The top photo is me standing just outside the front door of the SYM's main assembly plant in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Notice the jacket - it does get chilly during the winter months, even there, and the temperature never got over 55 that day.
There were many happy events and surprises during my morning with SYM, but sorry to say a major disappointment also: no pictures allowed inside the factory! So, aside from the photos posted above, there are none that show the high-tech vehicle assembly line, the extensive quality and safety check department, and SYM's equally-impressive robot-driven warehouse facility.
The middle 3 shots are of the showroom/lobby, and the bottom photo is of my son, Jon, standing at the welcome desk with our very welcoming host, Mr. Eddie Lu of SYM's Overseas Marketing group. Thanks go out to Eddie for a very pleasant tour and discussion. Thanks also to Pete McIntosh at Carter-SYM for his help in arranging the tour in the first place.
It's amazing to see how quickly a scooter comes together on the assembly line - from the machining of pistons, cylinders and valves into complete engines; from steel tubing into welded and painted frames; from bins of wire and connectors into complete wiring harnesses - and then the merge of all these different lines into the final assembly where in about 50 feet and 15 minutes, out comes a finished, running vehicle. From there the scooter is ridden about 10 yards into a test area where all the functions and sub-systems of the scooter are run through stringent quality and performance tests. After that, it's whisked to a holding area in preparation for crating and shipping (or storage in the warehouse). Amazing!
When we arrived in the warehouse, there was a Symba! Eddie turned to me and to my surprise and delight, handed me a helmet and said, "Want to take it for a ride"? Naturally! So, up and down the factory roads I went for about 15 minutes. Acceleration: good; ride and handling: good and solid; seat comfort: good; braking: good (although I never got over 35 due to having to dodge people, fork lifts, and various other equipment). Overall impression: pretty much exactly what I hoped for.