The running gag in our family when we go out to dinner, is my wife’s way of scanning the entire menu and then always ordering the chicken salad. As a journalist I get to sample the entire menu and not just the chicken salad. Diehard brand loyalists will never get to experience the delectable cuisine that exists just outside their brand’s showroom.
Take the SYM maxi scooter I had the privilege of riding this week for instance. Never heard of SYM? SYM is part of Sanyang Motors of Taiwan. For years, SYM helped Honda assemble their bikes for the Taiwanese market but when SYM started producing their own motorcycles, Honda withdrew. Fortunately the skill in production was maintained. SYM currently has a range of models to choose from, starting from 125cc all the way to the range topping 600cc MAXSYM. Imported and distributed by Kawasaki SA the dealer network stands at 44 according to their website.
Looking over the MAXSYM, the build quality is evident. The switchgear is high quality and the dash could have been lifted from an upmarket car. The Sanyang group also assembles Hyundai cars for the Taiwanese market, so this idea might not be so far fetched. The dry weight of the SYM is well over 200 kg, but all of it sits very low, so the weight it is not so evident once on the move. There are two small cubbyholes either side of the bike. These are not lockable. The lockable part sits in the middle of the dash, and that even contains a 12v lighter socket and a USB point. You can charge your phone on the go, and know that it safely locked away if you park somewhere.
With 600cc on tap you do scoot along rapidly and the brakes are reassuringly big. Up front you have dual ABS disc brakes that are almost as big as the tyre itself, and the rear brake is also a disc. Climbing on the SYM feels more like flopping down on your favourite armchair. The seat is very wide with an adjustable backrest. My wife went with me on a short ride, and she reported that the seat is extremely comfortable, albeit a bit high. Under the seat though is the SYM’s party trick. The storage compartment is huge. Big enough to swallow two full face helmets. I am convinced that the wife and I can pack our luggage for a weekend away in there. As it sits just above the engine, this area can get a bit warm though.
Overall I am very happy with the SYM. If I had to pick a garage of bikes, this might just make the list just because it is so effortless. You can just grab a fistful of throttle and be off. The maxi scooter is a bit of an anomaly, as the price bracket these sit in contains some very decent motorcycles. However, if practicality and ease of use is your criteria, the MAXSYM should be on your shortlist, if not right at the top.