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2010 Kymco Scooters First Ride

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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2010 KYMCO Scooters First Ride
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When Motorcycle USA arrived at Asheville, North Carolina to sample the 2010 Scooter lineup from Kymco, we had no idea how robust the Tawian manufacturer’s scooter line actually was. Ranging from 500cc maxiscooters to 50cc 4-strokes, with plenty of mid-displacement offerings on hand, Kymco has added four new models this year: the Downtown 300i, Like 200i, Like 50 and Super 8 50 2T.

There were too many rides and not enough time… But we did our best, scooting along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the uber-sheik grounds of Asheville’s private Biltmore Estate to get a taste of the 2010 Kymco scooter line.

Kymco Xciting 500Ri - $6299, ABS $6799

As if testing a score of scooters in a 1.5-day window wasn’t daunting enough, we complicated things by arriving late thanks to multiple flight delays and a fitful night of shuteye in the Atlanta airport (Thank You DELTA!!). Literally a day late, we dropped our bags in Asheville, plopped on a helmet and ran over to a waiting Kymco 500Ri. Our testing group was “somewhere south on the Blue Ridge Parkway,” so we twisted the grip and went lookin’.

Storming up the Blue Ridge Parkway aboard the Xciting 500Ri is a ride we wont soon forget.
Storming up the Blue Ridge Parkway aboard the Xciting 500Ri is a ride we won't soon forget.
The solo saddle time made for a grin-inducing jaunt, flogging the most performance-oriented Kymco scoot down the famed southern byway to catch up. The 498.5cc DOHC Single fairly rips in a scooter context and 70-plus mph cruising speed is a simple lickety-split right hand twist. Granted, the large Xciting can feel every bit its 473 lbs (claimed dry weight), yet the chassis and its telescopic fork, plus dual preload-adjustable rear shocks are game enough for spirited riding – though you’re not going to confuse its handling with a street bike anytime soon.

The dual disc front binders teamed with the sturdy rear disc, do a competent job bringing the near 500-lb scoot to a halt. And, yes, the optional ABS is a worthy investment despite the extra 15 lbs and $500.

Riding position is cush, with the feet-forward footrests quite relaxing and making long-distance treks a pleasant affair. Our only real gripe with the Xciting is its lengthy 61.8-inch wheelbase, large size and hefty weight, making low-speed maneuvering more technical than on its smaller, more nimble, siblings. As for fit-and-finish, the inclusion of a tach on the control panel doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but we’ll forgive ‘em for it – our high-speed scoot down the Blue Ridge will definitely get scratched into our cranial hard drive for a long time to come. (Long-term opinions on the Kymco 500Ri are available in our 2009 Kymco Xciting 500Ri Review.)
A score of scooters and 1.5 days on the prestigious Biltmore Estate  still not enough time to sample the robust 2010 Kymco scooter line.
A score of scooters and 1.5 days on the prestigious Biltmore Estate, still not enough time to sample the robust 2010 Kymco scooter line.

Kymco Xxciting 250Ri - $5199

As for the 250Ri, we jumped aboard the 500’s kid brother further down the Blue Ridge, once we caught up with the rest of the testing crew. The rolling chassis on the two Xcitings are identical, from physical dimensions, to brakes, to suspension; that is until the eye rolls down the spec sheet to the 67-lb lighter dry weight! And in a 407-lb scooter that makes for a BIG difference.

A liquid-cooled Single like its sibling, the 72.7mm x 60mm bore and stroke add up to a 249cc displacement (92mm x 75mm for the 500). The smaller SOHC engine pares down the pounds, but definitely gives up some of the oomph compared to the 500. However, the 250 still gets up to speed and should be okay on the Superslab – the power loss is felt mostly under acceleration, particularly at higher speed. Cushioning some of the performance drop is an efficiency claimed at 61 mpg, far greater than the observed mid-30mpg from our previous test run with the larger scooter. Oh, it’s also a full $1100 less than the 500.

Aside from the engines, the two units as a whole felt quite similar – the 250 perhaps more deft at lower speeds and easier to manhandle thanks to the lighter weight.

Kymco Downtown 300i
The Kymco Downtown delivers the performance much closer to the 500Ri than the smaller 250  thanks to its lighter weight and all-new 4-valve 299cc Single.
The Kymco Downtown delivers the performance much closer to the 500Ri than the smaller 250, thanks to its lighter weight and all-new 4-valve 299cc Single.

We spent the most time during our North Carolina testing run aboard the all-new Downtown 300i, which resides between the Xciting 500Ri and 250Ri in the maxiscooter lineup. At first glance the Downtown appears to be just a rebadged Xciting, but while similar in appearance, its differences become apparent behind the controls.

