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Scooter Sport: SYM GTS300i Sport

Steve Martin
2Wheels

November, 2015

Every year the quality of scooters seem to increase and the SYM GTS300i Sport illustrates that very fact...

The Sanyang Motor Company (SYM) has been around for quite some time now, and the Taiwanese factory has been pumping out automobiles, motorcycles and scooters since the '50's. It's fair to say that with more than 16 million scooter and motorcycles manufactured in that time that most of the bugs have been ironed out, and the latest offering of scooters from SYM are getting seriously high tech and the new LAMS approved GTS300i Sport in no exception.

The Sport has taken over the mantel from the Firenze that had been the old 300 segment warrior for the company. The new Sport has a healthy power increase - up 29bhp from the Firenze - which gives the scoot a very zappy feel in acceleration. It's hard to believe that it's a LAMS approved machine with plenty of usable power available to the rider in an easy to use power band.

The learner approved 300 can sit on 110kph all day long and with a 12 litre fuel tank some serious miles can be covered. SYM claim the fuel injected GTS uses 2.8 litres per 100km, but the Sport can extend its range, especially when city cruising by enabling the start stop technology switch on the left hand switch block. It works the same as some of the new smaller cars and switches the motor off at the traffic lights or in traffic jams to save wasted fuel. To restart the engine just twist the grip and the scooter automatically reignites and gets underway.

It doesn't matter if you're experienced or not when riding the Sport as the centrifugal clutch makes starting a breeze with no jerkiness and a completely linear feel to the twist grip. Sitting on the 300 gives you a feel of quality that just seems to improve every year from the non-Japanese manufacturers. The switches are high quality as is the appearance of the dash and you get the feel that you are sitting on a scooter built for comfort and weather protection.

Once underway the short screen surprisingly works extremely well keeping the wind off your chest. For those colder days there is a heater mounted in the lower centre of the foot well and that has an on/off adjustment depending on the positioning. It was less that 20 degrees the day I tested it and out on a country road or even buzzing around at 60kph it was difficult for me to tell if it worked efficiently or not. Maybe it's a bit of a gimmick but in general the ride position and weather protection negate the need for it any way.

The ABS equipped brakes work well and pull the scooter up very smartly. Any bike fitted with ABS needs a good test so I jammed the front brake on pretty hard on a slippery damp road to check its effectiveness. Good news is it works well and is certainly capable of helping in cases that sometimes might catch the rider unawares. The front wave disc certainly looks the part and adds to the high quality feel and the braking power provided by the brakes.

It's a very nimble scooter to ride and change of direction requires no effort at all meaning you don't have to be a superman to manhandle it through the traffic. It also importantly feels quite light and manageable to push around and park which is certainly something to consider when buying a new scooter. Placing your feet on the ground is also an easy affair with nothing threatening to catch your trousers at that critical moment just as your feet need to hit terra firma.

On board inside the right hand glove box you will find a USB port and also a cigarette style charger which can come in very handy to charge one's devices on the run. The dash is similar to the MaxSYM400i with the main features being a speedo and tacho which are both easy to read. A fuel guage, clock and trip metre are the other important instruments that tick the boxes and make life more informed out on the street. Every scooter's major asset is its ability to carry luggage and although this SYM carries the moniker Sport it doesn't disappoint with the massive cavern under the seat. You could easily fit a couple of helmets and jackets with room to spare. Accessing the storage is by button on the left switch block and is a job carried out with ease.

The other area SYM have spent money on R&D is visibility. There are running lights, huge indicators and even a fog light which can be activated by a special switch located just under the dash.

Down Under SYM have sold more the 30,000 units and the 278cc new edition to the family should increase the speed that the brand flies out the doors. I enjoyed my short time on the 300i Sport and at only $7,599 plus on roads, which also includes a four year unlimited kilometre warranty, expect them to be popping up everywhere...

First Aussie Ride: SYM GTS300i Sport

Greg Leech
bikesales.com.au

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Out of Taiwan comes SYM’s latest maxi scooter offering. How does it stack up?

Taiwanese scooter brand SYM has unveiled its latest scooter, the 278.3cc single-cylinder GTS300i Sport.

