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MotorcycleClassics.com Article

Richard Backus
Editor
July/August 2013 Issue

Richard Backus is the editor of Motorcycle Classics (est. 2005), the bimonthly US magazine for lovers of older bikes. You can also read his thoughts in the Black Side Down blog and when he’s not writing, he’s riding his beloved Laverda RGS.

Once upon a time, small-bore singles occupied a significant slot in the motorcycle market. Simple, approachable and easy to ride, they were an affordable way to decide if you really wanted to be a motorcyclist after all.

Back in the Sixties, every motorcycle manufacturer — even Harley-Davidson — had at least one small single in its model lineup. Honda was no exception, hardly surprising from the company often credited with bringing motorcycling to the U.S. masses, its catchy “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” ads showing happy, non-motorcycle-type people riding single-cylinder C100 or C110 step-throughs.

It was a different era, slowly ushered out in the U.S. as small bikes were increasingly pushed aside to make way for ever-larger multi-cylinder machines, many of them from Honda. By 1973, the year Honda introduced the CB125S overhead cam single to our market, the influence of small bikes on the U.S. market had dramatically diminished.

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Motorcycle USA Article
MotorcycleUSA.com Article
Gabe Ets-Hokins Picture
Gabe Ets-Hokin
Contributing Editor
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gabe Ets-Hokin is a well-known motojournalist, but he knows scooters well, too: he's been a factory sales rep for Derbi scooters, re-built a Vespa motor in room 107 at the Elvis Presley Motor Lodge in Memphis, TN and has edited several scooter buyer's guides. He unapologetically loves da' scoots.

The SYMWolf is—and you had to see this coming—a sheep in Wolf's clothing (where tha Misfit is an angry sheep in wolf's clothing). But that's not a bad thing in this market segment. Although it's about the same size as tha Misfit, the Wolf feels lighter and easier to handle, toy like, really. That may be due to the aluminum (rather than steel) wheels, or the lower seat. The suspension is soft, even with spring preload adjusted, but it still feels controlled and damped. Brakes are about as good as tha Misfit's, which means maintaining the four-fingered squeeze coached in MSF courses is a good idea. In fact, it's no wonder the Honda CB125 was the choice of many MSF training schools when that model was available in the USA, which should make the Wolf appealing to new riders for that reason. MSF range owners should also look into the Wolf (or tha Misfit) as training bikes.

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The SYM Wolf Classic 150 is a machine that seems to defy category. It’s a motorcycle, but SYM is best known as a scooter company. It’s on sale at scooter shops all across the country, yet with its clip-on handlebars and flat-top frame, it’s visually more at home in the current Cafe Racer renaissance. Forgetting about categorization, what has SYM really got here, and why should scooterists take notice?

That’s a complicated question to answer. The Wolf has a lot to offer for both scooterists and small motorcycle fans alike. It’s approachable. It’s good looking. It’s light. It’s extremely forgiving and easy to ride. It’s even comfortable, which was a pleasant surprise given its small stature and clip-on handlebars.

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2 Stroke Buzz Logo

Ever since we first spotted the SYM Wolf 150 at DealerExpo in Indianapolis in February, we’ve been pretty well enamored with it. Some of us readily admit that our love of scooters goes hand in hand with our love of motorbikes so seeing the resurgence of the small displacement motorcycle is pretty important to us.

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Motorcyclist Logo

Riders of a certain age instantly recog­ nize the Wolf Classic. It looks exactly like the Honda CB125 that provided thousands of Americans cheap, practical, and fun transportation during the early '70s. This is no coincidence. SYM, aka Sanyang Industry, one ofTaiwan's largest vehicle manufacturers, built countless CB125s under license from Honda between 1969 and 2002.

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