Teaser shot – The 2009 SYMBA

Wed, Jan 21, 2009


Lookie here y’all! Fresh off the boat, it’s the 2009 SYMBA from who else but SYM. I’ve had a chance to give her a physical and even a test ride. Here’s my first impressions:

- She’s slim… VERY slim. The widest part of the Symba
is about as wide as my shoulders.

- She’s a four gear auto-clutch, which means you can put
her in neutral and rev the engine at the red lights for
extra badassmanship.

- She’s got very tall wheels (17″) which made easy work of
climbing a low curb.

- First gear is kinda torqy… best for climbing hills or hauling
stuff. I normally start out in 2nd to prevent whiplash.

- The Symba weighs as much as I do (pre-Thanksgiving).

- LOTS of seat configuration options! She comes with a
saddle and passenger seat but you can make it a bench
seat or a saddle with a huge chrome luggage rack and more.

- Suction cups under seat make a suction cuppy sound
whenever you need to lift it to fill the gas tank.

- I hear that she’s rated for 153 mpg if you average 25 mph! (and who does?)

- I believe she tops out at 50 mph. Requires further testing. Tested see update.

- You can stiffen the rear suspension for riding two-up with
the flip of a switch… well, two switches.

- Riding characteristics are more akin to riding a mountain
bike than riding a scooter. Scooterists may need a little
time to get used to it.

- Front brake is in your right hand and rear brake under your
right foot.

- LED brake lights rock.

If you want to get your hands on a Symba in person then you should hit the SYM booth at the Indi Dealer Expo next month. That’s all I got right now, but it’s exciting! Tell your local scooter dealer to order one for you. They should be shipping in 3 months from what I hear.

PS> You can see some more photos of her cousin the Wo Wow right here.

I know it’s WAAAY over capacity, but a friend and I buzzed around the neighborhood with me riding cupcake… that’s over 400 lbs of hilarity rollin’ on this poor contraption. He says he wants one so he can put some straight bars on her, swap out the head for a 110cc and slap on a new pipe and bigger carb. I like where he’s going with that. He thinks you could find a disc to fit on the front too. With those sorts of upgrades, he’ll need it… especially if we start a Cupcake Racing League. ;P

Don’t tell anyone, but I got her up to 100 km/h which is just over 62 mph… and I think there was some more in there. I’m not sure of the accuracy of the speedo. I’ll have to shake it out tomorrow with my GPS. I still need to work the kinks out of my downshifting though.

***UPDATE 1/22/09***

Ok, my speeds were off a bit. The max I could reach today was 57 mph according to my GPS. You can see she was most comfortable running right around 45-50 mph. Seemed like she could do that all day. I’m getting better at the down shift. I find it’s best to let her rev nearly all the way down before down shifting to prevent doing the clutch jerk. Now, I wonder what she’ll do with some slight modifications. I’ll have to wait until I get one of my own to find out.
Some notes: The scooter only has 100 km on the odometer. It was carrying me (200 lbs). It was being ridden on a road that has some gradual hills.

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20 Responses to “Teaser shot – The 2009 SYMBA”

  1. Kat Says:

    Awwwww, it’s so teensie weensie.
    I want!


  2. Tom Cruz Says:

    I can’t wait! Please keep the updates coming.


  3. Steve Says:

    Hey Kat! Yes, quite adorable.

    Tom Cruz! :) Will do. I wish I had the accessories with me so I could show them off… We’ll have to wait for that report.


  4. Nate Dahl Says:

    Steve – wow, you’re not the Scooter Scoop for nothin’ – talk about a scoop! Thanks, and please take more pics and post more of your riding impressions! Nate at http://www.teamsymba.com


  5. Larry Says:

    Yeah, I wondered about the width of that lower legshield…will it keep puddle-splash from the front tire off my feet?

    OK, it indicates 62 mph tops. Now if we allow 10% for an optimistic speedo, and if we assume (?) that most engines can sustain 80% of WOT for prolonged periods without undue wear and tear, wouldn’t that give us in the neighborhood of 40 mph for an “all-day” cruise speed?

    If so, that’s my idea of a near-perfect weekday commuter and weekend stress reliever.


  6. Steve Says:

    Hey Larry! Yeah, I’d say the leg shields are a bit narrow. I can hide my legs behind them if I tuck my knees in… then, things get… a little cramped. I’m not sure if there are plans for an extended legshield.

    I’ll double check that top speed, hopefully today as well as the speedo accuracy.

    Thanks for the calculations!


  7. Momar Says:

    Just pretend it’s a motorcycle. Then you won’t worry about the narrow legsheild. ;-)


  8. Anonymous Says:

    Symba should rock!!!…….only Carter Bros could screw it up by being greedy and over-pricing it. At 1999.00 they will sell like hot cakes but I suspect they will be 2500.00+ and will be so-so. SYM’s biggest marketing problem in the USA is their inflated retail pricing.Carter Bros should take note of Kymcos aggressive pricing to see how to merchanise a product….


  9. Faraday Says:

    kymcos are so low because half of them they make in China.

    if we want lower prices, we need a stronger U.S. dollar.

    also take a look at the genuine rattler 110cc is $ 2,700 and the 50 cc is $ 2,000. I hope that price fall somewhere in between there.


  10. Steve Says:

    Nate! I’m jealous about your trip to Taiwan. Sounds fun!

    Momar! Yeah, I guess something is cooler than nothing, eh?

    Hey Faraday!
    I don’t know about “half being made in China”. I know the Agility and Super 8 are… but truthfully most of the reputable brands have at least 1 scooter from China. They need some items to fit a certain price point even if they don’t fall in line with the quality of the remainder of the line up.

