ride.
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1 Month

(May 20th) Now covered 500km bikes freed up a lot now and in top gear seems happy down to 70km in top and pulls more cleanly on acceleration generally. Brakes work great now but the rear brake still groans on light braking, trouble is the engine braking is so strong its hard to use the back brake hard enough to stop it sounding like a bus as you come to a stop. The quality of the ride really is 1st class the suspension just soaks up the bumps and the damping is very controlled, we have a lot of tar snakes and cracks in the the roads in South Australia and where the Virago twitched and pushed you off them the Hyosung doesn’t even seem too notice them. Just added another 9 liters of fuel still 4.1 liters per hundred (suburban and country lanes). This is still less than a full tank so it looks like range is in excess of 400km on a tank . Noticed the Headlamp reflector seems to be coming out of the bottom of the shell, screws are tight so something for the dealer to look at in a few weeks at 1st service.
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1 Month + 5 days

(25 May) Covered 690 km now, petrol light came on a little earlier than expected at 168km from the last fill up, when I filled up it took 10 liters for 198km = 5 liters per hundred, guess what? When you ride it a bit harder it uses more petrol. I have noticed the exhaust seems to have got louder as well. Its got colder now here in South Australia as winter bites, temps as low as (6c) in the morning now using full choke to start, taking it back to about 1/2 once its running and it takes about a minute on fast idle before warmed up enough to shut the choke off and ride normally. The rear brake is getting quieter but now causes a nasty vibration as well as a groan on light braking. These points aside the bike feels really great now. I’ve seen suggestions the front end feels light on this model, I can’t say I do, not trying that hard perhaps.
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8 Weeks

(13th June) Bike has now covered 1200 km and had its 1st service (more on that later).

I decided it was time to do a decent run to do a bit of higher speed running in and with winter coming on fast now and on holiday I got up with the sun streaming in the window and no rain forecast. So I jumped on the bike and headed north to Clare about 133 km north of Adelaide a couple off weeks ago.
The road surface is very patchy and bumpy, in fact its hard to believe this is a major route but it is. So with the road snaking into the distance exactly the way it doesn’t in England. Through wide open vistas once out of the metro area about 20 mins from where I live. I let it roar, up to the legal speed on the open road 110 km in top. Exciting! No but it was its 1st sustained over a 100 kph ride. I enjoyed watching the scenery float serenely past.
When I got to Clare I shifted down through the gears (did I mention just how flexible the engine is) and with good handling as well there was no need to keep changing gear.

No stiffness to mention after this little trip I had a Subway lunch and then headed back using the gearbox more and letting it rev a bit which was basically unsatisfying as most of the power on the restricted version is between 3000 to 5000 rpm got home still no aches apart from slightly stiff at the inner elbows from leaning on the bars. Which you might think strange with the relatively upright sitting position and a naked bike, but the weirdest thing! You don’t really get any wind blast below about 150 kph, Its like its got a touring fairing the design guys at Hyosung have definitely got the aerodynamics worked out on this bike.
I have to say after 270 +km’s in about 3 hours with lunch I was a lot fresher than I would have expected. This bike as restricted would be a great base for a tourer, and they do make one of course.

So after this I was almost at 1000 km so it was time to book in for 1st service, which was to include derestriction πŸ™‚ as well as looking at the headlamp coming out and noisy rear brake.

1st service includes tappets which need to be cold so I dropped bike off in the evening to pick up the next evening. To my surprise I was offered a loan bike a GT650 which I thought was great as not only a loan bike but a decent one not some clapped out hack. The next afternoon brought the promised phone call to let me know cost and that the bike was ready. I find so many dealers promise this but don’t follow through. Price as expected, no nasty surprises there. Picked up and had a staffer explain what had been done to me, rear brake deglazed and the headlamp had been refitted properly, + service and derestricted.

The ride home in heavy traffic bike didn’t really seem any different but had no space to open it up because it alway runs away from the traffic without trying anyway. Even restricted the torque just powers the bike forwards.
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2 Days later

Swimming in the morning and then out into the country. Bloody hell! Below 4500 rpm moderately punchy slight improvement on before but above 5000 rpm it slings itself forward with a quite impressive snarl that sounds terrific (over silenced? not at higher rpm it isn’t) the bike has gone from a very stable and torquey novice machine with great stability and comfort to a decent mid powered sporty ride.
Its not so powerful its scary but its quick enough to pass the national legal limit in a handful of seconds with 8000rpm @120kph in 3rd gear (6 speed ) and its oh so tractable and relaxed to ride. Rear brake still a bit of a bug, seems I have to use it harder if I don’t want the noise
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First Conclusions

(June 13 2008) So despite its still early days I think its time to sit back and reflect on my purchase of this Hyosung.

