Written on: 18/08/2007 by Paul Fry (2 reviews written)
Colour, a bold bright orange (2007 model), with great graphics, making this an extremely eye catching sporty looking motorcycle. Bold oversized tyres, making this a true 'stand out in a crowd' gawper gatherer, and somewhat of a mystery machine, is it an off roader or a brash road-only machine? Nope, its a hybrid, a cunning yet bold move by Hyosung to bridge a gap in the market wonderfully. Everything is bold about it. The handlebars are wide, with excellent leverage and welded cross strut support, the oil cooler stands proud beside the four stroke four valve engine, and the new electronic LCD speedometer/odometer/24 hour clock finishes the top off well. Well padded seat, bright lights, everything about this machine fools you and onlookers that its much larger than it really is, a true Tardis of the current 125 market. Its clear glass indicators, built in rear carrier and large rear brake light compete to challenge admirers to an eye duel. It takes guts to go out on a limb and design something new, something fresh, and invest in your designers imagination, which is just what Hyosung have done, miraculously, and its winning a lot of support out there amongst the diehard motorcycling market.
Although seemingly comfortable at first, the seat does create a little numbness with prolonged riding, (for me 40 mins plus) and if carrying a passenger, because of the sloping design, there is an inevitable slide factor, especially under braking, so make sure you know your passenger well, beforehand! The oil cooler is totally unprotected, mine sustained stone chip and large insect damage within the first 100 kms. Engine at first feels harsh, and vibration very evident, and patience is needed in the settling down period. Annoyingly now sold with electric start only, although there is a removable moulded plug in the kickstarter shaft orifice. The chrome wheels and spokes come in a highly polished finish, as do the forks. After two months, tiny superficial rust spots detected on the upper forks,(and its only been sunny here in Spain!) cleaned and polished immediately with chrome polish and stabilised. The wheels and spokes seem fine. Knowing how much fuel is left would have been nice, considering even tiny scooters have fuel gauges, these days. Helmet locks would have been nice, too, but I guess if it had everything, it would cost more.
From day one the bike has been extremely reliable and great fun to ride, on and off road. The initial 'shakedown' period is catered for in the owners manual in terms of quarter and half throttle openings in the first 1600 kms use, after which you can use the machine without restriction. As mentioned previously, it rides and feels like a much larger bike, and from the back appears larger especially with the massive tyre! It makes cornering a dream, and adds a feeling of total security and confidence in the bike, even when leant well over on roundabouts, with acres of clearance. Both you and your passenger will feel the tightness of it being new in the vibration and harshness of the engine, particularly under medium acceleration, but this does diminish, so don't be alarmed! I actually test rode the 2006 RT125 model before deciding to have the 2007 RT125D, and that model had both electric motor and kickstart as standard. I have made inquiries with the Hyosung factory via the Spanish importers and the factory state that the kickstart can be reinstated if desired, but gave no further details. The obvious factor is that there is a removable plug over the kickstart spindle aperture, flush with the external face, so it can be safely assumed that the kickstart spindle is not fitted and the engine may have to be cracked open to refit it, something I am not keen on having done. (This is purely my opinion, not being a full Spanish speaker, its difficult to get the full picture here, it may be that reinstating the kickstarter is easy, but I have this feeling...) The oil cooler sits just proud of the engine to the right, and is ideally located to catch stones and dirt thrown up by the short mudguarded front wheel, so an extension to the mudguard should help. Apart from that, I have purchased a sheet of radiator mesh and have fashioned it to clip over the oil cooler to prevent further damage occurring. As yet, no-one manufactures a purpose made oil cooler guard for the RT125D, but will, as it gains in popularity. The Hyosung factory have been advised of this shortcoming also. The upper fork chrome showing signs of superficial rust so early (2 months ownership) is a little concerning, but in the past, on other motorbikes, I have been used to polishing areas subject to corrosion with polish anyway, to protect against this happening. I have ordered a set of rubber protective fork bellows/gaiters to help protect the lower forks, since no guard is fitted, not even lower deflectors, which is a shame. My only other concern is with the flip up sidestand. There is no centre stand, and when the machine is released from its resting on the side stand, it immediately flips up. I find this irritating and possibly dangerous to some owners, particularly young inexperienced motorcyclists of both sexes. Why? Well, if you are not used to the weight of the bike, and you haven't quite got the balance right when you lift it upright, the stand flips away, and the machine is in danger of falling back on the rider, particularly on wet, uneven or loosely gritted surfaces. The sidestand is offsprung, instead of being centre sprung. Centre sprung at least ensures it stays where it's put, either up or down, until the rider moves it. When I queried this situation with Hyosung, the local importer advised me that it complied with all the safety and design requirements necessary at this time. Obviously, the sidestand is sprung that way to