Kwang Yang Motor Company got their start in 1963 making parts and assembling bikes for Honda. In the October 1992, Kwang Yang Motor Co. decided to start the scooter brand Kymco, as a result of a desire to move into designing their own scooters. They used their initials (K.Y.M. company) to form the name Kymco. This new direction lead to a split with Honda as they were now a competitor. Kymco branched out on their own and has since been rapidly designing a large number of new scooters.
Kymco entered the USA market for the 2001 model year and the Canadian market for the 2005 model year. Since that time they have offered a rapidly improving and evolving line up of scooters. Kymco Canada and Kymco USA are run by different importers with BECO Motor International running Kymco Canada and Kymco USA initially being a joint ownership between the global Kymco company and STR Motorsports. STR Motorsports ran Kymco USA from its start in 2000 to 2007 when they sold half of Kymco USA to Kymco worldwide. In April, 2011 STR sold the other half, so Kymco USA is now entirely owned by Kymco global.
An STR Motorsports owned Kymco USA began importing scooters in 2000 as 2001 models. Information on these early years is hard to come by as Kymco USA didn’t even have a functioning website, but it seems Kymco offered 4 models for their USA debut: the ZX 50, Filly 50, Cobra Cross and the People 50.
The ZX50 (above left) and the similarly styled Filly 50 (right) were both sporty looking scooters with the ZX50 having 2-stroke power and the Filly 50 offering less power but better fuel economy with a 4-stroke engine.
The People 50 (above right) was more of a retro styled design but with larger wheels for stability. The Cobra Cross (above left) was a mix between a sporty and an off-road look that seems targeted at the popular Zuma/BWs market segment. Most of these models would be replaced or discontinued within a few years, as they were aging designs that were introduced in the mid-late 90’s elsewhere in the world.
The larger People scooters (150cc and 250cc) were seemingly added to Kymco’s lineup for 2002, but it is possible they crept in during 2001. Kymco sales were pretty slow for the first couple years, so these early models aren’t very common. The People scooters would go on to form an integral part of Kymco’s line for more than a decade.
The sporty Super 9 (shown at right) was introduced as Kymco’s top of the line 50cc scooter. Initially liquid cooled (Super 9 LC) and a cheaper air cooled (Super 9 AC) versions were offered but the liquid cooled version didn’t meet emissions after the first 2 years or so, so most Super 9’s out there are the air cooled ones. Both versions of the Super 9 use the same core engine.
Kymco also imported the ‘Racer’ version of their Cobra scooter for 2003, which was called the Cobra Racer or Cobra R. This scooter was the same scooter as the Cobra Cross, but with street tires and no wire grill covering the headlights. These Cobra Racer scooters were only sold for the 2003 model year.
Kymco introduced their Bet & Win scooters for the 2004 model year. Both 150 and 250cc models were offered and they used liquid cooled motors which was a first for Kymco in the USA. The Bet & Win series seem to have sold fairly well and they enjoyed a long run until 2008 in the USA and 2009 in Canada.
Kymco USA dropped their off-road inspired Cobra Cross scooter and added the sporty Vitality 50. The Vitality 50 started off as a 2-stroke, but a 4-stroke version would arrive in later years. Kymco also added the 250cc Grandvista scooter to their line up. The Grandvista 250 was similar to the Bet & Win 250 but more touring/highway oriented. The rest of the line up carried over unchanged.
North of the border, BECO Motor International started Kymco Canada and began importing the first models. Their 2005 debut lineup included four scooters ranging from 50cc to 250cc – there was two 50cc’s and two larger Bet & Win scooters. The ZX50 was their affordable 50cc option, while the Super 9 was the premium sporty 50cc option. The Bet & Win 150 and 250cc scooters rounded up the Canadian line up.
Kymco USA’s big news for the 2006 model year was the debut of the 500cc Xciting maxi scooter. The Xciting 500 was a big introduction for Kymco, as it was their first real maxi-scooter. The Grandvista 250 was a capable touring machine, but it wasn’t a full on highway devouring maxi like the Xciting 500.
Aside from Xciting 500 introduction, Kymco trimmed their lineup by dropping the aging Filly 50. The Filly 50 had been one of Kymco USA’s original scooters when they entered the USA market. It’s discontinuation ended the Filly’s USA run at five years.
