As the Sinnis Hoodlum was wheeled out of the delivery van at BikeMatters HQ in its graphite and black glory, it is easy to see why they are so popular – it really is a great looking bike.
The colour option we had looked superb, the whole aesthetic of the hoodlum is impressive, as I say the graphite and black works extremely well together but factor in the carbon fibre like chequered seat and the stunning bronze piggyback rear suspension and the Hoodlum for a cruiser 125 looks the part.
Born to be wild
With the circle front halogen light, buckhorn handlebars along with spoke wheels, you can tell Sinnis really went to town when deciding on the finish of the Hoodlum. There are other nice additions too such as the metal mud guards and rear grab rail. My only ‘could be better’ thoughts are that the indicators could look better and the placement of the number plate isn’t great – but these are both rather minor.
The bike we had in to test was all set up with a new Toro exhaust – turns out this loud beast was actually a sample and at the time of testing the only one in the UK. The exhaust itself looks great, and worth considering if you want a stainless-steel exhaust that works well with the Hoodlum’s styling. The one present on our test bike was without a baffle so the sound was impressive and made it sound a lot bigger than a 125 but it was certainly on the loud side, so in perfect keeping with the Hoodlum’s name.
Well let’s face it cruisers and custom bikes aren’t really designed with lots of tech in mind, so the Hoodlum incorporates very little, just the essentials! To keep up with the style of the bike, the hoodlum has a simple circle analogue and digital dash which displays the basics such as speed and tachometer. Omitted is a rev counter, which I was slightly concerned with initially as this is a learner motorcycle, but you soon get used to Hoodlums gearing and how it performs – I did admittedly hit the rev limiter a couple of times early on trying to suss out just how far I can stretch the gears.
Under the speedometer dash is a simple gear indicator which is great to have on a learner machine like this, the numbers are small but still visible in most conditions.
Brakes, Suspension and comfort
The latest version of the Hoodlum now has a disc brake on the rear (bye bye drum brake). The brakes operate using the Combined Braking System, which isn’t for everyone but is the minimum requirement to meet euro 4 standards. The discs themselves are good, the front 270mm disc as you’d expect is sharp and powerful and brings you to a halt very well. The rear 240mm disc brake was a bit all or nothing for me, either it was a little bit too soft, or just powers on and gives a bit of a jolt – I felt the rear brake could have been a bit smoother.
At the front suspension is provided by telescopic forks which do well at handling the lumps and bumps of the UK roads, the rear twin adjustable coil springs are definitely firmer though, and you do feel more from the rear of the bike than you do of the front. The seat on the hoodlum is comfy enough but is on the firmer side, travel a good distance 20miles+ and expect to start feeling it a little bit. The seat height will be perfect for many coming in at a very accessible 710mm.
The Hoodlum at the end of the day is a cruiser styled bike, so when it comes to suspension and comfort you know what to expect, it will be a slightly firmer ride when compared to some other styles of motorbikes.
The Sinnis has foot plates instead of the normal pegs to help provide that cruiser look and feel, so if you are not experienced with this it will take a little bit of getting used to, once you are used to them though you soon put them to good use as you cruise on long stretches.
Engine and Performance
When it comes to power the Hoodlum is packed with a ZS (or Zongshen if you prefer) single cylinder, 2 valve, 125cc air cooled motor putting out 11.2 horses.
Although down in power when compared to some 125s which are closer to that 15bhp limit, the Hoodlum is quite respectable on the acceleration and top speed front. It accelerates nicely, and you can really stretch fourth gear well to help build up speed before committing it into 5th. Top speed wise you’ll get to 65mph quite easily, on decent stretches 70mph was indicated on a few occasions, so this is definitely possible. Going up hills and slopes (as you’d expect for a 125) will you see the top speed drop to around 50mph-60mph depending on how steep the gradient is.
On the Road
OK, it might be a bit childish but as soon as I sit on a cruiser I instantly start to hear songs like Born To Be Wild in my head and I suddenly feel I have converted into a total badass. Cruisers by nature are designed for this look and stance and the Hoodlum is certainly in keeping with this for a UK learner legal 125cc motorcycle.
I soon found myself getting used to those raised bars, low seat and having my legs forward and before too long I was rocking away into the Norfolk horizon. I was accompanied for the whole time on the bike by the loud tones of the Toro exhaust I mentioned earlier. That Toro exhaust fits in rather well with the lifestyle of a cruiser rider and helps keep you noticed by other road users while making other motorcyclist look in wonder at what you are riding as it sounds so much bigger than a 125.
As mentioned earlier, acceleration surprised me for the 11.2bhp air cooled motor, as it finds itself to 50mph rather respectfully and will go on to reach 70mph in the right circumstances. Admittedly on bends I was probably ever so slightly slower than normal, but thanks to the spritely acceleration wasn’t holding up traffic on national speed limit country roads. The suspension does a decent job on the front and my arms and hands aren’t feeling much, through that rear suspension and seat, though you do feel rougher roads a bit more.
The gear box was solid throughout and found gear easily with no false neutrals along the way, with the gear indicator nicely positioned just under the dash for reassurance when it is needed.
The Hoodlum is available from just £2199, which is a decent low price for someone wanting an introduction to cruisers. Included you’ll get a 24 month warranty from Sinnis along with 12 months AA cover.
The Sinnis Hoodlum is a decent 125cc cruiser, what it might lack in some respects it more than makes up with that awesome styling and low price. Sinnis have put a lot into the styling of the Hoodlum and that really tells, I think most 125 owners would be proud to have this as their ride. If you are looking for a learner friendly cruiser then make sure to check out the Hoodlum at your local Sinnis dealership.
|Model Name||Sinnis Hoodlum|
|Max Speed||73 MPH|
|Engine||125cc single cylinder, 2 valve, air cooled, 4 stroke (11.2bhp)|
|Front Brake||270mm - Single disc|
|Rear Brake||240mm - Single disc|
|Rear Suspension||Twin adjustable coil springs|
|Speedo||Analogue & Digital|
|Stand||Centre and Side Stand|
|Warranty||24 months warranty|
|Price (correct at time of article)||£2,199|