    I agree that the week dollar isn’t doing us any favors. That’s one of the main reasons most Taiwanese brands are cheaper in other countries. Would I like them to sell here for $1999 like Anon said? Hells YES!

    Though I have to agree with Faraday… you’re not going to get a solid 100cc scooter for $2000. I’ve seen a Chinese cub clone in the $1999 range, but that’s it.

    Here’s a couple more figures to put it in perspective:
    -Honda Elite 80 $2349
    -Kymco People 50 $2449
    -Kymco People S 125 $2999
    -Genuine Buddy 125 $2599
    -Vespa LX 50 $3199
    -Piaggio Fly 150 $2899
    -Yamaha Vino 125 $2549
    (I just happened to have my 2007 Buyer’s guide next to me)


  11. Eric Says:

    Steve, Have you heard anything about a Honda Super Sub 50th Anniversary Edition coming to the US? There’s a quote from some email making the rounds on Honda forums that says we’re getting a 4T injected 125cc version. This is posted in a number of places as well as lengthy blurbs on other forthcoming Hondas. Read like a “leaked” email to dealers or some such.
    50th Anniversary Special Super Cub 125i: based on the Wave 125i step-thru, this special North American model will have a larger 2.0 gallon fuel tank. Major specs include a fuel injected 125cc version of Honda’s famous horizontal single cylinder engine and a foot shift four speed transmission with automatic clutch. It’s time for the nicest people to rediscover the fun of riding a Honda! MSRP $1599USD


  12. Steve Says:

    Hey Eric! Thanks for that info. I read the message on ADVrider and to tell you the truth, it looks more like a dream sheet I would have constructed. Something completely unrealistic, but nice to think about.

    Even the prices are dream prices.

    Honda has made their 2009 US announcements and none of them include a Cub, a CG, a CBR smaller than 600, a Twister,Shadow 700 Automatic, no Transalp or Griffon or Hawk. The Varadero is coming to Canada but not the USA and there is no Valkyrie.

    They didn’t even mention the Fury or Gold Wing or DN-01.

    So that leak is just somebody’s daydream, sorry to say. :(

    I think the CRF 450 has been announced it it was a CRF450R not L. Oh well.


  13. Anonymous Says:

    I work at a Scooter retailer and we sell SYM, unfortunately the owners aren’t too keen about the new Symba. Their biggest complaint is the drum brakes and the 1970′s LED infested speedometer, and that it will need to sell for over $2500. We also sell Genuine Buddy 125s and the Pampalonas, and with their price points the Genuines will win out.

    I myself would love to see the Symba make a good showing here in the US. I own a Honda ’63 C102 Super Cub, with the oringinal 50cc OHV engine. It’s a bit more of a novelty than practical transport because the old engine, although dead reliable, is rather power limited.

    Another observation is that I’ve installed a Lifan 100cc engine in an old Yamaha trail bike frame, that’s my commute bike and your observations on what a 100cc, four speed engine will do with a narrow tired, sub 200 pound bike is pretty much on the money. My bike is geared somewhat lower than the Symba and 52mph is about as fast as I want to push it. But it will cruise at 40 to 45 all day.

    The other thing I wanted to mention is that the SYM is going to be testing the limits of the drum brakes with the speed it’s capable of. The brakes on the Symba are not much changed from the old Honda Super Cub , and while their more than adequate for the vintage 50 with it’s top speed of 40 mph, I think 60 mph is going to find them fading quickly when needed.


  14. Anonymous Says:

    WOW!!…if Honda brings the 1599.00 Cub to the USA it will suck all of the wind out of the Symba…I also agree that the drum brakes are inferior…Now as far as the building cost of the Symba it has to be the ‘cheapest’ to assemble. After 60 million units what is left to develop? Plastics, frames, wiring,wheels,controls…blah-blah ..has not changed in 40+ years.There is no excuse this bike cannot be marketed for 1699.99 to 1999.00


  15. Steve Says:

    I’m curious if anyone know the MSRP of the Wo-Wow in Taiwan?

    I looked on their site and couldn’t find anything.


  16. km Says:

    What do you guys think about the braking? Is it a problem that it only has drum brakes, or is the stopping power okay?


  17. Anonymous Says:

    I just bought 2 Symbas. They are really nice. I used to have a C70 and I must say the Symba is an improvement—suspension being the highlight. The Symba will be best suited for around the city and small towns. All day cruise of 40-45 isn’t a problem. I wouldn’t recommend posted speeds of 55+. I imagine a few mods would make 55 mph(true)attainable. The slightest headwind really affects 4th gear—almost freezing the speedo due to lack of power. Calm wind allows 50+ mph. Suggested improvements: brighter headlight (like the Fiddle), slightly wider knee guards (maybe 2 inches each side), and finally, the two seat configuration would be better if the rider’s seat were moved back 2 inches—the luggage bar hits the small of your back in stock configuration. A bench seat should be your first upgrade, thus allowing the rider to scoot back a little for more comfort. Overall, I’m very pleased with the Symba—-cub fans rejoice!


  18. Al Says:

    I have two Honda c70 that are fine for riding here in florida ( no hills)but are not good for riding in Connecticut where there are hills. Do you think the Symba with100cc will be able to maintain a good speed on the hill in Ct.?


  19. ScooterScoop Says:

    Well Al, you know how they say "Slow and steady wins the race"? It'll make it, and you won't have to worry about popping any wheelies or anything.

    Maybe your local shop will let you give it a shot on the hill?


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