Xciting Greenville

Feb 23, 2013 View Comments by

Xciting GreenvilleHalfway between the southern metropolises of Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC lies the city of Greenville, SC. Greenville is the central hub of the upstate region of South Carolina and, after picking it up in nearby Spartanburg, the perfect place to form some initial impressions of Kymco’s Xciting 500Ri ABS.

Making the switch between a motorcycle and a scooter is a bit disconcerting at first. For one thing, the seating position is completely different since you sit on top of the scoot instead of straddling it like a bike. For another, not having a clutch takes a little brain retraining to acclimate to. However, these adjustments are accomplished quickly as the Xciting is inherently very easy to ride. Out on the road, the Kymco’s 499cc single offers impressive power (especially for a scooter). Kymco claims 38 hp, which is good for drama free and comfortable highway cruising at 75+ mph. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) performs smoothly and the 500Ri seems to always be in its power band. Tooling around Greenville it becomes apparent that in town is where the scoot really has a leg up on most motorcycles. With its 15-inch front and 14-inch rear tires, the Xciting is highly maneuverable and capable of extremely tight U-turns. This is the ride you want to take the figure-8 in a box test at the DMV.

Another way the Xciting differentiates itself from other two-wheeled transports is in storage. Under its seat you’ll find a generous compartment to stow your stuff and a built-in 12 Volt outlet, which, apparently, is exclusively for charging cell phones if the accompanying warning sticker is to be believed. The scoot also features a full suite of gauges on its instrument panel including speedo, tach, fuel, temperature, odo, and trip. A parking brake adds peace of mind when parking on an incline.

The 500Ri is not light, with a claimed dry weight of 473 pounds, it’s squarely in mid-size motorcycle territory. To reign in all that mass, the Kymco needs some quality brakes, and, fortunately, it has them. The Xciting features a dual-front, single rear disc Bosch braking system with ABS. Levers on both handlebars activate the system, the left hand lever (where the clutch would normally be) operates both the front and rear brakes, while the right hand lever brakes only the front wheel. The brakes are strong, easy to modulate, and confidence inspiring.

The only issues I had during my time with the Xciting 500 were minor. Once it inexplicably died on me at a stoplight, only to start back up immediately at my first jab of the starter button. Also, it seems to be endowed with a very sensitive horn, which resulted in the accidental startling of more than a few innocent bystanders. Its 3.38-gallon fuel tank is good for about 150 miles before you’re wishing you’d stopped at that last gas station.

Navigating Greenville’s urban environment, Kymco’s flagship feels right at home. The big scooters agility and power, along with its easy-to-ride persona, make it an ideal companion for daily commuting with the added ability to confidently eat up miles of super slab, or even head out for a weekend of touring. This versatility combined with a low price of $6,899 makes the Xciting 500Ri ABS an interesting alternative to both smaller, less capable scooters and larger, more expensive motorcycles.

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