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Hyosung GV650 Review

Hyosung GV650 Review

When we last checked in with David Gulliver he was sharing his lust and love for the middleweight cruiser segment. David ended up buying a Hyosung GV650, a relatively unknown and misunderstood motorcycle. Armed with 10,000 miles of experience, he’s back with a Hyosung GV650 review.

About The Author

David is a middle-aged father of four who rides motorcycles to maintain his sanity and escape a household of constant chaos. David has twenty-five years of experience modifying and restoring imported British and German sports cars, and he has one very supportive partner who understands his need to run wild on motorcycles.

My disappointment in not being able to afford the 2011 Honda Fury in burnt orange metallic was palpable, and, Hyosung’s GV650 only redeeming features were the sub $4,500.00 asking price and orange accent stripe along it’s fenders and atop the gas tank. Also, it was modified on the dealer’s floor- in an effort to make it more sexy, and, more sell-able to a walk in customer. So, AIS removed, along with the offending carbon canister, and, short chrome twin turn outs, along with a matching performance kit to raise the stakes – I really didn’t understand what I was buying from 700 miles away.

But, over 1 year and 10,000 miles later, I feel that I can discuss the relative merits of this virtual unknown in the motorcycle world. A cruiser by any sense of the definition: V-Twin motor, upright seating with forward controls, low seat height (27″) with handlebars that reach back to the rider, belt driven and with a wide 180 section rear tire and tube frame. The Hyosung GV650 evokes the look of H-D’s praised and hated V-Rod – a definite flashpoint for controversy amongst the hard core, and, casual motorcycle riders alike.

The stock bike, on first inspection, is either loved or hated – few are on the fence regarding the style of this motorcycle. Thankfully, pictures can capture the essence, but, it does have spatial balance all around – so, it’s not offending, unless you don’t like the futuristic look altogether – it’s definitely not your father’s metric cruiser! If the look grabs you, go ahead – sit on it, it is comfortable for almost all sizes, as long as you adjust the pegs forward or back- depending on size. With a long, wide seat, there are multiple positions available, allowing for plenty of movement on those long, superslab runs.

Hyosung GV650 Review

But, looks aside, this isn’t your average V-Twin cruiser, by any stretch of the imagination. At under 500 Lbs, it weighs over 100 Lbs less than most of the bikes that it competes with. Also, with 72 HP and 47 Ft./Lbs of torque and an 11,500 redline, it specs out closer to a sportsbike than a low slung cruiser. Most cruisers run out of grunt at 5,000 RPM, while this bike is just getting into its power band. Exciting, fun, flickable, grippy and canyon carver are generally not terms used in cruiser reviews, so, this motorcycle breaks the mold in too many ways to list.

Lots of motorcyclists want the safety of a traditional cruiser, strong low end power, good straight line stability, comfortable ergos and the ability to convert it into a weekend get away bike, with: windshield, saddlebags, sissy bar, etc. Interestingly enough, it can be done to the GV650 – I did it myself, using factory matched gear – but, it’s inherently light weight can be distressing when the wind blows. Also, the ‘non traditional’ look of the bike gets destroyed by these added pieces/parts. Finally, a lack of quick release hardware makes the look more permanent.

Since the GV650 brings a curiously different approach to the cruiser dynamic, you would think that it would generate buzz in a class that hasn’t really changed in 40 years. But, Hyosung, a South Korean manufacturer for over 35 years, has never invested money to become more recognized in the motorcycle industry. The GV650, also known as the Hyosung Aquila, has remained below the radar screen since it’s release in 2006. The relative unknown motorcycle can be had for a bargain.

