2013 Kymco Agility 125 Comparison Review

November 25, 2013
Gabe Ets-Hokin
Gabe Ets-Hokin
Contributing Editor |Articles |Articles RSS

Gabe Ets-Hokin is a well-known motojournalist, but he knows scooters well, too: he's been a factory sales rep for Derbi scooters, re-built a Vespa motor in room 107 at the Elvis Presley Motor Lodge in Memphis, TN and has edited several scooter buyer's guides. He unapologetically loves da' scoots.

The 2013 Kymco Agility 125 offers plenty of bang for the buck, but how does it stack up against scoots in the same price range?

The Agility 125 is what happens when you tell a Taiwanese company to give its customers the most bang for their buck. At $1899 it’s $100 cheaper than the Honda and Aprilia, but delivers a full-size scooter experience, with so much more acceleration and speed it’s like comparing a Toyota Yaris to a Shelby Mustang. And though the KYMCO wasn’t quite up to the standards of the other brands when it came to components and styling, the yawning gap in performance between it and the other scooters was so obvious that buying the KYMCO over anything else was a no-brainer, even to those of us without any actual brains.

Here’s what you get: The Agility 125 is your basic CVT-equipped, 125cc, air-cooled, four-stroke Single. Its simple design gets the bike to weigh in at 232.5 pounds with its 1.3-gallon tank empty. Like the others, it has a kicker to back up the electric start, but it still uses a carburetor – and is probably the thirstiest beast in the test, with KYMCO estimating 75 mpg, about in line with reported mpg on Fuelly.com. It’s made in the People’s Republic (like the Honda), but has a two-year warranty and good dealer support from the hundreds of KYMCO dealers nationwide.

Hopping aboard the KYMCO won’t surprise anybody who’s ridden a scooter in the last 20 years…until they hear how inexpensive it is. It’s a full-size scooter that full-size people won’t look silly riding, with a 51-inch wheelbase between the 12-inch wheels and a 31-inch seat height. Build quality is good – not quite on the level of the Honda and Piaggio products, but worlds better than the no-name Chinese-made scooters.

Start-up is easy with the electric start, though it takes longer to warm up than the fuel-injected scooters. But once you’re going – look out. It is so much faster than its 50cc stablemates that it’s as if it’s a totally different class of vehicle. Keeping up with Irvine drivers, even on the fast expressways, isn’t the white-knuckle experience it is on the other bikes. The Agility accelerates nicely, with minimal vibration and no fueling hiccups, and keeps pulling strong until (if you’re on a long downhill slope) the rev limiter cuts in around 60 mph.

Waheed reported that “the power delivery is a bit more punchy than the others but it is still smooth… if you have any skill whatsoever this is the scooter to get.” And Justin concurs: “a no-brainer on which scooter had the most motor. The KYMCO stomped the rest of the 50cc models, as would be expected with its 75cc advantage.” “A hands-down winner,” said David. “The KYMCO felt comparatively like a rocket.”

Handling and braking performance are quite acceptable, if not the super-sporty experience of the Piaggio and Aprilia. The basic chassis seemed sound to us, with adequate cornering clearance and light, easy steering and decent mid-corner stability. However, Waheed and Justin noted a high-speed shimmy that kept the KYMCO from being an automatic winner. David isn’t impressed by the handling of any scooter, so he didn’t notice, but I also found myself treating the KYMCO with a bit more respect than the better-handling Aprilia and Piaggio. The inexpensive suspension components and tires may be accountable for the uncertain feel the KYMCO has at (and beyond) the limits of its intended use, or you could chalk it up to break-in blues.

Braking was another weak spot, with decent power in front dulled by a wooden and weak rear brake. Again, budget components have a price, but nobody felt the KYMCO’s brakes weren’t up to the task.

If the Agility was priced like its 125 siblings, it would be a wallflower, if a practical and dependable one. But it’s not. It’s priced well below the other 125s, even below the price of many 50s. That makes it a pretty exciting value, a “no-brainer,” to quote Waheed. “I would still buy one just based on how much more practical it is.” I have to agree with him – you can ride with much more confidence, aggression and fun on the KYMCO, which more than makes up for its other shortcomings, which are easy to live with.