Kymco says: “Scooters make people happy!“
Motorcyclist says: “Cost-effective transportation that's efficient and certainly smile-inducing.”
Riding a scooter through town can sometimes feel a bit like driving a minivan past a classic muscle car meetup. It’s a vehicle born out of necessity, and it’s happily comfortable existing in its own, off-white world. However, I’m also willing to bet that behind the sneers from the cynics, there’s a secret admiration for these fanny packs of the two-wheeled world.
Since its initial split from Honda in 1963, Taiwanese-based company Kymco has continued to provide engines and components for many well-known Japanese powersports companies. They’re now the largest scooter manufacturer in Taiwan, and the fifth-largest in the world, offering many models that measure up to their prominent Japanese and Italian counterparts.
A newly-designed version of Kymco’s older Like 200i, the new Like 150i keeps the same basic concept alive— it’s a fun, around-town grocery-getter with approachable looks and a friendly, upbeat attitude. The small-but-strong 150cc, air-cooled, four-stroke engine boasts fuel injection, and when mated with the smooth CVT transmission, puts the power down in a way that says, “I’m going to be respectful of that coffee you’re holding between your knees.” Modern styling does well to bring the appeal of the Like 150i to wide variety of consumers, and Kymco’s claim of 89 mpg sure does a lot to catch their attention. Front and rear ABS comes standard on the model destined to hit U.S. shores, and I can attest to the fact that it works very well, even in a torrential downpour.
Riding the Like 150i is perfectly enjoyable. I found the ergonomics fit my 5-foot-8-inch frame rather well, though some of the larger riders in our group noted they were feeling cramped. The acceleration, while not fast by motorcycle standards, is right on the money in the scooter realm. It’s peppy, but don’t expect to win any drag races.
One of the coolest options that will be available in early 2018 is Kymco’s Noodoe system, a dashboard that’s customizable via a smartphone app. You’ll have the ability to set backgrounds for the clock, speedometer, and odometer, as well as upload a few of your favorite photos. You’ll also be able to view incoming messages and emails right on the dash display via a Bluetooth connection—but only when the scooter is at a stop. Good on you, Kymco.
With an MSRP of $2,599, the Like 150i is more affordable that similar scooters from competitors, and touts a high-quality feel for the price.
If the Like 150i catches your fancy, but you find yourself wishing for something more powerful and better suited to distance riding, Kymco’s new XTown 300i makes great use of a larger 275.6cc liquid-cooled engine that’s far more at home on the highway. The 60.8-inch wheelbase, means a more relaxed feel when at speed, and imperfections in the road’s surface won’t upset the ride as much as the Like 150i. The same CVT transmission sees that power delivery is smooth and efficient through a combined system of weights, pulleys and a drive belt. At a claimed 430 pounds wet, the XTown 300i didn’t feel overly heavy as if it was some hulking behemoth that you had to coax off the side stand; instead it felt well-balanced and easy to control, even at low speeds. Maxi scooters are typically on the heavier side, but they carry the weight down low, which makes them feel lighter than they are and easily manageable.
After a few hours of traversing the immense Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, two things became very obvious to me after riding the XTown 300i: I was impressed with the easy-to-read dashboard and instrument cluster, which was an elegant blend of analog gauges and a digital readout, and I was comfortable stretching my legs out in front of me in a relaxed, faux-forward control position. That being said, with the nice, steep scoop to the rider’s seat providing good lower-back support and essentially holding me in place, had I been any taller the relaxed seating position might have been too cramped, as was the case for some of the other taller journalists. I was, however, overjoyed to see the addition of adjustable levers, something that’s seemingly glossed over by many manufacturers, but in my opinion is just as important as an adjustable driver’s seat in a car.
Once we hit a straight stretch of road, I opened the tap to see what the XTown 300i could handle in terms of speed, and was rewarded with a brisk pull to 70 mph, at the expense of some excess vibration from the drivetrain. It wasn’t anything too out of place, but there was a bit of an “if you say so” from the engine every time I tested the upper limits. The brakes did well to slow the scooter down, and under hard braking, the front-only ABS stepped in before the bike began to lose grip. Under-seat storage was ample, with more than enough room for a jacket, gloves, spare shoes, and other personal items. A $3,999 MSRP places this scooter in the premium bang-for-your-buck category, quality and dependability being key focuses.
