Verdict on Symco "Wolf"?

I’m pretty mechanically clueless regarding bikes but have always loved them. I’ve recently arrived in Taiwan and see a lot of these little 125cc guys around. I am definitely getting a bike but not sure if these wolves are the way to go? They look pretty cool but are they worth the trouble?

Hope someone can enlighten me!

Here’s a review. I’d say there’s definitely better 125s out there. You for sure want at least a front disc. Drums front and rear? That’s just cheeky!

[quote]Sym Wolf
BY Colin Smith
BIKES | September 13, 2001

OK, so I’m sitting in my car on the M3, stationary (again). This time it takes 3 hours before the motorway is cleared and I can continue my daily commute to work. Meanwhile, bikes are whizzing down the space between the cars never to be seen again.

While I’m there, I work out that it’s taking longer and longer to get to work each morning. It’s up to about 90 minutes each way, each day. It used to take 60 minutes and if you do get an especially clear day then the journey from Acton to Basingstoke can be done in an hour.

Thinking about the bikes zooming past, they aren’t affected by the traffic, they’ll be able to do the trip in an hour. So, an hour saved each working day, that’s what, about 230 hours a year. Ok so how far does 230 hours get me. I sleep 8 hours a day so 16 waking hours, that’s 14 days per year. Lets say I work till 65, i’m 29 so another 36 years, that’s 504 days! Thats a year and 4 months! A year and 4 months of my life spent sitting in traffic! F*ck me!

I’ll be f*cked if i’m spending a year in traffic. That weekend I go round the various bike shops I’ve looked up. My journey is 45 miles each way, 450 miles a week. I need something reliable, with warranty. I like the Suzuki GN 125, until I come across the Sym Wolf 125. Electric starter and a fuel gauge! It was also 800 quid cheaper than the competition at

Thank you for the response… it’s greatly appreciated.

I went for a test ride on one today and I was told that it is a newer model, and as such, it has a disc brake in front and drum at the back. The tires didn’t inspire much confidence but I do agree on your verdict regarding the sound of the bike. It sounds beautiful!

I’m not sure whether getting better tires would imrove the bike at all or do you reckon that it’s completely not worth it? I only want it for short distance cruising so the seats won’t be too much of a problem, I don’t think…

Do you have any further suggestions? Perhaps other models I should try out before I make a decision???

Thanks again…

How about a Kymco KTR 125? Don’t know much about them but I’ve seen a few around and they look alright for running around town.[/url]

There’s one in the shop around the corner from me. It’s about fifty something thousand bucks. Set of proper tryres on it it’d prolly be all right.

SYM Wolfs are OK. Should be less than fifty thousand NT new, maybe around forty-five. Yes they have a front disc as stock now. Bear in mind that my friend needed to renovate the brakes after a year and a half of riding.

The saddle’s reaonably comfortable for one person. It’s OK for two for an hour or so if you don’t mind being squeezed together.

They’re nice light bikes – easy to chuck around. Not much power but the light weight helps them stay nippy. Changing the tyres definitely helps a lot.

Sandman’s recommendation about the Kymco KTR125 is definitely worth checking out. The quality control on both SYMs and Kymcos is pretty good now but I feel the Kymcos may have the edge in build quality. Also, the KTR would be OK for some light dirt-track stuff.

an alternative to look into is the Suzuki Grasstracker 250cc…i believe local suzuki dealers are now carrying this…its a nice single cylinder carb’d 250 real motorcycle. 145,000NTD i believe…unfortunately it is not the BIG BOY version with larger tires and longer travel suspension…tho with a bit of thinking and tinkering, u could mod it to similar shape/form

heres a bunch of other 250/sub-250 bikes that u can dream about owning(japanese market):


I used to own a Suzuki 125cc “Spaceship” - not sure of the translation but it was Star Vehicle or something in Mandarin.

I had endless headaches with it and wrote it off as a lemon. But, then two separate mechanics told me that Suzuki cars are a good bet but the motorcycles and scooters aren’t.

So, beware of Suzukis or at least ask mechanics for their opinions.

Thanks to you all for your help! Sadly I think the Suzuki is definitely out of my price range… It does look like a nice nike though!!