Kymco Canada was still getting rolling in the new market. Their line up went unchanged for 2006 as they worked on expanding their dealer network.
Kymco USA expanded their line up for 2007 with the low priced Agility 50 & 125cc (left) and People S (50cc, 125cc, 200cc, 250cc) lines (below right) of scooters. The Agility scooters were introduced at a mere $1399 (50cc) and $1899 (150cc) which is an incredible value and led to their high popularity.
Also new for 2007 was a 250cc version of the Xciting maxi scooter. The lone casualty for 2007 was the aging ZX 50 which was dropped after a three year run, although it would continue to be sold in Canada for another year. STR Motorsports sold 50% of Kymco USA to Kymco Global this year.
For 2008 Kymco USA kept their existing lineup intact except for cutting the Bet & Win 250 from their crowded line up. In Canada, Kymco played catch up by introducing a number of models that were already available in the USA. The People S line (50cc, 125cc, 200cc) was introduced except for the largest 250cc variant.
Kymco Canada also began importing the Xciting 500 and the Vitality 50, both of which had been on sale for several years in the USA. Canadians received the updated Ri version of the Xciting 500, which boasted fuel injection and sporty accents. Americans would wait another year for the Ri.
Both Kymco USA and Kymco Canada made some major changes to their line up for 2009. Both countries added the all new Yager 200i (named the Frost 200i in Canada). The Frost/Yager (below right) was the first mid-size Kymco to not use the same aging motor found in all mid-sized (125cc – 200cc) Kymco’s previously. The new engine was 174.5cc and utilized fuel injection & liquid cooling which was big news from Kymco. Kymco Canada also added the retro styled 4-stroke Sento 50 (below left) and a 4-stroke variant of the Vitality 50.
In the USA, the Vitality 50, People 200, People S 50 / 125 and the Bet & Win series were all dropped, while the Sento 50, Sting 50, Super 8 50 & 150 and Yager 200i models were added. The Sento 50, Like 50 (below left) and Sting 50 scooters were an attempt to freshen Kymco’s 50cc line using new body styles on top of the same mechanics as other 50cc Kymco’s. With the large wheeled People and People S lines, what Kymco did was to reduce the overlap by keeping only the smaller People models (50cc, 150cc) and larger People S models (200cc, 250cc).
The Super 8 (above right) is a sporty scooter that seemingly was introduced as a replacement for the Super 9 in both 50cc and 150cc versions, but they were sold alongside each other for 2009. For 2008, just a 4-stroke version of the Super 8 50 was sold in the USA, but a 2-stroke version would be added in future years. Lastly, a sportier and fuel injected ‘Ri’ version of the Xciting 500 replaced the regular model.
Kymco USA dropped the aging Super 9 now that the newer Super 8 was selling well. The new Super 8 scooters used the same aging but reliable 4-stroke motors Kymco has been using for years.
Kymco Canada tidied up their product line by dropping the popular but aging Super 9, the People S series and the Bet & Win series of scooters. They added the Super 8 50 & 150 and the Downtown 300i (shown in orange). Unlike in the USA, Canadians were offered the 50cc Super 8 in a 2-stroke rather than a 4-stroke. Both 50cc Super 8 engines are older air cooled designs.
Kymco Canada kept their lineup unchanged for the 2011 model year, while Kymco USA added a larger 200cc version of the Like. Kymco USA also added the Downtown 300i that was introduced in Canada the previous year and offered a 2-stroke version of the Super 8 50 alongside the previously available 4-stroke version. While receiving fuel injection, the Like 200i still uses a smaller (163cc vs. 174cc) and older core motor than the Frost/Yager GT 200i.
In corporate news, STR Motorsports sold their remaining 50% of Kymco USA back to Kymco global in spring 2011, making Kymco USA now wholly owned by Kymco global.
At Kymco USA’s summer press event in South Carolina, the biggest news for 2012 was the new People GT 200i and 300i scooters. These scooter share extremely sharp styling that is perhaps the best yet from Kymco. The new People GT 300i uses the same advanced motor as the Downtown 300i, while the GT 200i uses an all new 205cc 4-valve motor with fuel injection. These scooters replace the People S 200 and People S 250 models.
