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Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Dabears, Apr 7, 2012.
have you read this review?
I worked for a SYM dealer briefly and although I did not ride the bike I did gather some opinion of the bike and SYM.
The bike feels like a quality build. Suspension and braking action feels good just from pushing the bike around. Seating position seems good for bigger riders and has good floorboard space that is flat.
Maintenance is a bit on the high side in my opinion. I think it was every 1,000 miles you were changing the oil or adjusting the valves. Also, the parts prices for genuine SYM replacement parts is very high. An accident could equal a total loss through insurance very quickly. Maintenance parts, still costly. Parts that are not available can often leave you down for weeks waiting for them to arrive.
The knowledge gained above is what steered me away and looking into other options.
I wanted to buy a Sym HD200 a year and a half ago, or so. I road two and was favorably impressed. Couldn't buy one however because of the distribution debacle. I still have little confidence in parts availability, and of course the aftermarket is pretty well non-existent.
I don't think Sym is ready for prime time, in the US anyway.
I wound up getting a Vespa GTS 300 last summer and I couldn't be happier. A very refined, powerful, good handling, low maintenance scooter with great dealer support, parts availability, and the best aftermarket (by far) of any scooter.
I wouldn't bother with a small frame Vespa (150cc) based on what your intended use is. The large frame (200-300cc) Vespas are the way to go I think. If the cost of new is outside your budget there are usually low mileage 250s from time to time. The 200s are carbureted BTW.
My 300 gets 70mpg and has great power and brakes and for two up duty is far superior to smaller scoots.
I had a good long test ride on a HD200 (the rear drum brake version) and thought it was a very good scooter, but had an oportunity to buy my Scarabeo instead, but if not I would have bought the Sym. Nice quality scoot.
However, for your intended use, I would strongly consider the Vespa GTS 300 as it has real nice tie down points. Strapping a scooter down securely is very difficult, but with the Vespa tie down points on the frame it looks easy-peasy.
if you're really traveling, thien I would suggest an FI model
I don't know about your distribution situation but the scooter is rock solid. I've had mine from new for just under three years now and with over 18,000kms on the clock I couldn't fault it. Not as much as a broken light bulb and it might not have EFI but I don't care because it still starts the first time, every time. I admit it is not the most exciting looking scooter on the market, but its beauty is more than skin-deep. The only thing I don't like is its small(ish) storage space.
I had an '06 HD200 for a while, which I bought in '08 as a leftover. They are a rock-solid scooter. Amazing get-up-and-go for a 175cc machine. The bike will do 70+ on top with a large fellow aboard, while returning 70 mpg. I had no maintenance issues at all. The oil change interval is short, but the whole procedure takes less than ten minutes to do, and can be easily accomplished roadside. The fit and finish equals anything out there, and is significantly better than many more expensive machines.
I've had the opportunity to see several other SYM models, and was never less than favorably impressed.
I also own an Aprilia Scarabeo 500ie. There are FAR more headaches involved with the Piaggio/Vespa/Aprilia stuff. (They are all Piaggio bikes in the end.)
If it was me, I'd probably go with the Sym HD200 but here's a couple of more options: Riders Hill / European Motorsports in Dahlonega has really great prices on their Aprilia Scooters. They have the Scarabeo 200 which might fit your needs as well as the Sport City 250 which they are selling for around $3200. I believe the Sport City is the lightest of all the 250cc scooters and it works well 2 up. The Scarabeo 200 also looks like a nice scooter and will probably also cost you less than the Sym HD200. The disadvantage is that Aprilia dealers are few and far between. As for getting parts, the few parts I have needed have either been in stock or came in within a few days.
Here's a couple of ride reports I've done on my Sport City 250:
and a review of the Sport City:
Here's a post from February 2012 regarding parts availability from Alliance (specifically for the RV250, which Alliance doesn't import (yet!))...
It seems like they're getting their sh*t together; They had to start small due to limited capital, but they seem to be making the right moves.
I almost bought a new HD200 Evo, but ended up buying a leftover '09 SYM Citycom instead (out the door was $300 cheaper on the leftover Citycom). Also, I don't think you will need parts aside from an air filter or a belt for a good number of years, at least.
