Having just taken the SYM Classic for a test-ride, Jason, owner-operator of Scootaholic, thought I might like the SYM HD200EVO. He was right; I did like it! With more power, and larger motorbike-size wheels, this feels a bit more like a “normal” bike to ride. That was one reason why I didn’t choose it to test first; I wanted a scooter-type scooter, not something that tried to fit somewhere inbetween. But I suppose that is partly (though only partly) why I liked it when I did ride it. Firstly, if you haven’t read the article on the SYM Classic 125, then have a look at that; not only to see where this review is coming from in terms of testing a scooter, but there’s also some historical background on SYM as a company. The HD200EVO is a modern looking scooter, with modern engineering. The engine is fuel-injected and liquid-cooled. Wheels are motorcycle-type 16” which provide, as the brochure puts it, “Big wheel stability and handling” as well as “Cornering with absolute conviction”. What the brochure doesn’t explain is the name. It’s a name you’d expect to see on a Harley (“HD”? “EVO”?), and I have no idea what it refers to – apart from the “200” bit, of course. (It’d probably look impressive if you emailed a friend and told them you’d “just bought a HD200EVO”!). Anyway, enough of this frivolity, let’s get back to the little scoot. This is one of the made-in-Taiwan models (see the Classic 125 test for the significance of that) and so comes with an impressive 4-year warranty. I suppose it could be aimed at people who come from a background in “normal” motorcycles, so appreciate the extra performance over the smaller models, and also the characteristics of the larger wheels. People like me. I guess that’s why Jason suggested I ride it! So, lets see what I thought of it.
IN THE DRIVEWAY
The first thing I noticed was that it’s a bit bigger than the 125. The bars are wider too, and it’s a better fit for a lanky old bloke like me. The Classic feels a bit cramped, but this feels good. Like the Classic, the engine / transmission unit is mounted direct to the back wheel and pivots off the back of the frame. This, together with the large wheels, means there isn’t as much storage room under the seat as you might expect. There’s less space than the Classic, due to the larger wheels. Something that I think could potentially be a problem is the location of the cooling-system radiator. It’s mounted in the front section just above the headlight (you can see the air-slits in the photo), and there appear to be vents in the rear of this section which could allow air passing through the radiator to be directed onto the rider. It was a cold day when I rode it, and I didn’t feel any air – hot or otherwise – coming through there, but it was just a thought I had. Most (or many) scooters have the fuel-filler located under the seat, but on this one the filler is on the outside. Fuel capacity is 8 litres, which I imagine would take you a very long way. Stepping through and sitting down reveals a very comfortable seat. It seems to be turned up at the front a bit more than the Classic, which eliminates the slight “sloping-forwards” feel I had with the smaller bike. The curve up to the pillion section provides a bit of soft support for the base of the back, which also adds to the comfortable feel of the seat. Looking at the instruments you see a big speedo, (with the same inclusion of mph numbering as the Classic), flanked by a fuel gauge and a temperature gauge. There are the usual warning lights for blinkers, neutral and high-beam, located in the binnacle. A very useful addition is the clock, which sits up above the instruments. I don’t know if this is normal, but the side-stand was under constant spring-loading, meaning that it wouldn’t stay extended. You have to push it out with your foot and hold it there until it takes the weight of the machine. Of course as soon as you lift the scoot off the stand it flicks back up.
OUT ON THE ROAD
As I mentioned at the start, I rode this straight after riding the Classic 125, so I was already used to the different handling characteristics of the scooter. Except, with the afore-mentioned larger wheels, this was better. So I felt very confident with it right from the start. The larger wheels provide more gyroscopic effect, so there isn’t as much wobbling from scooter-newbies! Actually, it was good fun to ride around the suburban back-roads, punting it quickly through corners and into side-streets, then accelerating away. It almost felt sporty! Handling, again aided by the larger wheels, is actually quite good. Yes, it still feels like a scooter – as you sit there with your feet flat on the floor doing nothing – but it’s more positive and sure-footed than the smaller-wheeled machine. The brochure’s claim about “Cornering with absolute conviction” isn’t too far off the money actually. No, of course it’s not an R1 or Fireblade, (you don’t get that much conviction!) but, as I said, it can actually be good fun! The bigger wheels help with ride quality too. The suspension feels similar in operation to the Classic and does a pretty good job of smoothing out the bumps, but with the bigger wheels the bumps aren’t felt quite as much to begin with. So the suspension works better because it doesn’t have to compensate for the harder hit of the wheels. It actually rides pretty well; and there were enough typical suburban bumps and pot-holes where I took the little scoot to get a good indication of the ride. With an actual capacity of 171cc the “200” moniker is a bit of an over-statement. The engine gained fuel-injection for 2010, which helped give it a bit more poke, although with just over 11kW on tap, it isn’t the most powerful 200 (or “175?”) around. But it’s in the same sort of ball-park as other scoots of this capacity. In any case, it actually goes well! (There’s a lot more get-up-and-go than the 125, of course!). Crank the throttle open from standstill and there’s the usual CVT sluggishness as the centrifugal clutch engages and the whole thing begins to drive off. But once underway it feels relatively (I emphasise the term “relatively”!) sprightly! There’s sufficient power for blasting around town, and if you hold a decent twist of the throttle the big red needle is soon swinging up to 80kph. I only had a short ride, and it was all on suburban back-roads, but I did cruise it on 80kph for a short stretch and it was totally comfortable and relaxed at that. I got it to 90kph briefly, which it did with no problem. The brakes are disc front and back, and have the same “back-to-front” (from what you’re used to on a normal bike) characteristics as the smaller one I rode. The back brake is the one you use most and is the one that is most effective. The front has the sort of “not too good on my own but I’ll gladly chip in and help the one down the other end” feel that you get from the rear brake on a normal bike. The back brake alone will slow the bike down quite well, and used together with the front, the braking is pretty good. It provides all you need from the type of machine it is. As I said, I only had a fairly short ride around suburban streets, but I would’ve liked to take it further. I enjoyed my time on the little scoot! It was comfortable, it went well, and was fun to ride. If I had the spare cash to run a second bike for around town and short trips I would gladly put this in the shed; I really like it!
A scoot with a difference; that difference being the larger wheels. And that gives it levels of handling and ride that are closer to "normal" motorbike standards. Actually the ride is better than a lot of "normal" bikes. Comfort is a big feature - the seat and the ride. The performance is fine for the city and the suburbs; maybe not for freeways, but it'll handle 80kph roads with ease. The disadvantage of the larger wheels is that the rear one cuts into the under-seat storage space. So I suppose it's a question of carrying-capacity verses handling and ride. Quality is good, and backed up by a 4-year warranty.
Engine: cylinder, 171cc. Power: 11.2kW at 7,750rpm. Torque: 15.8Nm at 6,500rpm.
Fuel capacity: 8 litres.
Weight: 135kg (Dry).
Seat height: 800mm.
Wheels / Tyres: Front: 100 X 16, Rear: 120 X 16
Brakes: single disc front and back.
Price: $5,490 on-road.
No changes to this one. And I’d still have one parked in the shed if I could afford a second bike!
Now simply called the HD2, there are subtle tweaks to the styling, but that’s about it.
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