I woke up this morning with a mission. My mission was to finally lay my eyes on the Hyosung ST7 courtesy of Pat Yearick and MPG Motors in Sellersville, PA. From the obstacles that seemed to get in the way this morning, I wasn't sure I would get there at all, but I overcame all and finally got to see one in person....and more.
I finally arrived at MPG Motors about a half hour before noon. As I pulled up, I saw the ST7 sitting pretty as you please out front. It was immediately distinguishable from the GV250's by it's tank mounted speedometer and it's longer length. I hurriedly parked the truck and went inside.
Pat Yearick, the proprietor of MPG Motors, and a long time friend, was busy with customers but took a moment to say hello. Bill, his employee, asked if he could help me. Pat, at that point, told the store about AlternativeCruisers.com which, well, made me feel really special.
Bill struck up a conversation with me while I waited to talk to Pat. We discussed, at first, the GV650 on the showroom floor along with the GT650 that was sitting not far away. Then we walked outside to look over the ST7.
The ST7 was red and sitting there like a caged tiger. You could tell from the lines on the bike that it was meant to go, not site. From the swept fenders, to the wide tank, to the big tires, the ST7 was chomping at the bit without even the motor running.
I sat on the bike and was immediately rewarded by a feeling of rightness that I've never quite felt on a Hyosung. Don't get me wrong, I loved my GV250 and, at the time, it felt right as right could be, but the ST7 just felt more so if you know what I mean. The seat, while firm, was comfortable and the handle bars were a fairly easy reach.
If I had to nit pick anything with the ST7 though, it would be the pegs. In the normal forward position, it was a bit of a stretch for my short stature. And while I do know they can be adjusted backwards just like on the GV650 Avitar, it would be nice if, for once, at standard position I could reach them with a bent leg.
Normally I would nit pick about a tank mounted speedometer as well but, surprisingly, the ST7's placement of the speedometer didn't seem to be an issue for me. Looking down to see your speed and taking your eyes off the road is never a good idea, but the ST7's speedometer is nice and big and the numbers are large so seeing them and getting your speed is a single very quick glance is easy.
One interesting (as in peculiar) thing I did notice was that the ST7 has the shortest side stand of any bike I've ever sat on. It leans so far over on the side stand that I thought sure the side stand must have retracted without my noticing it when I went to set it on it. Nope, it was down all right. I would say that on the side stand it leans 20 to 30 degrees off vertical. This is by no means a bad thing, just peculiar.
Bill went inside and came out a minute later with the keys and started her up for me. The stock pipes had a nice rumble to them, even with the silencers in place. I could definitely live with the sound. He gave the throttle a few twists and the ST7 wailed with delight. The sound came to my ears saying "Rideme, riiiideeeemmmmeee".
Bill killed the engine and asked me "Doesn't that sound powerful?" I had to agree it did.
At this point another customer came up and Bill started telling him about the ST7. I drifted back into the store to see if Pat was free. He was still busy with customers so I looked around a bit but, inevitable, was drawn back outside again to look at the ST7. It was like a magnet to me.
At some point Bill had gone back in to the store, but came out a few minutes later and asked me if I had brought my gear. This, THIS, was what I had been hoping and praying to hear. I told him yes and he went back into the store. He came out a few minutes later and said we'd have to wait because I had to fill out a demo ride form. That was fine with me so I drifted back into the store.
Pat saw me waiting and said "I'm sorry this is taking so long, but do you know how many times I've had three bikes sales at the same time? That would be never." We all laughed and I walked around a bit more. In between the paperwork of selling three bikes, Pat printed out the demo ride form and I filled it out.
Bill handed me the keys and I went out to the truck and geared up. I was so excited that I forgot everything in my breast pocket when I leaned over to put my boots on and everything spilled out right there in the parking lot. Guess what, I didn't care. I was about to ride the ST7!
After gearing up I went back inside and asked if Pat had a standard route to ride. He said no, so I gave a wave and back out I went.
To say I was nervous is an understatement. Yes, I have and do ride a bigger bike (GL100) but this bike was brandy spanking new and didn't belong to me. I'm sure most of you know the feeling. Despite my trepidation, I was excited at the same time. I was about to ride this tiger!