The Sport City is a fine scoot as well. I didn't care for the Scarabeo 200 that I test rode earlier this year (it was an '09 and the engine sounded awful on it, but it might have been that particular scoot).
I think you'd be fine with any of those bikes - seems like a nice dilemma to have :)
It's one of those bikes I truly regret selling. I stupidly got the yen for MORE POWER, mostly because I used the bike to shuttle my son around on. In the final view, more power really wasn't necessary. We did just fine on the SYM.
The SYM ergs are great. My only criticism was a slightly too-soft seat, but I could have remedied that at the local upholsterer's for about $40. My longest day on the SYM approached 400 miles. Yes, they are that well thought-out and comfy. I put a GIVI windscreen on the beast, and could have happily and cheaply ridden it to California.
I threw down rather long money on the Scarabeo 500ie. I had a very bad experience with the local Aprilia dealer. The fuel pickup tubing collapsed (they all do that, Sir.) He had the bike from November to April and did absolutely nothing to it. Finally, I showed up with the recall notice, and told him to fix the damn thing. He hadn't touched it in all that time, and I didn't have the use of it.
Compared to the SYM, the Aprilia is very complicated to work on. To say the Aprilia fasteners are irrational is being kind. I've had more problems with the fasteners corroding on the Aprilia than I had on the SYM, although both bikes were stored in my dry garage. I found SYM parts to be relatively cheap. Not so for the Aprilia.
I know a dealer that has several SYM leftovers that he will be selling for a significant discount. If I had the cash and the need, I'd pop down and buy one tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm still carrying a note on the Italian Job.
My experience with Aprilia has been much better than canumam. Riders Hill is THE BEST motorcycle/scooter dealer I have dealt with and having lived in 10 states I have dealt with a lot of dealers. However, Marietta Vespa seems like a good dealer too and they are much closer.
As much as I like my Sport City, for what you want I would go with the Sym. I have not read anything bad about the HD200 except for of course the Carter Bros fiasco. As for frequent maintenance intervals, how many miles will you be putting on it? I ride my Kymco almost every day and have only put 6,000 miles on it in 16 months. It also has very frequent maint. intervals (1200 mi oil change, 2500 valve adj. ) but they have been very simple to do and haven't come all that frequently since it takes a while to accumulate a lot of miles when you only take short rides.
Them HD 200s are good little bikes for everything but long distance freeway cruising of course. They'll do 70+ MPH actual [GPS/Radar], have good power, watercooling is always ideal. It returns good MPG, probably around 70 +/- MPG.
I don't know about parts availibility. Obviously not gonna be as much as a Honda here in America. But, I'm sure you can get the basics easily and from a dealer.
Its adequet, but if you cruise high speeds a lot maybe a bit bigger. But overall it ain't a bad bike and I here lots of good reviews on em.
Canuman WTF? They keep your bike for 5 MONTHS? And still don't do shit? I'd be so pissed. I'm actually want a Scarbeo 500 sometime in the future. Seems like a good balance of power and not quite to big. It'll be between a Scarbeo 500 and a Burgman 650/Silverwing 600. It be a while, I'm getting a H-D first but then sometime I'd like a big scoot.
Can I ask how much the 2009 leftover Citycom was ? How do you like it ? It seems they can be found with less than 5000 miles for under $3000.
That was the fourth time I had the Aprilia in over several months, and the dealer is over 100 miles away. The first time the problem surfaced, I told them to check the pickup tube, and was told "they couldn't replicate the problem."
The second time also. This was serious, as I'd nearly been rammed at a stop when the scooter stalled.
Third time, they said "they'd look at the security system, they thought it was something there."
When I finally received the recall notice, I asked if they'd ever looked at the fuel pickup, as I'd insisted they do in the first place.
The owner of the place said, "No, we didn't think that was the problem." I like Aprilias, but the bad taste will take a long time to leave.
The Aprilia has a lovely motor, great suspension, and goes like a scalded cat. With proper dealer support, it is a fine machine. I just can't rely on the latter.
