Small displacement scooters are an essential part of the Malaysian transport ecosystem, a good example being the 2021 SYM Jet X 150, priced at RM8,888 for the standard, while the Special Edition goes for RM9,188. There is much to be said for simple, day-to-day transport, easy to ride, no fuss, minimal maintenance – something the Jet X ticks all the boxes for and does it at an affordable price.
For the 150 cc scooter arena, especially in Malaysia’s urban centres, it’s hard to beat the practicality of a scooter for daily use and short trips. Competition in this area for the Jet X includes the Yamaha NMax and NVX, Honda Vario 150 and PCX, and Vespa Sprint 150, as well as other selections from the 125/150 cc scooter class.
So, a crowded field, but SYM – aka SanYang Motor – has been synonymous with producing scooters in the small displacement category since modern memory, Taiwan being basically the land of scooters. For the Jet X, in terms of styling, all is suitably modern and fairly high tech looking, typical of scooter designs favoured by the younger set.
The test unit we picked up from SYM’s dealer in the central region came in a very fetching shade of yellow, offset by body panels in black. Overall, the impression we got was of a rather sporty machine which we feel will appeal to riders of all stripes.
But, living with a functional scooter, especially one built to a budget like the Jet X, can be a whole different kettle of fish. No doubt, the JetX comes with all the equipment the Malaysian scooter rider has come to expect, but is there more to the tale?
Cheap, cheerful and most importantly, basic transport for everyone is the whole intent of the Jet X. But basic doesn’t have to mean it isn’t attractive, or without a modicum of performance.
In this case, the Jet X does deliver in the looks department. At the first approach, the folded angles and lines of the Jet X’s body panels follow typical design language for a young person’s transport, somewhat reminiscent of a mobile suit.
Some will notice design cues taken from other manufacturers and it does lend credence to the phrase, “but they all look the same to me!” But, hey, the same could be said for most automobile designs these days as well and we’ll leave it at that.
Comparisons have to be drawn with the Jet X’s competitors in this category, among them the Honda PCX 150 and Yamaha NMax. No doubt, the competition does come in at a price premium over the Jet X and this is perhaps reflected in the dealer support network of market leaders Hong Leong Yamaha and Boon Siew Honda but it should be noted MForce Holdings, as importer of SYM in Malaysia, has beefed up its dealer presence in the central region.
Taking the Jet X on its own merits though, the 149 cc single-cylinder mill with the associated CVT gearbox and belt drive was found to be quite peppy. Riding the Jet X around town, takeoff from the traffic lights was quick and the Jet X built up speed quickly.
In terms of power, with 12.3 hp at 8,000 rpm and 12 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm, the Jet X is a little down numbers wise, but the engine behaviour made up for it. If hairs really need to be split, the JetX would be down on the top end at highway speeds compared to its competition but on city streets, there was nothing to complain about.
With its step-over design, the Jet X comes with a reasonably long seat that’s cut narrow in front. This allows shorter riders to find sure footing at a stop, while longer legged riders can ‘scoot’ back in the seat a bit to find a relaxed position.
The moderate bend of the handlebars was comfortable for the author and in any case, swapping the handlebars for different widths or reach is easily done. As for the floorboards, getting a comfy feet forward position was easy, and felt natural to us, though those longer of leg might disagree.
In general, most riders will find the Jet X reasonably accommodating in terms of riding position. If you’re very much taller or shorter than the norm, you might want to look elsewhere in the SYM scooter range, more especially in the above 250 category.
Scooting about on the Jet X in city traffic, handling was sure-footed and there was more than adequate feedback from the front wheel when taking sharp corners and slicing through traffic. In terms of ride comfort, on the typical smooth surfaces of maintained roads, all was well until rough surfaced corners corners were encountered.
At high speeds, the Jet X exhibited a tendency to wallow through the corner and while grip at the rear was never lost, there was enough to make the author decide throttling back would be a good idea. So, within a certain performance envelope, the suspension of the JetX would serve any rider but taking things to the ragged edge would be best done with discretion.
We had absolutely no complaints about the braking on the Jet X, with single discs on the front and rear wheels. Feel at either lever was good and hard stopping was done with no hint of squeamishness from the 14-inch wheels shod in 100/90 rubber in front and a 110/80 at the back.
For fuel economy, the 7-litre tank was good enough for nearly 140 km of travel and a bit. If we had practised judicious use of the throttle and a less heavy right hand, a figure of 160 km would perhaps not be out of the question.
The fuel filler and a storage compartment is located under the seat, and there is enough space for an open-face helmet. Riders wanting to carry more stuff will need to look into a top box and rack, which, considering the nature of the Jet X would be a good idea if it is to be pressed into duty as an urban runabout.
Technology wise for a scooter in this class, the Jet X is up to date with LED lighting used throughout and LED DRLs. The instrument panel is a narrow LCD screen located above the handlebars, and the display includes a bar tachometer and volt gauge, clearly read in the usual lighting conditions.
Riding conveniences include keyless start and should the battery fail, a hidden blade key in the key fob allows the rider to manually disable the locking system and access the seat where the battery is located. Inside the front there is also a space for the rider’s smartphone and other miscellaneous items, with a USB charging port provided.
So, who needs a SYM Jet X 150? The intended buyer for the Jet X is the urban rider who needs a value for money, daily transport that won’t break the bank. The good fuel consumption and low cost of purchase of the Jet X will appeal to Malaysian riders who want a stylish scooter with all the modern riding conveniences but is conscious of the personal budget.
For the author, a lot of fun was had with the Jet X, pressed into service during the review period as a short trip grocery getter, numerous runs for the tapao lunch and one very memorable run up (and down) Ulu Yam where the speed wasn’t high but the fun factor was.
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