First, there’s the 299cc Single. The nearly square configuration of the 72.7mm bore and 72mm stroke seems a stroked out version of the 250 powerplant, yet Kymco assures us the 4-valve SOHC mill is a totally new design. The assertion is backed up on the road, where the 300’s power and acceleration feel far closer to the 500 than the 250. Top end performance isn’t quite at the 500’s level, but the freeway is fair game, as well as hustling along backroads at a respectable clip.

Perhaps one reason why the engine feels so spunky is it’s pushing only 367 lbs – a full 106 lbs less than the 500Ri (40 lbs less than the 250). We assumed this was a spec sheet blunder, but Kymco promises the new engine and chassis have made the weight reduction possible. And speaking of chassis, the Downtown is more compact – two inches shorter in length with a corresponding one inch-shorter wheelbase at 60.8 inch. Seat height is a quarter-inch higher than the Xciting, and the cockpit feels tighter. While the seat itself is comfy, the close quarters first become apparent when pitching the feet forward, the footrests too close to use on the Downtown – at least for taller riders, myself standing 6’1”.

The Kymco Downtown 300i is a 2011 model that will appear in the second quarter of 2010.
The Kymco Downtown 300i is a 2011 model that will appear in the second quarter of 2010.
The telescopic fork and preload-adjustable dual shocks can get jarred by road imperfections transmitted by the 14-inch front and 13-inch rear tires (an inch smaller on each wheel than the Xcitings). Still, the handling is on par with Xcitings, transitions being a little quicker on the lighter Downtown.

Although using the same braking components as the Xcitings - wave rotor and two-pot calipers - the Downtown sports only a single-disc configuration up front. While delivering less initial bite there’s plenty of stopping power at the ready when jamming down on both the front and rear single-disc units. (Kymco purchases suspension and brake parts from major suppliers in enough volume to brand them themselves – though Kymco reps do confirm ABS is from Bosch.)

Dealers are quick to point out that Kymco is from Taiwan, not China, and doesn’t carry the dubious stigma attached to “cheap Chinese scooters,” the quality of Kymco scoots apparent while riding and backed by a two-year warranty. (Though the Made in China/Taiwan saga and what’s made where, by all manufacturers, is worthy of an article – or even series of articles…) The overall fit and finish on the Downtown may be the best of the Kymco line. Our only minor quibble is the KMPH speedo, with small inset MPH numbers that are hard to read, and also there’s that analog tach – looks alright, but why exactly am I looking at it?

Overall the Downtown 300i was our pick of the Kymco litter. While price is still pending, the Downtown is actually a 2011 model, which should be due in dealerships by the second quarter of 2010.

Out of the remaining Kymco scooter models we found some that stood out during our limited exposure. Here are the highs and lows:

Kymco Yager GT 200i - $3499

Out of the 150-250 Kymco class  the Yager 200GTi was the best standout  ample performance and comfy ergos.
Out of the 150-250 Kymco class, the Yager 200GTi was the best standout, ample performance and comfy ergos.
In the 150-250 class, the star in our opinion is the Yager GT 200i. The biggest reason being its liquid-cooled 175cc Single, which felt comparable to the Xciting 250 and provided plenty of pop on surface streets and backroads. We didn’t approach freeway speeds on the Biltmore Estates (the Vanderbilt overseers would surely release the hounds if we were too obnoxious, or at least the private security force), however, we feel confident the Yager could handle interstate traffic.

The 13-inch front wheel and 54.7-inch wheelbase make for a quick-turning yet stable handler, while the single-disc brakes front and rear also deliver pleasing performance. The quirkiest trait is the oddly shaped handlebars, which look something like seagull wings ready to take flight but make for plenty of legroom – the comfy ergos another big plus in our book. The $3500 pricetag isn’t half bad either, and a lot of bang for the buck – a better deal in our estimation than the Xcitings.

2010 Kymco Super 8 150  a sub- 3000 MSRP and acceptable performance from its air-cooled 149cc mill.
The Kymco Super 8 above looks like its 50cc sibling but sports 150 power. The People 150 below is a proper city bike.
The Kymco People 150  another standout in the mid-size crowd and a good mount for city commutes.
Kymco Super 8 150 - $2299

Another standout was the Super 8 150, which delivers the sharp-turning maneuverability of its smaller 50cc kin but with much more palatable performance out of its air-cooled 149cc 4-stroke. The 14-inch wheels and single disc front/drum rear brakes match well with the urban intentions of this metro commuter. Our favorite trait? Has to be the $2299 MSRP.