The GTS300i Sport is available locally right now. Priced at a pretty competitive $7599, it replaces the $6199 Firenze300i in SYM's local line-up, and adds another 5.4hp as well (up to 29hp).

The bike lands at a challenging time for the scooter sector, with the popularity of scooters in Australia declining. In fact 2015 first half sales are down a significant 25.9 per cent compared to first half 2014 figures.

It continues to baffle us why this should be the case, with scooters making eminent sense when it comes to urban living. Okay, if you are a sheep farmer in Cunnamulla, we get why there is little appeal. But, for useage in and around major cities, there really is no more efficient means of transport. Go to any major Asian or European city to see this borne out.

We reckon this is likely to change, with smart state governments legislating to allow lane-splitting. You’ll be at work early on a scooter, and parking is either free of charge or way cheaper. It should simply be a matter of time before this sinks into the stubborn Australian motorcycle psyche.

So, to the GTS300i. In the scheme of things this is a (smaller) maxi-scooter, with enough poke that allows it outside the bounds of hipster-filled inner urban going. With that in mind, we took the opportunity to spend a week with the bike, to toss some real world running at it. Our test saw freeway running in addition to suburban and indeed some inner city use. In short, just about everything the bike is likely to face when operating in its natural habitat.

Scooters are easy climbed aboard and offer good comfort. The 300i has a stepped seat offering oodles of room, particularly for the passenger, whose vision is aided by the second-tier seat. If you have ever stared at the back of a helmet for days on end, you’ll get why this is a big plus in regard to long-distance ergonomics. We would have liked the step in the seat to be just a touch further back, giving a bit more room to the rider, at the expense of all that space for the passenger. After all, it’s that front seat that is going to get the majority of road time.

Hit the electric start button and it's immediately obvious that the Sport is quiet and unobtrusive, which is great for wheeling it out from under a stairwell in a block of flats. The neighbours may not share your affection for two-wheeled transport, and its perceived associated noise. Again, scooters make sense.

The bike has angular and futuristic styling which is accentuated by things such as the mirror-incorporated blinkers, and classy four-dial instrument panel. Information offered here includes a clock-type speedo, tacho, temperature and fuel gauges. The centre of the tacho offers a trip computer with a comprehensive array of functions. Neatly packaged and practical.

The GTS300i Sport comes at standard with ABS brakes, hooked up to wave discs. Stopping is via right hand lever operating the front brake and left lever the rear. Braking is quite good, once you get used to where it all is. A nice dynamic is the manner in which the bike can be ‘steadied’ at low speeds at the ’bars. A touch of rear brake, with the slightest of throttle allows easy service station going and low speed maneuvers. All this is aided by a nice low centre of gravity, with the 12lt fuel tank housed in the footwell.

There’s a huge lockable storage area located under the seat, which will allow shopping trips and the like. There’s room for a laptop and a helmet, which means not lugging your lid when off the bike.

A super touch is the leg heater located on the lower headstock. Scooter configuration allows room for the sort of ducting required for this type of thing and it really represents a leap forward. Taswegians, take note.

The bike offers pretty good performance, with my commute seeing 140km/h on the freeway, and there is more than enough instant go, thanks to the CVT (constant variable transmission) auto set-up, to get away at lights. CVT operation is a little different when encountered for the first time, but it really offers many advantages in regard to scooter applications. There are no discernible ‘steps’ in power delivery, revs remain relatively high and this all means there is power on tap regardless of engine or road speed. Very user-friendly, and the 300’s engine is a willing performer.

There’s a sidestand (as well as the more traditional centrestand) on the Sport and this is smart. Scooters, for all their maneuverability when on the move, can be a little unwieldy when being manually pushed around. You get used to it, but pulling one up on a centrestand, particularly on uneven ground, can be a bit of a trap for young players. A simple flick of the sidestand avoids all this.

Other touches see a 12-volt power outlet and USB charging port and stop/start technology fitted. For those that my not like stop/start, and I have to admit to being one of them, this is simply disabled at the touch of a button. It does save fuel though and GTS300i Sport is a pretty frugal thing to start with. SYM claims 2.8l/100km and that’s doable in the right circumstances. Build and finish is tidy and the bike’s appearance belies its pretty competitive price of $7599 plus on-road costs.

