Back in February (2015), my scooter broke. It was cheap (£250) second–hand, Chinese model and from ebay and lasted me about 3 months. I guess you get what you pay for. Which is why, I was a filled with a little trepidation when I decided to shell out £1500 for the SYM XS-125K , a Taiwanese imitation of the old style Yamaha YBR 125.

Three things were the main factors in my decision here:

  1. My long term plan had been to save up for a KTM Duke with a view to buying towards the end of 2015. Unfortunatly I didn't have the the £4,000 available in March
  2. The SYM comes with a free, 3 year warranty for repairs (and free first service too)
  3. It's £1500 on the road (tax and reg fees included) for what is more or less a YBR

Impressions from the first (abridged) month

I'd only had the bike (she's called Bertha by the way) a week, and ridden her three times, when I broke my leg. Unrelated (it happened playing football). However, as of the end of May, I was back on board and riding into work and the gym

SYM Dashboard from drivers view
View from the dashboard. Image motorcyclespecs.co.za

The good

  1. The range: SYM say it does around 78mpg, and while I don't think I'm getting that, it's somewhat close. The tank costs under £10 to fill from practially empty, and that will last for… well, franlkly I don't know, as it's not run out yet. If I had to guess, I'd say around between 180-220 miles
  2. The gear indicator is a nice touch, and does come in handy quite a bit. I also like the passing light control, although I never really need to use it
  3. With a lighter fuel load, it's pretty nippy over the first few hundred meters if you get your gearing right
  4. Even with a full fuel load, it's not overly heavy
  5. It looks great. I love the YBR "inspired" styling
  6. I enjoy riding it

The not so good

  1. Idling from cold can be a bit of a problem, even using the choke. I actually park near someone who owns a YBR at work, and the difference between their start from cold and mine is quite apparent. I mean, it's fine once it's going, it just takes a little longer to get it 'ride ready'
  2. Somewhat related to the above, but sometimes, on colder days, if you've got a few stop-starts on your journey, you really need to keep the revs up, or occasionally you might get caught out
  3. It's pretty easy to kick into neutral when gear shifting. Conversly, its quite hard to kick into neutral when you mean to. This however, might just been my greeness to riding.
  4. Manual choke isn't great, but I've no comparisson to an auto, so it might well be better. Not sure
  5. Speedo and clock in Kilometers (miles are displayed, but very hard to see)

Overall review

As of right now, if you were to ask me if I'd recommend this bike, I'd say yes, if you need a cheap motorbike, that's comparable with lower-end models from the Japanese manufacturers. It's probably not going to be the best bike you'll ever own, but for under £2,000 with a 3 year warranty, it does the job just fine.

I fully plan to write another review in a few more months time, but as of right now, I'm pretty happy with the SYM.