There’s no overstating the importance of being understated
Story by Marcus Martellacci
Photos by Amanda Berk
Small bikes are a blast. They make me feel like a kid again, and that’s quite a feat these days. Perhaps it’s riding around at the peak of a machine’s ability without the fear of tickets or bodily harm, or in this case maybe it was riding a motorcycle that began production before I was born.
My rejuvenation, so to speak, arrived in the form of a 2014 SYM 150 Wolf Classic, kindly delivered to our offices by SYM’s Canadian distributor and Motorsports Canada Ltd. owner, Michael Wells. His words, and I quote, were “Keep it as long as you’d like.” So I did, and then I kept it a little longer.
What’s in a Name?
For those not familiar with the SYM Motorcycle brand name, it’s a division of Sanyang Industry Co. Ltd. of Taiwan. SYM began assembling motorcycles under licence from Honda in 1961 and, more significantly in our case, began assembling Honda’s CB125S overhead-cam single in 1969. When Honda terminated its contract with Sanyang in 2002, the assembly lines just kept on rolling. The bike we tested is essentially an updated 150 cc version of the original CB125S, sold under the SYM banner.
A Technological Tour de Force It Is Not
In regard to specs and components, let’s be frank, it’s not about high performance or cutting-edge technology. The Wolf Classic has less than 15 hp and weighs 120 kg, with a seat height of 760 mm; this motorcycle is as beginner-friendly and unintimidating as a bike could be. The power is adequate to keep you in the flow of traffic on all but super-slab surfaces, and fuel economy is a miserly 2.7 L/100 km – even with the throttle pinned from time to time. It’s still carbureted and fuelling is spot on, as were the clutch, shifter and gearbox. We could liken the design to a smooth stone you might find on the shoreline: 40 years of rolling down SYM’s assembly lines have rounded off any objectionable protrusions on this bike’s character, performance and appearance. Well, almost. Other than the occasional false neutral at high rpm, the bike we tested actually came with a pair of protrusions: small saddle bags that I was determined to remove. But there’s no argument with their functionality. As the SYM turned into a long-term fixture, so too did the effective little saddlebags.
Pin It to Win It
The riding experience on the Wolf Classic is where you can make a strong argument for purchasing this small, modestly propelled and priced motorbike. For the sum of $2,999 plus freight, prep and taxes, you get a reliable and handsome motorcycle that makes a good commuter in the city or…