Also sharing this new 205cc motor is a smaller version of Kymco’s Downtown scooter. The new Downtown 200i can be had for $400 less than the 300i model.
Another interesting idea from Kymco for 2012 is ‘LX’ versions of their retro styled Like 50 and Like 200 scooters. The ‘LX’ version includes a neat two color paint job and various chrome accents. It’s going to be a popular package amongst like buyers since it only adds $100 to the MSRP.
Several models were dropped for 2012 which are the Sting 50, Grandvista 250, Xciting 250 and 4-stroke version of the Super 8. It’s easy to see why the Sting 50 and Xciting 250 scooters were squeezed out of Kymco’s line up with all the great new models they are introducing. The 4-stroke Super 8 is likely not being offered since the 2-stroke version was far more popular in 2011.
Kymco USA is carrying over the Agility, Sento, Yager GT 200i and Xciting 500 models unchanged.
Kymco Canada made quite a few changes as well. Canadians are being offered the new People GT in only the smaller 200i size. Some of the biggest news for 2012 is the Canadian introduction of a new generation of Sento, which is being called the ‘New Sento’ and is available in both 50i and 110i versions. Also new is the Agility City 50, which is the first time Canadians have been offered an Agility model. The Agility City 50 is the same core scooter (frame and motor) as the Agility 50 sold in the USA, but the ‘City’ version receives larger wheels and a number of nice upgrades like a windscreen, rear case, nicer rims, integrated and more.
Kymco Canada is carrying over the Vitality 50, Super 8 50 / 150, Frost 200i, Downtown 300i and Xciting 500.
After a short three year run, the Sento 50 and Yager GT 200 made way for newer machines in Kymco’s 2013 USA lineup. The Sento 50 was being replaced by the new retro styled Compagno, which comes in 50i and 110i variants. If those sizes sound familiar, it’s because this is the same scooter Kymco Canada added for 2012 as the New Sento 50i and 110i.
Also for 2013 is an entirely new nameplate appearing in Canada and the USA – the Movie 150. Resembling the Super 8 150 more than anything else, the Movie 150 is a more subtle sporty model than the flashy Super 8. The Movie 150 boasts some neat features like disc brakes front and rear and LED tail lighting. As well, the Xciting 500 has been restyled for 2013 and boasts second generation Bosch ABS, which is now standard.
Finally, Kymco USA dropped the People 50 and 150 scooters, ending their runs at 12 and 11 years respectively. The People 50 had been a part of Kymco’s USA lineup since their 2001 entry into the USA market, but Kymco’s continual refinement of their scooter lineup spelled the end for these aging machines.
Besides the new Movie 150 and the updated Xciting 500, Canadians are also getting both sizes of the Like (50 & 200) for 2013.
After several years of cat and mouse, Kymco’s land yacht – the MyRoad 700i – finally lands on North American interstates. This biggest Kymco delivers the full range of maxi amenities at a price that undercuts Suzuki’s Burgman 650. The MyRoad is available in a single color (white in the USA, silver in Canada). With 61 horsepower available, the MyRoad makes quick work of any passing opportunity. It’s a solid competitor to Suzuki’s recently updated Burgman 650 which to this point hasn’t faced much competition. The MyRoad competes by undercutting Suzuki’s MSRP by about a grand while also delivering an impressively list of standard features from ABS to temperature sensors in the tires. MSRP is $9699 in the USA and $296 more ($9995) in Canada.
The rest of Kymco’s USA lineup carries over with only a few changes. The most obvious change is the new single headlight array for the Super 8 (50 and 150cc models), which is accompanied by new racing graphics covering most of the machine. The value oriented Agility also gets some flashy graphics and the MSRP for the rises $100 to $1599 – which is still probably the cheapest quality scooter you can buy in America.
The other noteworthy decision for 2014 was the omission of the 200cc variants of the People GT and Downtown. The 200cc versions have always been a little undersized for the highway and only a few hundred less than the 300cc versions, so Kymco is retaining only the 300 versions. Unfortunately for Canadians that means no more People GT as the 300 hasn’t been offered there.
