Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SYM does not make clones...

Anyone wondering about the status of SYM as a world-class manufacturer of motorcycles and automobiles can check out their "SYM Story" page on their website: One of the entries that particularly caught my eye was: "1962 > Formed a joint venture with Honda Motor Japan to manufacture 50cc, 150cc and 160cc motorcycles and became the first motorcycle manufacturing company in Taiwan with 30% localized production."

Why a joint venture with Honda instead of just importing Honda motorcycles to Taiwan from Japan? There are two answers to this:

1. Duties and taxes on imported goods were extremely high in those days. The government wanted to encourage local production, and so in many cases (for example, automobiles), the duty on imported goods could be as high as 180% of the retail price. Manufacturing motorcycles domestically avoided such added costs.

2. In the early days of the Republic of China on Taiwan, relations with Japan were not particularly sanguine. Japan had occupied and ruled Taiwan - a province of China - for 50 years leading up to World War II. When the war ended and Taiwan was returned to China, there was for many years a general anti-Japanese sentiment that discouraged the entry of Japanese brand products into the Taiwan market. However, domestic companies in Taiwan were not prohibited from assembling what were essentially Honda vehicles locally, as long as they did not carry the "Honda" brand name. The intense demand for motorcycles in the rapidly-developing Taiwan consumer economy of the early 1960's could not be met by purely domestic sources - so, there was no other option than to allow Sanyang Industry (SYM) to form a joint venture with Honda to manufacture the Honda Cub (re-branded the "WoWOW", of course) and other Honda models.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2009 SYMBA Colors

The SYMBA will be available in 3 color choices for the 2009 USA model year - red(my favorite), blue and black. The Super Cub of the '60's, '70's and '80's was available in the same colors. So, it's plain to see that SYM has wisely chosen to keep the SYMBA "iconic" in color schemes as well as in body style. Great! Specifications (subject to change): Overall Length: 74.8 in. (1900 mm) Overall Width: 25.2 in. (640 mm) Overall Height: 40.7 in. (1035 mm) Wheelbase: 48.2 in. (1225 mm) Seat Height: 29.9 in. (760 mm) Curb weight: 200.6 lbs. (91 Kg) Tires: 2.50 x 17 4-ply (front/rear) Engine: 100cc 4-stroke Horsepower: 6.7 @ 8500 RPM Estimated MPG: 151 (65 KM/L) (wow!) Transmission: 4-speed auto clutch Start: Electric and kick Fuel Capacity: 0.84 gal. (3.2 L) (not much but at least there is a fuel gauge!) Brakes: 110 mm drum (front and rear) Lighting: 35W headlight/10W directionals/8-led array tail/stop light Suspension: Front telescopic forks / rear adjustable (1/2 rider) springs Warranty: 24 months MSRP: TBD (Source: SYM WoWOW Specifications at

Monday, December 8, 2008

We're off !

Yes, we're off - launched, released, unveiled, unleashed, exposed, etc... Just this past Saturday, December 6th, Carter-SYM ended all rumors and speculation by announcing that the SYMBA (formerly, "WoWOW") will - yes, will definitely be a part of their USA product line in the spring of 2009! This is a cause for celebration for fans of this exciting new small-displacement motorcycle that combines the iconic look of the classic Super Cub with many SYM-specific engineering improvements and updates. The SYMBA is the first small displacement (under 250cc) motorcycle to be introduced into the North American market since the mid-1980's. Up until now, if the USA consumer wanted a sub-250cc ride, the choices were limited to the Kawasaki Eliminator 125 (a cruiser), scooters or aging antique bikes such as the 1960-1983 Super Cub. With the introduction of the SYMBA, all that is changed. Soon, those of us who love the Super Cub but would also like to have something we can just get on and ride will have a new option: a band-new SYMBA in the garage, backed up by a SYM warranty and dealer network, 100% fresh from the factory and ready to go.

Also, the SYMBA is a re-introduction of the iconic Cub design to a whole new generation of riders: college students, city dwellers, small town commuters, etc... who otherwise would never have had the opportunity to own and enjoy such a special vehicle. Personally, I like that idea. If you do as well, please join Team SYMBA. And when you become a SYMBA owner, check out the SYMBA Yahoo discussion group, which I also moderate.

- Nate