Kymco People 150 - $2799

An honorable mention in the mid-range scoots goes to the People 150. Freeways are a no go, but the 152cc air-cooled motor seemed game enough for larger surface streets and make the People 150 a proper little city scoot. The skinny 16-inch hoops are easy to turn yet deliver a motorcycle feel and the riding position isn’t as cramped as we expected. However, is it worth the $500 premium over the Super 8 150? Not by our brief saddle impressions.

Kymco Like 200i

The biggest disappointment in the 200 class was the new 2011 Like 200i. We rode it only a short while on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where it did not belong. The all-new air-cooled 163cc motor was sluggish, struggling up inclines and from standing starts. The most unnerving trait, however, was the cramped riding position, with our knees effectively acting as the steering lock and making it a dicey proposition for taller riders. Unless the pending MSRP is rock bottom, we don’t see many riders opting for the Like when there are better options in the Kymco arsenal - though we have to admit its retro-y lines are some of the sharpest in the line.

Kymco People 250 S - $4499

Unfortunately, we didn’t spend more than a few minutes aboard the intriguing People 250 S, but we did enjoy the time. Short review, motor feels similar to Xciting 250Ri with more compact dimensions and handling characteristics. Would like to get a second ride, until then…

Other notes from the 250 Kymco line, the quirky Venox cruiser? It’s gone baby, gone – dropped from the 2010 lineup.

Stay tuned for a upcoming review on the quirky Kymco Quannon 150 - for impressions on the numerous 50cc mounts from Kymco - see sidebar.
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Testing the Little Fiddies
Out of the small 50cc crew  the new 2010 Like 50 stood out to us with its styling and buzzy pop from the 2-stroke engine.
As far as the small guys go, the 50cc class is heavily represented by seven models. Kymco reps say over half its two-wheeled unit sales are from the 49cc little guys. Cheap to buy, easy to insure and in some states, no endorsement or registration required. And, of course for “off-road use only”, they are easily modified to run beyond their low-mph restrictions. All it takes is some tools, a little black hat knowledge, and voila! Extra boost.

Three of the 50s, the Agility, Sento and Super 8 source 4-stroke motors, meanwhile the People 50, Sting 50 and new Like 50 and Super 8 50 2T all source a 49cc 2-stroke. We hopped on and off numerous 50s, preferring the stinky smokers over the more languid power of the 4-strokes.

Riding positions and styling differentiate the models, with the biggest factor the various wheel sizes – which range from 10 to 16 inches. Our 20 minutes of darting around a parking lot cone course didn’t allow us to catalog pluses and minus of the numerous 49cc mounts. However, we did take note of our favorite 50, which was the new 2010 Like 50. More than anything its sharp styling made probably the biggest impression, plus its zippy 50cc 2-stroke felt fast enough for micro-commutes.
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Mario Borg -Kymco Like 200i  September 16, 2010 05:33 AM
I assure Sven O that Kymco are amongst the finest of machines, which have been produced since 1963.He may rest assured that they are up to the standard to any other popular name.It`s not wise to be institutionalised.
Mario Borg -Kymco Like 200i  September 10, 2010 01:50 PM
I wish to draw the attention the above journalist that since the Like 200i was tested in a place where it doesn`t belong he shouldn`t conclude so abruptly that it disappointed him. Afterall it`s meant for city commuting not for mountain climbing. As for the leg room, I suppose that one should buy a scooter or any bike which fits him best. As far as I know a motorcycle is a very personalised object. There are various sizes and styles from which to select, just like a pair of shoes.
kymcopartsonline -Kymco Scooter Parts, ATVs Scooter Parts, Performance Scooter Parts- KymcoPartsOnline  August 24, 2010 11:45 PM
This means scooter owners can often find suitable parking almost anywhere along their planned routes. Scooters can also maintain city traffic speeds, making them less of a potential hazard than bicyclists or pedestrians. Finally, in terms of economy, maintenance for scooters are far more practical than any other vehicle, aside from the fact that its spare parts are cheaper, they are also easy to install, affordable and easy to find
kymcopartsonline.com -Kymco Scooter Parts, ATVs Scooter Parts, Performance Scooter Parts- KymcoPartsOnline  August 18, 2010 12:24 AM
We all live in a practical society, nowadays electric or gas-powered scooters are all starting to rule the streets as people are starting to realize several advantages that scooter has to offer in terms of efficiency ,convenience and practicability. However, with its great demand to people manufacturers are challenged to come up with state of the art and affordable spare parts that would make up a well performing scooter.
nathan -thumbs up  August 12, 2010 06:09 AM
hey i own the 2010 model 150 quannen its handels like a dream awesome on fule really good looking bike only thing it lacks in power i would recomend this bike to anyone who is just cruising around town but if u want something fast not the bike for u.... but honestly i love the bike
amxpress -Super 8 150  July 24, 2010 05:54 PM
Chinese crap? I don't think so. Try Taiwan, BIG difference.
I have a Super 8 150 and it is an extremely well built scooter. Very well balanced with great brakes. We use it when camping. Great for scooting around site seeing and light enough to hang on my RV.
Checked out Yamaha & Honda. The $1000+ extra wasn't worth it.
No face it guys, KYMCO is Chinese crap - don't buy -No face it guys, KYMCO is Chinese crap - don't buy it.  June 27, 2010 10:12 PM
Ahh Kymco is not a Chinese company, nor are their scooters built in China!
Sven O -Well KYMCO is Chinese crap  June 22, 2010 03:49 PM
Just came back from a trip to Greece where we rented a KYMCO Agility 150 cc for three days. Terrible ride - feels unsafe at any speed. Squatty over bumps. It has 16 inch rims but it handles like it was an old Lambretta. The front forks looks like it is coming from a regular motorbike but the damping is a joke, its like there are only springs in it. The frame is also flexing under the stress, espcially with two people on it. Don't even think of driving with only one hand.
The brakes are OK although squeeking.
No face it guys, KYMCO is Chinese crap - don't buy it.
Stick with the Japanese bikes if you want quality.

