Suzuki 650 Burgman, there, I said it. Pretty much the King of the maxi-scooters available in the USA. Honda Silverwing? Yeah, it’s a decent machine, but just falls a little short of the mark made by the Burgman. Yamaha Majesty? Really? PLEASE, it’s “just” a 400, not in the same class as the big Burgman. Well, what about the new BMW maxi-scooter(s)? Funny you should mention those. Let’s just say that the BMW C600 Sport and C650 GT contain a significant amount of Kymco components. This brings us the “new” Kymco MyRoad. Why the snide quotes around new? Kymco has been promising us the MyRoad since 2010. Now it’s really here as a 2014 model, not really new though.
This review began with going through the pre-delivery process on the MyRoad 700i. In fact, Bob Hedstrom, the owner of SCOOTERVILLE, was kind enough to call me and announce the arrival so I got to assist in the uncrating of the new scooter. I took the MyRoad on a rainy Friday, rode it through a gorgeous late summer/fall weekend, and brought back to Scooterville on Monday. Does the Burgman 650 have to worry about losing its crown? Probably not. Though there are some great features to the MyRoad, it’s a swing-and-a-miss at knocking the Burgman off the throne.
Before I go any further, I should say that I do own a Burgman 650 and am utilizing my experiences with that particular machine as a comparison to the MyRoad. My Burgman is older with some scrapes, dings and miles, so I’m not comparing “new-to-new” in this instance.
Speedometer Reading/Speed/Fuel Economy
I installed the base for a GPS mount under the port side mirror and began my data accumulation. The first thing I noticed was an unusually accurate speedometer on the Kymco MyRoad 700i. The VAST majority of scooters I test have speedometers that are at least 10% optimistic and some are nearly 20% optimistic. The MyRoad 700i was just 5% optimistic. At 20MPH indicated, the actual speed was 19MPH, at 40MPH indicated, actual was 38MPH and at 60 MPH indicated actual was 57MPH. The speedometer, which is analog, shows miles only with no provision for kilometers. The digital odometer can show either miles or kilometers. The odometer was spot-on. My 24.3 mile test (GPS verified) indicated exactly 24.3 on the odometer.
Top speed was beyond my ability to verify for this review. I did take a nice, long run on some very lightly traveled Wisconsin back roads and saw 103MPH on the GPS on one stretch, but at these speeds I’m not willing to risk the ticket or traffic incident to find the real top end. Suffice to say that it’s certainly over 100MPH.
During my review, fuel economy was 47MPG. Not great, but not bad. Remember, this is a new machine that’s not broken in yet AND I’m not a small guy AND I’m riding fairly hard AND I’m carrying a passenger during part of the review. Get a 165 pound rider, alone, doing normal highway cruising with a broken in scooter and I would expect over 50MPG which would be very good for a machine of this size.
There are lots and lots of great features to the Kymco MyRoad 700i. Lighting is excellent. Three quartz halogen headlights (two low beam, one high beam) make certain you’ll see what’s in front of you in low-light/dark riding situations. FOR ONCE the USA-mandatory added on front turn signals are awesome. There are places for integrated turn signals in the front fairing, but here we get very nice mirrors with turn signals in them. The rear signals are integrated with the rear light package.
The dash is large, easy to read, full of information and well laid out. There are two large analog dials, speedometer (in miles) to the left and a tachometer with a temperature gauge to the right. Between them is a multi display digital center that includes a fuel gauge, clock, odometer, trip meter, and buttons to control the display and to select miles or kilometers. There is also an indicator, SMH, for the electronic rear suspension (soft, medium, hard). On either side of this main display are indicator lights for all the usual stuff one would expect like low fuel, oil, service, ABS, battery, and so forth. The hand controls are in the usual locations with the addition of a flash-to-pass switch by the left index finger and a suspension mode button next to the starter on the right side. On the lower fairing by one’s right foot is a manual parking brake.
There’s a good-sized and handy glove box to the left. Right next to that is a lever to release the passenger footpegs. In the center is the multi-function switch with a luggage hook below that. To the right is the fuel filler door which is opened by the key from the multi-function switch. Be careful filling the MyRoad, I had messy splash-back twice when filling too fast. At the very front of the seat is a small compartment and the underseat storage is considerable. There’s a light under the seat to help you see what you’ve stuffed in there. The space opens up under the grab rails and has a cut-out in the seat pan to accommodate a helmet. I couldn’t get two huge helmets under there, but did manage to easy get my melon-head three quarter helmet, armoured jacket, gloves and more small stuff all wadded up and secure under the seat. I could not fit my giant man-purse (messenger bag) under the seat as it narrows in the middle too much to accommodate anything large and rectangular. The MyRoad simply begs for a large topcase. SHAD has a topcase mounting kit available for the MyRoad, SHAD part number KOMY72ST, that would allow the mounting of one of their fine larger cases, preferably with a backrest. I’d likely go for the 48 liter I have on my Kymco People GTi 300. The backrest is a “must have” as we’ll see under “Ergonomics” in this review.
