The Sanyang Motor Company is one of the largest Asian scooter manufacturers, and it produces well over half-a-million vehicles a year to include scooters, four-wheeler ATVs and even does some outsource work for Hyundai building cars and minitrucks. Yet, we don’t hear as much about SYM as we do some of the others like Honda, BMW and Piaggio/Vespa. I chalk that up to exposure and advertising, which is a shame since the Taiwan-based manufacturer has a lot to offer. Take, for instance, the Fiddle III 200i, one of SYM’s mid-range models that boasts hybrid-retro looks and modern performance with an accessible price tag.

Continue reading for my review of the SYM Fiddle III 200i.

  • 2015 - 2017 SYM Fiddle III 200i
  • Year:
    2015- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Displacement:
    169 cc
  • Top Speed:
    65 mph
  • Price:
  • Price:


2015 - 2017 SYM Fiddle III 200i
- image 710401

Right off the bat, I gotta’ say that I like the looks of this ride. It has some classic elements such as the handlebar fairing that encompasses the headlight, switch housings and instrument cluster, as well as a fairly flat face on the legguard panel. The turn signals come recessed low in the fairing and out of harms way while the cyclops high/low beam headlight rides up top.

As with many scooters this size, the rider triangle is friendly to shorter pilots, but inseams over 31-inches tall or so will feel a little cramped in the legs.

Moving aft, we have a full step-through with the flat deck that I prefer for ease of mounting and carrying groceries between my feet. The flip-up seat has just enough of a butt-locater bump to make it a little weird to slide back for more legroom, but obviously it isn’t as definite of a stop as the butt bucket on the Honda Forza, for example.

Retro-looking side covers come with the classic wasp shape with a luggage rack-grab rail to finish the upper rear. The rear turn signals are recessed next to the large tail light housing above the rear mudguard, and the three lights come with a stylish shape that really dresses up the rear end.

As with many scooters this size, the rider triangle is friendly to shorter pilots, but inseams over 31-inches tall or so will feel a little cramped in the legs. This may be fine in the Asian markets, but it’s going to cut out some potential customers in the U.S. market, I fear. Seat height falls just a half-inch shy of an even 30, and the low center of gravity makes it easy to control with feet up or down.


2015 - 2017 SYM Fiddle III 200i
- image 710408

Steel tubing makes up the underframe with body panels that enclose all the innards, but don’t themselves serve as stressed members in the monocoque style. Telescopic front forks float the front, and the typical swingmount drivetrain arrangement pushes the wheelbase out to a still-compact 52.36-inches long. This gives the ride a bit more stability than the smallest scoots, but it still tracks like a scooter, so you’re going to feel every breath of wind and the pressure waves coming off passing traffic. Nothing for it.

The Fiddle III comes with a combined-brake system that increases safety by balancing the braking pressures a bit.

The Fiddle III comes with a combined-brake system that increases safety by balancing the braking pressures a bit. When the rear brake is actuated, the CBS sends pressure to one of the three front-caliper pistons so you automatically get some slowing action on both wheels at once. It’s not quite the same as having ABS protection, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

The factory uses a 190 mm disc up front, and oddly enough, a larger 220 mm disc in back, at least according to their specs. I didn’t measure it. This is unusual to say the least, but it ain’t mine to wonder why. Cast-aluminum rims mount the 12-inch hoops, and the rubber comes in a 110/70 profile up front and a 120/70 in the back. Small wheels to be sure, and not quite as confidence-inspiring as some of the larger options.


2015 - 2017 SYM Fiddle III 200i
- image 710444

As you’d expect, we have a one-lung engine to drive the thing. SYM keeps the 169 cc thumper simple with air cooling, but graced it with electronic fuel injection to meet emissions standards and deliver the 89 mpg claimed by the factory. The four-stroke mill runs a warmish, 10.2-to-1 compression ratio that will put you at the premium pump, and the final drive uses a centrifugal clutch and the usual CVT transmission for twist-and-go operation.

Power output falls in the expected range with 9.21 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm and 11.8 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. This gives us a top speed on the generous side of 65 mph (depending on grade, tailwinds and how much you had for lunch that day), so I’m not comfortable calling this ride capable of hitting the superslab. Better keep it around town and pick your route well.


2015 - 2017 SYM Fiddle III 200i
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The Fiddle III 200i rolls for a base MSRP of $2,899, and can be had in Arctic White, Arctic White/Ruby Red, Midnight Black/Matte Black or Arctic White/Ocean Blue. SYM has a 24-month limited warranty waiting for you when you buy this ride.