Motorcyclists and scooter riders belong to different tribes, and this is especially so in the domestic Australian market. Those lines will blur as the urban sprawl of our cities shows little sign of diminishing, and the pure sense of a scooter takes hold of the commuter marketplace.

The 300i also brings country running into the game, with comfortable power and road manners for long distance use. Even two-up, there is enough go to get you there with a good degree of sporting ability also in the mix. Toss your clothes, toothbrush and credit card into the storage area and head away for the weekend, or jump on and get to and from work with ease.

It’s priced right, fills a spot in the market nicely and does everything it says on the tin. In short, this is practicality central.

SPECS: SYM GTS300i SPORT
ENGINE

Type: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single cylinder
Capacity: 263.7cc
Bore x stroke: 72.8mm x 63.3mm
Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection

PERFORMANCE
Claimed maximum power: 17.2kw at 7500rpm
Claimed maximum torque: 24.6Nm at 5500rpm

TRANSMISSION
Type: Automatic
Final drive: CVT

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR
Frame: Steel
Front suspension: Telescopic fork
Rear suspension: Unit swing
Front brakes: Single 240mm disc, four-piston radial calipers
Rear brake: Single 220mm disc, two-piston caliper
Wheels: Cast aluminium
Tyres: Front 110/90/13, rear 130/70/13

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES
Dry weight: 184kg
Seat height: 755mm
Wheelbase: 1495mm
Fuel capacity: 12 litres

OTHER STUFF
Price: $7599
Colours: Matte black
Bike supplied by: Select Scootas, scoota.com.au
Warranty: 48 months, unlimited kilometres

2011 SYM Symba 110 First Ride

Gabe Ets-Hokin
Contributing Editor
Gabe Ets-Hokin is a well-known motorjournalist, but he knows scooters well, too: he's been a factory sales rep for Derbi scooters, re-built a Vespa motor in room 107 at the Elvis Presley Motor Lodge in Memphis, TN and has edited several scooter buyer's guides. He unapologetically loves da' scoots.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Quick, without Googling, what's the best-selling motorized vehicle in human history? Model T? Nope - 15 million sounds like a lot, but the Volkswagen Beetle beat that with 21 million manufactured. And if you're going by model name, whoever came up with the Toyota Corolla tower over both Henry Ford and Dr. Porsche with 35 million sold. Park those suckers bumper-to-bumper and you'd circle the Earth four times. And since I'm having so much fun with Google today, you could also say that long line of Corollas would stretch 1/3rd of the way to the moon. That's a lot of cars.

“Ha!” says the Honda Super Cub in a tinny, high-pitched voice, “there are over 60 million of me!” Ol' Soichiro Honda's vision was to replace the noisy, dirty two-stroke motor that powered most small motorcycles with his clean, reliable, quiet four-strokers. The first Super Cub (the Cub was the clip-on bicycle motor that launched Honda Motors) of 1958 was a benchmark for cheap, reliable transportation. The frame was a tough, inexpensive pressed-steel monocoque design, with drum brakes and crude leading-link (and non-telescopic!) front fork. The motor was a four-ish horsepower 50cc four-stroke that could propel the bike to 50 mph with incredible durability and efficiency. Easy to ride and affordable in developing economies, by 1963 Honda was cranking out over 800,000 a year, and demand only increased; in the 2008 fiscal year Honda's many factories spat out 4.7 million Super Cubs and related models.

Clearly, this scooter has some appeal. Yet, sadly, you can't buy one from American Honda - the Passport, as it was called stateside, hasn't been available since 1983. So the market was wide open for the Sym Symba 110.

The Symba is Taiwanese company SYM's modern take on the classic Super Cub, although the technology hasn't moved along that much in 50 years. It uses a pressed-steel monocoque chassis with plastic bodywork. Suspension is a telescopic fork and adjustable dual shocks. Brakes are drum - 130mm in front, 110mm in back. Wheels are spoked 17-inchers with inner tubes and Duro bias-ply tires. Amenities include an LED-light fuel gauge, passenger seat and pegs, and if you remove the passenger seat, you'll find a small parcel rack...but since the bike is only rated at 199 pounds of carrying capacity, you should just leave the passenger seat for when you find a 40-pound passenger. The Symba weighs in at a claimed 209 pounds with its one-gallon tank topped off.