The Kymco MyRoad 700i is a big ol’ beast and one feels its size when riding, especially at lower speeds. Riding the MyRoad also introduces one to the scooter’s best feature – a wonderful powertrain. The MyRoad starts instantly and settles into a smooth idle quickly. Not only do I love fuel injection, a good twin-cylinder motor is also much smoother than the standard single-cylinder scooter “thumper”. MORE than sufficient power is available throughout the speed range with the exception of take off from a stop. The slightly boggy launch is more a function of the transmission set up than the engine, but once one is rolling a twist of the throttle results in immediate forward thrust. I expected the 700cc twin to have wonderful upper end performance, but was pleasantly surprised by mid range and roll on. The pounds-per-horsepower of the MyRoad is a little over 10. I expected it to be faster than my Burgman which is 11 pounds per horsey, but was impressed none the less.
It was raining when I picked up the MyRoad, and I hit a short downpour on the way to my office. That gave me an opportunity to check out the ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) and it did just what’s it’s supposed to do – slowed me down quickly, in a straight line, with no drama. The rest of the review time was during gorgeous weather and I found the brakes to be strong, progressive and easy to modulate. Rider protection during that rain was adequate but not all that good. The lower body is fine and kept a lot of rain off my legs, but the windshield is insufficient. The suspension is as good as it needs to be for a scooter of this size and has electronically adjustable damping. I tried the same “sprightly” road on all three settings – soft, medium and hard – and didn’t notice any difference. Once I had a passenger, however, I was glad for the firmer setting. At low speeds (30MPH and less) the MyRoad feels top heavy and wallows a bit when entering any input to the handlebars. At creeping speeds (5MPH and less) the weight of the MyRoad is VERY apparent, more so than on scooters like the Burgman. At speeds above 30MPH the MyRoad “lightens up” quite a bit and feels stable and firm. It still takes a distinct input to the handlebar to initiate a change in direction, but the wallowing is gone. The handling on my Burgman feels the same from about 15 MPH on up. The Burgman wallows at creeping speeds, but seems to smooth out sooner than the MyRoad. Once I got used to the amount of input required, the MyRoad was happiest on smooth, twisty roads at faster speeds. There are several Wisconsin back roads that have wonderful pavement, twisty turns, and big changes in elevation. Climbing those hills can be a bit challenging on other scooters, but the MyRoad ate up the hills like me and a bucket of chicken wings (trust me, that’s a lot of rapid eating).
I really didn’t find a major flaw in the performance or handling of the MyRoad, it’s faster than either the Burgman or the Silverwing. I haven’t had any time on the new BMW (and I’m not likely to), but I’m fairly certain the MyRoad is going to be at the front of the class for performance. HOWEVER, for most riders, performance is not the main focus of a maxi-scooter and that brings up to the ergonomics of the MyRoad.
We don’t ordinarily devote a section to ergonomics in our reviews, but this is the biggest weak spot in the Kymco MyRoad 700i and deserves to be covered in greater depth. The MyRoad is not Kymco’s first ergonomic swing-and-a-miss. There’s the Downtown, an otherwise fine machine marred by a seating position that is very limiting. A maxi-scooter, like the MyRoad, is typically intended to be utilized for touring over longer distances. Just about any ergonomic configuration can be tolerated for short urban rides. Spend 10 hours per day in the saddle of a scooter and any flaws will become glaringly obvious.
As part of the space program, a fair amount of ergonomic research was done in the 1960s and 1970s to configure seating for space flight. One of the results of this research was the necessity to have a certain degree of movement over longer periods of time. Without the ability to change positions, even in small amounts, the most perfectly customized seating can become agonizing over time. Apparently, Kymco is unaware of this. There is not sufficient room, for legs or buttocks, to find comfortable position variance over time on the MyRoad.
