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Original Article:
Hyosung GT650R Review

Please discuss the Motorcycle.com article Hyosung GT650R Review in our Motorcycle Forums below. Use the reply button to let others know your comments or feedback on the article. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, along with your thoughts and personal opinions on the bikes and products we have tested.
 

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Nice write up, Yossef. Let me make a few points while I'm here:
1- Honda wasn't on top of their game when they came to the states in the 60's.
2- Although Yossef said build quality wasn't on par with Japan he didn't say it was so bad as to pass on the buy.
3- When Hyundai started selling cheap cars in the mid 80's people thought the quality was bad. It took 20yrs for them to get it right but now they sell cars that have the same build quality of Honda.
4- They do come with 2 yr factory warranties in the US.

Is a $500 savings worth it? Probably not. But if you're a club racer or just a cheap [email protected] then this may be a fine fit. In 5 or less years the company (which is now owned by a much larger automotive company) will be right there in terms of quality.....
 

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I've got to think that the entry of low cost manufacturers into the US market is a good thing. At a recent 'cycle show I saw a company I believe was called Q-Link with some dual sports that looked half way passable for a small rider. The suspension was way soft (despite a beefy diameter fork), and sales guy a bit mis-leading (he said the suspension was "fully adjustable" because you could add spacers to change the pre-load and change the fork oil to adjust damping!), but still probably a good value at $2-3K. Didn't Q-link make my network cards not too long ago?
 

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I've got to think that the entry of low cost manufacturers into the US market is a good thing. At a recent 'cycle show I saw a company I believe was called Q-Link with some dual sports that looked half way passable for a small rider. The suspension was way soft (despite a beefy diameter fork), and sales guy a bit mis-leading (he said the suspension was "fully adjustable" because you could add spacers to change the pre-load and change the fork oil to adjust damping!), but still probably a good value at $2-3K. Didn't Q-link make my network cards not too long ago?
There's a scooter (no- really) shop in ATL that sell Supermoto 200 cc Qlinks for $1800.

What a deal.....
 

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I can only imagine thats sarcasm....

I actually like the Hyosung 650S (half faired) and their 650 cruiser is pretty nice looking bike too.
I'm a fan of capitalism. Market a product and sink or swim. Hyosung had a slightly rough start, but things are improving. The Chinese market cheap crap, but oddly enough they know it and are improving their cheap crap to compete in this marketplace. I figure Hyosung is 3-5 yrs from being in line with the Japanese in quality on bikes. China is about 5-10yrs from nailing it. The Q-link SM bike is cheap and easy to find parts for because the motor is a Honda copy. If the little scooter shop keeps selling them at the current pace they should surpass some of the actual scooters they sell in annual sales.
 

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The Toad
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I'm a fan of capitalism. Market a product and sink or swim. Hyosung had a slightly rough start, but things are improving. The Chinese market cheap crap, but oddly enough they know it and are improving their cheap crap to compete in this marketplace. I figure Hyosung is 3-5 yrs from being in line with the Japanese in quality on bikes. China is about 5-10yrs from nailing it. The Q-link SM bike is cheap and easy to find parts for because the motor is a Honda copy. If the little scooter shop keeps selling them at the current pace they should surpass some of the actual scooters they sell in annual sales.
They are going to have to improve them pretty quickly. I saw a brand new Lifan ATV last summer with a broken axle. I won't buy one.

The Japanese bikes weren't the best when they started out here either. But I was a teenager back then and I remember their entry. They were certainly better than a lot of the Chinese stuff.

I suspect that there's is a limit as to how cheaply something can be made and still be of acceptable quality. You may be able to bring the labor in cheaper but the components themselves are going to have a certain amount of cost to be reliable no matter where the products are made. $1800 reliable 4 wheelers are likely an impossibility.

Still, competition is good.
 

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I think one day they will compete. Lots of cheap labor in those countries. If they button things up tight with these machines, the Japanese will see some stiff competition. That is, if Global Warming doesn't kill us all first. :-D
 

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Kymco (they're Taiwanese) make a sport atv that actually has build quality that doesn't suck. Granted, they are not in the motorcycle market in the US with anything over 250cc, but the scooters are pretty good looking and the off-road products can take a beating. If the Koreans take a clue things should be fine for them in the next few years.
 

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cina vs japan?

just this week I worte a whole article regarding China's, Korea's and India's (yes, they are coming too) motos. so then, in a nutshell:

There are many parallels to Japan's early days: Copying (harley, bmw and brit twins clones), Quality (Cheeshead screws), dubious design (sqaure shocks in the early Honda Dreams).
The two main diferences are IMHO: Japan was up against aging, leaking and unreliable British Twins and Iron head Harleys, The new boys are up against much nicer competition.
But the main ingredient that they are missing on, at least for now is in showing some passion for motos. All the big four took very early on racing at international level to improve the breed. I miss that kind attitude from all the new comers and I think it reflects on the product they are selling.
And BTW, Kymco are going to produce BMW's new 450 Enduro engines....
-Yossef-
 

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Lack of Passion

jer competition.
But the main ingredient that they are missing on, at least for now is in showing some passion for motos. All the big four took very early on racing at international level to improve the breed. I miss that kind attitude from all the new comers and I think it reflects on the product they are selling.
And BTW, Kymco are going to produce BMW's new 450 Enduro engines....
-Yossef-
Great observation. I suspect the lack of passion my hurt them in the end though. Passion sustains us in the long run. Look at the Italians like Ducati Aprilia, etc. How many ownership changes have those guys been through but they still survive. On the other hand maybe producing low end bikes doesn't require passion or even passion can get in the way of making clear business decisons. Again nice points Yossef.
 

