Korean Hyosung Motorbikes

There is a growing buzz amongst the motorbike communities regarding the Hyosung bikes. There are dealers in America and more and more people are contacting me about them asking me if they should buy one (because of my motorbike videos).

I have a link to a bunch of mag reviews: hyosung.com.au/roadtests.html

And a Link to their full line up: epfguzzi.com/hyosung/motorcycles/index.html

We are a lot closer to Korea than America…why haven’t we heard of them here yet?

The 250cc version:

A 650cc cruiser that’s supposed to “have it all”:

And a 650 sports bike…that is hot looking (except for the pipe):

Probably haven’t heard of them because Taiwanese hate Korean products.

Hmmm…a 250cc I could almost like…


GV250 Aquila…the name may cause some panty twisting…

Spec sheet on the 650cc Mordeth pictured…looks pretty good on paper. Disks front & back - dual front. Belt drive, full instruments.

Oh, and just in…Harley-Davidson is making anti-lock brakes available on 10 new models.

Um, which Taiwanese would these be? Not the millions watching Korean soaps, driving Kias, etc., and dressing like their favourite Korean popsters, presumably.

I quite like the looks of that little yellow one. Price is probably sweet, too. Wonder why no-one’s snapped up the distributor rights for these things?

Um, which Taiwanese would these be? Not the millions watching Korean soaps, driving Kias, etc., and dressing like their favourite Korean popsters, presumably.

I quite like the looks of that little yellow one. Price is probably sweet, too. Wonder why no-one’s snapped up the distributor rights for these things?[/quote]

Maybe a bunch of you should form a partnership and start distributing these babies.

I don’t why the Taiwanese haven’t picked up on them. In Europe there are dealers but no buyers. The perception is that you get what you pay for, IOW the build quality matches the price.

We have those in South Africa. A lot of the older bikers are suspicious of anything that’s not one of the big 4 Japanese makes, and thus tell people not to buy Hyosungs, but they’re becoming pretty popular. Evidently Hyosung has been building engines for Suzuki for years, or something like that. I know a proffesor at the local uni who rides the GTR650 (that’s the red sports one) - he loves it to bits, and has had no problems with it. He’s also an avid biker who has been riding for many years. The engine is similar to the Suzuki SV650 engine, but apparently the Hyosung has 10hp more than the Suzuki. It’s also quite a bit cheaper than the Suzuki, and I think it looks better. Apparently it aslso handles very well, the only complaint I’ve heard people have is that the brakes could be sharper, but they say that that’s soon remedied with the addition of aftermarket pads.

I’m surprised they’re not sold in Taiwan. I reckon if someone started bringing them in they’d do very well.

[quote=“trapjaw”]Evidently Hyosung has been building engines for Suzuki for years, or something like that.[/quote]I think you’ll find it’s the other way 'round. Hyosung has been building small Suzukis like GS/GN125s under license for many years. Now they are building their own designs around Suzuki engines. Personally I would not drive a Korean car. I just find them lacking in build quality, design and performance. Considering that the Korean motorcycle industry is considerably less developed than the automotive sector, I will pass on the Korean bikes for a few years yet.

That’s pretty much how most people feel. And that’s what I was getting at before. (sandman) Of course I’m not talking about the screaming teenaged girls (and women who don’t know better). Mostly males have that opinion.

I asked a bloke who works in Yamaha (market research, design and product management). He gave me a very good explanation. Basically, it boils down to materialistic values. He said it doesn’t matter so much in the US, but in Taiwan, people want to buy brands. They don’t consider themselves as just buying a bike, they consider themselves as buying a fashion symbol.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind buying one. They look pretty neat, the price is right and they have some great learner bikes. Just what somebody like me needs to get into the biking scene.

