Yamaha’s Zuma and Aprilia’s Rally 50 are the nicer machines, but a Kymco Cobra Cross is still a nice pick up if you can find one for the right price.
Fast and reliable engine
Lots of aftermarket parts
Front disc brake
High seat height
High MSRP ($2399 in 2004)
KYMCO COBRA CROSS / RACER
Kymco’s Cobra scooter made its North American debut in 2001 when Kymco entered the USA market. The first version to arrive as the ‘Cobra Cross’ variant of this scooter and it was sold until 2004. The Cobra had been on sale since at least 1997 in other parts of the world, which is likely why it didn’t last too long in Kymco’s USA lineup. Outside the USA this scooter was sometimes called the ‘Top Boy’.
Kymco made two versions of their Cobra scooter, one aimed at street use and the other with a more off-road slant. The off-road looking version was called the Cobra Cross, while the street version was called the Cobra Racer or Cobra R. These two versions were quite similar, with the Cross model basically getting more aggressive tires and the hockey mask over the headlights. Some Cobra scooters had a larger 12” rear rim (vs. 10”) but it’s unclear which models got the larger rim. The Cross version was sold in the USA starting in 2001 and ending after 2004. The Cobra Racer was offered even more briefly, with just a short stint in 2002 – 2003. Information is hard to confirm for these rare scooters. Neither version was ever offered in Canada.
The Cobra used a 50cc 2-stroke motor, which was the same core vertical engine as the other 2-stroke 50cc Kymco models sold in North America. These engine sharing siblings include the Super 9, ZX 50, Sting 50, Agility 50 and Vitality 50 2T. The vertical engine is a clone of Honda’s AF18E motor created by Kymco when these two companies parted ways in the 90’s. This engine is also found in the hugely popular Honda Dio and Honda Elite SR, so accordingly aftermarket parts like big bore cylinders are interchangeable and easily found. The Cobra was commonly restricted via an electronic redline restriction and a spacer restriction in the variator. Top speed varied from state to state from 25-40mph, but it was capable of 45mph once derestricted. Read this ScooterBBS page for more info on derestricting the Cobra.
The Cobra Cross had an interesting style that was a blend between an off-road and a sporty look. The overall result looks fine, but you can tell that Kymco has made great strides in design refinement since the years of the Cobra Cross. The Cobra Cross has a vertical (tall) motor and a decent amount of underseat storage, which means that Kymco gave the Cobra Cross quite a high seat height of 33” (28-30” is normal). Accordingly, short legged riders should look elsewhere.
The most direct competitors to the Cobra Cross are Yamaha’s 2-stroke Zuma / BWs 50 and Honda’s 4-stroke Ruckus. All of these scooters have larger off-road tires and dual headlights. Aprilia also briefly competed in this niche, with their 2004 Rally 50 scooter. Like the Cobra Cross, examples of the Rally 50 are quite rare and popular with a small niche of owners.
The main downside of the Cobra Cross in 2004 was its high $2399 MSRP (vs. under $2000 for all of the previously mentioned scooters and $1799 for the Rally 50). It seems Kymco was fairly aggressive with discounts though, and the high MSRP was mostly a strategy to give them more room to offer deals. Kymco has come a long way in design refinement since the Cobra was designed in the mid-90’s. Yamaha’s Zuma and Aprilia’s Rally 50 are the nicer machines, but a Kymco Cobra Cross is still a nice pick up if you can find one for the right price.