2014 Kymco MYROAD 700i: The New King of the (Scooter) Hill

Text: David Burbach • Photography: Brian Nelson

Lately, there seems to be a displacement war going on in the most unlikely of motoring segments: scooters. There are now at least five companies in the U.S. selling scooters with displacements of 500cc and up, but there can be only one displacement king. And here it is—the 700cc Kymco 
MYROAD 700i. Now, before we go any further, please forget everything you think you know about scooters. Thank you. You see; with a scooter this big, all those stereotypes simply don’t apply.

Powertrain and Performance

It all starts with the engine. The MYROAD gets its gumption from a 699.5cc parallel twin with DOHC and four-valves per cylinder. According to Kymco, the fuel-injected mill makes 59 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 46 pound feet of torque at 5,500 rpm. While this is certainly not earth shattering data, it’s more than enough to get the massive scooter past the ton (trust me on that). More practically, it’s plenty of power for long-distance touring, even two up with luggage.

Twist the throttle and … acceleration … simply … happens. There’s no drama here, and it isn’t due to a lack of power. The MYROAD’s CVT seems to be geared for about 150 mph, presumably for fuel economy, but the result is no rocket ship. Also, throttle response seems to be slightly delayed, possibly to avoid stressing the drive belt. Still, as Rolls Royce would say, acceleration is adequate, and the motor does serve up a surprisingly addictive exhaust note. People who hear you coming will certainly not be expecting a scooter.

One interesting thing to note is that I tested the MYROAD in the high desert of western Colorado, which speaks to the confidence Kymco has in its powertrain. The big twin never seemed to be gasping for breath, even at elevations approaching 10,000 feet.

Chassis and Handling

Are you sitting down? The MYROAD 700i weighs 608 pounds dry. See, I told you to forget what you’ve known about scooters. This isn’t your urban grocery getter or college town runabout; this is a heavyweight tourer, and it handles like one. Well, mostly. The scoot’s forward telescopic fork and twin rear shocks do an admirable job of hiding its bulk, and it actually doesn’t feel much heavier than its little brother, the Xciting 500i. Damping is electronically adjustable via a button near the right hand grip with three settings, Soft, Medium, and Hard (pre-load is also adjustable, but not electronically). In practice, at least over Colorado’s smooth roads, it was hard to tell a difference.

In the inevitable curves that come with riding high in the Rockies, the MYROAD didn’t disappoint. Turn in is quick and easy, and once you choose a line, the Kymco stays faithfully on it. Only at speeds below 10 mph does the scooter ever feel heavy, and it never feels unwieldy.

With a bigger engine and more weight than any other scooter in the U.S. market, the MYROAD needs braking hardware to match, and it has it. Dual 280mm discs with four-piston radial-mount calipers out front and a single 240mm disc and two-piston caliper out back come standard with a Bosch ABS, and they work. The brakes are powerful and easy to modulate. The ABS performs just as it should.

Features and Ergonomics

After 200 miles of riding the 700i down a variety of roads from highway speeds to tight corners, I found the big scooter to be quite comfortable. Seat height and bar reach are ideal for my 5-foot-11 inch frame, and the seat is comfortable and supportive. On paper, the 30.7-inch seat height doesn’t seem like much, but it’s good to remember that the seating position on a scooter is a bit different from a motorcycle’s. The machine is significantly wider, effectively requiring a longer reach to the ground. The large, adjustable windshield offers wonderful wind protection with no helmet buffeting, though since the temperature was in the 90s, I wished that it had been on a lower setting. It requires tools to be adjusted.

The MYROAD also has the storage capacity to back up its touring credentials. There’s a nice glove box in front and a substantial 50 liters of space under the seat, enough to easily swallow my jacket and full-face helmet. Under the seat, you’ll also find a handy 12-volt outlet. Full instrumentation includes an analog tach, speedo, and coolant temperature gauges, as well as a central digital display showing fuel, clock, odo and trip, and electronic damper setting. Passenger accommodations are generous as well with plenty of seat real estate and confidence-inspiring grab handles. The only down side is that the rear seat is significantly higher than the rider’s, which is great for the view, but the extra altitude places the pillion’s head above the windshield’s protection.

Conclusion

So, how does it all come together? Very well, actually. The MYROAD 700i is a very comfortable and capable touring machine that is much easier to handle than a comparably sized touring motorcycle. Fit and finish are good, and the styling is sharp and modern. The list of standard features is long, and the $ 9,699 MSRP conveniently undercuts a certain Bavarian competitor. All of this adds up to an enticing machine that may tick all the right boxes for someone looking for a long-range ride.