Maybe it’s the Matte Black color that leaves me cold, but I find it hard to get excited about the new SYM Citycom 300i when it’s sitting in my driveway. Its appearance does nothing for me. An old advertising slogan coined for the VW Beetle way back in my youth keeps going through my head: “No style never goes out of style.” However, if I skip over my antipathy for the Citycom’s looks and throw a leg over the saddle – or should I say through the cockpit – the 300i turns from a wallflower into a remarkably competent city scoot.
Thumbing the starter button brings the 262cc Single to life. While the exhaust note isn’t exactly exciting, the engine purrs along pleasantly. The first time pulling away from a stop might surprise the rider with how precipitously the rpms initially drop, but the little mill chugs along easily leaving all but the most insistent traffic behind. Once up to speed, the engine is so smooth that I frequently found myself rolling along at 60 mph instead of my typical 45–50 mph city speed. (If I’d gotten a ticket on the Citycom, I don’t know if I’d be more pissed or embarrassed.) When the time comes to head onto the local interstate, the SYM pulls along and gets up to speed with much less fuss than I expected from an engine this small. However, if traffic conspires to make you roll off the throttle, thus losing momentum, it doesn’t seem as willing to take a second stab at hitting highway speeds.
On the superslab, the Citycom pulls easily to what feels like a speed-limited 85 mph. Unlike some of the other scooters I’ve ridden in the last week, the 300i feels like it has the power to go faster, but neither tucking in behind the windshield nor sticking more of my torso outside into the wind blast affected the speed. Where some scooters get squirrelly at highway speeds, the SYM’s 16 in. tires provide adequate stability at top speed. Yes, the response to steering inputs was energetic, but it never felt twitchy or head-shakey. This steering response was also appreciated around town when maneuvering around city traffic. Additionally, while the brakes don’t feature any rider aids like ABS or linked calipers, they got the job done with linear response to rider input. The front disc measures 220mm and the rear 260mm. Both are squeezed by two-piston calipers fit with braided steel lines.
The Citycom’s suspension performs a workmanlike job of handling both rippled pavement and bigger bumps. No, it can’t handle everything tossed at it, but it does a better job than the recently reviewed 2015 Honda Forza. The twin shocks offer four-stage ramped preload adjustments while the standard fork has none.
The 300i’s riding position is compact and comfortably upright for my 5-ft. 11-in. frame, though the second, elevated footrests on the front of the bike look like they’re made for folks under the 5-foot mark. The 31.5 in. seat height feels a little on the high side, given the compact riding position. The claimed 406 lb. weight is carried low, giving the 300i a balanced feel that shouldn’t be a problem for the short-inseam crowd. The windshield passes well below my line of sight, offering cooling wind flow to my helmet vents but otherwise protecting the rider from the elements.
Amenities include the de rigueur grocery bag hook and a locking front storage compartment with a 12-volt power port. The underseat storage is ample, though it struggled to fit my XL Shoei RF–1200 without some fiddling.
In the end, the $4,899 SYM Citycom 300i is a lovable mutt of a scooter that will wag its tail and give you its undying adoration for saving it from the animal shelter. Perhaps it was the Matte Black color that was unflattering in the eyes of our editors. We’d like to see it in one of its other colors: Matte White, Chili Red or Titanium Gray. Regardless of the color, the SYM Citycom 300i will handle the utilitarian duties it was designed to perform – all for a reasonable price.
|2015 SYM Citycom 300i Specs|
|Engine Type||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled Single|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic fork|
|Rear Suspension||Dual shocks, 4-position preload adjustable|
|Front Brakes||Two-piston caliper, 220mm disc|
|Rear Brakes||Two-piston caliper, 260mm disc|
|Seat Height||31.5 inches|
|Wet Weight||405.7 lbs|
|Fuel Capacity||2.64 gal|