Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SYM Classic looks a lot like Royal Enfield

UPDATE: Carter Brothers says the motorcycle will be called the "SYM Classic 150" for the U.S. They hope to have it in showrooms in March, 2010 at an introductory price of $2,999. It will come standard with bench seat but the solo seat and removable pillion pad on the rack will be options.

If you are a fan of Royal Enfield motorcycles you will notice something very familiar about the retro-styled motorcycle a Taiwanese manufacturer will introduce in the U.S. in 2010.

The 2009 SYM product catalog shows a "sneak preview" of the Wolf Classic motorcycle, coming to America in 2010. The Wolf is shown in green with tan solo seat and either a matching pillion or rear rack, and a tan saddle bag (on one side!). On the front fender a pedestrian-slicer license plate completes the old-style British motorcycle look.

These features, down to the solid green color, are all typical of Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles sold in the U.S. The Wolf Classic is also shown with '70s-style two-tone paint, dual seat and yellow(!) shock absorbers. The hunter green, "vintage Brit" look is an option, as it pretty much is on Royal Enfields as well. fills in some details from a dealer expo:

"This vintage styled machine definitely looked the part and featured several cool updates to vintage bikes. It's powered by a 150cc single-cylinder engine, has a beefy looking 4-piston disc brake, and clip-on handlebars to finish the cafe racer look. Fit and finish seemed to be good (typical for SYM) and this bike looks to bring the classic motorcycle back for the budget motorcyclist. The Wolf Classic is going to be priced in the low-$3,000s."

Looking around the web it's apparent that the Wolf Classic has a tachometer, kick and electric start, and a mellow burble at idle. As speed increases this sound quickly changes to the familiar enraged sewing machine noise of a 150cc engine.

Is it competition for Royal Enfield? Not to my eye. To me, it looks more at home in its '70s suit of clothes. The twin gauges and slim, light look of its bodywork don't create the stout hearted appearance of vintage machines. The streamlined rear fender shape clearly says "dual purpose" in a way that cancels out the effect of the front pedestrian slicer.

SYM is Sanyang Industry Co. Ltd., with 2,400 workers in six facilities. The main manufacturing plant is in Hukou Hsinchu, Taiwan, just south of Taipei. SYM manufactures scooters and ATVs and has built cars for Honda. It is now a partner of Hyundai. Its scooters feature modern designs, but some mimic Vespas and even the iconic Honda 90 step-through.

Carter Brothers Manufacturing of Brundidge, Alabama is exclusive U.S. distributor for SYM. In 1967 Carter manufactured the first go-kart. Since then, Carter has produced over 1.5 million go-karts.

I am indebted to reader Robert J. Slovey for pointing out the SYM catalog to me. The "sneak preview" page featuring the Wolf Classic does not appear in the 2009 Product Brochure on the U.S. SYM web site.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8/26/2009

    At 150cc it's a long way from being competitive with the Bullet . A close to town commuter bike maybe but I'd be surprised if they sold very well .
    Unfortunately the same may be the case with the new Enfields . The price has climbed a bit beyond where it probably should be .
    Having said that my local dealer has sold his first two Classics already . Can't seem to move the Electra styled one though . ( Sorry still haven't figured out their new letter number \scheme)


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