Kymco’s UK operation offers a range of scooters (commuters, maxis, and electric), ATVs, and a single motorcycle.
Well-respected in their home country of Taiwan, Kymco is considered by some to have a better pedigree than some other east Asian import brands.
Their historical association with Honda and recent collaborations with BMW and Kawasaki may be responsible for this perception.
Either way, we had a chance to ride many of their machines in Taiwan – a place with sweltering heat, tropical rainstorms, and plentiful mud. The Kymcos we rode held up remarkably well.
We only wish they would sell their Kymco KTV motorcycle over here. It’s a 70’s-inspired enduro 150cc, based on a design that the Taiwanese military use. And it’s cheap, reliable fun.
With their brand building in the UK, we thought it was time to take a look at the Kymco company.
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Kymco History – Who Are They?
The Kymco company started as an overseas Honda manufacturing plant. Using technology and know-how from their Japanese operation, Honda invested heavily in Kymco throughout the 60s and 70s.
The Kaohsiung (Taiwan’s second-largest city) based company became Honda’s primary overseas manufacturer of quality parts in the following decades.
The company had been producing their own line of motorcycles in addition to its contract work for Honda. After 28 years of close collaboration, Kymco bought out Honda’s stake in the company in 2003.
After the acquisition, Kymco began to focus on its own motorcycles and building its brand globally.
They have also built engines for BMW enduro bikes and collaborated with Kawasaki to produce a scooter over the last 20 years. They also make the optional range extender for BMW’s i3 car.
Parts And Reliability
Kymco machines have a reputation for reliability. Shockingly, for a brand that isn’t well known, Kymco is the 4th largest scooter manufacturer in the US, 3rd in Italy, and 2nd in Spain. In these territories, the brand has an excellent reputation for hassle-free miles.
They also offer a 24-month, unlimited miles warranty, so long as you have your bike serviced at one of their recognised dealers.
And that network of dealers in the UK is healthy and growing each year.
We’ve heard of some people running into problems when trying to order parts directly from Kymco to do the work at home – wrong parts, poor communication etc. But if you bring your machine to a registered dealer, you’ll have few, if any, hassles.
The Kymco Range
Kymco Super 8 50
The Super 8 is a decent-looking 50cc scooter that keeps things simple. Like with most 50cc scooters, there’s not a huge amount more to say about Kymco’s learner legal offering. It does have a large range of aftermarket customisation options which are always popular. And it does feel good to ride. Nice.
Its engine pushes 1.9hp and is capped at 28mph. But it gets up there swiftly and smoothly and compares well to other 50cc bikes in terms of power.
A front disc and rear drum brake are plenty to stop this lightweight scooter. The telescopic front fork and swingarm unit rear suspension feel perfect for the average 17-year-old.
Kymco Agility City 125
A tried-and-tested commuter design, the Agility City, isn’t original, but it is a good deal.
The handling is decent, too, with its 16-inch wheels, stable riding position, and wide bars. And while it isn’t particularly powerful, topping out at about 60mph, it gets up to 30 nimbly and smoothly, finds its sweet spot at about 55, and will struggle a bit after that.
Underseat storage is decent, as is the lock to secure it. Single disc in the front and rear are combined to meet Euro 5 requirements. They are more than enough to stop its 114kg.
Overall, this is what you want in a value scooter. Most of the time and effort has gone into reliability and fuel economy.
Kymco AK 550
Though we struggle to describe the different minutiae of maxi-scooters, we know this is a style we like. Without a flat footbed, this kind of machine can have a more aggressive look while retaining the laidback seating position.
The AK 550 is a rare thing – a cool-looking maxi. It wouldn’t look out of place in 1988’s sci-fi anime classic, “Akira.”
The lowest centre of gravity in its class and a near-perfect 50/50 front-back weight distribution make this a joy to ride.
At 226kg, it’s not particularly light. But that perfect weight distribution and low seat make it feel glidey.
Quality, upside-down forks, Brembo calliper, and dual disc brakes make for excellent cornering and stopping power. The liquid-colled, dual-cylinder engine can push out an impressive 52.7hp too. This is a powerful unit.
Kymco Xciting S 400
The Xciting is a full-featured maxi-scooter with excellent weather protection. Billed as a “sports touring” scooter, this machine is geared towards comfort with a slight focus on fun. The ride is undoubtedly smooth, with the single-cylinder, 400cc engine delivering steady power with a max of 35.5hp.
Kymco has upgraded the hanger axle from the previous model. This increases rigidity and results in better handling at high speed.
Like most maxi-style scooters, this aims to rival a car in terms of comfort and performance. Comfort-wise, this scooter is a success. Everybody is different, of course. But many will find the Xciting to be armchair-like.
The adjustable windscreen and extensive fairing do a great job of keeping the weather off you.
Kymco VSR 125i CBS
Similar to Yamaha’s YBR, the VSR is a lightweight, fuel-injected 125cc motorbike aimed at the commuter market. It uses some aggressive styling in its fairing and sump guard. But at its heart, the VSR is a reliable commuter with no real standout features other than its low price point.
It weighs in at about 122kg. This means its 10.3hp is enough to feel some torque at lower speeds.
City and country lane riding will feel fun. Flat-out speed for a light, aerodynamic human might get up close to 70mph.
Thankfully, the combined front and rear disc brakes are on point, allowing you to burn speed quickly.