In the highly competitive world of the Malaysia underbone, or kapchai, market, getting a boost over your market rivals is hard, and SYM Malaysia just upped the ante with the 2018 SYM VF3i supercub, priced at RM8,467 for the standard model, and RM8,785 for the Special Edition. All prices include GST, but exclude road tax, registration and insurance.

This is a first in the market, as the biggest supercubs typically have 150 cc engines, and Malaysia is the first to see the VF3i. What this means is the VF3i carries a 33 cc advantage over its market rivals and as we all know, there is no replacement for displacement.

Displacing 183 cc from its liquid-cooled, SOHC, four-valve single, the VF3i produces a claimed 17.7 hp at 8,500 rpm and 15.3 Nm of torque at 7,500 rpm. Power for the Euro-3 compliant VF3i gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox with wet-disc clutch.

Rolling on 17-inch wheels, the VF3i carries a 90/80 tubeless tyre in front, and the rear wheel is shod in 120/70 rubber. Braking is done with a 250 mm diameter disc in front clamped by a dual-piston hydraulic calliper, the largest in its category, while the rear is stopped with a 200 mm diameter brake disc.

As for suspension, the VF3i uses conventional telescopic forks in front, with 80 mm of travel, while a non-adjuastable monoshock with 32 mm of travel props up the rear end. Fuel is carried in a 7-litre tank under the seat, giving some 171 km of range according to SYM.

For those who might wish to know, SYM claims the VF3i will show an indicated 155 km/h on the digital LCD speedometer, with engine speed shown on an analogue gauge. Lighting for the VF3i is LED all round, and the front cowl sports a pair of LED DRLs.

The 2018 SYM VF3i weighs in at 124 kg, and comes in two colour options, Red and Blue, while the Special Edition comes in Matte Black. Availability of the VF3i in the Malaysia market will be from May at authorised SYM dealers.

Local market competition for the SYM VF3i comes from the Yamaha Y15ZR, priced at RM8,361 and the Honda RS150R at RM8,478. Another option is the Benelli RFS150i, which retails at RM7,407.