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Hmm... Japanese copied and had low quality?

Firstly, thanks for the good article (again), and secondly I must disagree with this comment. From the first Honda imported to Europe, CB92 (124cc, 15 hp), it was apparent they produced something technically advanced. Not to mention CB750 that few years later on really blew the bank. Regardless of the cheesehead screws and twin 650 Yamahas, they didn’t get the markets by copying or by low quality stuff but simply by manufacturing better bikes.

- cruiz-euro
 

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The Toad
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Ha!

Hmm... Japanese copied and had low quality?

Firstly, thanks for the good article (again), and secondly I must disagree with this comment. From the first Honda imported to Europe, CB92 (124cc, 15 hp), it was apparent they produced something technically advanced. Not to mention CB750 that few years later on really blew the bank. Regardless of the cheesehead screws and twin 650 Yamahas, they didn't get the markets by copying or by low quality stuff but simply by manufacturing better bikes.

- cruiz-euro
Back then motorcycles were so bad in general that it didn't take much to improve quality. The Brits and Americans were basically still selling 30s era crap and since they had won the war believed that they were invincible. Sheer hubris.
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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I think the most revolutionary thing Honda did back then was concentrate on four strokes and split their cases horizontaly instead of verticaly, all but eliminated oil leaks overnight. Plus they gave an appearence as a smooth quiet bike instead of the more busy and noisy two stroke Suzuki and Kawasaki of the time.

Their whole push was for motorcycles anyone could own without traumatizing the neighbors, look at the "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" campaign... tan chino's, hush puppies and a white cardigan... girls in summer dress's and scarfs...compared to the greasey jeans and black leather jackets on the Triumph, BSA and Harley riders they looked down right friendly, just wholesome Young Citizens out having fun. It was an image that sold well with mainstream America and moved motorcycling away from cops and troublemakers to a fun and cheap way of getting around.

I think Honda's early success was more a combination of good solid engineering and a brilliant ad campaign than any overreaching technological excellence. Once they got a foothold and filled out the line up with the "From Mighty to Mini, Honda Has it All" campaign there was no stopping them.
 

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The many faces of Hyosung

Great article!!

The two main differences are IMHO: Japan was up against aging, leaking and unreliable British Twins and Iron head Harleys, The new boys are up against much nicer competition.
But the main ingredient that they are missing on, at least for now is in showing some passion for motos.
I agree with your first point here. Hyosung has to pick and choose what models they produce and beat out Japanese in the niches they are ignoring. The GT250 was a nice choice. Not a lot of competition in the Vtwin 250 category. The GT650X street fighter is another niche with not much if any competition. Hyosung is good at leveraging their engine in different models. Look for a 650 vtwin Side by Side to show up soon.

YouTube - Interview with Hyosung about 2008 Hyosung TE450 ATV
(listen to comments by Hyosung rep)

They also do not hesitate to donate their engine (or the whole machine) to other companies. Italjet like you said. Also Fischer MRX 650, United Motors V2S and V2C series, UM MTX 450 quad, Cagiva Mito (rumor), Diamo 650 (Diamo imports Italjet and Fischer), i'm probably forgetting someone. Hyosung makes money that way. I think they will also try to compete on warrenty soon. It is currently 2 years. There are rumors of up to 8 years being considered for the US.

As far as the second point, there are quite a few privateer guys racing successfully on the amateur levels. Most of them Hyosung dealers. But yeah, Hyosung (S & T) has not fielded a factory supported bike that I know of. There was a 24 hour race they entered that I believe was supported by Hyosung USA (the US Hyosung distributor). Cory West was one of the riders.

SunTrust MOTO-ST Series - Team Racing For Four-Stroke Twin Cylinder Motorcycles

Here is one of the privateers…
Hysoung GT650 in US Race Series - korider.com

Anyway, MO has always had a great, non-bias review style. I love it. Keep up the great articles.
 

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Back then motorcycles were so bad in general that it didn't take much to improve quality. The Brits and Americans were basically still selling 30s era crap and since they had won the war believed that they were invincible. Sheer hubris.
Great point but could you say the same thing about American cars at the time? Or were motorcycles much worse than cars back then? That was before my time. Ever since I have been on this earth Honda has always been the best especially for the price.
 

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The Toad
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Great point but could you say the same thing about American cars at the time? Or were motorcycles much worse than cars back then? That was before my time. Ever since I have been on this earth Honda has always been the best especially for the price.
Cars were even worse in the late 60s. But that's a different phenomenon. The cars were purposefully built to terrible standards by Detroit to force people to buy new one every three years. They planned to make that every two years. The bikes were just slouching along.

And that Honda superiority is pure moonshine. Maybe at one time they had better quality but that went away in the 80's with the introduction of the terrible early V-4s. Honda has had its share of quality problems ever since.

The fact is all motorcycles are pretty good nowadays. Honda charges more because they can. Like many HD and BMW owners Honda buyers pay more for something no better than others' offerings and so they must invent 'reasons' for that. Magically their bikes become 'better'. Personally I think the new big ticket Honda, the ST1300, looks pretty cheap and cheesy. Plus, who else can take the bodywork off of a scooter and charge more for it? LOL! Honda's 250cc scooter costs as much as Suzukis 400 for no increased quality. Same same the VFR 800 costs as much as the Sprint 1050. Sounds like a lot of buyers are suckers to me. Especially since Honda never solved the burning regulator problem on the VFR over a decade of production. Had to recall Goldwings because of breaking frames.

Arguably the best motorcycle buy for the buck is Suzuki's Bandit. That bike has a durability history second to none.
 
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