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Genuine Buddy 125 vs. SYM Symba 100

 
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jd
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2009 Buddy 125 2003 Honda Reflex

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 7:52 pm    Post subject: Genuine Buddy 125 vs. SYM Symba 100 Reply with quote

When I bought my first Buddy 125 last summer, I also bought a SYM Symba 100. I was to ride one, and my wife was to ride the other. We bought the Symba because we got a great deal on a slightly used one (had not even been registered yet...had 18 miles), and we had always loved the styling of the Honda Supercub.

It gave me a great opportunity to compare the Symba against the Buddy for a period of time. They fell into the same class of bike, although the Symba had much larger wheels, a smaller engine, and a four-speed manual transmission with a semi-automatic clutch. It was also a lot cruder than the Buddy.

Within a few weeks, I decided to sell the Symba and buy a second Buddy 125. Here's why:

The Symba is clearly a stunner, and it was kind of fun to ride, especially with the manual shifting. It wasn't nearly as fast as the Buddy, but I could have lived with that. But there were several things with which I did not want to live:

(1) Zero storage. I mounted a trunk on the back for a while, but that meant losing the second passenger capability. Also, the front seat is too small, so keeping the Symba would have required purchasing the optional extended seat, which would have eliminated the trunk. (BTW, I'm only 5'8" and 160 lb.)
(2) The fuel tank is small, as is the range.
(3) Despite the cowling, the wind force on the Symba starts to get to you after a while. It's fine for short rides around town, but wears you down beyond that.
(4) Most importantly, the suspension on the Symba is elementary and, frankly, the ride is lousy. This is the thing that really pushed me over the edge. The roads in metropolitan Detroit are hardly the best, and even the Buddy reminds you of every nook and cranny in the tarmac. But the Symba was downright punishing. I tried both of the two suspension settings, and messed around with the tire pressures, too. It was torture. The ride on my Tomos moped is better.

At the end of the day, I decided that the Symba makes a jaunty little runabout for running errands (if you don't need to carry much), but is poorly suited to rides of more than, say, 25 miles. I found myself glad to get off of it after a longer ride, and I don't ever like to feel that way. For comparison, my wife and I did a 104 mile ride around the Ann Arbor/Dexter/Chelsea area last weekend on our two Buddy 125s and, while we had as much riding as we wanted, we weren't aching and anxious to stop. Had I tried that on the Symba, I think I wouldn't have wanted to get back on the thing for a month. If then.

When I saw that story about the couple riding two Symbas around the world, I couldn't help but worry about how happy they were going to be spending multiple hours per day on those bikes. They also would have had to carry a significant amount of fuel with them because of the tiny tanks.

So we love our Buddy 125s, and I'm glad I had a chance to try out the Symba for a while. But I would never recommend one to anybody who wanted to do anything besides tool around in town with it.

I'd appreciate hearing other points of view if anyone else has experience with the Symba.

jd

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k1dude
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'08 Orange Buddy 125

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the insight. I wasn't in the market for one, but thought they were cool. I probably would have told friends to consider one. But now, not so much. I'll go on heartily recommending Buddy's!
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JHScoot
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup,Buddy is like a scooter limo. Some other folks have taken long treks on SYMba, too. Like the user here who rode one to Alaska or the North Pole or somethin?


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ericalm
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 8:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Genuine Buddy 125 vs. SYM Symba 100 Reply with quote

jd wrote:
They fell into the same class of bike, although the Symba had much larger wheels, a smaller engine, and a four-speed manual transmission with a semi-automatic clutch. It was also a lot cruder than the Buddy.

I think they're completely different classes of bikes for these and other reasons! It's interesting to hear that, though, because it just shows how different people may perceive the many options on the market.

The Symba is in some ways a bit like a Stella—a nostalgic throwback that's probably best for people who don't have high performance demands and who are looking for a new or different riding experience. It's fun ride, enjoyed even by those who don't remember or have any fondness for the Honda Supercubs/Cubs/Passports (much like some Stella owners don't know the history of the Vespa PX or Indian LML Vespas). But the Symba and Stella sit squarely in a niche and as such have limited appeal.

(My wife had a Buddy but eventually lost interest in riding after taking me to the ER twice due to crashes. Still, every time she sees a red Symba, she lingers…)

The Buddy is about as broad in appeal as you can get in a sub-200cc scooter. Classic design but not kitschy retro. Fun and highly capable but not too self-serious. Excellent performance for the price. Few scooters on the market can compete with it on those levels and many (like most of us) still prefer the Buddy.

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velobuff
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you seen this?

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=716979

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JHScoot
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ Ha that's a great thread title.
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ericalm
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

velobuff wrote:
Have you seen this?

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=716979

LOVE THIS.

Wish I had more time for reading advrider.

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pic from thread. Halfway 'round the world only to doh!


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ericalm
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look at that front tire! On dirt!

These two are amazing. I'm in awe of their report and wish I had the time to read the whole thing.