[quote=“TaiwanPsycho”]
Personally, I wouldn’t mind buying one. They look pretty neat, the price is right and they have some great learner bikes. Just what somebody like me needs to get into the biking scene.[/quote]Buy used, or take a big hit on resale. And be prepared to travel a long way to visit your dealer.
I looked at some exotic brands while bike shopping and those were big factors in my final choice. Suzuki also supply their 650 and 1000cc v-twin engines to Cagiva, who put them in the Raptors. Really nice mix of Japanese engine and Italian chassis and design. But, the depreciation is awful and the dealers are few and far between, and that put me off. The only thing the Hyosung’s have going for them is the price tag and the Suzuki engine. I’d take a used SV650 or ER6F over the Hyosung every time. In the long run it will cost less.

I know what you mean. Imagine my surprise, though, when I found out my old man bought one a few months ago and absolutely loves it. Sounds like Sanyang but its not. 3.5 litre or something like that.

Ssangyong is now owned by the Chinese if I’m not mistaken.

Uncanny… I was talking about this with my gf a few minutes ago. Given that Taiwan is pretty much Low-End-Scooter Capital of the World right now, has connections with the major Japanese manufacturers and big bikes are starting to pick up steam, why haven’t any of the Taiwanese manufacturers cracked on to making 400, 600, 650 etc. budget sportsbikes? Hell, if the price was right and build quality okay I certainly wouldn’t mind buying one to arse around with.

Mmm. I can see a couple of problems with this.

  1. They would have to be considerably cheaper than the Japanese imports to have any sales. A big-bore motorcycle is not a transport device in Taiwan, it’s a toy / status symbol. Half the reason they sell so well is that they’re so expensive. It’s a penis extension, nothing else. This is why the local riders always go for liter sportbikes. Sorry, but a local brand just wouldn’t have the same (imaginary) member-stretching effect.

  2. It’s a big leap from single-cylinder scooter engines to multicylinder sportbike engines. Also, when the engine is right out there in public, it’s hard to keep throwing new plastic bits and Bold New Graphics at the same old dog year after year and convincing the public it’s really a brand new model. Motorcycle buyers are a little more discerning that those who buy scooters. That means endless R&D cycles, endless investment in tooling, risk… all the things they have avoided all these years.

  3. Once bitten by snake, 10 years afraid of rope. Look how Kymco was burned with the Venox. They spent a small fortune reverse-engineering that old Honda v-twin and sold what, about 14 of them? Hardly very encouraging.

  4. Need to export. To recoup the kind of investment needed to create a competitive machine they would need to export a bunch of bikes. Taiwanese brands are famous for budget scooters, not for motorcycles, and certainly not for anything fancier than yet another CB125 replica. Hyosung is not doing very well in exports markets despite having based it’s lineup on small Suzuki motorcycles for the last 15 years or so rather than scooters.

  5. Service issues. If you want a laugh, go watch Ah huang try to synchronize the two carbs on an FZR or Breeze. Now imagine what he’d do if he had four to sync. Or look at the problems trying to find a mechanic to work on your injected Cygnus. Now remember that Yamaha has by far the best training program among the domestic manufacturers and imagine what would happen if it were a Kymco or SYM shirt that Ah huang was wearing…

I’m not saying it’s impossible, but there are some significant problems to overcome. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that the local manufacturers concentrate on where 99.9% of the local market is, even if it’s very competitive. It would be very cheap and easy for say, Kymco to toss two 200cc singles on a common crankcase and build an entry-level 400cc v-twin. It really wouldn’t take much. Or even easier, meld one of the new big-bore scooter engines onto a manual gearbox and graft some sort of basic motorcycle trellis around it. The problem is, you and a handful of other foreigners are likely to be the only people who might want such a thing. The average commuter thinks a 125 is plenty, and the sportbike fans all want the very latest WSB replica.

Oh, and please note that only Yamaha and Suzuki still have ties to Japan. Kymco and SYM both broke off ties to Honda some years ago when they decided they had to Export or Die. They both started farming engine design out to various European companies and focused their own efforts on cost-cutting and creating new Chinglish names for their product. Yamaha and Suzuki benefit the most from their ties but are on a pretty short leash wrt what they can export.

