May 2010 – SYM has lowered the MSRP on the CityCom from $5,498 to $4,699
The new CityCom 300i from SYM has been on my “wish-list” for review since I first heard it was coming to the US market. Sanyang Industries is based in Taiwan and has been around since 1961. They have over 2,400 employees and are marketed in the USA as SYM (SanYang Motors). I have reviewed several of their scooters and have been VERY impressed with their design and quality. Carter Brothers (the US SYM distributor) has been quite good about getting me scooters through their St. Paul dealer, BlueCat Motors. Carter Brothers and SYM have also been responsive to the feedback from reviewers such as myself and end users of their scooters. Even minor concerns like the spring-loaded side-stand on the HD200 have been addressed in subsequent models. You can be sure that I was pretty excited to hear that I would have a CityCom 300i for several days.
For those unfortunate souls who have braved several of my long and often tedious reviews, I’ll save you further reading by saying that the CityCom has just adequate brakes. Other than that, it is a somewhat pricey but excellent example of the ultimate modern urban commuter.
Speedometer Reading/Speed/Fuel Economy
The scooters we review are checked out with the assistance of a GPS unit and the SYM CityCom 300i is as close to not needing one as any scooter I have tested. The vast majority of scooters have speedometers that read very optimistically – usually 10 – 15% optimistic. The CityCom is only about 3% optimistic. That means at an indicated 30 MPH, the GPS was indicating 29-30MPH, almost right on the spot. At 60 MPH indicated on the speedometer, the actual speed was 58 MPH. For a scooter, that is VERY accurate.
The top speed (GPS verified) with 220 pound rider was 79 MPH. Not as fast as I expected, but given the CityCom’s intended use, more than sufficient. Oh yes, I should mention here that the scooter used for this review had 700 miles on it and was pretty much broken in, so no allowance need be given for a brand new engine.
Fuel economy was EXCEPTIONAL at 64 MPG. Remember, this is an average over the time of the review and included some much harder than normal usage. The CityCom 300i has an actual engine displacement of 263cc and 64 MPG is better than I get out of my Kymco People 250 (60 MPG) and better than I got out of a People ‘S’ 250 during review (57 MPG). The CityCom was also carrying two people for a good chunk of this review. The specifications from SYM claim 94 MPG at 31 MPH which is a completely useless number in my opinion. Compared to the real-world mileage of similar scooters, the 64MPG of the CityCom is quite good.
I elected to compare the SYM CityCom to the Kymco People ‘S’ 250. While there is no shortage of 250cc – 300cc scooters in the marketplace, I felt that it would be best to stick with the big-wheel and short wheelbase configuration. The new Vespa Super 300 is a different type of scooter, less “friendly” to high-speed riding than the CityCom. Scooters like the SYM RV250, Kymco Xciting, Yamaha Majesty, Honda Reflex (no longer offered in the US) fall more into the highway use maxi-scooter class. The Piaggio BV250 is close, but still a little more maxi-scooter in style than the CityCom.
As you can see from the chart, the SYM CityCom has some interesting features. It’s actually much closer to a 250 than a 300 at 263cc. What the engine specifications don’t immediately show is the outstanding design and execution of the SYM powerplant. SYM utilizes a four-valve design which increases air intake and greatly improves engine efficiency. They also have a ceramic-coated cylinder head in a one-piece design (no head gasket). As outstanding as the engine is, it’s a little surprising to see a scooter of this size (over 400 pounds) and price with a single front disk brake.
The SYM CityCom is a fairly tall scooter. With a seat height of 33 inches, I would normally be uncomfortable at stops. I am 5′ 9″ with an inseam of 29″ and Bev (pictured) is 5′ 6″ with an inseam of 30″. We could both “touch” our feet… just. What surprised me was that I found the CityCom to have the among the best ergonomics I have seen. I would say that a person from 5′ 5″ (with at least a 30″ inseam) and 6′ (with no more than a 33″ inseam) will find that the “fit” of the CityCom is perfect. The low center of gravity and excellent balance of the CityCom makes the tall seat “disappear” as soon as you are moving. The seat looks pretty short and I thought it might not offer enough room for my substantial backside, but I was wrong. For me, EVERYTHING about the CityCom’s ergonomics is just right. The reach to the controls was perfect. The windshield was just the right height, allowing me to easily see over the top while giving good protection. The front body panels extend out just enough to offer some protection for one’s hands from the wind. I found myself sitting in a very comfortable upright position and felt like the CityCom had be custom-made to my measurements. Bev also said that the passenger accommodations were great, though she would like to have a topcase with a backrest to lean against. If you are taller or longer-legged, I don’t think you will have enough room on the CityCom, but you’ll need to check that out for yourself.
The CityCom has a nice dash with a mix of analog and digital displays. The analog speedometer is in the center, with the tachometer on the left, and temperature on the right. There is a digital pod with the fuel gauge, time, odometer and trip meter. There are indicator lights for turn signals, high beam, oil level, low fuel and a “check engine” light. The mirrors are mounted high and give a very good view behind you.
