May 3rd, 2006 – At long last, the much-anticipated Kymco Xciting has arrived at Scooterville in Minneapolis Minnesota. As soon as Bob had them un-packed, I rushed over, camera in hand, to have a look. Wow, this scooter certainly appears to have been worth the wait.
The highway legal Maxi-Scooter category has pretty much been the domain of the big Japanese companies, with a couple of Italian rides added to the mix. Certainly one of the most popular of these is the Honda Reflex, and with good reason – just ask pretty much anybody who owns one. For my purposes here, I am going to use the Reflex as a reference point for comparison with the Xciting, but one could probably consider the Yamaha Majesty and Suzuki Burgman 400 as well. Let me preface this by saying that I am not knocking any of these fine scooters, just trying to give my honest opinion… so no “hate” email please, as always, humorous bashing of me and my opinions is welcome.
The Honda Reflex is a 250cc liquid-cooled powered automatic scoot, as is the Xciting. Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) is available on the Reflex, and as it’s included on the Xciting, that’s the Reflex pricing I will be referencing. The Xciting also has dual front disc brakes and single rear disc, the Reflex is single front and rear. The Reflex has a one-year factory warranty, the Xciting has a two-year warranty. The quality of components and fit & finish on both the Reflex and Xciting is top notch.
So what’s the big deal about the Xciting? It’s $1,000.00 less expensive than the Reflex. At the time of this writing, the Reflex ABS is $5,999.00 and the Xciting is $4,899.00. For comparison, the Yamaha Majesty (400cc) is $5,799.00 and the Suzuki Burgman 400 is $5,699.00. In the title of this rambling, I put bargain in quotes because in my opinion none of these machines are in the impulse-buy pricing category. As such, bargain is a relative term.
Despite the scowling face (I find it reminds me of Eric Cartman’s “I hate you guys” face), Bob of Scooterville was obviously very pleased with this machine. It was Bob’s recommendation (along with the article in Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly) that convinced me to purchase a Kymco People 250 for my “touring” scooter. That acquisition has left me with nothing but good to say about Kymco. Will I be rushing out to trade in my People for an Xciting? Probably not. If I could talk my wife into letting me get an Xciting, maybe even selling her Vino in the process, would I do it? In a cold second. Being of normal height (as you can see in the picture, Bob is freakishly tall – I’d say six feet at least as opposed to the much more ordinary 5′ 8″ of a normal person) and rotund build, I don’t know if I really would tour two-up on the People or the Exciting. I do think they’d make a great his-and-hers pair.
Warning – Local Joke
OK, I’m sorry Ken. I admit that I’m jealous of your Stella, and that my relatively unadorned red one looks “blah” in comparison to yours. Oh, and, yes, the shiny helmet is very cool, gotta get me one of those.
Review of the Kymco Xciting 250
UPDATE July, 2009
For 2009, Kymco has added fuel injection to the Xciting 250 and raised the price to $5,249
Before I launch into my impressions of the Kymco Xciting 250, I should be up front about the fact that I own a Kymco People 250 – and am very pleased with it. I’m not just shilling for Kymco, but I do want to provide “full disclosure” from the get-go. I think my personal Kymco ownership allows me to speak from experience about this company.
If you don’t want to read through this whole thing (and I can’t say that I blame you – especially if you’ve read my ramblings before), I’ll save you some time. I like the Xciting 250. I think you’ll like the Xciting 250… IF you have an inseam of at least 30 inches (more on that latter).
I picked up the Xciting from Bob at Scooterville on a Friday afternoon and ran around the Twin Cities for a good bit. That evening, the Xciting got some highway time two-up. My wife Beverly and I rode from St. Paul to Cottage Grove for a bonfire put on by Kingsborough Homes, and then went on to Prescott and Hudson in Wisconsin before heading home to St. Paul. Saturday was solo-ride time for me, and then the Xciting went back to Scooterville.