The powerplant is a 101.4cc air-cooled Single with overhead valves, fueled by a good ol' fashioned carburetor, good for a claimed 6.5 hp at 8500 rpm. The four-speed gearbox works with an automatic centrifugal clutch to transmit power to an enclosed chain drive. Like a small piece of power equipment it's not high-tech, but it should get the job done, right?

To find out, I took the bike out with me for an afternoon of riding around traffic-filled, pothole-ridden San Francisco. Could a small-displacement machine this simple meet the demands of an urban environment? After about 50 miles of riding around town, I think I can answer that.

The first obstacle you'll have to cross is operating the Symba. It's not like a modern scooter and learning to ride it takes some adjustment from your run-of-the-mill twist 'n' go. To start it, you hold in the brake pedal and lever and thumb the starter, or you can park it on its center stand and kick the folding kickstart lever. Either way, after a minute or two of warm-up, it's ready to ride.

But where's the clutch lever? There is none. Instead, you press down with your heel on the back of the heel-toe shifter (neutral is below, not above first) and roll on the throttle. First gear gets you going to about 12 mph, then it's time to heel down to second. It's easy to forget about the whole shifting thing and either lug the motor or over-rev it (careful - there's no rev limiter!), which results in some herky-jerky riding your first day or two. You may as well leave your usual scooter gear at home and put on a clown suit, because you will look silly more than once.

But when you're used to it, the Symba is a lot of fun. With a 48-inch wheelbase and big wheels, it's both easy to maneuver and stable at higher speeds. The feathery mass is also great when it comes time to back into a parking space or pop it up on its stand. Acceleration is sufficient to maintain a presence and keep from getting run over in heavy traffic, and the pulling power is good enough to get a solo rider to the top of the steepest hill, no problem. I saw the easy-to-read speedometer reach into the 50s for brief stretches, but the bike is really not so happy cruising at high rpm - it gets buzzy and feels overworked.

Is it a motorcycle or a scooter? Well, it's roughly the clinical definition of obesity away from being the same weight as a moped, so I'd compare it to one of our pedal-equipped friends first. Like a moped, it's laughably easy to steer and seems to just sort of bounce over bumps and ruts like a beach cruiser. You also don't feel guilty parking on the sidewalk or get worn out pushing it uphill. But unlike a moped, the brakes actually do something, at least until you're bombing along near the bike's top speed. Call it a moped, or scooter or maybe just a groovy lil' motorbike, to quote the Beach Boys. I just call it a good time.

As far as practical goes, it's hard to fault. Fuel economy is incredible, the best of any gas-burning vehicle I've tested. After 50 miles of city riding - and I didn't baby it, although I should have - the tank wouldn't take more than half a gallon, which means over 100 mpg. A lot of scooters claim 100 mpg, but the Symba actually delivers. And while the maintenance schedule is somewhat onerous - the book calls for an oil change every 600 miles and a valve-clearance check every 3600 miles, the bike is pretty simple to work on. It also has a luggage rack, a helmet lock and available accessories to help you carry even more. Anyone who's been to China or Vietnam will tell you there isn't much you can't carry on a step-through. From chickens to building materials to an entire family, these simple, rugged vehicles are more pickup truck than recreational scooter.

You can even tour on one. Don't laugh! That's exactly what San Jose, California scooter enthusiast Binh Cheung did with his Symba (Check out Binh's Blog). Last year he embarked on an epic three-week, 7800-mile journey on his little bike, loaded down with camping gear and spare parts. The goal was the Arctic circle, thousands of miles from San Jose. Cruising at around 50 mph on less-traveled two-lane roads, Binh tackled snowy mountain passes, hour after hour of cold rain and the bike-eating, gravel-surfaced Dalton Highway.

It wasn't an easy trip. He had some scary moments, including fishtailing at 50 mph on a muddy road and being passed in the rain by huge long-haul semis on the desolate Dalton Highway.