I’m leaning towards the Wolf as I’m not a huge fan of the Kymco look. I know that’s a bit shallow… Also, a friend of mine who owns one reckons that the spray from the road when roads are wet is unbearable. I’m not sure how much truth there is in that but anyway…

So it looks like it’ll be the Wolf for me. Do you guys have any further suggestions regarding the tyres? Where can I get it done in Taipei and what the optimal size would be etc etc?

Mungacious, you pipped me to the post. I saw the Suzuki Grasstracker 250 last Saturday (at the Suzuki shop on Wenxin South Rd, Taichung) and had a few comments on it.

Both the component and build quality seem excellent, at least as far as I could tell in the showroom. The parts are made in Japan then Suzuki’s partner company in TW assembles the bikes here. The front brake (two pistons) felt great and a nice touch was the dial to adjust the lever position. The back brake’s a drum, which will no doubt be adequate but for the price I feel a disc on the back as well would be reasonable to expect.

The saddle is hard, though I expect it would get better over time as it moulded to one’s own behind. It’s also rather narrow. This can be overcome to some extent by sitting back a bit where the saddle’s wider, but then that doesn’t leave much room for a pillion.

The saddle’s quite low and the bike is pretty light. It would suit shorter people very well, although I’m of medium height and I didn’t feel the position to be uncomfortable. The bars are pretty high and wide – almost like a cruiser. They’re a little too wide for my personal taste but, combined with the light weight, would make steering effortless.

The four-stroke single cylinder produces around 20hp. Not a great deal, but significantly more than a 150cc four-stroke. The torquey characteristics of a single cylinder would make for a relaxing and forgiving ride. I think it would be fine in the city – light and chuckeable – lots of fun in the mountains, and also OK for some mild dirt-track stuff.

The main problem is the price. I wonder how many people are going to buy it at 145,000NT. It’s well-built and more powerful than most currently available small bikes, but is it really worth twice or three times as much money?

[quote=“mungacious”]an alternative to look into is the Suzuki Grasstracker 250cc…its a nice single cylinder carb’d 250 real motorcycle. [/quote]I don’t have any info on this particular model, but Suzuki’s 4-stroke singles generally have a terrible reputation for reliability. The 4-cyl motors are bulletproof but the singles they have made in the past are fit only for a boat anchor. Do some research before plunking this kind of cash down.

if you’re after a cheap, reliable, low build quality, low performance, engineered to just keep running and that’s yer lot bike… you’re in luck, because that’s all taiwanese manufacturers can make…

everyone else has offered excellent advice already, so my 2c is that there’s really not much to choose from between the various 4 stroke 150cc bikes that the various taiwan brands offer… they’re all the same old air cooled 4 stroke single design they stole from Honda years back… that’s true for Kymco, SYM, Hartford, the lot… although from experience I’d say the Hartford version is the most gutless of the lot… I bought one new and sold it the same day because it was so crap… otherwise it’s really a case or ergonomics more than anything since they’re all made to the same shoddy standards, just find one you like the look and feel of… if you’re after a run about for city work that’ll not fall apart, and yet still cost minimum dollars, check out this little piece of work another Taiwanese blatant rip off, this time of a Honda 230cc FTR…

bear in mind you have to be a “medium” framed person to get away with one of these, but throw away the handle bars and put something lower on it, move the forks down in the triple clamps, and wind up the rear pre-load to get it out of it’s “designed for 150cm tall 55kg midget” mode and it’ll be the start of thousands of uneventful miles of ownership and since they’re selling them box fresh for around NT$40,000 and less if you’re after the 125cc version you’d be hard pressed to go wrong…

somehow that feels like a much too glowing review for a Kymco… like everything else made in taiwan, “it’s crap… but hey it’s cheap…”

[quote=“plasmatron”]if you’re after a cheap, reliable, low build quality, low performance, engineered to just keep running and that’s yer lot bike… you’re in luck, because that’s all Taiwanese manufacturers can make…[/quote]To be fair, that’s all the vast majority of the market has wanted for the last 20 years, and all it can support anyway. Try to find a mechanic who can deal with anything more sophisticated than an aircooled single and you’ll see there’s about one in ten thousand. Liquid cooling? Multiple carbs? Fancy electronic engine management and fuel injection? Forget about it.
Maybe when imported bikes are really widespread there will be a pool of mechanics that can deal with the technology of the 80s. Right now the majority are stuck in the 60s.
The original ohc Honda CB125 engine that these units are based on was designed in 1968. It has been in production continously since then with remarkably few changes. This suits the abilities of the local mechanic to a tee.

