Now in its 54th year of manufacturing, Kymco continues to be a global leader in producing scooters and small motorcycles under its own name, and engines for the likes of BMW and Kawasaki. The last few years, the Taiwanese company has sold many side-by-sides and ATVs and has even won two GNCC and WORCS championships with these vehicles, but scooter sales have not been as strong. Arguably, when gas is cheap, scooters don’t sell as well. With the addition of four new models to Kymco’s extensive lineup, the focus drifts from economics to lifestyle. This strategy shift should sell more units, all while keeping dependability high and costs low.
I should know. Two years ago, an Xciting 500Ri ABS served as my daily commuter to the office along with some weekend jaunts. Hot summers and cold winters didn’t affect the maxi scoot. It really grew on me. The larger-than-life MyRoad 700i maxi was discontinued after a short life. Going in the other direction, Kymco’s four 2018 models are all sub-400ccs, with plenty of style. Whatever the size, it’s difficult not to grin from ear to ear when scooting around town.
Like 150i ABS
Featuring retro styling, the Like 150i ABS resembles the look of the classic scooter we all have in our memory banks. It’s about $2,400 less expensive than the comparative model from Italy, though. The scooter is super easy to ride with a twist-and-go automatic CVT transmission. Step-through design and a 31.1-inch seat height, illuminated under-seat storage, and a USB power outlet in the glove box add to the real-world joy of riding around town. Did I mention how much fun it is?
The air-cooled, 149.8cc engine is four-stroke, single-cylinder, and SOHC. Electronic fuel injection makes it easy to start the Like no matter the temperature or altitude and provides a smooth delivery. For added safety, front and rear brakes feature Bosch 9.1M ABS where the sensor weight is just 0.15 pounds. Front suspension has about 3.7 inches of travel, and the preload-adjustable rear has 3.4 inches of travel.
Plenty of fun with the right look, it gets about 89 mpg and costs $2,599 with a two-year warranty. Color options include white, blue, red, and gray.
Xciting 400i ABS
This may be Kymco’s best-selling scooter line—RoadRUNNER has toured and ridden the iterations so much that that’s what we believe, at least. The performance, handling, and highway chops have always drawn us to the Xciting. My beloved 500Ri ABS has been replaced with the 400i ABS, and based on the test ride, I approve. It’s still the best-performing maxi. I like curves, but while scraping hard parts can be fun, it’s nice to know this new model features a 42-degree cornering clearance. Sparks still fly. You just have to lean harder.
The 399cc engine puts out 35 hp at 7,500 rpm. The same twist-and-go transmission makes it fun to launch from full stops. Even passing is in the stars for this model, although it requires more planning than I’m used to on the high-performance motorcycles of today. ABS is on the front brake only. Overall, it provides ample stopping power.
A 15-inch front tire and a 14-inch rear tire, more than four inches of suspension travel, and a 3.3-gallon tank make the Xciting 400i ABS a worthy maxi scooter for touring duty. Storage under the seat can hold one full-face helmet. The LCD display included speedo, odometer, clock, fuel, and temperature gauges. Instead of a USB power source, it comes with a 12V outlet in the glove box. Fuel economy is claimed at 64 mpg, but it’s too much fun not to grip a handful of throttle, which certainly impacts this figure.
The best version of the Xciting yet costs $5,999 with a two-year warranty.
X-Town 300i ABS
Kymco’s People GT 300i was also one of my favorites. It had old-school styling with the most oomph. Now it’s being replaced with the X-Town 300i ABS, which looks similar to the Xciting but differs in specs. The X-Town has a 276cc engine producing 23 hp at 8,000 rpm, one-inch-smaller wheel diameters, and 37-millimeter half-length fork legs for the front suspension, but still offers the Bosch 9.1M ABS system. It’s about 20 pounds lighter. On the road it rides like the Xciting 400i ABS, considering the similar specs, but the smaller displacement left me wanting more get-up-and-go.
It costs just $3,999 with the same two-year warranty, and comes in black, white, silver, and gray.
Spade 150 Motorcycle
We saw the Spade at a motorcycle show last year, and it was exciting to finally ride it. The model aims to capture the enthusiasm for the small-bore motorcycle market first exploited by Honda’s Grom. The Spade 150, though, is the first production retro-minibike. The seat height is just 28 inches, meaning everybody can ride one, or at least sit on it. Unlike the other three new models, the Spade has a five-speed transmission. The single puts out 8.8 hp but weighs just 266 pounds, ready to ride. Like other minis, it’s perfect for customization. While others lean toward racing and performance, the Spade begs to be made into a café racer, a scrambler, or whatever else people dream up. One website, www.mnnthbx.com, already has several aftermarket parts.
The Spade 150 is listed at $2,999, and gets an impressive 91 mpg with its 1.6-gallon tank. Color options are white, brown, black, and blue.
Kymco makes such a wide variety of scooters, there’s something for everybody. For the low cost you pay for one, you are rewarded 10 times over. The smaller scoots are also great for giving non-riding friends and family a taste of the two-wheeled world. The K-Pipe 125 mini motorcycle, for example, costs just $1,999!