After all, the Symba burned less than $400 in gas - about 100 mpg, “give or take,” wrote Binh. That left more money to spend on good food and better camping. He was cold and wet some of the time, but reports that he likes touring at a slower speed - he sees more and it's more relaxing. He thinks touring in a car or on a big bike is boring - “the essence of motorcycling is a frame, a motor and yourself...I see the big bikes go by me and think, 'why not just do it in a convertible?'”

He had some minor mechanical issues, understandably. His license plate cracked, some bolts vibrated loose, and an exhaust header nut sheared off. But he found he could go 1000 miles between oil changes with no problems, the spoked wheels stayed true the whole trip and he only used one spark plug, two and a half rear tires and just half of a front.

We're in tough economic times these days, and we're all looking for ways to simplify our lives - and gas won't stay below $4 a gallon forever. Sym's Symba may be a good way to save some dough, but it's also fun, practical and very capable of all kinds of two-wheel motorized tasks. At $2398 it's about as inexpensive as an over-50cc scooter can get. It's also fun and charming enough to feel special, not just cheap transportation. It's not for everyone, but it deserves a test ride. Sixty million riders can't be wrong...

SYM VS150

The Scooter Review
Seems the chaps at SYM have got wind of my habits. See normally I begin most SYM reviews with a bit of an easy laugh about the name of the scooter. It's not hard when a scooters called an ˜Uber boy" or a "Super Duck". Not any longer it seems. So now what do I do? I haven't got enough talent to come up with something amusing on my own, I need help. Then it dawned on me. It was a puzzle; SYM had simply hidden the real name in a complex code. I've always wanted to be a spy or maybe a voyeur. Is that the same thing? Anyway I pulled out my copy of You wanted to be a spy but ended up a boring git. A great title for a book I have to say.

After many hours of detailed cypher work and numerous conversations with my contacts in the CIA, FBI, FCC, FAA, STD, ABS, and VTEC, I came up with an answer. It was hidden in the title. What SYM had done was brilliant; they'd used the initials V and S as what seemed like innocent letters. Not so. My exhausting analysis discovered their true meaning. A simple V no, in SYM's world of layered espionage the V stands for Vanity and S stands for Sprocket. You see it was there hidden all along. The SYM Vanity Sprocket. What does Vanity Sprocket mean you ask? How on earth would I know; I just work here.

The VS is a direct assault on the Euro and Japanese scooter models. It was obviously a fairly transparent conversation when they began work on the VS. The engineers were simple told to build a 150cc scooter that functioned as well as or better than any of its competing models but cost less. So that's what they built. The SYM designers put their heads together and gave us what we've all been asking for. First, they mounted the battery extra low in the body, then they moved the fuel tank to the front of the bike, the result being; a class leading storage area. If you've ridden scooters for more than a week you'll know how vital storage is. In the VS you can store either two open faced helmets or one helmet and your riding gear. After riding the bike for the week I wondered how I'd put up with the useless storage on most scooters. The only negative is that the under seat area is not very deep so you can only just squeeze in a small sized full-face helmet. Make the storage area just an inch deeper on the next VS and we'll be in nirvana.

Riding wise the VS is pretty straight forward. The 150cc four stroke is slightly more perky than average and usefully more powerful than most 125cc bikes. This means the VS will function on the freeway provided you avoid the fast lane and stratospheric mountain passes. Suspension and ride quality is about average as well. The suspension and 12 inch wheels soak up most bumps and give reasonable comfort. The VS can be hustled along but prefers a medium pace as it's more cruiser than corner carver. The front disc is massive for the scooter world at 273mm but surprisingly required a fair amount of effort to bring the bike to a halt.

SYM CityCom300i

The Scooter Review
There's a guy, his name is Bob. Bob wants to buy a scooter. Bob wants a full size scooter that will travel well on all roads including freeways. He searches the internet and finds this very review. Bob reads review then buys scooter. He rides it thousands of miles with a massive smile on his face and lives happily ever after. This is an example of how things should work in life simply. Most people seem to make the purchasing decision a complicated process, not Bob. Bob is smart; he lets people in the privileged position of having more scooter experience guide him in his decision making.

