Is Taiwan a U.S. Protectorate?

I’ve decided to skip DealerExpo this year, but it’s almost worth going to ask Carter Bros. about their “Made in the U.S.A.” SYM scooters. (Or so reads their ad in the current Dealernews).

Again, I really like most of SYM’s lineup of scooters, I’ve had the opportunity to test-ride the Symba, the CityCom300i and the Wolf motorcycle (boldly renamed the “Classic 150” for the U.S.) and I loved all three of them and wouldn’t hesitate a second in recommending them all. But I can tell you with all certainty that none of them are “Made in the U.S.A.”

Carter’s website is more honest, reading “Carter karts, buggies, side by sides and minibikes are proudly MADE IN THE USA!,” though I’d argue potential dealers could easily misconstrue “Minibikes” as including the SYM lineup.

’Tween Wolf

Phil Waters from POC Scooters had the chance to take a road trip on SYM’s Wolf 150, here’s his report:


Ever since we first spotted the SYM Wolf 150 at DealerExpo in Indianapolis in February, we’ve been pretty well enamored with it. Some of us readily admit that our love of scooters goes hand in hand with our love of motorbikes so seeing the resurgence of the small displacement motorcycle is pretty important to us.
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SYM vs. Lance

This whole thing might have worked out if Lance hadn't NOT EVEN BOTHERED TO TAKE THEIR OWN PHOTO of the damn thing.
Last week, Carter Brothers, SYM’s US importer accused Lance Powersports of buying SYM’s Fiddle II scooters from SYM’s Chinese supplier via a third party with the intention of selling them in the USA as the “Vienna” 50 and 125. (Are there any European-sounding “V” words left to name a scooter? Yes! But that’s another story!) Of course SYM demanded they not sell the scooters here and… well… let’s try something new. Instead of posting snarky commentary in which 2sb takes sides and gets in trouble and has to apologize profusely for being right, let’s just post their dueling press releases, which are far more entertaining than anything we could come up with, anyway. Enjoy:
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Test ride: SYM Citycom 300i

SYM USA lent 2strokebuzz the new Citycom 300i for a few days. Ron Brockman and I rode it for a couple days each, mostly on urban interstates and city streets.

I’ve always felt that the sweet spot for scooters is in the 125-200cc range. 50cc bikes have always seemed like a letdown, and Barcaloungers like the Honda Helix (at a whopping 250cc) and its descendants (pushing towards 1000cc these days) were just not interesting to me. Obviously, different people have different tastes and needs, and it’s great to see such a wide range of scooters available these days, but to get around the city and the occasional longer ride, 150 cubic centimeters was always sufficient for me.
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Symba: First ride impressions

Earlier today, 2SB met up for a chat with our local SYM rep Ken Rudoy, and ended up leaving with a SYM CityCom300i and a NEXX X30 Viper modular helmet to try out for a few days. More to come in that department. The visit also included a quick spin on the much-heralded Symba, in fact the very same preproduction example from the DealerExpo floor. If you’re like me, your first scooter was a rickety deathtrap with a convoluted manual transmission and way too much power for its own good. If you’re like me, you’ve since settled into a comfy automatic with push-to-cancel beeping turn signals and other modern conveniences (like brakes! and traction!), and forgotten all about springs in your butt and stalling and wheelies and the awesome, wonderful terror of your first ride. If you want to relive that magic, get thee to a SYM dealer, pronto. The Symba is a beautiful, well-made bike, but nothing (aside from maybe a vintage Honda Cub) will prepare you for clutchless foot-shift 4-speed. We’re hearing most dealers aren’t offering test rides, and now we know why. It’s a 101cc, but it just about shot out from under me a few times, and I didn’t dare test the upper gears. I’ll give it another try once I regain my composure, and write a more in-depth review, but for now, suffice to say that the Symba felt like (with apologies to Smog) a wild horse on a collision course with the sun, and we dug that feeling.

Symba, unleashed

Orin test rides the first Taiwanese scooter to be given a (misspelled) Swahili name. It’s a good overview, from a scooterists’ perspective. It appears the first shipment has spread around to dealers nationwide. SYM must have a new midwest sales rep who doesn’t know me, because he’s been in touch, hopefully we’ll have 2SB Symba and CityCom 300i reviews soon. If you think you’re going to need more Symba news than 2strokebuzz can provide, be sure to check out Team Symba.

SYMpathy for the scooter industry

supermanI recently learned from a third party that my friend and colleague Steve Guzmán of The Scooter Scoop was let go by SYM distributor Carter Brothers shortly after DealerExpo. When I asked Steve about it, he was modest and polite as usual, and I don’t pretend to know what happened behind the scenes, but it’s a real disappointment.
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Haynes’ “Chinese scooter” book

Scooter-Station notes that Haynes has released one of their famous service manuals targeted to Chinese/Taiwanese/Korean scooters. Probably handy, but it can’t be too specific, even though half the scooters made in Asia are Yamaha Vino knockoffs, there’s a lot of variety there, too, and surely a wide variety of tolerances and torques and such, which is where the Haynes manuals usually shine. Still, knowledge is power, and even if it just covers GY6-style engines in depth, it’d be useful.

Dealer Expo 2009, Part II: The Bikes


In Part I of our Dealer Expo coverage, we mentioned there really wasn’t much new to see at DealerExpo, and fewer importers and distributors than usual. In Part II (you are here), we’ll look at a few of the more popular distributors, and a few newer importers looking to make a a bigger impact.
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Dealer Expo 2009, Part I: Overview


Every February, powersports dealers from around the nation descend on grey, shivery, boring Indianapolis to see what’s new in the industry. It’s a chance for manufacturers, importers, and distributors to wine and dine their dealers and hopefully round up some orders for the upcoming riding season. This was our third year at DealerExpo, though it was our first with actual 2strokebuzz press passes. Continue reading “Dealer Expo 2009, Part I: Overview”