Plush rides are great, but where do you turn when you need a tad more oomph? Kymco’s new Xciting 400i is a great (and more powerful) alternative. The flagship of Kymco’s scooter range, the Xciting 400i features a liquid-cooled, 399cc engine that’s no slouch when it comes to acceleration, even for its claimed dry weight of 450 pounds. It features ample under-seat storage (less than the XTown 300i though), two radially mounted, four-piston calipers, and twin front discs (which benefit from ABS that comes standard) and a long wheelbase that compliments the relaxed riding style.
Riding the Xciting 400i is much like the XTown 300i; smooth, stable, and comfortable. The Xciting 400 accelerates just a bit quicker than the XTown 300i, and gains a little more stability as a result of the increased weight. There’s also more legroom as well as overall space for the rider on the Xciting 400i, a sentiment that was mutual among the taller riders in our group. The gauge cluster, complete with digital speed readout, was easy enough to read, but wasn’t as refined as the cluster found in the XTown 300i. Again, the addition of adjustable control levers was a huge plus. Gone was the hesitant buzz of the XTown 300i’s drivetrain at high rpms, and instead I found a good balance of engine power and precise handling. Seeing as how a comparable scooter such as Suzuki’s Burgman 400 will run you about $7999, the Xciting 400i’s MSRP of $5999 brings serious quality at a more affordable price point.
All three of Kymco’s new scooters represent outstanding quality for the cost. Whereas some might prefer to stick with a brand name they’re familiar with, it does us all well to remember that the majority of the smaller-capacity machines available here in the states are manufactured under the same roof in Taiwan, regardless of the branding. Essentially, you can expect to see the same quality you’d see in any scooter from a Japanese or Italian manufacturer in a Kymco, and rest assured that dealer support won’t fall through. For those of us who dig the groovy attitude of a scooter, Kymco has made it very clear that they intend to remain an imposing force in the market, and the Like 150i, XTown 300i and Xciting 400i prove that they have what it takes.
|Kymco further solidifies itself as a force to be reckoned with in the U.S. scooter market.|
|BMW C650 Sport, Genuine Buddy 170i, Honda PCX150, Suzuki Burgman 400, Vespa LX150|
|Like 150i||XTown 300i||Xciting 400i|
|ENGINE||SOHC, 4-Stroke Single Cylinder||SOHC, 4-Stroke Single Cylinder||SOHC, 4-stroke Single Cylinder|
|TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE||Automatic CVT||Automatic CVT||Automatic CVT|
|CLAIMED HORSEPOWER||13.5 hp @ 9,000 rpm||23.2 hp @ 8,000 rpm||35 hp @ 7,500 rpm|
|CLAIMED TORQUE||8.7 lb.-ft. @ 6,500 rpm||16.6 lb.-ft. @ 6500 rpm||26.0 lb.-ft. @ 6,000 rpm|
|FRAME||Steel Tube||Steel Tube||Steel Tube|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||33mm partial telescopic fork; 3.74-in. travel||37mm partial telescopic fork; 4.33-in travel||Full-length telescopic fork, 4.33-in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Twin shocks adjustable for preload, 3.39-in. travel||Twin shocks adjustable for preload, 3.9-in. travel||Twin shocks adjustable for preload, 4.21-in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKE||Two-piston caliper, 220mm disc||Three-piston caliper, 260mm disc||Dual four-piston calipers, dual 280mm discs|
|REAR BRAKE||Two-piston caliper, 200mm disc||Two-piston caliper, 240mm disc||Single-piston caliper, 240mm disc|
|WHEELBASE||51.8 in.||60.8 in.||61.61 in.|
|SEAT HEIGHT||31.1 in.||30.7 in.||31.89 in|
|FUEL CAPACITY||1.8 gal.||3.3 gal.||3.3 gal.|
|CLAIMED WEIGHT||283.8 lbs. wet||429.0 lbs. wet||451.0 lbs. wet|
|Personable and purposeful, Kymco's line of scooters offers big fun and practicality for modest prices.|