SYM’s smaller Wolf is almost identical to its 250 cc big brother. Styling is heavily reminiscent of Honda’s CB1000 R, even down to a look-alike rear wheel design. Seat design is stepped, with a tidy tailpiece and grab handle with a distinctly SV Suzuki look. Toss in a tidy rear-wheel hugger and belly pan and you have a really handsome and appealing visual package, especially in the glossy black paint job of our test unit.
Hop aboard and everything falls neatly to hand. The handlebars have a unique bend and fall nicely to hand, which gives them the feel (but not looks) of really nice “Clubman’s”. The seating position centralises you nicely with your feet under your butt (where God intended) and a slight forward lean to your torso. Nice.
Gauges are a combination of digital and analogue. With an analogue rev counter flanked by a neat digital display for speed, trip x2, gear indicator and fuel gauge. A tiny colour-coded flyscreen rides over the headlight and looks the business, rather than performing functionally. No problem, given the relative performance of a 125 cc bike.
Talking performance, the fuel-injected 124,5cc, air-cooled single develops a sedate 9 hp @ 8500 rpm and 6,64 Ft. Lbs of torque @ 6500. It does need to be fed quite a few revs to get going, however, it has a flattish torque curve once rolling. Overall performance is satisfactory, albeit somewhat tame. Top speed is in the order of 110 kph but it really feels like you are caning the little motor unmercifully at that speed. Practically speaking it has a cruising speed of around 95 kph. Adequate for urban sprawl if you steer clear of highways. Filtering through traffic is effortless given the bikes tidy dimensions. A 790 mm seat height has you flat-footed at the lights.
For me, where the little SYM shines is in the chassis and suspension department. Generally speaking, ‘budget bikes’ have been guilty of offering up really wimpy suspension. You get the feeling that all the shocks do is keep the wheels suspended in the chassis, rather than doing anything to enhance the ride. The Wolf’s conventional, right side up front forks and preload-adjustable rear monoshock, are decently damped and turn into corners nicely, with the stability and accuracy of way sportier bikes. In a way, this is why the engine underwhelms because the chassis feels so capable. You would like to charge a bit harder than the 125cc’s allows.
Brakes are discs at both ends and are perfectly capable of hauling the SYM to a stop without fuss or bother. The bike comes standard with both a main-stand and side stand, which is just as well, because the side stand is a spring-loaded affair. This means, like was the case with BMW’s in the seventies, that you have to lean all the bikes weight on the side-stand so that it will not spring back. If you are on even the slightest downhill it is guaranteed to roll off the stand. Goodbye clutch lever and flicker. Bad idea. The main-stand is a doddle to use on a light (140 kg) bike so just use it habitually.
I am quite a keen cyclist when time allows. If any of you play in that space you will know how you have to shell out serious loot for even half-decent bicycles these days. For the price of this little SYM (R20,995) you would only get a ‘hardtail’ bicycle, ie, one with no back suspension. Bicycle parts are also fragile and expensive. I got thinking about it and here you have a proven, super reliable and economical motorcycle that can carry you far and wide for similar money to a bicycle. E-bikes are touted as the go-to urban commuting tool. Well guys, you would have to cough twice the price of a SYM T1 Wolf and not even come close in terms of performance, range and safety.
A 16l tank on the SYM will take you over 500 k’s between fill-ups. There is such a place in our gridlocked urban sprawl for bikes like this, which may be low on excitement, but off the scales for practicality, where the purchase price would literally be recouped in next to no time by your fuel saving.
Surely the masses will ‘get it’ at some stage, as they have in the rest of Africa. Problem is, in South Africa, we still have First World pretensions, almost as if it is ‘infra dig’ to commute on a small capacity motorcycle. Look around and wise up SA, there is a whole world of convenience waiting for you!
Article by Dave Cilliers/ZA Bikers and Photo’s by Bjorn Moreira/ZA Bikers