[quote=“plasmatron”]if you’re after a cheap, reliable, low build quality, low performance, engineered to just keep running and that’s yer lot bike… you’re in luck, because that’s all Taiwanese manufacturers can make…[/quote]I don’t entirely agree. Taiwanese manufacturers export a lot of scooters to Europe, and an increasing number to north America. If you search for reviews of these machines in the foreign press, you will see that the vast majority are very favourable. Specific examples are reviews of the Kymco Grand Dink, Ego and Venox 250s, the SYM Joyride 180 and the CPI GTR50. The technology on the scooters at least is progressing pretty well and we are seeing the first fuel-injected ones starting to appear as well. I think liquid cooling on some models has been around for a while.

Taiwanese bikes such as Kymcos now have a good reputation for reliability and build quality. A US Kymco dealer offers a 2-year warranty as standard because people just aren’t having problems.

Scooters are what Taiwanese manufacturers do best. Taiwan-made motorbikes fit your description much closer. It should be noted, however, that the Kymco Venox has received very good press abroad because people are taking it for what it is and not expecting it to be a muscle bike. (Of course the more reasonable price abroad helps as well.)

It’s obvious that if you want any kind of a powerful bike it has to be an import. But the quality and design of Taiwanese machines has improved a lot and continues to do so.

Wow… I had no idea that the bikes here are so rudimentary. Should I be worried regarding their reliability? Also, do you guys know where I should go to get decent tyres and how much I can expect to pay? Most likely gonna be the SYM Wolf as I like it’s looks the best…

No, you should be worried about the mad local bastards on the road!!!
I’ve been riding a 13-year-old scooter for three years and had only one minor problem. Scooters seem to be one of the better made and better designed local products.

[quote=“teach_gc”]Wow… I had no idea that the bikes here are so rudimentary. Should I be worried regarding their reliability?[/quote]No you shouldn’t be worried. My friend’s been getting heavy use out of his SYM Wolf for two years now, including some long-distance trips. The bike has never broken down on the road. It did need a front brake overhaul after a year and a half, as I said. That was relatively cheap, however.

If you buy new you’ll have a year’s warranty anyway, and even after that parts and labour are very cheap here.

You don’t really need liquid cooling on a 125cc 12hp engine anyway. Same goes for a rear disc brake. The benefits of having a simple bike design are that it is cheap and easy to fix. Also there’s less to go wrong.

[quote=“teach_gc”]Also, do you guys know where I should go to get decent tyres and how much I can expect to pay?[/quote]Between 3-5000NT for the two tyres I’d say. Of course Dunlops, Bridgestones or Michelins would be best if you could afford them, but if you can’t then the best quality, most expensive tyres made by Taiwanese company Maxxis are perfectly reasonable.

[quote=“joesax”]most expensive tyres made by Taiwanese company Maxxis are perfectly reasonable.[/quote]Yes, and don’t be tempted or talked into fitting the largest size possible. The factory sizes will get you the best handling. You might be able to get the vendor to swap the tires before you take delivery and give you something back on the take-offs. Prices for new vehicles aren’t so negotiable, but you can usually haggle for some freebies like a helmet, free oil changes, a lock… or maybe swapping the tires for better ones. Give it a try. There are a thousand shops selling this bike for basically the same price. Get an incentive to buy from this guy.

Don’t wash your new bike until it’s at least 6 months old, unless you really want it stolen. And be careful out there :wink:

Thank you all for your advice! I have since bought a Wolf and have been to Dave and Jeremy at Bikefarm for a new tyre. Dave suggested that only a rear tyre was necessary so I went with what he said. This has improved the handling quite a lot and overall I am quite happy with the bike.

Now whilst I realise that this is no performance bike, I would still like to push it to its maximum. Do you experts have any suggestions as to what I can have done to them?

Lastly, is it worth spending some cash on alloy wheels or would that just be a waste of cash?

It’s never going to be a straight-line rocketship, so don’t bother modding it that way. You can make it noisier, but not much faster. Maybe the lads at Bikefarm have some options for better rear shocks since the stockers are probably not up to much. Most of the alloy rims out there for bikes like this actually weigh more than wires, so that’s a downgrade in both performance and handling.
If you wanted something zippier you should have bought a 2-stroke.