Scooter Review: Daelim S3 Advance
At a time when most scooter manufacturers are busy upping their mid-capacity machines to 300cc or above, it comes as a surprise to get a new 250cc machine to test.
The Daelim S3 Advance may be sticking with the quarter-litre size, but it boasts a class-leading 24bhp engine and some fancy electronic gadgetry. Thankfully it doesn’t come with a class leading price tag to go with it.
‘Made in Korea’ is a phrase that is becoming much more acceptable these days; the country is ranked as the fifth largest car manufacturer and names such as Kia and Chevrolet are accepted and often sought after brands around the world, as are electronics giants LG and Samsung (I bet many of you have an LG or Samsung telly on the wall and have never even wondered where it came from); it’s a country at the forefront of Far Eastern development and technology. The country is also quite well known for producing decent motorcycles and scooters – which is where the Daelim S3 Advance comes in. It’s a quarter-litre scooter with a potent engine and a few electronic tricks up its sleeve.
The Daelim looks quite tasty. It’s angular and stylish to look at and comes in a choice of silver, black or white. A large front fairing and screen offer good protection from the elements and make for a quieter ride – which is just as well, because the weather was pretty dire while I had it! One fairly unique selling point for the scooter is the ‘smart key’ ignition; it’s a proximity sensor like you’d find on some new cars and Harley-Davidsons. Basically it means you don’t need to insert an ignition key to start the S3; simply have the key in your pocket, turn the blue plastic backlit dial and press the starter. You can also open the fuel cap and put the steering lock on in the same way.
A separate button opens the seat (the size of the underseat space is a bit disappointing on the S3); it’s not very roomy and is an odd shape, so it makes storing things a bit harder work than it should be. I managed to fit a smallish camera bag and lens under there, but don’t expect to store a crash helmet... unless you have an odd-shaped head. There are a couple of other small storage areas behind the legshields (which incidentally are finished in a nice brushed steel effect rather than the usual cheap black plastic), one of which is lockable and contains a handy 12v socket. It’s a shame manufacturers don’t use a waterproof socket on the outside of the plastics though to make it easier to power a sat nav while on the move, rather than having to trap the wire in the door and force it to close. I did manage though, so it’s not too much hassle.
85MPH TOP SPEED
The riding position on the scooter is comfortable enough, with a large stepped dual seat and feet forward design for the rider. Passengers will appreciate the fold-out pegs and backrest, but taller ones may get buffeted a bit at speed because they sit higher than the rider. Talking of speed, Daelim claims a class-leading engine and it’s not far off the mark with a claimed 24.6bhp from the fuel injected, four valve, double overhead camshaft engine. On initial acceleration the scooter felt a bit slower than the higher capacity Vespa GTS 300 I ride most of the time (The Daelim actually has 2bhp more power than the 278cc Vespa and 4.5bhp more than the Yamaha X-Max 250). Get it away from the line though and the power is fairly progressive and there’s enough of it on tap for stress-free overtaking. Under test conditions, I recorded a highest GPS speed of 85mph, although 80mph is a more achievable cruising speed, which is perfectly acceptable for a 250-class scooter and faster than the competition.
During a fast blast to Surrey and back, the S3 achieved 62mpg – a figure that could easily be improved if you’re not in quite so much of a hurry! The linked brakes are pretty good too, with a disc brake at the front and rear (as you’d expect) and enough stopping power and feel at the lever. No ABS but that’s not a concern. Suspension is by telescopic forks and twin adjustable rear shocks; they cope well enough, but aren’t quite as well damped as on something like the KYMCO Downtown 300 for instance – still more than adequate though. It was quite a pleasant surprise to find the OE tyres were Schwalbe Racemans (a tyre I’ve often used on my own scooters in the past); they’re nice and grippy and wear quite well.
All the above mean you can use the scooter’s power to its limit when you get on to the twisties. Being seen on the road is quite important and with many cars now sporting daytime headlights (which kind of defeats the object of bikes having mandatory running lights), it’s good to have a scooter with twin blue-tinged LED ‘halo’ lights which come on automatically and get you noticed. The lights certainly help you to stand out – not that anybody should be able to miss you on a battleship-sized scooter, but every little helps! The instrument cluster has all the info to hand: rev counter, speedo, temp gauge plus a digital screen for the time, trip, odometer and fuel gauge (it does the job, but could have been a bit nicer looking in my opinion); that and the underseat space are the only two slight niggles with what is otherwise a good and nifty 250.
The Daelim S3 offers good value for money; it’s priced well, looks the part and is quicker than other scooters in the class. It’s available from your local Daelim dealer now so go and have a look for yourself.
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Current Issue: Nov/Dec 2015
• Next issue on sale: 16th December 2015