the Cabo 150
In today's scooter world, there are two approaches
to the visual style of products: Vespa-like and not. Some would call
this "retro" and "modern" or "classic" and "sporty" and maybe even
"cute" and "utilitarian". I don't buy the "retro" label because several
newer scooter designs that are NOT generally considered retro are the
closest to old scooters. Have a good look at an old Cushman and a Yamaha
C3. Nope, there are those scooter designs that give homage, however
loosely, to Vespa and those that don't. Those that don't are often
designed with a focus on functionality and the Lance Cabo is one
Alliance Powersports is both the USA distributor
products and the distributor of Lance scooters. Not that many years ago,
Lance was considered close to the bottom of the barrel in terms of the
Chinese scooters that bore the name. That was then, this is
now. Lance has run (not walked) away from the low quality stuff
and now brings us SYM manufactured products that offer value pricing AND
quality. Several years ago, I was one of those people decrying Lance and
now I've had to eat my words. Yes, I covered those words with lots of
spicy sauce to mask the taste, but I've eaten them none the less.
The new Lance Cabo 150 is a Taiwanese scooter from
SYM that offers a great deal of fun and practicality for the price if
not "cute" or "retro" looks.
Speedometer Reading/Speed/Fuel Economy
I picked up the new Cabo 150
scooter from Marty Mataya at Go Moto in
Minneapolis. Marty is one of
the most straight-forward dealers I know of and it's always fun to stop
by and visit his shop. He warned me that he had barely finished the
pre-delivery work and had only run the scooter around the block so I was
getting one about as "new" as it's possible to get. I mounted up a GPS
and topped off the fuel tank (to start the fuel economy tests)
and got on the road. As is typical with scooters, the Lance Cabo 150
speedometer reads optimistically, by 12% - 13%. At an indicated 35 MPH,
the actual speed was 31 MPH. At an indicated 60 MPH the actual speed was
52 MPH. The odometer also tested optimistic with 10.0 miles on the
odometer being 8.8 miles recorded on the GPS.
No question of breaking the law
during my top speed tests, the Cabo 150 managed 58 MPH GPS verified. A
touch disappointing for a 150cc scooter. During the testing period I saw
80 MPG in fuel economy. To me, that's a pretty good number. There are
several factors that make these numbers a bit off from what a Cabo owner
is likely to see: the scooter was new and NOT yet broken in, I was
running the scooter fairly hard and I weigh 220 pounds. AFTER break in,
riding normally and with a pilot of oh, say, 160 pounds, I'd expect top
speed to be a bit over 60 MPH and fuel economy to be closer to 90 MPG.
Lance Cabo 150 is manufactured in Taiwan by SYM (San Yang Motors). SYM was
founded in 1954 and manufactured bicycle lights. In 1962 they formed a
manufacturing agreement with Honda and today SYM continues to be a top tier
manufacturer capable of quality that is equal to any manufacturer from
Japan or Europe. The Cabo 150 is intended to be a utilitarian scooter
with a sporty bias - the components and features are true to this
intent. Walking around the Cabo 150 we see (fairly) knobby 12
inch tires, a large seat, wide and flat floorboard, matte finished
panels and an exposed (naked) handlebar. We also see, or rather
don't see, my only complaint with this scooter. The digital instrument
cluster is too dim to be easily read in direct sunlight. The design and
layout of the instrument cluster is nice and includes tachometer,
speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge and so forth. To me, it just seems
that it's not very practical in real-world use. That pretty much covers
my complaints on the Cabo 150 - all the other features and components
are well designed and appear robust.
OK, just one more thing, probably just me, how about at
least one "shiny" colour choice? Yes, I know, the Cabo 125 has shiny
plastic body panels, and matte finishes are all the rage right now, but
I'd like to have a "normal" colour choice in the 150 version.
The control configuration is
standard for a modern automatic scooter - the left hand controls the
rear brake, turn signals, high and low beam headlight and horn. The
right hand controls the throttle, front brake, engine kill switch and
electric starter. To start the scooter, just turn the ignition key to
the on position, grab a brake lever, and press the starter button. The
Cabo 150 is carbureted, NOT fuel injected, which contributes to it's
very reasonable price point, and it started, idled and ran just fine
during the review. Keep burning NON-OX fuel
in it, and you'll likely not experience any issues.
The mirrors are shaped to minimize "shoulder" view and
spaced far enough apart to allow even a wide load such as myself to
CLEARLY see what's going on back there. Seems like a simple thing, but
you'd be surprised how many scooters have really lame mirrors. Lighting
is pretty conventional and yes, the front lights look cool, but
nighttime visibility was average. Nothing outstanding, nothing bad,
utilitarian in keeping with the theme of the Cabo. There are two luggage
hooks on the Cabo, one on the inside leg shield panel and one just below
the seat. Considering the large, flat floorboard, these could come in
handy for hauling stuff between one's feet.
