SYM’s 2010 Mio is a compact scooter suitable for close-to-home jaunts, short urban commutes, and college campuses. The model is a carryover from previous years; like other SYM motorcycles and scooters, it’s been available in the U.S. since 2006, when the Taiwanese manufacturer entered the market in this country. SYM has been slowly building a dealer base here, somewhat hampered by the recession, so distribution and support is improving, though it’s not the equal of such long-established brands as Honda. The overall quality of SYM’s machines, however, is generally considered just as good.
A low-to-the-ground step-through scooter stands just 40 inches high. The steel-framed Mio is 67 inches long and 28 inches wide, with a wheelbase of 46.5 inches. Its dry weight matches its size—just 176 pounds—with a claimed 360-pound payload capacity, though real-world experience in the U.S. suggests that a few bags of groceries should be the maximum it carries on top of the weight of the driver. It rides on 10-inch front and rear aluminum wheels and 90/90-10 tires. The one-piece vinyl seat, for the driver and passenger, is a low 28 inches off the ground, and the short floorboard is for the driver only; a passenger gets pop-out foot pegs, along with a standard grab rail. The retro styling of the molded plastic body includes curvy standard front and rear fenders, a belt guard, and a fork guard. Dual mirrors are mounted on the handlebars.
Clearly an entry-level machine, the SYM Mio doesn’t have many frills, but it does come in some bright and fun colors: orange, pink, white, and coffee. That pink option tells you that this scooter has an eye for the girls, or at least the scooter market among girls. The lockable underseat storage is roomy enough for a helmet, but you can add an inner basket and bracket, a rear carrier, and/or a top box. A windshield is not standard, but you do have the option of adding one. In fact, you even get a choice of what kind of windshield to add; two options are available.
The 50cc Mio is powered by a single-cylinder, air-cooled, carbureted four-stroke engine, with a top speed of 30 mph, which means a rider does not need a motorcycle license to operate it (and in some towns, that means it can be parked for free in a bike rack). Electric ignition along with the kick starter is standard. A belt-driven continuously variable transmission (CVT) adds to its ease of use, since a rider does not need to learn to a motorcycle’s shift pattern. The manufacturer claims 152 miles per gallon; the tank, with a door that can be popped open with the turn of a key, holds 1.2 gallons.
Suspension is provided by a telescopic front fork and a rear twin-sided swing arm. A front disc brake and a rear drum brake offer fast and effective stopping. The instrumentation is basic—speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, turn signal indicator—but easy to read, and the scooter’s headlight is a bright 35-watt halogen lamp.
A comfortable ride for shorter drivers, the zippy little 50cc SYM Mio is easy to park and highly maneuverable. Given its restricted top speed, it’s strictly for local hops. Fit and finish are of good quality, and its fans always mention how much fun it is to ride, as well as how quietly it runs.