Speedometer Reading and Fuel Useage
I used a (borrowed) Garmin GPS and found that the Kymco Xciting speedometer display was more accurate than most scooters. The speedometer indicated a speed that was about 5% optimistic. At an indicated speed of 60 MPH, the actual speed was just shy of 57 MPH. Overall fuel economy was right at 60 MPG. I did not do multiple tests of gas mileage and I was pushing the Xciting pretty hard. As you will see in the seat height picture, I an NOT a small person, and a lot of the riding was with my wife (who is pretty small). Even with “just me” on the scoot, I was pushing it pretty hard to get a good feeling for what it could do. I would expect that “normal” riding, with one person, would result in better fuel economy.
Features of the Xciting 250
The Kymco Xciting 250 has a 249cc 4-stroke liquid-cooled power plant, an automatic CVT transmission, dual front and single rear disk brakes and a host of other features. For the purpose of comparison, here is a chart of the 2006 Xciting 250 along side the 2006 versions of the Honda Reflex ABS, the Suzuki Burgman 400 and the Yamaha Majesty. The specifications listed came from the respective websites of the scoots listed.
Kymco Xciting 250
Honda Reflex ABS
Suzuki Burgman 400
Twin-sided Swing Arm
Single-sided Swing Arm
Single-sided Swing Arm
Twin-sided Swing Arm
Rear Shock #
120/70 – 15
110/90 – 13
110/90 – 13
120/80 – 14
150/70 – 14
130/70 – 12
130/70 – 13
150/70 – 13
As you can see, the Xciting 250 has the lowest MSRP $, the longest warranty, the tallest seat height, the most length (wheelbase), biggest tires, and smallest fuel capacity.
There are many well-thought-out features on the Xciting 250. The dash board includes a centrally located speedometer that indicates kilometers per hour on the outer ring, and miles per hour on the inner ring. As I mentioned previously, the indicated speed was about 5% optimistic compared to the actual. There are temperature and fuel gauges to the right, and a tachometer to the left. Yes, a tachometer on a CVT automatic scooter – maybe Kymco felt they needed it to give the dash “balance.” Just below the analog speedometer display is a multi-function digital display including a clock and tripmeter. The fuel filler cap is located to the lower-right of the dash. The ignition switch includes releases for the seat in several positions, a release for the fuel cap, a steering lock AND a shield. My guess is it’s supposed to offer extra security.
The dual front (and single rear) disk brakes provided plenty of stopping power for this 400+ pound scooter. Of course with me in the pilot’s seat, those poor brakes need to bring over 600 pounds to a stop and this they did without complaint. The brakes did not feel either light or heavy to me. In fact, I would say that the effort needed to operate them was just about perfect. There was no noticeable dive or fade.
Storage – If you are planning on touring with a Kymco Xciting, you will need to add some luggage. There are two small storage areas: one to the lower left of the dash that can handle a pair of sunglasses and other small items, and a… coin tray(???) at the tip of the seat. When I first saw this little bit of hard plastic I was concerned that it might make the seat uncomfortable (especially for the shorter among us). It didn’t. As it happened, I couldn’t think of a use for it during my test, but it did not interfere at all with comfortable seating. The storage area under the seat is somewhat shallow, but it gobbled up a 3/4 helmet just fine. During my Friday evening ride with my wife, we fit both of our armoured jackets under the seat. Bob at scooterville said there is a colour-matched rear trunk available for the Xciting and I would consider that a mandatory addition for any real touring. The battery is located in the “tail” and is accessible behind a plastic panel under the seat. There is also a light under the seat,a power outlet, and a mount for your mobile phone.
Let’s talk about accommodations on the Xciting. I found the seat to be firm, but comfortable. Frankly, I’d rather have a seat that’s a bit stiff as opposed to one that is too soft. There is a driver’s backrest that is adjustable. After lifting the seat, one finds a spring-loaded release near the toolkit that allows the back rest to be moved forward or back. My wife was less-then enthusiastic about the passenger seating. She found that the driver’s backrest “intruded” on her space. She also said that the plastic edge (or crease) of the side panel dug into her lower legs when she had her feet planted squarely on the pegs. The seat itself seemed OK to her. I would imagine that the fit for the passenger is going to vary considerably from person to person depending on physical characteristics and seating position preferences. I’m afraid my wife’s impressions were coloured by the raw terror she experiences when her wacked-out husband is “pushing the limits” of any powered two-wheeled device.