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JHScoot
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tire is like a racing slick Shocked
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found that thread a few weeks ago & caught up just the other day. Those 2 are great - I hope they write an ebook complete with pictures and videos. I'd pay for that even it's the same as that huge thread!
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viney266
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genuine Stella

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 3:00 am    Post subject: Re: Genuine Buddy 125 vs. SYM Symba 100 Reply with quote

ericalm wrote:


The Buddy is about as broad in appeal as you can get in a sub-200cc scooter. Classic design but not kitschy retro. Fun and highly capable but not too self-serious. Excellent performance for the price. Few scooters on the market can compete with it on those levels and many (like most of us) still prefer the Buddy.


^^^ I couldn't agree more. That is what sold me on buying a scooter after 35 years of riding a motorcycle. I was totally impressed with how competent the buddy 125 was ( a friend lent me one for a weekend scooter rally).

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illnoise
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Velobuff, thanks for that link, that's amazing, can't believe it's been going for months and I hadn't heard about it. I totally posted it on my site.

Anyway, I have something to do all day tomorrow now, ha.

Bryan

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

velobuff wrote:
Have you seen this?

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=716979

Shocked On a site devoted to epic threads, that one stands above all others. Feeling large amounts of humility am I.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

illnoise wrote:
Velobuff, thanks for that link, that's amazing, can't believe it's been going for months and I hadn't heard about it. I totally posted it on my site.

Anyway, I have something to do all day tomorrow now, ha.

Bryan

A friend posted to my FB these extensions which will allow you to display only the OP's threads in a post on ADV Rider!
FF/IE: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448705
Chrome: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=730367
Safari: ???

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jrsjr
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ericalm wrote:
illnoise wrote:
Velobuff, thanks for that link, that's amazing, can't believe it's been going for months and I hadn't heard about it. I totally posted it on my site.

Anyway, I have something to do all day tomorrow now, ha.

Bryan

A friend posted to my FB these extensions which will allow you to display only the OP's threads in a post on ADV Rider!
FF/IE: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448705
Chrome: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=730367
Safari: ???

Pro Tip: You have to register and login for the Mozilla FireFox script to work. I didn't verify this for the other browsers, but it's prolly a requirement for all of them, too. Once you do that, it works great.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re, his lovely wife & under boning companion posts sometimes in that thread. Also some of the cross-talk is also insightful so don't miss it!!
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iamryan25
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Buddy 125 Red

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:20 am    Post subject: Rode a 2012 Symba today Reply with quote

Rode a Symba today. Previous owner of a Chinese 150, Buddy 125, 08 Stella, 85 Honda Elite, and currently searching for next ride.

Here is how I felt it stacked up.

Suspension is awesome. Big tire helps also. I am 155 pounds and I did not ride with a passenger. Given the opportunity, my thoughts on this could change. However, that is true for any scooter with a passenger on the back. The bonus is the passenger has their own foot pegs and there IS room for a passenger, so I think it would be a fair trade off.

Shifting is cool when you stop trying to use your heel and just move the ball of your foot onto the heel shifter to shift. I kept looking for a clutch. It's the Stella driver in me. I almost feel like if I'm going to be shifting I WANT a clutch. With that said, it's peppy and I moved through the gears real quick and smooth after riding for a few blocks.

Power is okay. It gets up and goes at an appropriate speed. Romping on the accelerator isn't going to pull your arms out of their sockets, but that is true for the 2T Stella, and most other scooters. My old Buddy and Honda Elite would win in a race, and the likely the 2T Stella as well.

Storage? Audible sigh, there is none. The buddy seat comes off so you can use the rack below it without a passenger.

Style... It really seems to appeal to a slightly "older than me" demographic, the demographic that used to have one, or knew someone that did. Seeing as how Honda stopped bringing this into the states in 1983 suggests the generation slightly before my time. I'm not sure it can be called "sexy" but I am willing to guess any of the women that rode on the back of my other scooters would ride on the back of this.

Overall, I was impressed. This scooter? is seriously in my list of choices for next two-wheeled vehicle. I kinda like it.
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Dooglas
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a Honda 50 was my first scooter (early US version of the Cub or Passport), the Symba strikes a nostalgic cord for me. Yes, the suspension is simplistic, storage limited, and gas tank small - but that is how it was. I took mine camping many times, using a set of small saddlebags and a soft bag on the buddy seat. I also took along a 1 quart metal can of gas just in case Wink . The amazing thing about the Symba is that it does not just LOOK like a Honda Cub, it actually has the manual transmission and centrifugal clutch of the original. Hurray for Sym.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Genuine Buddy 125 vs. SYM Symba 100 Reply with quote

jd wrote:
When I bought my first Buddy 125 last summer, I also bought a SYM Symba 100. I was to ride one, and my wife was to ride the other. We bought the Symba because we got a great deal on a slightly used one (had not even been registered yet...had 18 miles), and we had always loved the styling of the Honda Supercub.