The image above is me, with a (barely) 30 inch inseam, sitting as far back in the seat as I can, showing the two foot positions. Not a lot of extra room, is there. When I’m riding long distances, I stop every 100 miles and get off the scooter or motorcycle and stretch, walk around a bit, maybe visit the loo, and like to sit in a (slightly) different position when I get back on the scooter. Usually, I sit more upright and on the center of the seat. Even with my relatively short legs, this results in a “folded” feeling for me. Add to the seat and leg room issues the low and too far back position of the handlebars and the MyRoad ergonomics become a real question mark in my mind. Just who is this supposed to fit? Get going to highway speeds, and the too small windshield causes buffeting that adds to the riding discomfort.
Frankly, at my size, the MyRoad ergonomics are close to working acceptably, but anyone with longer legs is going to have a tough go of it. On the plus side, the padding and structure of the seat on the MyRoad is light years better than the seat on the Downtown. It’s supportive and feels great, it’s just configured to be too far forward on the scooter. The handlebar position is a personal preference thing and lots of people like the “close” bar position. That being said, a better windshield and customized seat could probably solve the ergonomics of the MyRoad. My concern here is twofold: Why should a buyer who just spent $10,000 have to immediately invest further money to make his scooter rideable? To add insult to injury, there’s precious little aftermarket available in support of the MyRoad and Kymco scooters in general. I know a lot of Honda Silverwing buyers who aren’t happy with the OEM seat. They can go to Corbin, spend $500, and get a very comfortable replacement. Don’t like the windscreen on your Burgman? You can pick up a Givi replacement with nice wide flares on the lower part for $160. As far as I can ascertain, at this time one is left with “custom” as the only choice for the MyRoad. Take the seat off, visit a competent motorcycle upholstery shop and have them custom make padding and a new cover. Expect to spend up to $800. I can’t claim to have seen this seat firsthand, but have heard of a Kymco Downtown owner who sent his seat to Day-Long for custom work and invested $800 in making his scooter useable. From what I’ve heard, he now has a wonderful scooter that is a joy to ride.
Kymco has shown us with the MyRoad that they can make a good, comfortable seat. Now they just needs to get the positioning right or offer some affordable choices for buyers. I would consider the current configuration as the “short” seat. How about a “medium” or “long”? The Kymco Xciting (250cc or 500cc) has better ergonomics and a section of the seat that can be removed if the rider needs more space. The Xciting seat padding and cover are not nearly as nice as the MyRoad, but the Xciting seating position is much better. As to passenger accommodations, my wife was unhappy with the MyRoad. She’s unhappy with any seating position that has her out in the wind and without anything to support her back. The passenger pillion section of the current seat is so big that she swears two people could sit there. The buffeting that I felt from the too small windshield was severe turbulence for her. A backrest or topcase with a backrest would be a big help in passenger comfort.
There are some ergonomic winners on the MyRoad like the adjustable control levers and perfectly positioned mirrors. Overall, it’s the ergonomic flaws that render the MyRoad as an “also ran” in the race to maxi-scooter supremacy.
Fit & Finish
Some other reviewers have mentioned less than ideal fit and finish on the Kymco MyRoad. I did not find that to be the case. The body panels seams were even, the quality of the components appears high, everything is aligned gives the impression of a quality build. Some of the plastic feels a bit below the pinnacle, but nothing I encountered felt cheap or poorly executed. Having owned several Kymcos, it’s been my experience that they hold up well over time. I don’t see anything on the MyRoad to change this opinion.
Kymco MyRoad 700i vs. The Competition
I’ve selected the Honda Silverwing, Suzuki Burgman 650 and BMW C650GT for comparison. I own a Burgman and have ridden several Silverwings. I have no firsthand experience of the BMW other than spending time with one at a show. Got to have a good look, but no riding. The pricing shown on the comparison chart makes it clear that Kymco thinks it is competing on equal footing with Honda, Suzuki and BMW in the US marketplace. I do not believe this to be true. Those three brands are established in this market and generally accepted as marques of high quality and value. Most North American buyers still view Kymco as a second tier brand. Personally, I don’t believe this be factual. Kymco is capable of equaling the competition in build quality. However, my “facts” don’t have anything to do with the current perception of this marketplace and, as such, I believe the Kymco MyRoad is overpriced by about $700.
After spending a few days with the Kymco MyRoad I was very impressed with the performance and disappointed in the ergonomics and pricing. Yes, the Burgman 650 is more expensive. Yes, the MyRoad has an edge in performance. The Burgman is wonderfully comfortable over the long haul and is well established in this market. Kymco needs to bring us a MyRoad with much better seating/legroom and some windshield choices for about $700 below current pricing. Now THAT MyRoad would be on my short list of scooters to buy.
Again, a big THANK YOU to Bob at Scooterville in Minneapolis for providing the scooter used in this review.