Now I'll describe what you might be looking for; if it by chance matches up then I will advise (tell) you what to do next. First, do you actually want a scooter or are you reading this because you were searching for some kind of city com communication devices and randomly ended up here? Second, do you have a scooter already and want to upgrade to something more powerful? Third, do you want a full size big wheeled scooter? Fourth, do you want a quality machine, and finally fifth, do you want the best value full size scooter on the market?

Okay let's assume you've answered yes to all these questions, now what? Okay, maybe you should print these instructions out as they are quite detailed. First confirm that you can buy the SYM Citycom 300i in your market. If you can't then pick up the phone or send an email to your local SYM distributor and ask them, WHY THE HELL NOT? Really, trust me on this. You'll see the Citycom listed for sale very quickly. Next, get dressed. This really is relatively important as being naked will likely hamper your ability to haggle your way to a good deal. On the contrary, this could also increase your chances of a good price. It's probably best to get a third party to verify ahh, your quality. In fact I'd be happy to offer an impartial judgment, provided you're female that is. Bob's photos still haunt me at night.

Right, next; take your preferred transport to the local SYM dealer. Actually, I must advise some clothes if you're on a scooter as riding naked is just plain unsafe. Okay now once you've arrived simply walk into the dealer and say the following words. Hello sir/ma'am, do you have a SYM Citycom 300i? If they answer yes, say these words. Give it to me. Hopefully the salesperson will now procure you the scooter and you will live happily ever after. If in the unlikely event the salesperson misinterprets the meaning of "give it to me", considering you may be naked and untoward events take place I will disavow all knowledge of this advice. This article will self destruct in ten seconds.
So the SYM Citycom is a good scooter then? Absolutely 100%, YES. Unlike some bikes this scooter didn't need to grow on me. I knew it was special within seconds of riding it. This is not an exaggeration; I rode it out of the distributors driveway made a left turn and went, hmmm, this is good, really good, a few minutes later and I was sold. SYM had nailed it in my book. Next I decided I'd better get a second opinion in case I was losing my mind. I gave the bike to Del Fuego and he came back with exactly the same impression. Gold.

Here's the rundown. The SYM is a big scooter and no lightweight weighing in at 184kgs, but SYM have worked a miracle of sorts because the bike doesn't feel anywhere near that heavy, except when lifting it. (I like to carry my scooters from time to time for a good workout, it's only fair, they schlep our lazy asses around all day, in fact I'm thinking of launching a movement, Scooter Schlep, it could be massive. Or inversely it could be a bad idea. We'll run a poll.) On the road the Citycom is superb, it smoothes out road imperfections effortlessly due to its large 16inch wheels and well set-up suspension. The engine makes a healthy 20hp and 23.5Nm of torque; this propels the bike along at a surprisingly rapid pace considering its weight.

Ease of use wise the Citycom is about as good as it gets for a full size scooter. There's a large under seat storage area that will actually fit a full face helmet, wet weather clothes and a Peruvian mountain cucumber. The only issue is the full face helmet needs to be no larger than a medium. If you've got a large or extra large sized head you're toast, it won't fit. This is fair as people with heads like the Deathstar need to be inconvenienced, they deserve it, I mean who wants a head like a space station. Up front there's a lockable glove box and a nice set of very clear gauges. Given the bikes size and weight I was expecting poor fuel economy but was pleasantly surprised to return 65MPG.The bad bits. There aren't many to be fair but I'll list what I did come up with. The biggest problem with the Citycom is it's so darn comfortable and effortless to ride that you may fall asleep, crash and die a horrible death. Hardly a real problem as you'll be dead. The screen is poorly designed and really needs to be taller or shaped differently as it seems to just accelerate air directly at your cranium. This is not where air should be directed. The seat height is a little on the tall side for shorter riders and combined with the bikes weight can make it a pain to move around. That's 'bout it.

