125cc or 150cc for mountain roads

My old scooter is on its last days and so I’m looking for a new one. I plan to tour all over the island, mainly through high mountain passes. I want a scooter that can do all of the roads with an extra passenger. I was thinking of getting a 150cc, but there aren’t many options, so I’m wondering if every road is possible with a 125cc. Please let me know your opinions and any new scooter deals, would be great as well. I want to scrap my old scooter to put money towards the new one.


how about looking at those big cruiser type of scooters?

Are they higher than 150cc? I think my licence only goes to 150cc. Plus, I’d like something that is agile enough to go through the city traffic.

your normal ”medium heavy”licence will go up to 249cc.
I think you are looking for a difficult compromise between small and nippy around town versus power and comfort for island cruising

Taiwan being Taiwan :rofl: it mostly depends on how well maintained the bike is.

I did more than one round-the-island, including Hualien to Changhua via the mountains (ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED!!) on a 125cc and it worked wonders.

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Yep! We did it, too! Last year, I took two, two-week trips around the island on a two-year-old Yamaha 125 with my wife. The only time she had to get off and walk for a couple hundred meters was on the road to Hehuanshan heading south from Wuling Farm. We weigh 160 kgs., and we had a bit of luggage with us, so we are bigger than most couples.
Highway 14 is the highest road in Taiwan that you’ll go on (3,275 m). I was originally planning on getting a 150, but I got a great deal on a 125. The road south of Hehuanshan (to Puli) is not as steep, and you can easily climb the same road going north.

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I know from very limited experience there are 125’s and there are 125’s. In other words, one with enough “有力” or “power” will be one of the fastest from the red light start, catch other bikes over a distance and cope with steep slopes very well. However, I haven’t taken my current bike up anywhere higher than Yangmingshan yet. One of my previous 125’s could only do 20kmh on really high roads even with only me riding. I took it into a scooter shop because everyone was passing me and they said it was due to low oxygen levels at that height. I seem to remember other 125’s with two passengers were passing me, so hopefully my current one would pass muster.

TL;DR: 125, but get one powerful enough

I bought a brand new SYM Z1 when they very first came out. The new S or sport or whatever are smaller. It does very well in city and mountain. I used it mostly for scouting in the mountains but without needing a proper motorcycle. Comfortabl, powerful, convenient.

However. With 5 years i went through 3 "head set computers) not sure the real name. The computer shit with speed, gas etc between the handles. 1 engine. 4 belts. Other stuff is pretty standard to maintain like tires, brakes etc. But their computers are truly shit. Which is why the engibe burned out. but i took that scooter on nearly 100,000k and abused every damn minut of it. Quite hard. I still have it, but unregistered it because a landslide wiped out its comouter head thing again with the lights. But it doesnt die. Gets stuck sometimes (the belts are shyte!)

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Ok you’ve come to the right place. As someone who’s done literally not just around the island (plenty of times) and every provincial and county roads (10,000km+ here in TW, YES) on scooters in 2006, my experience:

  • It really depends on the combined weight of you and your extra passenger
  • Going over 2000m on paved mountain pass could be a bit daunting for first time. Slow but manageable. You might find yourself all throttle but can barely reach 50km uphill with two seats occupied
  • Any scooters from SYM, Kymco, Yamaha and Suziki will do just fine. Don’t opt for models that are speficially designed for urban ladies. Storage and seat spae is nightmare and generally less hosrsepower even it’s 125cc

650 cc :wink:

Jokes aside, mainly what you’re looking for is anything fuel-injected that’s 125 or 150. Fuel-injected bikes will adjust their air-fuel mixture as you go higher and will generally do better at higher altitudes (less loss of power).

Of course electric would be even better in this aspect but good luck getting to the top of the biggest mountains two-up with an e scoot.

Taiwanese-made will generally have lower specs (hp, torque) for the cc number than their Japanese counterparts. But again, I think you’ll be okay on anything fuel-injected 125 or greater. Remember you can go up to 249 on your regular license.


I think 150cc would be better. I’ve taken our 125 up the mountain road behind our village a couple times. Fairly new, in good order. It starts smoking when the road gets steep.

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Thanks for the great advice! Unfortunately my budget changed and I couldn’t afford to change scooters. Hopefully I can in the future. I will look for a good 125cc with a back box, when I can.