The popularity of the 300cc to 400cc class, particularly in Asia and Europe, is definitely something that can’t be dismissed. Even in the U.S., these bikes tend to gain the favor of newbies looking for something easy, yet quick enough to start on. Just a couple of years ago, the 300cc segment was occupied mostly by naked and sportbikes. Recent years have introduced a crop of small-capacity ADVs, too, giving beginner riders many more options.
Motorbikes like KTM’s 390 Adventure, Royal Enfield’s Himalayan, and yes, the all but forgotten Versys X-300, all played a major role in making ADV riding accessible to beginner riders. In Asia, the 300cc to 400cc class of bikes is actually considered to be within big bike territory (yes, I know, it’s surprising). That said, bikes like SYM‘s newest addition, the NH-T 300, certainly make sense when looked at from this perspective. However, I can’t help but wonder if it’s just a tad to underpowered to compete effectively in the entry-level ADV segment.
It’s powered by a 278cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine. However, it only pumps out around 25 horsepower, about the same as that of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. Now, the Himalayan makes up for its lack of power through its sheer off-road capability, as well as charming retro looks. Unfortunately for the NH-T 300, it looks to be set up for street riding thanks to its 19-inch front wheel and road-focused tires. SYM claims that the NH-T 300 can hit a top speed of 86 miles per hour. If the Himalayan’s performance is anything comparable, I’d reckon the NH-T 300 would struggle to maintain 70 miles per hour on the expressway.
As for styling, the NH-T 300 looks rather dated. Sure, it bears unmistakable ADV lines, and you could even say that its front fascia offers a dash of sportiness to the package. However, for those looking for a machine that exudes rugged style, I don’t think this bike makes the cut. Of course, it’s clear that SYM has built this bike to fit a price point. Even though SYM has yet to reveal the official pricing of the NH-T, chances are it’ll undercut the competition by a sizeable margin.