However, if I were to buy another scooter, my money would be on SYM. I bought mine from a dealer that was going out. I put about 7500 miles on it between April and August. I changed the oil and put gas into it, and a new air filter. The second owner flogged it with no mercy -- often doubling the suggested oil change intervals. His commute was nearly 100 miles a day, on interstates, with the throttle pegged. He clocked 10,000 miles on the beast in four months.
He replaced some tires. Two valve checks showed them well within specs in that time. He replaced another air filter and a drive belt. I last rode the bike about two years ago, when it was nearing 20,000 miles of fairly sporty use. There was no loss of power. (Hey, 17 big ponies are after all 17 big ponies.) Through my experience with the bike -- and I did the oil changes for the second owner -- it never burned more than a tablespoon.
My suggestion: get the SYM. They may not be the most sexy, but they do the job in a workmanlike fashion. Get the seat re-worked with some firmer foam. When the stock Duro tires wear out, throw something stickier on. Buy a windscreen.
You'll tell your grandchildren about it. These are quality bikes.
My Citycom was $3495 out the door (plus another $50 to deliver 95 miles away) - this was a leftover from a boat dealer who sold scooters a few years back, but doesn't anymore - had 2 scoots left and was desperate to unload them. There are 3 SYM dealers within an hour of my house - the best deal on the new HD was a few hundred more. I figured the Citycom would work better if I ever jump on the interstate, plus it would have higher resale value.
The bike itself is pretty amazing - it's big (maybe 370 pounds, w/gas), but it has about the same get up and go as the HD200, with a slightly higher top end (82 mph indicated is as fast as I've gone). For a bigger bike (compared to my Buddy 150, for example), it's still quite nimble - all that weight doesn't seem to matter while you're moving. It feels right at home in curves (seriously, carves up any curve). Speedo seems about 3-5% optimistic at any given speed, which is pretty good for a scooter.
I saw an '09 on craigslist here for $2,900 with only 3k miles, but it sold before I could get over to look at it. For the record, mine is NOT FOR SALE!
Wow, you don't go far at all!
Sounds like you don't need a big bike at all.
I think you'd be mighty fine on the 200. If you only do 2.5K a year. You could do 2.5K Interstate miles a year on it and be satisfied!
Canuman alright I gotcha! I thought they had it set there in the shop for 5 months. I was gonna say that'd be outragous! But still, that dealer sucks! I'd just say its the dealer.
I'm can't wait to be able to afford me a maxi scoot.
Sorry I can't answer that one as I let my mechanic to worry about all that detail :) Service intervals are a bit frequent at every 3,000km, in common with other SYM scooters... although I think I read somewhere SYM recently extended them across their whole range. It seems to me recommended service interval is really an almost completely arbitrary number and if you were doing your own work you could probably get away with less frequent services.
Then again if you don't ride much this might not be a major issue for you.
Them Service Intervals is usually just valves and oil changes I'd bet. Using a good quality synthetic oil, you can usually go even further than the recommended. Valves? Well I ain't touched em on my Elite 150 in 8K and they recommened a lot more frequent. No problems I's gonna check em now though.
But as ferrix meantioned if you says youse only fixin to ride 2,500 miles a year, sounds like 1 service a year is all!
The valves are easy to check and adjust. I think they say to check them every 3K miles. I use the oil meter and change the oil about every 1K miles, takes about 5 minutes.
After you check and set the valves, you can really tell by riding it if they need adjustment. Getting to the adjuster screws is really easy. The nuts for the adjusters are very small however and you need to find the right tool for them, I use mini pliers. Also, there are two on the underside of the head and for those I lie on the ground.
Mine has never used anything in 5500 miles, it's a great bike, because it always works. After working on it, you realize everything on the motor is such high quality, much better than my new cbr250. I ordered an extra drive belt and brake pads, and keep those on hand. I think you change the rear drive oil at 1K and 3K miles- very easy too.
I don't really like it as a highway bike, but it will cruise 60 mph all day, no problem. My average mpg was 75 US.