Hyosung Aquila Dash and Gas Tank

Since the motor is a collaborative effort between Suzuki and Hyosung from the late ’70’s, it’s a very robust, long lasting engine. However, Hyosung didn’t really believe in quality, so, lots of these motorcycles had problems, with charging issues being the primary problem. Also, early models had soft triple tree bolts and leaky fuel tanks which were addressed by manufacturer recall. However, many of these GV650’s languish, unridden by owners with dead batteries, bad stators and/or non functional rectifier/regulators. Also, some of the bolts get surface rust, far more than other bikes. This creates a great opportunity for a low purchase price, and, once sorted, they are very reliable, long lasting motorcyles that provide an exciting, dynamic ride.

Essentially unchanged from it’s introduction in 2006, the only real change affecting these bikes is fuel injection, which was introduced in 2010, and, changed in 2012, along with its name – now known as the Aquila Pro. The original dual Mikuni carbs are very functional, can be adjusted to reflect changes in intake and exhaust, and, there are performance kits available to address them. So, although cold starts require a little finesse, overall, they work well. They are not a reason to hold out for fuel injection, and, the carburetors adjustability to reflect intake and exhaust changes, actually making them a good value, and, potentially at a lower price- the value is increased.

Also, there are forums – (Check out Alternative Cruiser Discussions – Editor) where mechanically inclined owners hang out, helping owners fix existing issues with these different, metric cruisers. Replacement parts are available from a variety of sources, although, occasional delays do exist while waiting for shipping from S. Korea. Also, there is a wide selection of upgrades available- both from the factory, and, the aftermarket. For those less mechanically inclined, a dealer nearby may become a consideration for a potential buyer, but, any shop that works on metric bikes can fix any issue as well.

Hyosung GV650 Body

Personal experience reflects the value, with over 10,000 miles logged since brand new, with only a bad RR delivered from the factory needing replacement when new. A little surface rust on some bolts is annoying, offset by the great ride, and, wonderful reliability. Almost vibration free throughout the rev range, rear tire breaking torque- it too can be ridden like a grunty, low revver- due to its low weight. But, allow the engine to sing into it’s broad rev range, and, suddenly, the GV650’s flexibility becomes more apparent. Begging for more revs, it will use all of it’s braking capacity, which includes dual rotors up front – unusual for a cruiser in the middleweight class.

For the new, or, rider ready to transition away from their first bike, this is an excellent ‘in-between’ motorcycle, due to it’s light weight. However, at low speeds, and, being walked around in parking lots, it is heavier, and, therefore requires extra focus. I have noticed that at very slow speeds, I need to saw the wheel a bit to maintain stability – not very cruiser cool, and, I’m a little embarrased to admit it. However, it may be just be my lack of low speed skills, so, I do recommend this as an excellent transition bike for the newer rider.

Highs:
* Adjustable cruiser ergos with sportsbike performance.
* Unusual looks, light weight and big power.
* A conversation piece, regardless of where you are.

Lows:
* Charging issues.
* Surface rust
* Everyone wants to know what it is.

Hyosung GV650 Saddlebags and Sissybar

Verdict:

An unusual looking and surprisingly nimble bike, with high power, low weight and adjustable ergos for long ride comfort. Inexpensive new or used, many examples are available for $3,000 (used) – $5,000 (new), with low or no miles, and, a 2 year factory warranty available for “New, Old Stock” from an authorized dealer. This bike breaks all of the rules for the cruiser class from its high revving HP, class busting light weight, ability to lean into a turn, and, it’s comfort for the long haul. It’s low purchase price, and, cost of ownership is a refreshing surprise for those looking for value in a crowded, me too marketplace.

So, a GV650 is not for everyone, but, I can only share the observations of other bikers that I have ridden with. Impressed with the sound, and, the power of this bike, they are always surprised to learn that it’s “only a 650cc”. With 20 extra HP, and, comparable torque to weight ratios, this motorcycle exceeds the norms by a large margin. Also, once sorted, reliability is a bonus not expected, creating a unexpected value proposition. Having fallen in love with other, more traditional looking cruisers, I’m unable, or, unwilling, to let go of the class leading dynamics of this unique motorcycle. It grows on you, surprising you with its good manners, great ride, dependable power and comfortable seat. What’s not to love?

