Thursday, April 30, 2009

Scooter Resource -- '09 Sym HD200

I like to be honest in these reviews, and to be perfectly honest the HD200, didn't really appeal to me at all before I rode it. Call me shallow but the looks just didn't do it for me. While I found the liquid cooling, 16" wheels, and larger engine to be appealing, the looks just out weighed the good factors, that is until I rode the bike. After riding the scoot I quickly developed an appreciation for the HD200. This quite possibly could be the best value urban commuting vehicle for sale in the USA.

The most interesting features of the HD200 are its larger 171cc engine and 16" wheels. While the 200 label might be a bit of a stretch from a 171cc engine, you can definitely feel the extra torque when compared to a 150cc model. Its a few MPH faster that a 150cc too, but the primary advantage of the larger motor is mainly much increased acceleration. Like-wise, the 16" wheels make the bike even more appealing for their increased stability and the bike feel very solid in the corners.

Taking the bike off the center stand, it felt slightly slightly heavier with the larger engine and wheels but it also felt more stable. On the road you could definitely tell it had a bit more power and the little extra umph needed to pass while cruising at 55MPH. The larger wheels didn't slow down the steering as much as expected and it felt planted in the corners. The brakes were good and the HD200 is stopped by a disc on the front and a drum on the rear. I should note that our test bike had a bit of excessive noise from the front disc but the bike was dropped in the showroom a few days prior to our test and I believe the disc may have been slightly warped. I would imagine a new disc would clear the noise up in no time.

On a country back road with a posted speed of 55MPH, I had no problems keeping up with traffic and even found myself held up by slower cars on more than one occasion. The bike felt very stable up to about 70MPH and it tops speed was indicated in the mid-70MPH range. Like most scooters, I would imagine that this figure would slightly increase after the initial break-in period.

All in all with an MSRP of $3499 this bike is priced slighter higher than most 150cc models, but what you get in return is a larger engine, higher top speed, faster acceleration, bigger wheels, and liquid cooling. The only downsides of the bike are its lack of under seat storage and slightly forgettable looks. In a world of $5000+ larger displacement scooters, the value of the 2009 SYM HD200 stacks up well as well or better than any other large scooter on the market in the US.

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