Within a few weeks, I decided to sell the Symba and buy a second Buddy 125. Here's why:

The Symba is clearly a stunner, and it was kind of fun to ride, especially with the manual shifting. It wasn't nearly as fast as the Buddy, but I could have lived with that. But there were several things with which I did not want to live:

(1) Zero storage. I mounted a trunk on the back for a while, but that meant losing the second passenger capability. Also, the front seat is too small, so keeping the Symba would have required purchasing the optional extended seat, which would have eliminated the trunk. (BTW, I'm only 5'8" and 160 lb.)
(2) The fuel tank is small, as is the range.
(3) Despite the cowling, the wind force on the Symba starts to get to you after a while. It's fine for short rides around town, but wears you down beyond that.
(4) Most importantly, the suspension on the Symba is elementary and, frankly, the ride is lousy. This is the thing that really pushed me over the edge. The roads in metropolitan Detroit are hardly the best, and even the Buddy reminds you of every nook and cranny in the tarmac. But the Symba was downright punishing. I tried both of the two suspension settings, and messed around with the tire pressures, too. It was torture. The ride on my Tomos moped is better.

At the end of the day, I decided that the Symba makes a jaunty little runabout for running errands (if you don't need to carry much), but is poorly suited to rides of more than, say, 25 miles. I found myself glad to get off of it after a longer ride, and I don't ever like to feel that way. For comparison, my wife and I did a 104 mile ride around the Ann Arbor/Dexter/Chelsea area last weekend on our two Buddy 125s and, while we had as much riding as we wanted, we weren't aching and anxious to stop. Had I tried that on the Symba, I think I wouldn't have wanted to get back on the thing for a month. If then.

So we love our Buddy 125s, and I'm glad I had a chance to try out the Symba for a while. But I would never recommend one to anybody who wanted to do anything besides tool around in town with it.

I'd appreciate hearing other points of view if anyone else has experience with the Symba.

jd


I did not get to experience the Symba but I did own an '82 Honda c70 Passport which the Symba was modeled after and your Buddy 125 comparison is basically apples and oranges. They're both radically different and each was designed with a different function in mind. I liked the Passport and it was much more fun to ride than my Buddy 170i but I have issues with my left leg which made shifting difficult so it had to go. I miss it and I especially miss the compliments I got when I pulled into my parking spot at the local coffee shop every morning. Yes, the fuel tank was small, about 1.1 gals., but the 100 + mpg I was getting gave me more range than my 170i's 77 mpg and its 1.5 gal. tank. The Symba/Passports are great scooters but they have a different niche than the Buddys and I see no value in trying to compare the two. You would be better off comparing the Buddy 125 with a Yamaha Vino 125, Vespa 150, Kymco 125/150, Sym Fiddle 125 and so on. Thanks!

Bill in Seattle but wintering in AZ
'12 170i Italia "The Olive Pit"
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beltho
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SYM Symba

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree that comparing the Symba and Buddy is an apples to oranges comparison. I bought a Symba last year after deciding to move up from my 50cc scoot. I considered the Buddy 125 as well, but just couldn't get excited about it in the same way I could for the Symba. There are certainly days when I'd like a little extra power, but the Symba just felt like a better fit for me (I should add that at 5' 6" I fit the ergonomics of it perfectly). My brother has a Buddy 125 and I know they're fantastic bikes, but I love the retro look, the semi-manual shifting, and the larger wheel size of the Symba. SYM builds great bikes and the Symba is just a lot of fun to ride. I did pick up an Emgo travel trunk as I do need someplace to throw my gloves and a few odds and ends, even with the built-in helmet lock.

Anyway, I saw this thread and thought I'd chime in with my thoughts as a Symba rider. If anyone's interested in hearing more feel free to PM me. Looking forward to getting back on the road once the ice melts!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the OP's comparison to be similar to my own. BTW, while the two bikes may appeal to different group of folks, a noob to scooters may think that there may not be too much difference and may appeariate the comparison. After all, they are both step-through's and what possible difference could 25cc's make, right? Wink

I am 6'1" and found it much more cramped than the Buddy. Also, I rode the single seat version and there is a bar directly behind the front seat that hit me directly on the tailbone. This may every tiny bump a rather painful experience.

Howard

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howardr wrote:
I find the OP's comparison to be similar to my own. BTW, while the two bikes may appeal to different group of folks, a noob to scooters may think that there may not be too much difference and may appeariate the comparison. After all, they are both step-through's and what possible difference could 25cc's make, right? Wink
Howard


Not to belabor the point but the Symba/Passports are really not step-throughs as they are much easier to mount by swinging your leg up and over the saddle like a motorcycle which they really are. A motorcycle in the sense that they are chain driven and manual shifting with an MC type foot shifter. I tried stepping through on my '82 Passport but my size 11s were always scraping the hump in the leg shield. It was much easier to mount MC style.

Bill in Seattle but wintering in AZ
'12 170i Italia "The Olive Pit"
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

velobuff wrote:
I found that thread a few weeks ago & caught up just the other day. Those 2 are great - I hope they write an ebook complete with pictures and videos. I'd pay for that even it's the same as that huge thread!


My boss would like to thank you for the two fully unproductive days I wasted reading this blog from beginning to end. What a EPIC ride!

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