I seem to have purchased a bike that is probably just about as good as the Suzuki SV 650 and its cheaper and prettier, its got a bit more power than the Suzuki but weighs a bit more. My result suggest very similar performance but better comfort and AU$3000 still in my pocket. Also and I think this is important for novice riders or old guys like me. (Getting back to biking after a 30 year lay off), The option of less power while you get used to what is a very different bike to a 250 or smaller.

It really could use a bit more steering lock – the big turning circle can be a nuisance in car parks. (There is plenty of space between the handlebars and tank on lock but its the radiator that would need to be moved, seems quite possible to me).

I have added Kph x 1000 rpm in top gear and fuel consumption, (as observed on my model) to the specs page.
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Winter arrives

(July 11th 2008) Traveled 1735 km or 3 months

The weather here has deteriorated and its been cold and wet so I now have some comments on this bike in the wet.

Its pretty good, the tyres give good traction and the bike can be ridden with confidence in pouring rain even with gusty winds, brakes are not affected by the rain and spray and in fact the rear brake has now quietened down I don’t get anything more now than a minor hi pitched squeal, and that’s only sometimes.

Now several reviews I have seen speak of poor build quality and rusty bikes.
Well so far I have not washed the bike, when I first got it home I put on 3 coats of decent wax polish, black color match polish on the frame and only quick leather downs when returning from a ride in the wet and cleaned with waterless car wash, The bike was delivered with a general light greasiness and I went over it with a light treatment of “INOX ” spray oil. To date I have had 2 rust spots, the swinging arm has threaded lugs to fit rods in to support the bike on jacks these had no grease and went rusty in the threads a quick clean out with a bolt coated with chain lube seems to have fixed this.

I find its best to keep the revs over 3000 rpm and my general satisfaction is even better than before, the bike just flows in the corners now and has become an extension of self. Except on very lumpy roads at high speeds where I sometimes get bumped off the seat. The knees cannot grip the tank enough to hold the body I could of course play with the fully adjustable suspension but my general satisfaction with the way the bike handles and rides is too high to want to mess with it.

Very happy indeed with this bike its an excellent performer, comfortable and no niggles, If you don’t count the release of the Honda CB400 5 weeks after I brought the Hyosung. The Honda was exactly the bike I wanted to buy.
But you know I went and had a test ride of the Honda and I like the unrestricted Hyosung heaps better. I would say though if you have P plates and can’t have an unrestricted bike for 2 years it would be a hard choice, the Honda is nicer as unrestricted but is substantially dearer however.

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August 22nd 2008

Traveled 2300Km or 4 months weather has been very wet and windy with hail this last month so very little use, bike however continues to work without any hitches.

I recommend this bike without hesitation at this stage. With nothing to report i thought i would put up one more picture up so you can get an idea how long I have been riding.

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October 2nd 2008

Have now traveled 3120Km or 6 months and bike continues to perform flawlessly, surprisingly easy to clean, the fuel consumption now just under 5 liters per hundred with no issues to report.

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December 8th 2008

Bike is now 8 months old and travelled 4,600 km. Dropped bike off in morning at D.A. Motorcyles. Loan bike was ready on arrival so in no time I was on my way.
Today’s work was service and adjustment of head-set bearings which had settled and I consider quite a normal item at this age and mileage.
Phone call early afternoon bike ready, price as quoted $240.00 picked up later and noted bike had been cleaned as well.

So get off the fence you doubters and get your selves on a quality motorcycle, is what my advice is. If you like the bike get one, and don’t worry about the quality its OK!
I have owned a new Honda in the past (a 1972 CD 175 (second version K5 ?)))) that was a grossly inferior machine both in quality and design.

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April 4th 2009

So in 12 days I will have owned my GT650 for 1 year its now travelled 6,600-km.

What a good purchase? I continue to be happy with my Hyosung, its still rust free and shiny, nothing has fallen off and I really have nothing to add to my blog.

Strong points:-

  1. Comfortable
  2. Safe Handling
  3. Plenty of controllable power
  4. Great range ( Over 350-km to a tank, without reserve)
  5. Easy to clean
  6. Reliable
  7. Good to look at
  8. Attracts attention (I often get people walk up to me and ask about it when parked)

Weak Points:-

  1. Front brake somewhat coarse whirring noise and feels like brake pads are being ground by the disc’s, (Function and wear just fine)
  2. Very occasionally backfires when starting from cold
  3. Not available with silver color frame (Less visible on road)
  4. No center stand

Bad points:-

None to report

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First year summary of problems:-

  1. Headlamp glass poor fit in headlamp shell, (and initial adjustment to low) Fixed at 1st service
  2. Left hand front fork tube not properly aligned, (Fixed)
  3. Chain guard plastic skin broke and securing bolt fell out, (Replaced under warranty)
  4. Puncture in rear tyre, (Plugged,as new tyre $280/$290). Unexpectedly expensive

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More info on tyre repairs on motorcycle here on the UK Dunlop Site

June 22nd 2009

Over 1 year old now
Travelled 7,380 km

So had the one year service at DA Motorcycles a couple of weeks ago, this was the 3rd service or 1 year due service. Had the wheel alignment checked as since the puncture repair it had taken to following the tracks in the road and yes it was out and they reported my rear tyre as nearly worn out. This was a shock just over 7,000 km , not impressed at all.