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About David Gulliver

David is a middle-aged father of four who rides motorcycles to maintain his sanity and escape a household of constant chaos. David has twenty-five years of experience modifying and restoring imported British and German sports cars, and he has one very supportive partner who understands his need to run wild on motorcycles.

30 comments

  1. Interesting!
    Neither the word “chain” nor “shaft” appear in your review…and there’s no really “defining” shot of the left/rear quadrant of the bike.

    IS that a chain-guard I see? All chromi and such?

    • The correct answer is BELT! Sorry, but, I get a little wordy, so, when editting- I must have cut out that piece of information. Also, the mention of chrome also reminds me that in 2012, Hyosung, moved away from the excessive use of chrome, blacking out the engine and various pieces/parts. Yes, there is still chrome, but- it is a little more balanced…Re: Belt. I have checked mine, and, tightened it once @ 8,000 miles, but- it still looks good (no cracks, shiny spots, or ecessive wear), is still quiet, and, seems to be working just fine.

  2. In the second paragraph he writes “belt driven”.

  3. What’s NOT to like about this bike is the fact that the gas tank leaks whenever it’s full, among numerous things. You fail to mention all the heartache this bike has caused it’s owners, me being one of them. I bought this bike new, an ’09 with 12 miles on it. First ride out, I filled the tank and lo & behold the next day i find a very large, visable spot on the pavement from where the gas tank leaded overnight. This bike is crap! Anyone considering buying it had better do their research on all the forums out there.

    • Hey Darlene, just wanted to say thank you for leaving this comment. It’s always nice to see both sides of the coin. Have you replaced your GV650? If so, with what?

      • Yes, the dealer towed it back and I got an ’09 Honda Shadow VT750. All black and lots of chrome… I love this bike! Within a month i put bags and a windshield on Rrrrrricco.

        • Darlene, I’m sorry that is your experience- but, it has NOT been mine- at all! Mine has started every time, no leaks, squeaks, stories- nothing but dependable, reliable & enjoyable riding since its arrival. Now, mine sat in a showroom from 2008 until July, 2013, but, my gas tank is fine (always keep it full, as they tend to rust on the inside). Now, I was aware that some owners had unreliable bikes, and, I got a price that reflected that possibility, but- it has over 11,000 miles over the last 18 or so months of ownership with no issues.

          Like YM says- it’s great to get all sides of the story, and, I certainly shared my GOOD experience publicly- so, thank you very much for sharing what happened to you. I’m glad you bought a Honda VT750-great bike, and, they sound sooo good, while being extremely reliable over years of ownership. I’m glad that you found a much better bike right away!

          Dave

        • That’s the NAME of your bike?!? Cute! I call mine Big Bertha. At 869 lbs, she’s a BBB. (No offense to my friends at the Business Bureau!)

    • I have seen other brands with leaking fuel tanks, huge problems with electricity a la Victory or oil leaking engines on brand new bikes a la Harley. Are they total crap to then? Only because a bike have some issues are they not crap. Strange i never have one single issue on the Hyos i have owned. If issues was the same as crap, why do even US and British brands excist…..

  4. I’m ashamed to say that I’m only now paying full attention to the pics of your lovely steed, David…..and I realize it definitely IS Korea’s answer to Harley’s V-Rod……only at about 1/3 the price! Good on ya, laddy.

    Anytime an Asian contender knocks off a Harley model…..and does it with any level of authenticity (I count my Yamaha Venture as a wannabe Electraglide in this same category) the only downside of the whole scenario is that the off-shore interloper usually loses its market/resale value at about three times the speed of the good old HD marque. The “pretenders” are great while you own them, though; usually maintenance free, inexpensive to fix if anything DOES go south…..and, best of all, will often leave the “Iron Horse” sitting at the lights. :-)