ensure it is clear and will not dig in on the first left hand corner you take after setting off, and off is certainly where you'll be if the stand is down and dug into the tarmac, appreciated. Compare this with the simple ignition cut-out switch fitted to larger machines where if you try to put the machine into gear, and the sidestand is still down, the engine cuts out - simple. Flip the stand up and the engine starts, a brilliant failsafe, but obviously at a cost, so it's not generally fitted to lower cc bikes where there is less of a profit margin to be had. Unfortunately, manufacturers miss the point that it is exactly on these smaller machines that the ignition cut out needs to be fitted, because a majority of the riders will be first timers who won't appreciate their bike falling over on top of them with the current sidestand set up. The RT125D suffers little with two up, and performs much the same as when solo, but naturally takes a little more time getting there, unless you use the revs well in each gear. Talking of which there is no rev counter, either, so thats a possible after fitment as well. This section asks for general comments, so generally, the Hyosung RT125D is, well, BRILLIANT! OK, it doesn't touch the Pan European I had back in the UK, nor the 900cc Yammy Diversion, for power, but in looks, pure fun factor, and getting back to basic motorcycling, on or off road, it's got what it takes and it does what it says on the box. That's light off roading, by the way, it's not designed to go full scale scrambling, it's brother (or sister whichever way you look at it) the RX125D is the professional alternative with upside down forks, etc. Sand dunes, dirt roads, tracks and country lanes and possibly more, it's certainly built to take some punishment, but remember the RT125D is a compromise between an off and on roader, treat it with some respect! Great value for money, keep an eye on the chrome, run it in conscientiously, keep the girlfriends stockings off the upswept stylish exhaust and you will be pleased as punch with your purchase, I am, I give it 10/10.
The engine, although still sounding a little rough round the edges at max revs has loosened up considerably. Front forks have held up good with no leakages and the chrome has stabilised since being dressed with WD40 after chrome polishing. The bike still looks good, and although described as an easy bike to ride, I would say it feels a little `top heavy' and requires the rider to learn to read the feedback from the bike more than other bikes I have ridden effortlessly. It still represents good value for money for what you get. For the hardened Japanese motorcycle enthusiasts who love knocking Hyosung and other lesser known makes from the Asia areas, they may like to note that for years Hyosung made and supplied the inner workings of most of the Japanese motorcycles and I believe they still do. Safe, happy riding.
UPDATE, September 2008; Changed engine oil and oil filter (HIFLO HF131 part No 16510-05240 - suzuki reference, same as Hyosung one) used 10/40 synthetic, (synthetic retains more of its lubricative properties in extreme heat conditions than conventional oil) I remembered to clean the magnetic sump plug of filings, and engine now sounds much sweeter. Had to travel from Santa Pola to Valencia and back via the N332, all 270 miles of it, ran extremely sweetly, maxed 122 kph on approach to Valencia (73.2 mph) on the V31, 120 kph limit, showed no signs of distress. Engine didn't miss a beat, it was a very hot day, remained responsive and willing. The seat has been dished out in rider area, and passenger area raised to prevent the awful sliding motion of passenger into rider on braking. The bike is MUCH EASIER TO CONTROL, now the centre of gravity has been lowered. In truth, the guy has made a damn good job of the finish on the remodelled seat, but did shave off a trifle to much of foam. Have decided to obtain a good quality gel pad and have that sewn into the seat, seems to be the best answer for me. Still extremely pleased with the bike, still represents good value for money provided that if you want it to perform like its rivals, you have to be prepared to do a little work. Owing to my experience after the bikes first dealer service here in Spain, I decided to perform the second service @ 4000 kms myself. General tightness of bolts, chain tension, oil and filter change, plug change, air filter, wheel bearings check (rock n roll) - the only thing I have not done are the tappets, unless they are self adjusting, will have to read up on them. Either way, so far from home, and having no-one here I would trust with my RT125D, I will do them myself, when I am positive of the procedure. On that note there are available on ebay Hyosung workshop manuals on CD, one of which I obtained and have found very useful. Haynes Manuals have been contacted about launching one for the Karion 125 but state it depends on how much interest they get before they consider creating a project. Obviously, they need to be reasonably sure that they will sell over a certain number to justify the research and print costs. I would suggest if you would like them to do one, to simply email them on their website, so they can add you to the list of customer suggestions/requests for particular models. Naturally, to improve the bike further, one can fit an after market exhaust, new front rear chain sprockets of different ratio, rebore out to 150/175cc perhaps, but I prefer to try and leave the bike very much as it is and make lesser impact changes to keep it original, but thats just me. I am Mr Typical on the street, not a race boy, just want the best from the bike I can get, for as little money as possible! It still attracts many curious looks from passers by and drivers in its orange colour scheme, to me the best offered yet. Safe riding.