So did a bit of research on tyre’s decided it was between Dunlop’s or Michelin. Michelin won with a Road Pilot 2 it seems to be the Std Sport Tourer tyre that every body is comparing other tyres to. Its made a big difference to the way the bike handles and the bike turns into corners much more freely now while feeling more secure and seems to work fine with the Bridgestone on the front.

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August 22nd 2009

Travelled 8,500 km now

Um the shines starting to wear off, August has been a less than happy month with 3 different problems:- 16 months old and I had a breakdown, and a part fell off and rear brake troubles.

So lost power suddenly and was lucky to be near the dealer and managed to limp in.

The dealer obligingly looked at it straight away and lent me a Honda 250 to get me on my way. Problem turned out to be spark plug failure, looks like it runs very weak as no carbon on them when they came out having been in there for 3,400 km or 8 months. The Guys at the shop had told me this model was hard on plugs last year when I questioned their replacing them on service after 3,500 km. Still seems premature to me but I guess I was told. Not warranty so cost $68 to fix.

Four days later got home from work to discover the left hand Seat tie down chrome lug used for a tie down ( I’v never used it) had fallen out on the way home. Very disappointed to be told not warranty as its a non serviceable part with a plugged cover so you can’t easily check it for tightness and can only have fallen off because it wasn’t’ properly tightened in the first place or needed a shake proof washer. Then to add insult to injury they had this obscure part in stock which suggests its a common thing to fall off, so $11 I should never off had to spend. (I wonder who would have been held responsible had this caused injury to some body)?

Rear brake has seemed to be less than effective lately on checking I find the rear caliper seems to have been sticking and the outer brake pad is nearly worn out while the inner one is like new (serviced less than 2 months ago). Dealer response didn’t think Hyosung would be interested at 8,500 km, pointed out at the shop that this means only the outer pad is doing the work and so likely to cause brake fade under heavy braking from speed as being overloaded and potentially could cause a crash. They decided perhaps they should look at it but then told me they were low on staff at the moment could I wait till next month? So I pulled the caliper of myself and had a loud click when pulling it off, now the pedal is much harder and the brake works better with less force. So it seems the caliper had stuck (I don’t rate my chance of getting the pads replaced under warranty).

However the new fuel injected models do have different brakes now so I guess this only applies to non fuel injected (old) models.

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January 11th 2010

Now travelled 11,062 km 21 months old

This has been a much better time for the Hyosung and free from problems.
Service was due end of December and so I dropped it off early 1 morning just before Christmas as this service included tappets to be checked, which meant it needed to be cold. Loan bike ready for collection on my way in no time phone call advised bike ready mid afternoon. Price higher than expected as they fitted a new air filter at an extra $55.00

Service $373 with air filter

Second year summary of problems:-

  1. Breakdown due to faulty spark plug
  2. Seat bolt fell out
  3. Uneven rear brake wear. Pads to be replaced this month
  4. Horn playing up intermittently very weak but every time I want to get it fixed under warranty its ok. From the general reluctance to accept any fault as warranty at the dealer I know I am wasting my time complaining unless it stops completely or I get defected for it.

So still generally satisfied with the bike . The worst point is the rear brake apart from that and a couple of small niggles its going very well. Still looks pretty much like new.

Would I buy another one? I think the answer is very possibly except the Hyosung range is not offering anything substantially better and I see little point in spending the money for what is really just about the same bike but with better brakes. I also dislike the fact the latest model has even more black paint on it now and is even less visible and regard this as a safety issue. If there was a 1000 cc version and it had the original all silver finish I would be very interested.

