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First Ride: Hyosung ST7
Given the situation, I should be hearing Steppenwolf singing "Born to be wild" in my helmet. Granted the bike I'm riding is not an original Harley Davidson, instead more like a replica that has come out of Korea. Technically, all the elements are there. Medium capacity V-twin engine, that typical low seating with arms outstretched posture, the highway stretching out for miles ahead of me. But something still doesn't click. I don't quite feel like 'the wild one', ready to tear up the next town I come across, and I'm pretty sure it has to do with the bike.
The bike I'm on is none other than the much anticipated cruiser offering from the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Korea - the Hyosung ST7. At first glance, it would be very easy for the untrained eye to differentiate it from its real-deal cruiser brethren from the Americas. But look closely enough, and the two are as different as chalk and cheese. But before I say any more, I am having quite a lot of fun riding the ST7. So what is it lacking that's not giving me any 'cruiser jollies'? Is it at par with the cruisers that have made their way over here recently from Japan and America? Let's find out shall we…
We've of course seen a cruiser from Hyosung before, though not exactly in this form mind you. Way back in 2003, the Korean motorcycle manufacturer had tied up with Kinetic Engineering to sell a few of its 250cc V-twin Aquila cruisers here. While it was a pretty decent bike, its then exorbitant cost and iffy service network didn't see it quite take off. But the Hyosung brand, which is now owned by S&T Motors in Korea, is back with a more serious commitment to the Indian market. A joint venture with newly formed Garware Motors has given the Korean bike maker a means to assembly its motorcycles on Indian soil, while keeping costs as low as possible.