There is a small glove box in the center console and the fuel cap is just below that, both are key operated. The multi-function ignition switch has a nice added security feature of a “blocking” panel that closes over the key-hole.
The glove box is small is small, but fine for a garage door opener, sunglasses, that kind of thing. What isn’t small is the under-seat storage area. It’s wide enough to fit my messenger bag with room to spare. The stock configuration for the SYM CityCom doesn’t include a rear rack, just a grab-rail. Normally I would consider this a flaw, but there is quite a lot of room under the seat. I would still get a rear rack and a pretty good-sized topcase (46 – 50 liters in capacity), but I do tend to haul a lot with me to work. I understand that Carter Brothers has a USA-made rear rack for the CityCom that is very nice.
As you can see in the picture, I was able to get my full-face large helmet under the seat with a lot of room around it to stuff other things. There is a bit of a “cut out” under the rear seat and a slight “dish” on the underside of the seat itself to accommodate a helmet. I was also able to get my messenger bag under the seat with my 3/4 helmet.
Lighting is excellent on the CityCom with dual 35-watt headlights. It always strikes me as funny how often good lighting is overlooked on scooters. I did a bit of night-riding on the CityCom and was impressed with how well the road in front of me was illuminated.
As I expected, EVERTHING worked very well on the CityCom. SYM’s reputation for quality is well deserved. All the switches, latches, and so forth were of good quality and are likely to prove quite durable.
When I picked up the SYM CityCom it had over 500 miles on it, so it was pretty well broken-in. For a lot of reviews, I have to temper my treatment of the scooter because it is new. As such, I am likely NOT seeing the best fuel economy, top end speed, or overall performance. These things come with some miles on a scooter. In this case, I was able to thrash the CityCom around without concern about being tender to a new powerplant.
I’ve already mentioned that the CityCom was VERY comfortable (for me). It is also a bunch of fun to ride. Acceleration is smooth with an especially strong mid-range. I was expecting a bit more top end, after all, the smaller-engined Kymco People ‘S’ 250 does better than 85 MPH. Still, 79 MPH is more than sufficient for the CityCom’s intended use. This machine is built to be the ultimate modern urban commuter and it performs that task exceedingly well. The only riding issue I had with the CityCom involves its brakes.
I didn’t notice it as much when I was riding alone, but with two people on the CityCom, the weakness of the front brake set-up becomes obvious. It took longer than it should to haul the CityCom down from speed. I expect that a second disk up front, or a larger single disk and a better brake caliper would address my braking concerns. That’s it. That’s my complaint about the CityCom.
The overall balance of the CityCom is wonderful. As soon as you are rolling, the bike feels completely neutral and is easy to handle. The suspension gobbles up rough patches and does a fine job of communicating back to the rider. After a few miles, I found myself pushing the CityCom harder and harder without finding any wallowing or loss of stability.
Protection from the elements, natural and man-made is quite good. I rode in a light rain and through some gravel and behind a truck shedding dirt and was well-defended behind the bodywork and windscreen. There is slightly taller windscreen available that flares out a bit by the hands and should offer even better coverage if you prefer. For me, the stock windscreen was just right. A quick 100 mile run on the CityCom was pleasant, comfortable and fun.
Fit and Finish
The SYM CityCom is currently available in black and red. I haven’t seen the red one, but if the paint-work on the black is any indication, I’m sure it’s gorgeous. As I expected from a SYM, all the body panels were tight and perfectly aligned. Every component on this bike feels like top-of-the-line quality. The material on the seat is thick, perfectly formed and stitched. The lens for the lights fit with their neighboring panels snugly. I’m sure I could go on and on (Ha! Wouldn’t THAT be a surprise.) but suffice to say that the CityCom’s fit and finish is excellent.
On the “down side”, the SYM CityCom has adequate but less-than brakes. I wouldn’t harp on this so much, but I really expected more at the CityCom’s price point. At $5,498 it is $999 more expensive than a Kymco People ‘S’ 250. The Kymco does have triple disks, but is carbureted NOT fuel injected. It’s also $599 more expensive than the Piaggio BV250. One certainly gets a lot of machine with the CityCom, but only the individual buyer can decide if it is worth the price difference.
On the ” up side”, the SYM CityCom 300i might just be the most comfortable scooter I have ever ridden. If it fits you, I don’t expect that you will find a better-made machine in the marketplace. It does an outstanding job of providing urban transport regardless of the type of road. City street, surface highway or Interstate – the CityCom just eats up those commuting miles.
If you have been hesitating to get rid of (or avoid buying) that second car in favour of a scooter because you need a highway-capable machine, you owe it to yourself to check out the CityCom.
May 2010 – SYM has lowered the MSRP on the CityCom from $5,498 to $4,699