Would I recommend one to somebody? Heck Yes

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February 20th 2011

Time for an update as it’s been more than a year and +6000 km. It maybe the last one as its the time in ownership where you have to consider is it time to update ?
Now travelled 17,407 km 34 months old

Rear brake pads were replaced end off Febuary with XYT brand from ebay at half the cost of Hyosung brand and appear equal in quality in fact the rear brake works better than from new.
The mid year service came and with it unexpected front brake pads I knew they were getting down but were lower than expected. Cost in Dealer for this minor service and front pads $374

As it was now over 2 years old coolant and brake fluid were due I carried this out myself. The coolant no problems however the brakes will not bleed as described in the manual and it was necessary to use a power bleeder. I decided to replace the front tyre as it was getting low on tread and approaching 2mm left in the groves. The new front tyre? Michelin road pilot 2 $223.00 fitted all in at 15,000km Huge improvement in the bikes feel and handling. The Japs still can’t make decent tyres it seems in the uk in the 70s we called them Japanese Nevergrips, seems they still have problems. The rear tyre has now travelled 10,000 Km 2,000 more than the bridgstone managed and is just over half worn now. Seems the best plan if the new bikes got jap tyres is to take them off and deal for trade in against decent tyres or fit decent tyres and keep them to fit or include when you sell.

The last service I did myself as its now out of warranty and found the spark plugs easy enough to replace once the tank was off (not hard).

The rear chain was noted as wearing quite noticeably now but still inside spec’s but I found rust coming from some links despite regular lubrication with the special lube for o ring chains, so good clean up and have swapped to old fashioned chain oil a little messy but seems to have fixed it for now, no signs of wear on sprockets to talk about.

Bike is still rust free and has mostly retained the new bike look. I will post a few new pictures this week, the bike has never been dropped and has proved a safe and comfortable and competent motorcycle.

I hope this mini blog has been of some help to any considering a Hyosung.

I anticipate replacing this bike by years end and would be open to offers by June 2011. The bike is located in the Blakeview area of the Adelaide northern Metro area.

It’s June 20th now and I am looking around at possible replacement bikes, several possibilities including a faired version, not absolutely sure I will change until summer approaches now.

Bike is being serviced on Monday 27th at D A Motorcycles it’s just over 3 years old and 19,000km. I added a genuine rear rack and small Givvie top box about 2 months ago I can’t understand why I did not do this before works really well. Nothing else to mention.

The guys did the major service and changed my coolant again at extra cost and shrugged their shoulders when I complained. This just might have been the straw that caused me to go to Honda as until that point I was considering a new 650gtr with fairings from them also no demo available so I was unable to ride before I brought one.

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September 9th 2011 -Travelled 21,300 Km.

This Motorcycle is now being traded to Honda World, South Australia, it will be remembered as having given good service I hope the new Honda CBR am purchasing serves me as well in the coming years.

The info for this blog will go with the bike and I hope the new owner may continue the bikes story. Regards to any that have read this blog. Thanks for stopping by to read this blog.

;

Update on this bike it was in the dealers less than two weeks after i dropped it off i had contact from the new owner telling me he was going to continue the story. But haven’t heard any more since.

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6 comments

  1. On the 6th of April, 2010 – the day before my 18th birthday, I took one of these for a test ride and was blown away by the power, smoothness and comfort of the machine. In another few days, I’ll have one. This blog has proved hugely helpful in giving me a look into what I can expect further down the track – I’m looking forward to several years of great riding, by the looks of things.
    Thank you.


  2. what a brilliant write up ! very detailed indeed .
    i am about to fall into a bit of money and i just sold my suzuki gsx 1000 tlr v twin . 2000 model
    the hyosung has just caught my eye , one passed me in the street and put a smile on my face the gt 650 r .
    i thot i would treat myself to a new bike , i only use my bike maybe twice a week for short journeys fun with my girl here in bahrain .
    the dealer here has just opend like 10 days ago and promoting . i thot this just might be the toy for me scince im not a serious driver .
    it looks great and appart for the name it is as good as anything ive seen on the road .
    i work as an entertainer / club dj and think its a nice attraction .

    pls give me your advice altho ive read your every word .

    thank you so much for your write up .

    dean adamson


    • Hi Dean

      Sorry to be so slow, haven’t checked in hear for a while.

      I just updated the blog and its now out to 3 years of owning.

      Did you get one? Love to hear


  3. hey don,

    u will be pleased to know ur bike has gone to a good owner, i bought it today and am extremely pleased with it so far it’s a great ride. thank you so much for writing the blog it concinved me to buy the bike. i will be sure to continue a blog and tell the bikes story.

    cheers jarrad chapman


    • Hi Jarrad

      I was so pleased to hear you were going to be posting but still waiting to hear some more is everything good with the hyo still


  4. hi there jarrad ,
    im so happy your happy with the bike , when i sold it it was only 10 months old and i didn’t want to part with it really but ,we had decided to start new lives here in the Philippines .

    we are here nearly 2 months and i feel i will need to find another bike here soon but i found out that there is no hyosung dealer here ! pity i would like to buy another .

    the only fault i felt with the bike was the chrome on the metal and the plastic just wasn’t the best and was starting to be pitted ,which i thought was quite strange as we live in a very dry arid climate and didn’t wash it too much as it was inside !

    all the best and happy riding ,

    dean adamson .



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