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- Written by Carole Nash Editor
- Created: 20 June 2008
Learner legal machines under 125cc are often regarded by many bikers as a bit of a joke. But if you are new to two wheels, you may well want something small, easy to handle, park and simple to maintain.
It´s also nice if the bike is physically bigger than many 125 class machines, which are seemingly designed for scrawny teenagers to ride, flat out in third gear, repeatedly outside the pizza shop, at one in the morning.
The SYM Husky 125 has a big bike feel about it, rider comfort, front disc brake, plus a little dash of that traditional Stateside cruiser styling. If all you want from your motorcycling is to potter about the local roads on sunny weekends, the SYM Husky could be all the bike you need at a very attractive price.
Insidebikes has a confession to make; we like bikes. We really like bikes. Big ones, little ones, even scooters, all make us crack a smile now and then, because every bike has the potential to be fun, so long as you approach the machine with the right attitude.
That´s why sneering at 125cc motorcycles is a bit pointless, as is deciding that nothing less than a Foggy replica Ducati 996 can possibly be enough for your god-like trackday skills. Everyone has to start somewhere and beginning your biking career on the SYM Husky is nowt to be ashamed about.
This was clear within seconds of climbing aboard the Husky and thumbing the electric starter; the bike gently thuds into life, your feet are firmly planted on the ground, the high handlebars give you loads of confidence moving off from standstill. It´s simply easy to ride, at any speed.
A quick scoot around the industrial estate where UK SYM importers Moore Large live isn´t exactly an in-depth road test, but it doesn´t take long to suss that the Husky is as learner friendly as rivals like the Kymco Zing, Suzuki VL Intruder, Honda VT125 Shadow, or Gilera Cougar undoubtedly are. You sit `in´ these cruiser machines, rather than `on´ them and it gives the novice a feeling of security, primarily because they feel able to balance the bikes by dropping their feet down onto the tarmac at any time.
Obviously the 11bhp, four stroke, single cylinder engine isn´t too powerful and it gradually picks up speed, rather than accelerates. The five gear ratios are well spaced, but progress is slow, even compared to a 125cc automatic scooter, when moving away from traffic lights. There´s no rev counter, so you just change up a gear on instinct, or experience, depending on how much of a novice biker you are. As you´d expect the gears and clutch are smooth and easy to operate on this lightweight.
One area where things aren´t so smooth is in the braking department. The front disc is OK, but lacks much `feel ‘ and needs a fair old squeeze to have an effect above 40mph. The rear drum is also a bit lacklustre and the whole set-up needs bringing up to the 21st century as soon as possible. To be fair, this model was SYM´s only demo model, with a couple of years at the mercy of the UK press under its wheels, so it may not have been all the bike´s fault.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT Is there much point in discussing handling when it comes to cruisers ? I don´t think so. Sure it´s easy to do a feet up U-turn on the SYM, but who honestly expects a little cruiser bike like this to keep up with sportier stuff around a roundabout - it´s just not what the thing was designed for.
What´s left then is comfort, which the Husky has, style, equipment and price. The Husky comes with mirrors, a sissy bar/backrest and engine crash bars as standard. There are also more knick-knacks you can buy, which you may well decide to purchase because the SYM is such a bargain in the first place.
At just £2375 on the road, the SYM is over a grand - that´s one thousand quid - cheaper than the Honda Shadow 125 ( 3500 notes ), well below the Suzuki Intruder VL125 ( 3100 ) and the Yamaha XVS125 ( 3100 ). However, all those are genuine V-twin powered bikes, so arguably offer a cruiser style which is a cut above the SYM.
The SYM is definitely in the right ballpark when it comes to single cylinder competition, like the Hyosung Cruise (2100), Kymco Zing (2500) or Gilera Cougar ( 2300 ). It offers great value, low cost biking, but looks and rides uncannily like a scaled down Virago or Suzy Intruder. You get quality, without paying a fortune, with the only downside being a lack of performance out on the open road due to its small, restricted engine output.
Around town, the Husky is a perfect first-timer´s machine and feels built to last a few years, unlike some other Far Eastern cruiser bikes. Personally, I ‘d want to chuck away the L plates and buy something bigger once I´d got my CBT sorted out, but if all you want to cover is a few thousand miles a year in the sunshine, watching the scenery glide past, then the SYM would certainly do the job without breaking the bank.
Get SYM bike insurance for the Husky 125.