The other Canadian omission for 2013 is the Vitality 50, which concludes its run at six years. Kymco has also shorted the name of the New Sento down to just the Sento for 2014, which might create a bit of confusion with the older Sento Kymco offered until 2011.
Kymco USA trimmed back their line to nine models for 2015. Gone are two 50cc’s (Compagno 50, Like 50), the Movie 150 and the Xciting 500. Most of these discontinued models were aging designs, but the Movie was new for 2013 and apparently not selling well at $3299.
The other big news for 2015 is the replacement of the Super 8 50 / 150 with the new Super 8 X and Super 8 R models (R shown). Both 50 and 150 sizes of the X and R are being offered in the USA, while just the Super 8 R 50 is coming to Canada and being sold alongside the older Super 8 150 model.
Despite sharing the Super 8 name with the outgoing model, these new scooters are based off the Agility platform and thus are entirely different from the departing Super 8. Rather they appear to be gentle re-stylings of the Agility to achieve a more aggressive look. The X is intended an off-road inspired model with rugged tires and camo paint, while the R is a sportier version with slick tires, colorful decals and naked handlebars. The good news is that Kymco was able to get the price down significantly to $1899 / $1999 (8R 50 / 8X 50) and $2199 / $2299 (8R 150 / 8X 150). At $1100 less than the outgoing Movie 150, the new 8R 150 should be a good seller.
Also new for 2015 is a 50th Anniversary Edition of the Like 200 (USA only). This variant commands a $100 premium for the gold paint and black stripe decals. Unlike the USA situation, Kymco Canada is returning for 2015 with most of their 2014 lineup intact. Only the Like 50 is being dropped without replacement.
Kymco USA dropped the MyRoad 700 from their lineup after two short year and brought back the Xciting 500 after a one year absence. Kymco also dropped the naked “R” version of its new Super 8 and is instead selling only the off-road styled Super 8X.
The rest of the USA line up carried over unchanged for 2016 aside from new color options across the board except for the Agility scooters.
In Canada, Kymco worked to make their line the same as what they offer in the USA. They discontinued the Agility City (which isn’t sold in the USA) and Movie 150, added the People GT 300i, cancelled the MyRoad 700i (which was also cancelled in the USA) and switched to the off-road Super 8X model instead of the sportier Super 8R. They also added the 150cc motor option for the Super 8X to match what is offered in the USA.
For 2016, the only difference between the Canada and USA lines was the lack of the Agility City in the Canadian market.
For 2017 Kymco focused their attention on their new K-Pipe 125 motorcycle and returned their scooter lineup unchanged from 2016 other than minor tweaks to the color options, such as a new yellow shade for the Super 8X and blue for the Like 200.
Kymco did improve the value of their Xciting 500 model for 2017 by reducing the MSRP from $6899 down to $5999.
Kymco was busy updating their scooter line for 2018. They took advantage of the growing popularity of the mid-sized maxi scooter market by replacing their Xciting 500 with a smaller and lighter (but not cheaper) Xciting 400 model ($5999). Still, that’s a sweet price compared to Suzuki’s new Burgman 400, which retails for $8g.
It’s hard to get too excited about being offered a smaller engine for the same price, but the new 400 engine is a high revving motor that comes close to the power output of the old 500 (35 vs 38 HP) while offering better fuel milage (55mpg), so there is at least an argument to be made.
Kymco also replaced their aging Downtown 300 and People GT 300 scooters with their new X-Town 300 model. The X-Town brings less power (23hp) than the outgoing models (28 hp) but makes up for that with a much lower MSRP of $3999 (vs $5599 for a 2017 Downtown 300) and supposedly better fuel milage. Value is what Kymco does best, so the new X-Town is well aligned there.
Also new for 2018 is a second generation of Kymco’s Like scooter which arrives as the Like 150 with a 149cc motor. For 2018 Kymco is selling this new model alongside the older Like 200 which is only slightly bigger at 163cc. Kymco has cut a few hundred dollars off the MSRP of the Like 200 (now $2499) but the ABS equipped second generation Like 150 still seems like the way to go at only $100 more ($2599).
Kymco’s Agility 50 and 125 models are being carried over unchanged, as are the Compagno, Super 8X 50 and Super 8X 150.