Most people, whether they’re motorcycle/scooter enthusiasts or not have heard of Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki . . . but ask around regarding the name Kymco, and you’ll probably get quite a few strange looks. Celebrating almost fifty years in business, the Taiwanese-based Kwang Yang Motor Company (Kymco) is one of the greatest manufacturers of the famed two-wheeled vehicles that you have probably never even heard of before. Now the fifth largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters in the world with more than 3000 employees, Kymco has more than cemented its reputation as a maker of versatile, economical, and high quality two-wheeled vehicles.
Established in 1963, Kymco spent roughly the first three decades of its existence making engines along with smaller bikes under the Honda banner until finally branching off on their own in 1992, now producing in excess of 500,000 motorcycles, scooters, and ATV’s annually. In 2000, Kymco USA began operating on these shores as a joint ownership between their parent company Kwang Yang and STR, Inc., a corporation based out of New Jersey. In April of 2011, Kwang Yang became the sole owner of Kymco USA after STR sold its remaining shares in the company. In spite of the ownership change however, Kymco USA continues to reside at its 90,000-square-foot facility located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
For close to a decade now, Kymco has been selling scooters in the United States, building up an impressive dealership network from coast to coast and delivering low cc rides all the way up to the Xciting 500 maxi. In fact, Kymco’s good name has become so strong over the years that they recently partnered with industry giant BMW back in 2008 to build the engine for their 449cc, single-cylinder, DOHC, four-stroke, G 450 X enduro motor bike. After years of fine-tuning their designs (getting plenty of practice in Europe where they’ve been some of the world’s biggest scooter fans since the 1950s) Kymco at long last delivered a scooter destined to rival the best in the business: the Downtown 300i.
Hailed from its onset back in 2011, the Kymco Downtown 300i is powered by a 299cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected SOHC 4-valve engine that delivers just under 30 horsepower. Couple these stats with its lightweight frame of just 350 pounds, and you’ve got a scooter that’s built for speed and agility on the road. Innovative, economical, and quick on the turn, 2013 Kymco’s Downtown is the company’s closet approach yet in terms of rivaling European scooter quality. It would seem that Kymco’s finest engineering skills have come together to create a machine at the top of its game.