This past fall, Kymco USA debuted their entire 2010 product line in Asheville, North Carolina, and RoadRUNNER was there to get a first-hand look. Though the Taiwanese company's offerings range from 50 to 500cc, we naturally gravitated toward their flagship model, the machine most suited for the open road.
Our last miles on a Kymco were back in 2007 on the Xciting 500, which involved the previous generation, carbureted version. Overall, we were impressed. But with fuel injection now standard equipment, that opinion should nudge even higher.
The initial stab at the starter button proved that things have indeed gotten even better. The liquid cooled, 498cc single hummed to life in an absolute seamless fashion. Smoother cold-starts are a definite improvement.
Diving into the city's brisk, morning rush, we found that the electronic fuel injection (EFI) had definitely improved performance of this latest Xciting 500Ri. The mapping was spot on, delivered excellent throttle response, and provided rousing acceleration. Of course, the seamless CVT transmission is priceless in traffic and performed flawlessly. No shifting is required here, simply twist and go. Once out of town on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, we were able to further test the Xciting's handling on a variety of mountain twists. Despite a somewhat portly 473-pound professed dry weight, the XRi handles its heaviness quite well. Sporting telescopic front forks and preload adjustable dual rear shocks, the scoot sucked up all but the nastiest tarmac imperfections with ease and held up under hard cornering as well. In fact, dragging chassis parts occurred before there was any sign of instability.
Perhaps the most profound improvement we noticed over our previous test unit was the optional anti-lock braking system (ABS). Of course, the merits of ABS during sudden stop situations are well documented, but on a heavier scooter like the Xciting Ri, we found this feature came in especially handy on loose surface situations such as gravel, sand, or wet pavement. While this add-on to the package does run an additional $ 500, it will surely pay for itself if it prevents even one or two drops.
With a cavernous and waterproof under-seat storage compartment, finding room for gear is a breeze. But for those looking to stow even more, look no further than Kymco's accessory page to find quality Shad topcases as large as 45-liters. The Xciting has always been a fine touring scooter, but with the extra goodies of the updated Ri unit, it's even more road worthy. From a tourer's perspective, the Kymco Xciting 500Ri is a vastly improved machine and is now even more appealing for jaunts both cross-town and across the country.
The Xciting 500Ri was far from our only sample in Asheville. Here are a few other models from Kymco's 18-bike lineup that also piqued our interest.
Though known for their scooters, Kymco also offers a small motorcycle. The Quannon 150 sports a 149cc, air-cooled, single that features an electric starter and a five-speed transmission. Weighing just under 300-pounds, this mildly tuned lightweight would be a great first bike.
With sharp, modern lines, the Yager GT200i is an excellent choice for around town chores or a day ride in the country. Even limited freeway duty is not out of the question. A large under-seat storage compartment and built-in luggage rack add even more appeal to this four-stroke, 175cc multi-tasker.
Powered by a new fuel injected, four-stroke, four-valve, 300cc single, the Downtown 300i should be the perfect choice for those looking for extra passing power without the extra weight. Look for the Downtown to be in dealerships later this summer.
Price $ 6,299 ($ 6,799 ABS)
Engine DOHC 498cc 4-stroke single with EFI
Transmission automatic CVT
Front Suspension telescopic fork
Rear Suspension dual preload adjustable shocks
Brakes Front twin disc, 2-piston calipers
Brakes Rear single disc, 2-piston calipers optional ABS available
Seat Height 30.5in
Fuel Capacity 3.38gal
Dry Weight 473lbs