[quote=“redwagon”]
Oh, and please note that only Yamaha and Suzuki still have ties to Japan. Kymco and SYM both broke off ties to Honda some years ago when they decided they had to Export or Die. They both started farming engine design out to various European companies and focused their own efforts on cost-cutting and creating new Chinglish names for their product. Yamaha and Suzuki benefit the most from their ties but are on a pretty short leash wrt what they can export.[/quote]

Well you’re just a party pooper :raspberry: :raspberry:

[quote=“llary”]
Well you’re just a party pooper :raspberry: :raspberry:[/quote] :idunno: :grandpa: :soapbox:

The only thing redwagon didn’t focus on in his otherwise very comprehensive dissertation on the ineptitude of the Taiwanese scooter cloning factories is the current big bike market, or the lack thereof…

Now that the market has been open for a couple of years everyone who’s ever seriously wanted a “big heavy bike” [sic] has one, or at least had a ride on one and binned it… The market has reached saturation in a hurry and these days even BMW, the most established of the international marques on monkey island have reached a point where they are selling under 100 bikes a year… 80% of those are selling in Taipei county/city leaving a feeble 20 bikes to be shared by all dealers South of the Binlang curtain… Even if you assume Suzuki/Honda/Yamaha/Kawasaki each do just as “well” as BMW at 100 bikes a year (which I doubt), Taiwan is still a sub-atomic sized fish in the world “big heavy bike” market …

Compared to KymYM actually engineering (read: bodging) a large capacity bike from scratch, it would be a dead easy prospect for Honda or Yamaha to rustle up a herd of mouth breathing Ah-Huangs, slap them in a company branded paddock shirt, weld yet another rickety neon sign on the outside of the toilet-tile clad monstrosity of their choice and declare Honda/Yamaha Taiwan open for business, but even so neither of them could be bothered… The reason is simple, the Taiwanese are cheap… Years of being plugged into the KymYM matrix and being fed gutless reverse engineered 125 clones for pocket change prices has left the local market with a taste for cheaper things in life… So even the sedate, sensible, low capacity end of the major Japanese factory’s model range will never sell here, and as we’ve gone over already, they’ve already hit bottom on the performance bike market…

So in summary KymYM trying to design and sell a local high performance, high capacity bike would be a bloody stupid thing to do… so expect one to hit the market soon then… :laughing:

Okay, I’m going to go out on a very big limb and challenge you here :raspberry: So we all know that big bikes aren’t selling like hotcakes but I don’t think it’s quite as bad as you make out either. I have no idea how well or not BMWs are selling but then I’ve never heard a Taiwanese biker say ‘wow, I really want a GS!’ They all want Hondas, Yamahas, Suzukis. Independents seem to be doing better than dealers and the general figures I seem to hear from most places are anywhere from 50-150 units per year per outlet. Say 100 per year. Sure, that sounds shit compared with markets outside Taiwan but I don’t think it’s too bad given the ridiculous restrictions places on bike owners here. Another point is the sheer volume of illegal, unregistered bikes with fake plates that are skewing the ownership figures.

There is a very healthy second hand market emerging and this is going to open things up for the unwashed biking masses. I guess by now you’re wondering why I’m defending the idea of Taiwanese manufacturers entering the big bike market, and the reason is that I have a vested interest :laughing: Many of the restrictions and expenses imposed on riders right now come down to political wrangling and pressure from Taiwan’s coddled scooter manufacturers. If and when they ever get off their backsides and actually start making money from knockoff sportsbikes then laws are going to change miraculously quickly and llary is going to be a happy camper.

