Built Africa Tough: The SYM XS125K

If there is one brand in SA that has established a reputation for rugged reliability (with us anyway), it’s SYM. I know we’ve mentioned it before but, right here in this office we have a SYM GTS300 scooter that has 80 000 kilometres on the clock and we’ve never opened the engine.

In the last couple of years, the commercial market has literally exploded. In fact, commercial bikes make up more than 50% of our total market, so it’s natural that importers want to showcase their models. So much so, in fact, that we’ll make a separate commercial banner on our sites so that while you are looking for the latest ZX, you don’t have to necessarily get through reading about a delivery bike first.

Beefy footpegs with vibration rubbers.
The clocks are clear, complete with a gear indicator and fuel gauge.
Drum brakes out back.

But wait! We say delivery bike, but that’s an unfair title.

Try economical runabout. As many old school riders will tell you, that’s the kind of bike that many of us poorer oakes rode, back when used bikes were significantly cheaper than used cars.

But we’re waffling.

We received this bike with zero kays on the clock and we’ve done more than 100KM’s on it.

And – it’s actually quite a lot of fun – if you put your ego aside. 

It’s powered  by a four stroke air cooled 125cc engine, which means that it’s not particularly fast. We saw an 80KPH top 3nd to be precise, but you need to factor in that we are possibly a bit larger than most.

The 5 speed gearbox is slick with fair ratios that you won’t get caught by the traffic as you make a dash from that traffic light or try to filter in during load shedding. A gear position indicator on the dash tells your rider which gear he, or she is in.

You need to remember what a bike like this is made for. 

Urban commuting. Not freeway distances – besides, in SA it’s illegal to take a 125 out on the N1.

The carrier pictured on this one can easily be removed which means that you can pop a friend on the back.

You get a drum brake out back and a disc brake up front. They both work just fine for a bike like this.

Kickstarter. Always a good addition.
Disc brake up front.
The OEM carrier comes with the bike. A box will cost a few extra shekels.

The fuel tank is 14 and a half litres large before you swap to reserve, and on our 100 kay odd ride, the fuel dial on the speedometer barely moved.

The seat is well padded, with comfortable ergonomics for day to day riding.

Our lot fully expected the suspension to bottom out on some of the speed humps out here… No probs, Attacked slowly they were a non event. 

A couple of the potholes, however did catch us out but the fact that we did not manage to crash our brains out or break the wheels says a lot for this little machine. 

And it’s the biggest fun dicing around the traffic circles.

Traffic circles are fun.

We had the XS125 k for more than a week, our junior member Tristan used it to school and back – and everyone used her as a convenient local runabout.

While we had her she started first time every time, both in warm weather and on chilly winter mornings with the happy button.

But we are pleased to see that the bike comes standard with a secondary kickstarter and to be completely honest, we never tried it.

But it’s a great feature because the excuse that “ Sorry boss, the battery went flat, so I couldn’t deliver that pizza in time”, just won’t wash.

Speaking of pizza – that’s us out of here – it’s lunch time you see.

Here are the specs.

The base price is R18995.00

www.sym.co.za or more info and to find a dealer near you.

PS: The carrier and bracket is a genuine part from SYM and comes standard with the bike. A delivery box will cost you a few bucks extra. Chat to your dealer.

Engine Capacity


Engine Type












Tank Capacity


Ground Clearance


Seat Height


Front Brakes


Rear Brakes


Front Suspension

OEM – Non-adjustable

Rear Suspension

OEM – Adjustable (pre-load only)

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