chuck -mr  May 20, 2010 11:50 PM
way too much money for what it is
harv b. -2011 kymco downtown 300i  December 31, 2009 06:32 AM
the scooter looks awesome , i cant wait until they are available for purchase. I would definitely buy one. But, does this scooter come with ABS brakes or link brake system?
H. C. Brown -Accessories  December 23, 2009 03:52 PM
My wife and I both own and Love the Super 8-however, we would like to see more available accessories for the line.
Neuro -Mods and Rockers  December 9, 2009 08:19 AM
I've now got a new 2009 Aprilia Sportcity Cube 250, a 2008 Kymco People 150 (now mainly enjoyed by my wife), and a 2003 Suzuki Marauder VZ800. There's not a day goes by that I don't ride one of them unless it's pouring rain or snow/ice on the road. The fun I've had in the last 2 years on two wheels just doesn't compare to anything else. I actually look forward to my commute each day! All three of these rides are great, each offers something different. I compare riding the Marauder to riding a horse: you've got to pull and tug to get it to do what you want, but there's a lot of power there, and thrill too! With the scoots, it's more like riding a magic carpet: you're zipping along and it's almost like there's nothing riding underneath you! To any biker who hasn't riden a scoot, give up that macho mentality and try it for the sheer fun! I'm loving the new Aprilia. I put a Puig 992 windshield on it, and my top speed is now 80 mph, with 65 miles per gallon. Plenty of speed for a road trip on the interstate from Memphis to NOLA!
Ride on!
Clarke Kent- Perth Australia -Venox 250 Gone  October 13, 2009 05:00 PM
saw the article where M/C Usa said the Venox 250 was gone. Kymco Aust are saying that Kymco (I assume head office) are not dropping the Cruiser and certainly not in Australia. I have sent a note direct to Kymco Global website, however not had a reply yet.
EAB -To clarify to the folks in Taiwan  October 9, 2009 08:11 PM
Ok, for the folks at SYM and Kymco...the new bikes these days are advertised in 50cc increments and no longer can be specified as a 175 or 225 as they were years ago, we got that. So nowadays the rule is that if the bikes isn't at least half way to 200 IE 175cc, it's a 150. For example, the SYM HD200? Umm, no, it's a 150. The new Kymco Like 163? Umm, not a 200, more like a 150....I hope that clears this up
Josh B -What a shame about the Venox!  October 8, 2009 11:10 AM
The Venox was (and is, for those fortunate enough to own one) a great bike. 60mpg, can do 75 mph, looks great, handles great, and affordable, too. I got one with 425 miles on it for $2700.
SAMxrl -scootin baby!  October 8, 2009 06:21 AM
Having had a couple of smaller displacement scooters in the past, I can attest to their fun and versatility. You'd be suprised at the amount of motorcyclists that also have a small scooter to go back and forth to work on. At $2299.00 retail, the Super 8 150 is a great deal! For commuting around town this scoot would be hard to beat(providing you don't have a bunch of steep hills).It's $2200.00 cheaper than Honda's Sh150. I'd get one of these over the Chinese brands in a heartbeat though it'd still be a toss up with the Yamaha Zuma 125. Want something you can easily afford, cut your gas expenses to under $15.00 per month, and have a blast doing it, Get yourself a scooter. You won't regret the decision!