[quote=“llary”]
Okay, I’m going to go out on a very big limb and challenge you here :raspberry: So we all know that big bikes aren’t selling like hotcakes but I don’t think it’s quite as bad as you make out either. I have no idea how well or not BMWs are selling but then I’ve never heard a Taiwanese biker say ‘wow, I really want a GS!’ They all want Hondas, Yamahas, Suzukis. Independents seem to be doing better than dealers and the general figures I seem to hear from most places are anywhere from 50-150 units per year per outlet. Say 100 per year. Sure, that sounds shit compared with markets outside Taiwan but I don’t think it’s too bad given the ridiculous restrictions places on bike owners here. Another point is the sheer volume of illegal, unregistered bikes with fake plates that are skewing the ownership figures.[/quote]

Sorry, but I don’t buy those sales estimates for a second… maybe back in the heady days of early post legalisation, but not these days, at least not on average… Taiwan new bike sales have slumped big time in the last year, and if they weren’t a quagmire of broken links and pointless menus I’d trawl up govt. website registration info that shows this…

Maybe there are one or two bigger bike shops in Taipei that are selling 100 bikes a year or 10 bikes a month, but I’m almost certain that would be the very extreme end of the sales numbers and that’s in total, not 100 of each major Japanese brand… For BMW (and I think this would hold true for other brands since it’s driven by economics and population density) over 70% of registrations of heavy bikes are in Taoyuan County/City and Taipei County/City, and I think it’s a fair assumption that if the busiest shops are pushing out 100 bikes a year, the ones outside the peak sales areas of Taipei would be doing well selling anything over 3 or 4 bikes a month, averaged over a year… just look at the stock numbers these bike shops are carrying, especially in Taichung, they are not shifting 10 fresh bikes a month onto show room floors at each and every Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha dealer/outlet…

The impact in total heavy bike sales of the emerging 2nd hand market will be largely dampened by the thousands who bought and now ride, illegal, plateless, “fell of the boat” bikes… Other than a couple of Forumosans, there are precious few people out there who’ve wanted a big bike, couldn’t afford/justify a new one, but who’s upstanding moral fiber has kept them waiting for an affordable, legal, 2nd hand bike… also every legal second hand bike sold is one less new bike sold, competition that the new bike market so far has not had to face…

In terms of the likelihood of KymYM getting into the big bike market, I again agree with redwagon… These are not companies looking expand in brave, dynamic, new ways, especially not at the risk of killing the their golden egg goose… any way they slice the big bike market it would be a game of diminishing returns compared to the utopian captive market and government protection racket they’ve always had and always will have, and knowing this I’m sure they’ll be content to knock out shitty scooter clones for their low expectation captive market until the sun explodes…

apart from the risk to their golden goose, a far more terrifying prospect would be the engineering and R&D (ie. they would be forced at last to try some), as redwagon has already pointed out more succinctly than I ever could, lower big bike prices would generate increased demand for heavy bikes, but it would increase demand and sales for the bikes that are currently desirable. ie. Japanese and European bikes… There are teeming millions of Tai-ke mouth breathers out there who would sell their grandma for a Civic Type-R, if you offered them one at 20%-50% less than before they’d sell by the boat load (cars and grandmas)… but offer them an attractively priced, new, hot to trot Yue Long and they’d run a mile… same principle goes even more so for bikes… but actually all this is kind of irrelevant anyway since to get any sales at all KymYM would have to sell their new big bikes way cheaper than the imported competition, something that their 250cc scooter and bike offerings have already proved they are not willing to do…

I would be amazed if in 50 years time Kymco/SYM are even half way towards where Hyosung are today, which even in the kindest light could only be described as “(undeservedly) in the 2 for NT$99 bin”…

[color=green]All very well Plasma, but what are you riding? A bike designed and built to go around the damn world – offroad – and with a price to match! And what are you doing with it? Tooling around Taiwan’s backroads, mostly. Talk about total overkill.[/color] No, for me, one of those Hyosung’s would do just fine for Taiwan. Yellow, preferably. Maybe also with some of those blue LCDs.

Note also the colour of the ink. :wink: