Review of the SYM HD-200 Scooter
May 2010 - SYM has lowered
the MSRP on the HD200 from $3,799 to
down to put this review together, something really hit home for me. I have
a GREAT gig here. Scooters are a lot of fun for me. I enjoy
shooting the breeze with other scooter-people and hearing about
scooter-related stuff. What could possibly be better than "discovering" new
scooter brands, meeting scooter-people and riding scooters?
Sanyang Industries is based in Taiwan and has been around since 1961.
They have over 2,400 employees and are marketed in the USA as SYM (SanYang
Motors???). I had been hearing good things about their scooters
and wanted to check a couple out. Here in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul
metropolitan area, we are VERY fortunate to have some
excellent scooter resources. We have Scooterville, an outstanding Genuine,
Kymco, Vespa & TGB dealer AND we have
Blue Cat Motors,
a great shop that provides service on all kinds of motorcycles and
scooters AND is the only SYM and Daelim dealer in the area. That's
right, TWO cool scooter shops. Ryan Scott (the owner, along with
his brother, of Blue Cat) was nice enough to facilitate this review.
Speedometer Reading, Speed & Fuel Economy
The speedometer on the SYM HD-200 reads about 7% optimistic (6.7% to
be exact) which should come as no surprise to anyone who has read any
of my other reviews. The speedometer indicates kilometers on the outer
ring and miles on the inner. This means when the speedometer indicates
60 miles-per-hour the actual speed is 56 miles-per-hour. This was a new
scooter, so I didn't push it really hard. No, seriously, I was being
pretty "nice" to this scooter. Come on, stop laughing. I don't want some
poor person to get a nice new scooter that I've beat into the ground
without even consideration for proper new engine break-in. As such, I
didn't really search for the top end of this scooter. Suffice to say that
I got a top indicated speed of 75 MPH (meaning 70 actual speed) and
there was more to go. My best guess is that after break-in, this scooter
is capable of an honest 75 MPH.
I put about 80 miles on the scooter and the fuel consumption was a bit
better than 70 miles-per-gallon.
Let's start with the "usual" comparison chart. To my eye, the SYM
HD-200 and the new Kymco People 'S' 200 are as close to direct competitors
as one is likely to find. I added the Genuine (PGO) Blur because
it's close in price and is also from a major Taiwanese manufacturer.
||Kymco People S 200
||100/80 - 16
||120/80 - 16
Both the SYM and the Kymco are outstanding general purpose scooters
with the Blur being more "sporty" in orientation. As far as a "winner" in
this particular comparison, there isn't one. I consider the SYM and the
Kymco to be so close to equal as makes no odds. If you are trying to
decide between these two scooters, get whichever one fits you best. The
Blur is a touch pricier and would likely appeal to a different buyer than
either the SYM or the Kymco.
The SYM HD-200 has a 171cc liquid-cooled four-stroke engine,
twist-and-go automatic CVT transmission, and carbureted fuel system. The
engine has some interesting features including a ceramic coated cylinder,
four-valves and a one-piece cylinder head. Suspension is fairly
conventional with telescopic forks up front and two shocks in the rear.
The front brake is a single disk and the rear brake is a drum (more
about braking under riding impressions).
Here comes my biggest complaint about the SYM HD-200 - the side stand
is spring loaded and will SNAP back at you if the weight of the scooter is
not holding it in the down position. My recommendation? Don't use it, use
the center stand.
The SYM HD-200 is a VERY nicely equipped scooter. The dash display
includes a small digital clock, turn signal and high beam indicator lights
and a speedometer that is biased toward kilometers with miles indicated on
the inside of the speedo ring. The fuel gauge was surprisingly accurate
giving a fairly realistic reflection of what was in the fuel tank at any
given time. There is also a temperature gauge (after all, this scooter
has a liquid-cooled engine). There is no "stock" windscreen, but I
have been told that a small one is available.
The ignition switch includes a steering lock and there is a fairly
robust looking fold-out luggage hook. The locking fuel cap is located on
the port side rear of the scooter as is the seat release. I like this
configuration. One of the areas I have experienced slight trouble on
other scooters is with multi-function ignition switches. You know the ones
I mean - in addition to "off" and "on" and "lock" positions, they control
the opening of the fuel cap and the release of the seat. It's not a big
deal and is usually a pretty easy fix, but I prefer to have the minimum
number of things to go wrong.
I found both the driver and passenger accommodations of the SYM HD 200
to be quite nice. The seat is comfortable - not too soft or too firm.
There are fold out passenger foot-pegs and a decent grab-rail/rear rack. The
rack looks like it would easily mount a trunk. The ergonomics of the HD
200 fit me perfectly. That's right, (barley) 5' 9" and 200 lbs.,
and everything seemed just right to me. The specifications say that the
seat height is 31 inches, but I think that's a little taller than actual.
I would say that the ergonomics of the HD-200 will likely work out for
people in the 5"4" to 6' 2" range. Shorter riders might be unhappy with
the seat height and taller riders might run out of leg room.
