Every now and then, despite having a bigger bike in their garage, many motorcyclists will seek an affordable, comfortable and fuel- efficient bike for their daily-commuter. Be it to the grocer nearby, to fetch their kid to kindergarten or school, or for them to get to and from work. It definitely is not easy to find a bike that meets those needs. How often do you come across one when times are hard – for some.
We had the chance to try out the new SYM Sport Rider 125i that was launched back in late August, a 4-stroke 125cc air-cooled, SOHC 2-valve underbone (widely known in Malaysia as kapchai). The 125i I tested here was one kapchai I’d never expected it to be, if I were to compare it to other makes.
So I picked up the bike, and first thing Chris told me was “This is great stuff.” If Chris says that, you ought to really trust his words, we fired up the bike and the first thing I noticed and at the same time Chris said, “The engine is really smooth.” He wasn’t joking. By smooth we also meant, as many would say, there isn’t anything like a sugarcane juicer machine noise coming from the bike (it’s a very common term used by certain motorcyclists out there when the engine makes funny mechanical noises.)
When I took off on the bike, apart from the quiet idling engine, the bike actually picks up speed easily and again, the engine is still smooth. I would say the engine sounded a little like a scooter engine, given that SYM makes excellent scoots like Chris’s beloved VTS200, it may not be a surprise if the 125i’s engine was based on their scooters. Although engine power is rated at about 9 horses, sounds very little right? But it’s a plentiful for town rides.
I took the bike for a week, filled up petrol to the fullest and used it for daily rides to and from work and for several other errands.
The best thing about the bike is that the seat is tall, spacious and super comfortable. For many of us, the typical ‘Asian sized’ ones, this bike will suit you as you will fit right in on the bike, no adjustments needed. Contrary to popular opinions, bikes newly out of factory normally have hard, uncomfy seats but not this one, I can assure you of that. The seat was wide enough for my size and for a passenger. To add on to that, ride comfort is truly excellent. For a daily bike you don’t really need suspensions that are too hard when going over bumpy roads, example Bandar Sunway’s brick roads, or potholes; the absorbers do an excellent job of reducing the impact in these situations to keep the ride comfortable. Keep that up SYM!
By the way, the SR 125i also comes with a kickstarter, in addition to an electric-start button.
The bike has an under-seat storage that could fit an open-face helmet without any hassle. Speaking of which, you can open the seat with the bike still running by pressing the eject button on the right side of the handle; that’s a plus right there. Pretty much like many scooters out there, I would describe this 125i as a ‘scoot-chai’. The basic tools are also located on-under the seat, tucked neatly.
Downside of the 125i, it tops out at about 110km/h and starts screaming for a fifth gear especially on the highway, and no this bike doesn’t have a 5th. In case you’re travelling between towns, say Klang to Petaling Jaya, you will just want to cruise at the sweet spot at 90km/h and not strain the engine further. Anything more than 90, when the RPM climbs past 8 or 9K, you will feel vibrations especially on the footrests, which is not comfortable when you get off the bike right after.
Overall, for town rides this would be a great bike, not to mention its attractive price at only RM 5,450.00 and RM 5,570.00 (excludes GST, insurance and roadtax). One more point worth highlighting again, it comes with 3-year or 30,000km warranty, whichever first.
Contributed to AF by Jeff Ng
Quite possibly one of the best ‘skuchai’ bikes out there for less than six grand! Super smooth and great on gas, easy to ride and comfy, it’s a really good commuter. There should be an engine cut-off when the side stand is down and 1st gear is engaged, and the welding job especially on the underside near the centre stand could be neater, but overall it’s a very decent cub for the asking price. Will it be more popular than the Honda EX5? Only time will tell… – CW.