The seat, which is wondrous but more on that in a bit,
is released from the main ignition switch. Just insert the key in the
off position and turn anti-clockwise. The storage space is decent,
swallowing up my melon-head (XXL) three-quarter copter helmet with ease. The fuel
filler cap is located under the seat. The Cabo comes with a rear
grab rail but no rear luggage rack. Marty from Go Moto told me that a
nice optional rear rack is available and I'd recommend it. With the
luggage hooks, floorboard, underseat AND a rear trunk a person would
have considerable hauling capacity on this scooter. Just going to have
to add the rear rack and trunk .
Fun, comfy, more fun. Oh, you want
more details? Let's start with the ergonomics - they are impressive. The
31 inch seat height may seem a touch tall for shorter riders at a
standstill, but once you are rolling the ergonomic relationships between
the seat, floorboard and controls are just right. I found the seat to be
VERY comfortable. I didn't feel trapped in a single position as I do on
so many scooters and test riders from 5' 5" to 6' 3" said the same
thing. During the review, I rode the Cabo 150 for over an hour non-stop
on WILDLY varying road surfaces through downtown St. Paul, along the
Mississippi river and through a couple of parks - not even a twinge of
Acceleration is zippy off the
line and up to about 45 MPH. The Cabo feels very much like the
PCH 150 Scooter on which it is based. Some of
the differences I noticed may be due to the vagarities of individual
scooters, but the brakes on the Cabo didn't feel as strong as those on
the PCH. The front disc and rear drum combination functioned just fine
and was easy to modulate, but didn't seem quite as responsive to input
on the Cabo. The 12 inch tires have a fairly aggressive tread pattern
and offered more than adequate traction on the street.... and off it.
OK, I didn't exactly "off road"
the Cabo, but I did find it to have enough suspension and rubber to seek
out a little unpaved surface and have a go. No problems. I suspect that
the Cabo 150 would be a
bunch of fun as a "cabin" scooter - fast enough to go into town, tough
enough to ride the gravel sideroads. The suspension is firm and the
handling solid. Even with my weight I didn't bottom out on normal roads.
Everything functioned flawlessly
during the review and everyone who took a spin on the Cabo 150 liked it.
My wife Beverly was the first volunteer pilot and rode it from the
office to home in evening commuter traffic. She didn't like the
instrument display, but had no other complaints about the scooter. My
friend Steve, who is fairly tall, rode the Cabo and immediately
commented on the seat and overall comfort of the scooter. He usually
rides bagger motorcycles and has only recently come to accept scooters
as viable transportation. As I expected, he was impressed. I believe a
part of his brain still registers all scooters as under 50cc,
under-powered, inadequate machines and I could tell he was thinking
about the Cabo as the aforementioned cabin machine.
I consider it a compliment to
say that my riding impressions of the Cabo 150 aren't extreme in any
area. It did everything well. Not amazingly quick or fast, no obvious
flaws, just utilitarian in the best sense of the word with a nice dose
of fun thrown in.
Fit & Finish
Another difference between the
Lance PCH 150 and the Cabo 150 is fit & finish - it was better on the
Cabo. Seams between body panels were more uniform on the Cabo. I spent
some time going over the scooter and found good quality components put
together fairly well. There was one stripped bolt on the left hand
switch housing (repaired under warranty) and the USA-mandatory
add-on front turn signals were a bit cobbled.
I've reviewed several SYM
scooters and there is certainly a difference in fit & finish from a SYM
CityCom 300i to a Lance Cabo. There's also a whopping difference in
price. Overall, I would say that the Lance Cabo is a notch or two better
than other scooters in its price category and history indicates that
SYM-built products will hold up well over time.
Lance Cabo 150 vs.
could easily have just listed another Lance product, maybe a Kymco or
two, and called it a day. However, it strikes me that the Lance Cabo 150
has its sights set squarely on the new Genuine Hooligan. I have not been
able to get a Hooligan for review yet and will update this section if I
do. The Hooligan and Cabo look a LOT alike and appear to have the same
utilitarian/Sporty theme. The Hooligan is fuel injected, has disc brakes
front and rear, and costs a lot more than the Cabo. It's my opinion that
the Cabo it looking to be the value (cheaper) option to the
Hooligan. I believe it also competes with Kymco's entry into the
low-cost utilitarian market - the Agility 125.
specifications only tell part of the story. All three scooters have a
lot of similarities on paper, but the differences "in the flesh" are
considerable. The Kymco Agility looks and feels "basic" and is a good
scooter for the price. The Lance Cabo looks and feels like a more
thought-out scooter than the Agility. One thing all three scooters in
the chart share is a strong dealer network and good manufacturer
support. As I've mentioned over and over and over again, good support is
a critical factor in having a positive scooter experience. If I were out
shopping for this kind of scooter, I'd look at all three and purchase
the one I could afford and liked.
I like the Lance Cabo 150 scooter.
It has excellent ergonomics, good suspension and storage and adequate
speed and braking. I suspect it will prove over time to be reliable and
have a low cost of ownership. At $2,299 it represents a terrific value
in its class. A big
THANK YOU goes out to Marty Mataya of
GoMoto in Minneapolis Minnesota for facilitating this review.