I started her up and backed her out of her spot which was on a slight incline (front being higher than the back). She rolled easily and was easily controlled.The vertical balance of the ST7 is pretty much dead on, at least for me. I was not quite flat footed due to the width of the bike, but even still, once on level ground, I had no issues with backing her up further. Even though the weight of this bike is comparable to the Honda Shadow 750, I had no problems backing her up at all as I did with my former Shadow.
I slowly inched her up to where the driveway meets the road because the driveway is gravel and we all know Gravel is the Devil! Once at the road I waited for a couple of cars to pass before giving the throttle a blip and getting out on the road. Hhmm, perhaps here I should explain "blip" in Hyosung ST7 terms. Blip means I got thrown to the back of the seat and the bike was going thirty miles per hour before I realized how fast it was going.
I quickly shifted into second and was off down the road. By the time I hit third a traffic light, about a quarter mile down the street, was fast approaching so I down shifted and slowed. The light turned green before I got there so I goosed the throttle. For the ST7, goosed the throttle is much like the explanation of "blip" above except replace "thirty with "sixty". No, I am not kidding. I don't think I've ever done sixty in second gear and if I had realized how fast I was going I would never have done it in the first place. Pat, if your reading this, please forgive me.
Let me tell you folks this right now. This bike has POWER. And yes I meant to use all caps. I've ridden the GV650. It has power. I've ridden the GT650. It has power too. My GL1100 has power. The ST7 has POWER! Maybe it the long stretched out feel of the bike, I don't know. All I can say is that this bike would run rings around my GL1100.
I rode down the road a bit and found an empty parking lot and did some simple maneuvers. Generally low speed maneuvers are not my "thing". I'm always afraid I'm going to tip the bike. Surprisingly, I was comfortable with the maneuvers in just a few short minutes. The ST7, as I mentioned previously, is very well balanced and is very easy to get used to.
Back on the road, I gave the ST7 it's head and let her rip. The acceleration, as mentioned previously was phenomenal. The gearing was nice and smooth for a new bike with GV650 genes in her bloodline. Anyone who has ever ridden a new GV650 is familiar with the "New GV clunk". Hyosung seems to have remedied that issue with the ST7.
Braking was smooth and effortless. Actually, as I write this, I am realizing that I didn't actually think to much about braking at the time. This says a lot for how well the braking is set up on the ST7.
I turned down a side road to turn around so I could go back down the main drag again and a young fella on a bicycle stopped to look at the bike as I was turning back onto the main road. He shouted "Nice bike!". I thanked him and rode off feeling on top of the world. No it wasn't my bike, but for that moment it was.
I found another side road with a higher speed limit and some soft twisties. Going into them was a breeze! The ST7 seemed to stretch into the twists and devour them like a hot knife through butter! No effort was required to lean the bike making the transition from straight up to leaning and then back again effortless. This bike loves twisties the same way the GV650 does. It gobbles them up!
Sadly I was running short on time due to having to pick my wife up but still I rode back to MPG Motors with a grin on my face going from ear to ear. Pulling into the parking lot, I slowly rode the ST7 back to her spot being careful of the gravel. I killed the engine and just sat there a moment letting the tingles fade away. I already knew I was going to miss riding this lovely beast.
I walked into the store and handed over the keys. I told Pat and Bill that I had decided after riding a standard that I would never buy another cruiser. I then told them I was going to have to re-evaluate that position. Pat smiled with that knowing look. I apologized for having to ride then run, then took my leave.
So, here is my conclusion as regards the Hyosung ST7. Everything Hyonsung did wrong with the first year GV650 has been fixed for the introduction of the ST7. This is mostly due to starting the ST7 from the same platform as the GV650. But Hyosung went the extra mile and make it better, stronger and faster.The ST7 is well worth checking out. Once you do, I think you will be hard pressed not to be impressed with the ST7 overall.
I think the biggest compliment I can give this bike is that it is strongly tempting me to rejoin the Hyosung fold.
I would be remiss not to thank Pat for his hospitality and for the opportunity he gave me. Thanks Pat, you're a stand up guy and I appreciate the confidence you have in me.
If you have a chance to visit Pat, tell him Bill said "Hey".MPG Motors
1208C Bethlehem Pike
Sellersville, PA 18960
My apologies for the quality of the pictures. I realized halfway to MPG Motors that I had forgotten my good camera so I was forced to use my cell phone.Edited by Bill to ad link.