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SMC YB150 Minibike Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

SMC is the abbreviation of Southern Motorcycles, an American company delivering affordable and reliable intermediate off-road-biased trail bikes and full-on competition. Although the bikes are off American design, for cost reasons they are manufactured in China. The SMC YB150 (150cc) and YB250 (250cc) are air-cooled motocross-style machines with adjustable USD front forks, an equally modern single shock, tubular steel frame with removable one-piece aluminium subframe (both models share the same frame design), wave-style discs and aluminium swingarm. Both chassis and engine are built to be durable – they have to be because the bikes are pitched at the junior, first time off-road market.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 1

A 150cc off-road bike doesn’t sound powerful, but for a novice of all ages it is perfectly adequate in a motocross arena, where MCN rode both machines. The YB150 is powerful enough to get air and good enough to power out of tight corners and berms. But at the same time the two-valve four-stroke’s 14bhp output means it isn’t a wheelie-prone, scalded cat from the off. The YB250’s 18bhp engine doesn’t read different on paper but delivers more drive and more speed. Turns and jumps the YB150 covered appear more quickly, demand more braking and are done and dusted with more speed. Both bikes engines are built with higher spec (read costlier) components and don’t have the usual rumbles and metallic clanks cheaper of some far eastern lumps. Gearboxes work as you’d expect and hope.    

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

The YB150’s smaller wheel dimensions make it considerably more agile. A bonus in two ways: 1) younger and slighter build first timers will find it more manageable, and 2) you quickly discover what effect counter steering has when the front tucks or washes out. The YB250’s taller front wheel, longer wheelbase and extra eight kilos of weight give a slightly heavier and stable feel at the bars, which means it doesn’t track and bang off the smaller ruts and lumps so easily.
Suspension is best described as good value; front fork stanchions are titanium nitrided, travel length is acceptable and any adjustment is noticeable. What you have to remember is the SMC bikes are not outright competition machines, but toe in the water-type off-road bikes without the expense of full blown motocross tools.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

Bum basic but solid equipment because the bikes are learner off-road tools and are going to get hammered and dropped on a regular basis. Saying that there are plenty of CNC machined components, nitrided forks and anodised parts to prove quality is high. Compare and buy parts for the SMC in the MCN Shop.

SMC YB150/250 (2009-current)

Detail Value
New price £1,495
Engine size 150 cc
Power 15 bhp
Top speed mph
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 3
Engine rating is 4 rating is 1
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 3
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 2
Value rating is 4 rating is 2

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 2

Considering the amount of abuse heaped upon the off-road school’s test bikes MCN rode, we can’t fault any area of the two SMC bikes. We spoke to a SMC dealer in Wales who supplies farmers and learners with either model and who rated the bikes’ durability very highly.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 2

Both bikes come with the usual off-road three months parts only warranty, but 12 and 24 month extended warranties can be bought – any of the 35+ supplying SMC dealer have details (info ). For first time off-road fun without the expense the YB150 at £1495 is good value. And the YB250 at £1795 is exceptional. Find an SMC YB150 for sale.


Insurance group: n/a

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Model History

2009: SMC YB150/250 released

Other Versions



Top speed mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 15 bhp
Max torque ft-lb
Weight 71 kg
Seat height 846 mm
Fuel capacity 5 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group of 17
Engine size 150 cc
Engine specification Air-cooled, 2v sohc single-cylinder four-stroke. Five gears
Frame Tubular steel
Front suspension adjustment fully-adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment fully-adjustable
Front brakes 1 x 292mm disc with 1-piston caliper/ 1 x 292mm disc with 2-piston caliper
Rear brake 245mm disc with 1-piston caliper/245 disc with 2-piston caliper
Front tyre size 70/100 x 19; 300 x 21
Rear tyre size 90/100 x 16; 460 x 18

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 2(1 review)

  • no back up from smc


    Average rating rating is 2

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    cheep well thats whot it is,ive had my yb 250 less than 12 months 3rd gear has sheered off and the uk main dealer for the uk has gone out of bisness ,so thers on dack up for spears .so im stuck with a bike with no gear box . for get smc and stick to the bikes you now.

    26 February 2010


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That's 10bhp/cc more or less. Where do I get one??!!

14 December 2009 21:33

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