SYM Wolf Classic 150

The small-bore single gets a new lease on life with the SYM Wolf Classic 150.

| July/August 2013

SYM Wolf Classic 150 
Claimed power: 14.8hp @ 8,500rpm (claimed)
Top speed: 65.5mph (claimed)
Engine: 149.4cc air-cooled OHC single, 62mm x 49.5mm bore and stroke
Weight (wet): 266lb (121kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 3.3gal (12.5ltr)/85mpg (claimed)
Price: $2,999 (MSRP)

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.

But that didn’t mean small singles weren’t appreciated elsewhere, and they continue to influence many markets today, particularly in large cities where parking space is non-existent or in developing countries where incomes don’t support automobile ownership. Although you wouldn’t know it judging by the U.S. market, Honda’s presence in the category continues, with its own products and license-built clones of its singles selling by the millions around the world.

Almost from the start, Honda pursued licensing agreements with other companies to build its bikes. In 1962, Taiwan’s Sanyang Industry Co. Ltd. partnered with Honda to build Honda motorcycles, eventually manufacturing Honda cars before the joint venture was abandoned in 2002. In the intervening 40 years, SYM, Sanyang’s motorcycle division, built literally millions of little Honda singles. It still does today, but now they’re sold under the SYM banner.

7/17/2013 5:20:13 PM

I'm with you guys. Great to see more smaller bikes available. After my hip replacement surgeries so I could ride with my grandfather (me on my bike, he on his 1939 Indian Chief), I got an early 80's KZ250LTD as my first street bike. My hips had fused by the time I was 14 and I used crutches for almost 12 years before I found a surgeon in 1980 who would do total hip replacements on a 22 year old guy. The KZ250 only had 500 miles on it. I got it in the spring of '83 after 3 hip replacements and 3 years of therapy to get my atrophied leg muscles working again. With a pair of over-the-seat "Pony Express" saddle bags and a small National Cycle windscreen, I rode all over the west and Canada on that bike. "You can't 'tour' on a 250..." was something I heard often. "Well, I'm from Olympia, WA., and here I am on this bike in Westlock, Alberta and I see no trailer!" Sure, not as comfy as larger bike, but I put 38,000 miles on that 250 in 2 years. It never let me down and I always made it back home. I "graduated" to a KZ440 after the 250 and had 3 of those in succession. Toured all over on the 440's too. I'm glad I had those experiences on the 250 and 440's. Some of my best adventures, memories and friendships were made when I was riding those bikes through the western US and Canada.

David Waag
7/16/2013 3:18:37 PM

Glad to see the return of the small bikes! While the big bikes are fun, you just don't need 200hp to go down the street.

Lee Cox
7/4/2013 3:08:43 PM

Pretty it is at that! It would be even prettier with a cafe racer setup, a la the East Indian Royal Enfield. No one would be fooled, of course, but hey---it sure would turn heads. The bike certainly is an alternative to a motorscooter as an around-town grocery-getter and short-run-fun bike. Love its looks and price.

Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

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