My wife Beverly (5' 6" and 110 lbs.) was very comfortable
driving the scooter and could easily touch, though not flat-footed. I
suspect the actual seat height is just a touch under 30 inches. Aside from
the fact that Bev looks MUCH better on this (or any) scooter than I
do, I wanted you to see that big smile on her face. Bev rode this scooter
and was very happy with the ergonomics and performance.
There is reasonable storage under the seat. My XXL (melon-head)
three-quarter helmet fit. I don't think a full face would fit other than
maybe a small one. I would strongly recommend adding a trunk to this
scooter. An easily removable Shad or GIVI would go a long way toward
making the HD-200 the perfect commuting scooter.
Given the location of the fuel fill cap, it's no surprise that the
battery is NOT located under the seat but is in a compartment under the
floor mat. There is maintenance access under the storage bucket. The seat
opens easily with the keyed release and, more importantly, closed and
Remember waaaaay back at the beginning of this review? How I babbled
about how much fun it is to review scooters? The key word here is "fun"
and that pretty much sums up my riding impressions of the SYM HD-200.
Acceleration is brisk right off the line and stays brisk through the
mid-range. Roll-on acceleration was especially nice in the 30 MPH to 60
MPH range. Handling is smooth, confidence-inspiring, and quicker than I
expected given the larger diameter wheels. Brakes are adequate.
It's probably a good place to mention that I have a Genuine Blur which
may very well have the best brakes in the scooter world. The brakes on the
SYM HD-200 are not "bad" by any means, but they are not stellar either.
The single front disk was adequate and easy to modulate, but could stand
to be a touch stronger. The rear drum was tougher to modulate. A rear disk
brake would be an improvement, but at this price point I didn't really
I found the SYM HD-200 to be an outstanding combination of
"around-town" nimble and a surprisingly good highway performer.
a good windscreen and a large rear trunk, this scooter would make a fine
one-person light touring rig.
Fit & Finish
If you've read some of my other reviews, you'll know that I'm a fan of
the Taiwanese scooters. Kymco, PGO & TGB produce scooters with excellent
build quality. We can add SYM to that list. The plastic panels fit
together beautifully, the paint work is top notch and the components
appear robust and are well-finished. Nearly as good if not equal to the
major Japanese manufacturers.
The SYM HD-200 serves to reinforce to me that there are light years of
difference between the poor or barely acceptable quality of some scooters
from mainland China and the outstanding quality coming out of Taiwan.
Though most any scooter looks "good" on the showroom floor, closer
inspection will often reveal a significant difference in quality. what a
few months, and the gap becomes obvious. SYM (like Kymco & PGO)
offers a two-year warranty on their products. They are obviously confident
in their quality and longevity.
It wasn't that many years ago that the only choices a scooterist had
was to keep a vintage scooter (usually Italian) running with little
or no factory support or to buy a new Honda or Yamaha. Then came the
deluge of low-quality Chinese imports. These days, Vespa is back in the
USA, Honda, Yamaha & Suzuki are making great scooters, AND we have some
wonderful machines from Taiwan! If you are looking for a great scooter for
around town and even some highway use and want to stay in the below-$4,000
category, take a good look at the SYM HD-200.
SYM has raised the MSRP on the HD 200 to $3,798.
A SYM Dealer Responds
Stephan from ScooterStation in Portland Oregon read our SYM review and
responded with some additional input. Keep in mind that Stephan is a SYM
dealer, but I have had several email discussions with him and he certainly
seems like a straight shooter. Stephan makes some good points about the
SYM HD200 and I think they are worth sharing. He also sent me the picture
above when I asked for one of him.... it's my guess that is NOT Stephan on
is his email:
hope that's you).... I read your SYM HD200 review and found it the
best review so far for a SYM scooter.There were a couple of things
which I thought you skipped.... and keep in mind that I am a SYM
dealer so I might be slightly biased)When you were saying that the
KYMCO People S200 and the SYM HD200 were too close of a call to
suggest either one, I felt that you missed a few pretty decisive
factors, since both of these scooters are typically chosen by
"commuter" type people and not so much the "cool scooter" crowd..
The KYMCO People S200 has only 11.4hp (according to their own
specs). Even the SYM HD125cc has a tenth of a percent more than the
KYMCO people S200. The SYM HD200 beats that with a whopping 4hp !!
The KYMCO People S200 still only comes with a force air cooled 2-valve
engine, despite the fact that the S-series is new this year (2007) and
the SYM's have been on the market since 2004 with their HD series.
KYMCO's top speed is given at 60.27 mp/h whereas the SYM HD200 is
given at 74mph (which you tested to be about accurate after running
the scooter in. This would also go along with my own experience...
:o) ) By the way: the SYM HD125 has a given top speed of 67mph ! In
my mind, given all the data the KYMCO people S200 should really be
compared to the SYM 125...
The SYM HD200 has a 60W halogen headlight. This is unique in it's
class... all the other brands only support 35W lights....
Did you take a closer look at the way the plastics are made ? i.e. the
front fender... there is a "feelable" difference from KYMCO to SYM.
The plastics are thicker and better enforced than is the case with the
any regard, I really enjoyed reading your review. Let me know what you
think about what I wrote in regards to your article.... feel free to
call me anytime...
up the great article reviews...
May 2010 - SYM has lowered
the MSRP on the HD200 from $3,799 to