    • The Avitar GV650, or, the Aquila Pro is- ‘the motorcycle that almost never was’- as, Hyosung mgmt. felt that the bike was “Too Asian” to sell outside of Korea! But, the response to the display bike at the Milan Motorcycle Show in 2005 was so positive (people tried to make deposits to ‘pre-order’ it, even though it was NOT in production!) Clearly, the Hyosung people didn’t visit the H-D booth, as the V-Rod went into production in 2003. Sadly, Quality Control (QC) did not exist at Hyosung- too many of these arrived with problems: leaky gas tanks in 2006 & 2007 (multiple bad weld locations), soft triple tree bolts in 2006, charging issues (stators & regulator/rectifiers) from ’06-09, and, occasional electrical gremlins… Which is why they are so low priced- both new (old stock) & used!

      H-D’s V-Rod is a ‘real’ muscle bike, and, does the 1/4 mile in around 11 seconds, but, the lowly GV650 needs an additional half second to finish the same distance? Other than the profile, tubular steel frame & DOHC V-twin motor- they share almost nothing in common. But, the motor was designed, developed & manufacturered jointly with Suzuki, and, the ever loved SV650 shares most of its internals. The whole point of the review was to reflect the great value – ONCE SORTED- as the motor is powerful and long lasting. My surprise is how well the package works together, and, how often I choose it even when I have much ‘better’ bikes available to me? It specs out more like a sportbike @ 485 Lbs, 3 disc brakes, 72 Hp & 44 Ft./Lbs of torque- without numb hands, sore wrists or a bad back. Greater lean angles than MOST cruisers doesn’t hurt, matched with a good stock suspension. Sure, I wish for less chrome, but, overall – it’s a great value. I don’t think I got lucky, I knew (from research) what to expect, and, thankfully, only the regulator/rectifier was bad at delivery. I was prepared to have the bike in for warranty repairs for most of the first year (new bike from an Authorized Dealer= full 2 year warranty.) – but, we caught it before it fried the stator.

      New, at a hair over $5,000.00 (including $1G of installed OEM accessories: windshield, color matched locking hardbags, sissy bar, LC performance kit, LC twin turn out exhuasts), I wasn’t terribly worried about depreciation. But, less than 2 years and 11,000 miles later, 50% depreciation makes an even better value for the NEXT owner! Adult owner, never dropped, no stories, no deferred maintanence, garage kept, synthetic oils only & babied since new- what’s not to love? And, at 1/2 the cost of a used ‘middleweight’ but, comes with more:power, braking & accessories! So much fun at such a low cost.

  5. Hi David,

    I bought a new 2014 GV650 Aquila Pro back in Nov 14′ and have a couple of minor issues. The 1st one being that the fuel sending unit did not work..showed empty when gas tank was full. Dealer replaced under warranty. I’ve added a sissy bar, luggage rack, floor boards and a windshield to customize it.

    The engine I’ll agree, is a solid performer and is definitely underrated in the MC world as it is extremely powerful for its class and size and very fun to ride. Only issue I have is an annoying squeak when the clutch is pulled in coasting around 15 mph and above. I’m just about at wits end trying to figure out whats causing it.

    Sure the finish has plastic parts to it but that’s not an issue for me at all. I’d rather have a solid engine with great braking power better quality trim.

    All in all I like this bike it’s fast and stable even at high speeds. Always starts on the first time, idles perfectly, and have never had any leaks like some of the other posts have mentioned.

  6. Maybe some misinformation here?. The Bikes still to this day have the electrical gremlins. One only needs to look at the brazilian forums or various Hyosung forums to see that. The stator and reg are still junk bikes are down all the time with those two issues And the engine shares no Common bits with the sv650 engine. It looks similar and that’s pretty much it. The engines wont swap from kaw to hyo without major work. Super cringe worthy thread here on a used sv650 that someone tried cobbling a hyosung engine into it. page 4 with pics.

