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November 08, 2012
Korean bike major Hyosung has joined hands with the Garware Group to bring its ST7 cruiser to the Indian market. So are Hyosung and Garware on the right track with their ST7? Let’s find out. Classic cruiser style, massive fenders and solid alloy wheels with beautiful detail work define the ST7. A mammoth motorcycle by any standard, the ST7 is fat and low, with huge chrome-clad forks framing its simple round headlamp and enormous handlebars reaching back to the rider. Smart, round mirrors provide rear vision, while the ST7 offers decent switches including an engine-kill along with a hazard warning option. Palm grips are adequate. The ignition key slot located behind the steering clamp is inconvenient to access though. Chrome-framed instruments sit atop a 17-litre teardrop tank. The bold speedometer is very legible, while there’s also a smaller digital display giving odometer, twin trip and fuel readings.

The chrome theme extends to the engine, coating the humongous radiator shroud, crankcase, cam covers and elegant dual silencers. However, the gleaming belt guard looks overdone.

The ST7 comes with nice-looking seats for the rider and pillion, the smart red stitching adding style. This cruiser sports a handsome tail, with a bright LED brake lamp, bar-mounted indicators and tapered mudguard.

The ST7 has an exceptional paint job, but this Hyosung doesn’t feel as solidly built as a rival Honda, Yamaha or Harley-Davidson. This bike could have benefited from better fit and finish and overall quality.

The ST7 uses a four-stroke, liquid-cooled engine that displaces 678.2cc. It’s a V-twin, cylinders separated by 90 degrees and dual overhead camshafts pushing four valves within each head. Bore and stroke measure a short-stroke 81.5 x 65mm, a deciding factor behind why maximum power of 61.7bhp comes into play as high as 8000rpm, and all 5.8kgm of torque is delivered only at 7000rpm. This isn’t ideal for a cruiser like the ST7, where a long-stroke powerplant with a stronger low and mid-range power spread is preferred. The ST7 uses a belt-drive to transfer power to the rear wheel. The fuel-injected ST7 starts easily each morning, its double-barrel exhausts belting out a loud but unexciting note. The clutch is a bit heavy to operate though its five-speed ST7 gearbox saves the day. The gears shift smoothly, with adequate feel at the foot lever.

The big V passes up minimal vibes and revs with gusto through its power band.  Gear ratios  are nicely spaced, the bike pulling a true 82kph in first, feeling relaxed enough when cruising in the region of 120-130kph. There’s a fly in the ointment though as the fueling is a letdown on the ST7. You have to keep modulating throttle and correcting your input to maintain constant cruising speeds. You often lose revs — and speed — inexplicably despite riding with a steady hand, which is a real nuisance. The ST7 also lacks the refined engine feel on offer on rival bikes like the Harley-Davidson SuperLow.

The big Hyosung completes the 0-100kph dash in an impressive 6.43 seconds, with top speed in the region of 180kph.

A big positive to the ST7 is its riding position as the wide handlebars provide good leverage and enable light steering for such a large motorcycle. The saddle is wide, generously padded and you sit in luxury.

The heavy 244kg cruiser is held together by a steel, double-cradle frame. Suspension is 41mm telescopic front forks, the rear using hydraulic shocks, linked to a rectangle section swingarm. It doesn’t take undue effort to switch direction on the ST7 unless getting past really tight bends, which is understandable.

The ST7 package is however let down by harsh ride quality and inadequate Shinko tyres. Sadly, the rear suspension is not upto the mark. The ST7 becomes bouncy and unnerving to ride in anything other than ideal, straightline conditions, where its long 1690mm wheelbase provides stability. More often than not, the ST7 fails to inspire confidence and this issue magnifies with speed; riding in the wet can be really hairy. The tyres fail to provide good traction, particularly at the rear, squealing under hard braking, only to lose traction soon after.

The ST7 comes with a four-piston caliper, 300mm front disc brake and 270mm disc at the rear. The front brake lacks good bite. We took 49.85 metres to stop the burly Hyosung from 100kph. The ST7 delivers decent enough mileage for its segment. Our city tests showed the bike capable of 19.6kpl, this figure rising to 22kpl when we stuck to steady cruising speeds on Indian highways.

The massive Hyosung ST7 looks stylish and good on paper, with a decent helping of many ingredients that cruiser bike buyers aspire for. However, scratch under the surface and there are glaring chinks — less than terrific quality, an ordinary engine and lower than passable handling.

The ST7 might have gotten away with such flaws a few years ago.  The Indian market has however traveled light years since then, making for a very different scenario today. And that’s without even talking price. The Indian ST7 stands on very shaky ground at its indicated price of Rs. 6 lakh. We don’t recommend this motorcycle over the variety of superb Harley-Davidson cruisers already available in India at around the same value, with a few priced even lower. 


BOX
Price                           Rs. 6,00,000 (approximate)
Engine
Fuel                            Petrol
Installation                  V-twin
Bore/stroke                81.5/ 65mm
Power                        61.7bhp at 8000rpm
Torque                       5.8kgm at 7000rpm
Transmission
Type                         5-speed, 1-down, 4-up
Dimensions
Length                      2470mm
Width                         960mm
Height                       1135mm
Ground clearance        155mm
Chassis & Body
Weight                        244kg
Wheels                       13-spoke alloy, 16-15 inches
Brakes
Front                          300mm disc
Rear                           270mm disc
Economy
City                           19.6kpl
Highway                    22kpl
Tank size                   17liters