2008 SYM RV 250 Review

More bells and whistles than a fleet of fire engines

story by Steve Guzman, Photograph by Steve Guzman, Created Sep. 10, 2008
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Hey, guess what!  We just finished the break-in on a new SYM RV 250 today.

To that I imagine your puzzled response may be, “What the heck is a SYM?”

Well, it’s actually “SYM”, pronounced ess-why-em.  Not ringing a bell? SYM is actually one of the largest motor vehicle production companies in Taiwan. For over half a century they’ve built cars and motorbikes for Honda. Currently they produce cars for Hyundai and ATVs for Bombardier. They also make their own ATVs, motorcycles, scooters, cubs and produce engines for a variety of applications including locomotion for Go Karts built by American company Carter Brothers. If you aren’t familiar with them yet not to worry, you will be soon.

20 LEDs for the tail light.

In the two short years since they arrived on US soil, SYM’s distributor, Carter Brothers, has been doing what they can spread the gospel and unwittingly I’ve been playing the part of the choir as soon as I tested their HD 200 back in October of 2006. It was my first encounter with an SYM product and the solid feel, great handling and peppy engine made quite a first impression. Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who is not easily impressed. When you see a SYM scooter in person, you might ask if it’s Japanese. This is top-tier fit and finish we’re talking about here.

Besides the formidable construction, another quality I appreciate about SYM is that they are unique. All but one of their 2009 models are SYM exclusive to their brand. When you have different manufacturers sharing frames and body panels it’s harder to separate yourself from the pack but when you see an SYM scooter you know it’s an SYM.

The reason they are unique is because they have their own in-house design and R&D facilities. These guys do their homework before getting to work on designing something. Their engines are among the best in the world! SYM has taken the same technology used to produce heat resistant ceramic tiles on space shuttles to produce a revolutionary coated cylinder that eliminates carbon deposits, last longer and alleviates combustion shock. This results in smooth uphill performance without speed loss.

'This is top-tier fit and finish we’re talking about here.'

The RV 250’s engine also includes a one-piece cylinder head that makes for higher rigidity and quicker cooling than a traditional cylinder head. I could go on, but let me just sum it up by telling you that the 250.6 cc, 4 stroke, 4 valve, liquid cooled engine produces 23.4 hp and could propel you and your passenger down the highway at a solid 80 mph. I did experience problems around my neighborhood where speed limits are 25 – 35 mph though. I think my RS 250 was just bored, because no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get it to stay below 45 mph. In and around 65mph is where this bike really feels at home so who am I to argue?

The RV 250 has a 3.1 gallon fuel tank, so assuming you average about 70 mpg, you can expect about 217 miles out of a tank of premium. At 384 lbs, it is about 60 lbs heavier than your average 250cc scooter but 24 lbs lighter than the Yamaha Morphous and the Kymco Xciting 250. The added heft and 13-inch tires combine with her amazing sense of balance to make for a very confident highway cruiser. It may not be a big 400 or 650cc scoot, but I’m sure it wouldn’t do a terrible job of taking you cross-country.

I do have a handful of gripes but I would say they are personal preferences. I’m 6’2” tall and would like to have more adjustments available to accommodate a rider of my stature. The backrest is adjustable, but it only goes forward, not back. The grips were a bit skinny for my hands, but simply buying a thicker set to replace the stock grips would be a simple and easy solution. From my seated position I wasn’t really able to use my mirrors to see behind me and the hump between my feet was a bit wide for my taste. There is some flexibility with regard to foot position - anywhere from an upright, barstool sort of position to a laid back foot-forward position. The seat was comfortable and looked like its shape would accommodate a variety of posteriors big or small.

SYM has yet to prove themselves to the American market, but it shouldn’t be much of a challenge. They’ve been doing it in much bigger numbers for the rest of the world already, with a production count of over 10 million scooters sold to date. Once you see the RV 250 in person with her Mercedes DuPont Diamond paint, Phillips HID headlights you’ll begin to understand. Once you’ve settled into the saddle and sampled all the bells and whistles you’ll start to get it. The longer and faster you ride, the more clear it will become - the SYM RV 250 is one SERIOUS scooter!

Elegant guages show MPH/Km/H, Tachometer, Fuel, Engine temp, time and odometer. You can also see the battery light. There is also a “side stand down” light and an “under seat storage is open” light.

Bike Personality Profile - If this machine could have its own personality, summed up in one or two words, what would it be?
The SYM RV 250 is an overachieving machine.

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