    http://www.svrider.com/forum/showthread.php?t=125674&page=4

    Still a fun bike for sure. I love mine and have done the stator and regulator mods as well. No issues with the tank but there are some folks with 09 and newer bikes that have had issues with the tanks. Its Fast as all get out for a 650 cruiser. and the quality on the newer bikes is better but they still have issues. If you are reading this and are a prospective buyer of the gv650 or even gt650.. Realize you will need to address the stator and Regulator after purchase. Its a $200-$300 endeavor for new parts so factor that into the price. Do not purchase Hyosung parts. Check out the multiple web pages discussing the correct parts. I am Using a Yamaha R1 mosfet Regulator and Ninja stator. I didn’t try to re invent the wheel when getting my parts. The stock parts were replaced by my dealer a few times.. So I did the research and swapped the still junk parts out with the aforementioned parts. Huge improvement in charging and general ridability. Lots more throttle response and no longer carrying a charger with me everywhere I go.

    • Hi Hyorida, very much appreciate all of this information on here. Really good of you to share the info with others. Thank you!

    • I just had to bring in my 2014 GV650 because my radiator started leaking…apparently this happens a lot so I’m wondering if anyone out there knows of a good aftermarket replacement, or if not, what I need to weld/braze in order to make it stronger

      • I dont think thats a very common issue. Nothing I have seen in the last several years of Hyo ownership shows that to be a common occurrence.. But anyhow having been around radiators in the automotive world any
        radiator shop should be able to work with what you have as stock and make it into a better radiator.

    • The stator get junk because many owners continue to drive with a bad rectifier and not understand why they have use a charger every second day, stock rectifier is shit. Get a Shindengen and the problems are gone.

  7. Well, as a reader/user of lots of forums- remember, people only post when they have issues! But, even with that being stated, I do know that there seem to be many happy owners of these under-rated motorcycles? But, I have heard that the newer, fuel injected models do have radiator issues… But, I still remain a believer, and, a supporter of this bike, as it has provided me with years of service- almost pain free. Low purchase price, moderate maintainence costs, and, a surprisingly great ride with plenty of power. Awesome value new, and, an even better value used!

  8. David,

    Where did you get the factory matched saddlebags? Also the backrest?

  9. I believe that I ordered them from http://www.richardhyosunggvgt.com/. I have ordered tons of factory & aftermarket parts from him- he is wonderful to work with! Be aware that some colors are hard to come by, so, good luck on your search!

    Dave

  10. Thank you for posting this information! I have another manufacturer’s liquid cooled, belt drive V twin cruiser(for several years) but have been interested in replacing it with the GV650 as I’m ready for a change. Unfortunately, the comment someone made about the nasty price depreciation for Japanese made cruisers is what I’ve found to be true. For the lack of a good trade in price on my machine, I lack the money to get the Hyosung 650.

    Vulcan rider

    • Hey ml, what belt drive V-Twin Vulcan are you on that would make you want to go to a GV650?

      • YM,

        My machine is a VT900C but after 7 years, I’m ready for something new, lighter, affordable. I’m not as physically strong as I was that many years ago and the difference in weight when moving it in and out of the garage (sardine can size garage), is becoming noticeable.
        The GV650, as you may be aware, is a wheelbase of nearly 68″, making it the highway flyer I want.

        Make sense?

        ML

  11. its a fantastic bike and i cant fault it once i got rid of the unbalanced restrictive exhaust. i bought a 2014 Aquilla Pro brand new and for what it cost me i dont plan on ever getting rid of it.

  12. It is pretty funny to read some of the comments here, some well known issues as the rectifier, a few leaking tanks that was related to the tanks breather and a few leaking radiators. This on a cheap bike, but not that cheap, many parts used are from big and well known manufacturers. Tcic brakes are huge in auto world, Mikuni, Delphi, Kokusan, Gator, NSK, etc. This is not cheap shit, it is quality parts. But the problem is that it is Hyosung and then are no issues accepted, but on a Harley for 20.000$ plus is it ok with oil leakeage, electric gremlins, rust on the frame etc. Also shall Hyo owners have higher demands on the dealers, make proper delivery check on the bikes etc!

What do you think?