Smart Scoot – SYM RV250
by Kevin Kocur
A warm Spring day, the Dairy Queens are all open and I’m cruising the Grand Rounds on one of the best scooters I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding. Could life get any better? Perhaps, but that would involve a man showing up at my doorstep with a camera crew and an oversized check. But for now, this will do nicely.
The scooter in question is the SYM RV250. SYM (San Yang Motors) is a company out of Taiwan and has been churning out engines, components and complete vehicles for the likes of Honda, Hyundai and Bombardier for over 50 years. The fit and finish of their scooters rivals that of scoots costing nearly twice as much.
The engine size and Barcalounger-like riding position land the RV250 squarely in the Maxi-Scooter category; a very competitive group to be in. It’s a good thing that the SYM can hold its own.
The RV250 brings a lot to the table, starting with an excellent motor. The 249.4cc 4-stroke features liquid-cooling, a four-valve, one-piece cylinder head design and a ceramic-coated cylinder. Yes, you tech snobs, technology derived from the Space Shuttle has made its way down to a lowly scooter. Deal with it. All of this adds up to just shy of 21bhp and 16 foot-pounds of torque. Add a curb weight of less than 400 pounds, and you have a snappy scoot that makes for a fantastic all-arounder. The RV250 is just as happy cruising the parkway as it is commuting on the freeway.
As much fun as it is to ride, it’s also a delight to look at. One glance at the SYM and it’s apparent that it’s not one of those cookie-cutter scooters that seem to be flooding the market today. From its unique headlight assembly to its LED taillight, the RV250 sports a look of its own. The DuPont paint is high-quality, as is the smattering of chrome. Sure, the lines are somewhat similar to other Maxis, but the SYM has neat little touches not found on the others.
First off, there’s the passenger pegs. Many scoots feature pegs that tuck in when not in use, and swivel out when you’re hauling a passenger. SYM takes it one step further by offering spring-loaded pegs that pop out at the touch of a button. Neat-o. The gas filler also pops out of the way when it’s time to gas up; which won’t be as often as you think. The tank holds over three gallons and, averaging 60-mpg, you’re looking at a range close to 200 miles. And the mirrors are wonderful. Sticking up like a bug’s antennae, they actually provide a useful view of something besides my elbows.
Storage space is ample. Starting with the dash, there’s a glove box with a power outlet. A panel between your legs on the floor flips open to reveal storage compartments for two beverages and a pair of gloves or sunglasses. And there’s the seat. Once open, you find yourself staring at the Grand Canyon of under-seat storage. On my first attempt at filling it, it swallowed a bag of groceries and a huge bag of charcoal. Yes, charcoal. I wanted to grill something for dinner, and needed something to grill and a heat source. Riding the mighty SYM, I didn’t have to make two trips that day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If an RV250 were to find itself in my garage permanently, I’d probably make up excuses to ride it. It’s just so damn much fun.
During the few days I had it, I commuted daily on the freeway, ran errands and leisurely cruised the Grand Rounds. I even made it to a couple group scooter rides. This thing really can do it all.
Besides having a phenomenal motor, it provides reasonable comfort and a great suspension. The ride is a perfect balance of comfort and sportiness. The 13” wheels add to that sportiness, and the RV250 begs to be thrown around the corners. Single front and rear discs handle stopping duties with ease. Like I said, try riding one and not making excuses to go out for a ride. “Honey, I’m just going to run to the store for milk.” Never mind that my destination for procuring milk is in Menominee, Wisconsin.
I also loved riding this thing at night. The stacked headlights are not only the best setup I’ve ever encountered on a scooter, they’re right up there with some of the better motorcycle lights. A 20-LED taillight ensures that you’ll be seen day or night, and the SYM also features emergency flashers and fog lights. The well-lit gauges display a wealth of information. So, the RV250 is almost perfect. Yes, I said almost. I do have two major gripes with it, the first being the windshield. At any speed over 30 MPH there is a fair amount of wind noise. Pretty bad, in fact. And then there’s the seat. Albeit comfy, the backrest never allowed me to slide back enough to stretch out my 32” inseam. My legs always felt cramped, and that’s with the adjustable backrest in the furthest-rear position. Fortunately, there are easy solutions to both problems. I figure that trimming an inch or so off of the windshield would eliminate noise issue, and simply removing the backrest (there’s only a couple of screws) should allow me to move further back on the seat. I’m pretty certain that these two mods would make the SYM close to perfect. For me anyway.
So there you have it: the RV250 is a well-built scooter that’s fun to ride, versatile and looks sharp to boot. Can you put a price on near perfection? Sure ya’ can – around $5K out the door!!! I’ve been searching for something in the 250cc range to use as a daily commuter. The SYM RV250 certainly fits the bill and more. Despite now having two 250cc motorcycles in the stable, I still think the RV250 would be a good fit. Nonetheless, I’ve added it to my “Top Five Commuter Bikes I’d Own” list. We’ll see if there’s anything out there that can knock it off the list. Looks like I will need to do more testing to find out. Work, work, work…. Does it ever end?
MMM would like to thank Ryan Scott and the good folks at Blue Cat Motors for the use of the SYM RV250. Give ‘em a ring at 651-645-1172, or surf on over to www.bluecatmotors.com