2016 - 2018 Vespa Sprint 150
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2015 - 2017 SYM Fiddle III 200i
- image 710453

Given the old-schoolish design of the Fiddle, I felt it was appropriate to look at the classiest of the classics and went straight to Vespa for its Sprint 150. Granted, it’s hard to beat Piaggio for scooter aesthetics in my humble opinion, but looks ain’t everything. On the surface, we have nearly the same legguard fairing that sports a boomerang shape in profile and presents a gently curved entry to the wind. The Sprint’s step-through isn’t quite as complete as the Fiddle’s because of the slightly raised tunnel feature, but it does little to impede mounting and dismounting actions. Both carry the typical rear side covers, but naturally, the Wasp has more of a definite taper at the extreme rear end, hence the name of the original.

Vespa really likes its single-side, trailing-link front suspension that uses a coil-over shock to dampen motion at the front wheel, but I gotta say I prefer good old telescopic “juice” forks, me. Each ride has something to offer in the brake department. The Fiddle comes with a CBS feature that helps to balance brake effort, but Vespa goes to the top shelf for proper ABS protection. Touche’ Vespa.

Engine size is comparable with the Sprint coming in a trifle low at 154.8 cc versus the 169 cc Fiddle. Like everything else, there is a trade off to be had here. The Sprint turns in superior mileage with a claimed 110 mpg against the 89 mpg one can expect from the Fiddle, but the SYM ride claims a 65-plus mph top speed while Vespa claims only 59 mph. Yeah, it’s only 6 mph difference, but that can be a big factor when choosing what roads you’re comfortable riding on, and I know some folks claim a bit more than 65 mph on the Fiddle.

Ever the proud one, Vespa markets the Sprint 150 for the everyday low price of $5,399, well above the frugal $2,899 sticker on the Fiddle. There’s a reason why Vespa is like the Harley-Davidson of the scooter world: they make a good product, but get a little nuts with the pricing. I suppose it’s hard to go wrong with a true Italian-made scooter, but if the near-double price tag hurts your feelings, the Fiddle is your Huckleberry.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “As with many scooters, the Fiddle seems to be a better fit for the Asian market where the average inseam is a bit shorter and there is already an entrenched scooter culture. Given the size and speed limitations, I have a hard time seeing this ride being competitive in the U.S. market.”

She Said

"My husband, bless his heart, hasn’t spent as much time as I have in densely populated urban areas so it’s easy for him to poo-poo away a scooter as viable transportation. The Fiddle III is very Vespa-like in its look and feel. Acceleration is snappy, and while I wouldn’t want to tackle the highway on one of these, it’s a great ride for errands around town or commutes to the office or to the campus.


Displacement: 169 cc
Type: 4-Stroke (EFI) Electronic Fuel Injection Engine (OHC) with Ceramic-Coated Cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.2±0.2 :1
Horsepower: 11.8 hp - 7500 RPM
Max Torque: 9.21 lb/ft - 5500 RPM
Cooling System: Air
Transmission: C.V.T.
Clutch: Auto Centrifugal Type
Drive: Belt
Starter: Electrical Starter
Ignition: ECU
Spark Plug: CR7HSA
Battery Capacity: 12V 8.6Ah (Closed Type, Maintenance-Free Battery)
Frame: High Strength Steel
Front Suspension: Telescopic Fork
Rear Suspension: Unit Swing
Front Brakes: Disc (190 mm) with CBS-Combined Braking System
Rear Brakes: Disc (220 mm) with CBS-Combined Braking System
Front Tires: 110 / 70 -12
Rear Tires: 120 / 70 -12
Wheel: Aluminum
Weight Capacity: 333 Lbs
Net Weight: 266 Lbs
Fuel: Unleaded (90 Octane or Higher)
Fuel Capacity: 1.71 Gallons
Ground Clearance: TBD
Length: 74.80"
Width: 27.16"
Height: 44.48"
Seat Height: 29.5"
Wheelbase: 52.36"
Top Speed: 65+ mph
Age Recommendation: 16+
Government Certifications: EPA & DOT Approved, C.A.R.B. Approved for CA
Warranty: 24 Months Limited Warranty
Top Case: Color Match Top Case Included on All Fiddle III 200i
Colors: Arctic White, Arctic White with Ruby Red, Arctic White with Ocean Blue and Midnight Black with Matte Black
Price: $2,899

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