Summing up about the SYM Citycom 300i. SYM have done a simply superb job with this scooter. It really is one of the best value for money full size scooters on the market. If you're unfamiliar with SYM then you needn't worry at all. They are a large Taiwanese company that have been making very high quality bikes for many years. In fact, some of the best scooters of all come out of Taiwan these days. If you're looking for a serious full sized scooter to do all manner of commuting and even long distance riding, this is very much the bike you need to test ride first. I'm praying SYM will give us one as a long term bike. If they don't, maybe I'll just black mail Bob, I do have these photos of him.

SYM Mio 100

The Scooter Review

If you go to Sym's website the Mio 100 page begins with the tagline "The ultimate urban scooter", strange because I thought all scooters were by definition, urban, anyway, after poking some fun at Sym I rode the Mio 100 the next day and you know what, they're not entirely wrong. Lets say urban to Sym means; no motorway usage and no distances greater than about 15km, then I'd have to agree with Sym. For some people this could be the ultimate urban scooter.

Here's the rub. The Mio 100 is small, very small. Smaller and lighter than some 50cc scooters actually. It weighs in at around 87kg which makes it very manageable for people of small stature or low body weight. Now this may sound like I'm trying not to be sexist and avoiding simply saying good for girls, well yes that is true. Women love this scooter, it's great looking and very very easy to maneuver. However, I AM A MAN and, well I like this scooter too. I have no problem with its slightly feminine retro looks: I think it looks damn cool: okay it's certainly not very gangster but we're talking scooters here and really, none of them are very gangster.

The 100cc Mio is straight up fun to ride, its light weight means you can aggressively throw it into turns and generally carve up city traffic. The 100cc engine is nice and torquey, pulling away from traffic lights with surprising swiftness. Its 0-50kph time of seven seconds flat is quite brisk for a 100cc machine and quicker than some 125cc. scooters. The engine also makes a rather nice sound for a 100cc, a bit lower and more serious sounding than one would expect from such a small machine. The front disc brake is of about average strength, while lever feedback is good giving you reasonable confidence under brakes. The rear drum brake is like most drum brakes, junk. One day many years from now scooter manufactures will include dual disc brakes on all models, one day.

Orange is okay for such a small size scooter but unfortunately doesn't take a large full face helmet, close but not quite. The Mio also has some great features for such an affordable scooter: a handle bar mounted seat storage switch so you can easily access your gear without using the key, a kill switch under the seat to help prevent theft and a fuel cap release on the ignition barrel to speed up refills. All together a lot of convenient features and certainly more than most of the competitors offer at this price point. The Mio does have rear pegs for a pillion and will actually move two smaller people along reasonably swiftly. Obviously it's a little cramped but just fine for short trips around town.

The real party piece however is the cool dash lighting, with each move of the headlight switch you can cycle through green, red and blue lighting, with a cool glow. It serves no real purpose but is a nice little surprise. Retailers tell me it is a great gimmick and helps sell many a scooter. Funny really, us humans are really dumb: a few colored lights and we're sold. Aliens flying past our little world must look down on us and sigh. Oh well, I'm dumb too, I like the colorful lights.

We ran our usual fuel economy tests which I somehow managed to botch on multiple occasions. Unfortunately we had to return the scooter before I could get the absolute definitive numbers. That being said the Mio 100 returned good fuel economy as you'd expect given its light weight. The results of the first tests returned approximately between (2.9L/100kms - 2.6/100kms), (82MPG - 89MPG ) which is about average to good for a 100cc scooter.

There's not much I didn't like about the Mio 100, just a few niggles. The seat is soft and comfortable but raked slightly too far downward causing you to slide forward a tad. This is avoided by sitting further back on the flat section for the pillion passenger, however you do end up in a slightly stretched out position; all most like you're riding a touring bike. Obviously not perfect when you are carrying a pillion as you end up on the slopey front part of the seat again. The indicator switch is the highly annoying old style three position slider type with no centre push override; these should have been outlawed long ago. Apart from that there really isn't much wrong with the Mio. It's quite well put together and SYM have a great reputation amongst Taiwanese manufactures for reliable products. All told I'd be very happy to use this fun little scooter as daily transport even if it does look a little, ah, feminine. So if you're looking for something more powerful than a 50cc scooter but don't want anything big or heavy, then you simply must try the SYM Mio 100. It really is a fantastic little scooter at a great price. Try it.

 
 

 

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