In looking around on the web and talking to other scooterists, the main comment about the Xciting seemed to be that is was a “tall person’s” ride. If you glance back to the comparison chart, you will see that the Xciting at 30.3 inches is the tallest with the Majesty next (29.5 inches), then the Reflex (28.3 inches), and the Burgman 400 being the lowest (27.4 inches). Of course none of these compares with the King – The Honda Helix at 26 inches off the road. While the scooters in the chart share a similar layout, one height difference is obvious. Look at the tire sizes. As one would expect, they pretty much follow seat height. The Xciting has the biggest rubber with 15 inch front and 14 inch rear tires. These big skins contribute to the distance from the ground and give the Xciting a remarkably stable ride.
My current riding stable includes a Kymco People 250, a Stella, and a Suzuki Bandit 1200S “old man’s” crotch rocket. I have owned several scooters (including an early Helix) and more motorcycles than I care to admit to. I have also ridden most currently available maxi-scoots. What I noticed right away on the Xciting was the smooth overall feel. The combination of a long (63 inches) wheelbase, big tires, and 400+ pound weight makes for a solid platform. I wouldn’t call the Xciting nimble in comparison to my Stella, but it was un-intimidating at slow speeds, seat height not withstanding. Once rolling, the weight of the scooter just falls away. Steering is responsive with no jitter or wobble at all. Thanks I am sure to those big tires. At speed the Xciting handles well and is as smooth as much heavier two-wheeled vehicles.
The Xciting started easily and quickly settled into a fairly smooth idle. I did not run any acceleration tests, but my seat-of-the-pants opinion is that the Xciting is a touch faster off the line than the Reflexes I have ridden and was about the same for roll-on speed. What about the top end of the speedometer you ask? With a 200+ pound pilot, GPS indicated 79 mph on a flat stretch. A lighter pilot would likely see just past 80 mph. With the aforementioned pilot and his wife on board, the top was 75 mph.
Part of my test ride involved some twisties and hills on the run between Prescott and Hudson. The Xciting demonstrated very competent handling and offered a spirited but not sporty ride. At no point did I feel “under-vehicled” on this ride.
Fit and Finish
One word: outstanding. The coloured body-work is glossy, all the pieces fit well with each other, and the components appear to be of very good quality. Of course the real test is time. After a season of doing my best to break my People 250, I can say that Kymco’s reputation for quality is well-deserved. I believe that the Xciting will prove to be the equal of the major Japanese manufacturers in quality and reliability.
This is where the Kymco Xciting really shines. With twice the warranty period of the other scooters in our comparison chart, the Xciting is still the least expensive to purchase. Granted, Kymco does not have the dealer network that Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha do, but the brand is still relatively new to the US marketplace. According to Bob at Scooterville, Kymco’s support and parts availability has been excellent. Not having had a need for any warranty parts myself, I can’t speak to this. Yeah. Can you tell how upset I am that I haven’t needed any warranty parts?
Am I going to buy an Xciting 250? Probably not. I’m very happy with my Kymco People 250. (The Xciting 500 is another story – I’m working at this moment to get spousal permission to put money down on an orange one – for the two of us of course.) Should you buy an Xciting 250? If you want a maxi-scooter in the 250cc class that is an exceptional value AND it fits you – yes. I strongly suggest giving the Xciting 250 a close look, I think you’ll be as impressed as I was.
Oh yeah, the Xciting has a flash-to-pass trigger on the port-side handle controls that I never used to fire photon torpedoes at slow traffic….. never once.
The 500cc Version of the Kymco Xciting
UPDATE July, 2009
For 2009, Kymco has added fuel injection to the Xciting 500 and raised the price to $6,299
What a difference a few cubic centimeters makes!
Last year, I reviewed the Kymco Xciting 250 (see above) and was impressed with the quality and value of that machine. This year, the kind folks at Scooterville let me run around on an Xciting 500 for a few days. There are MANY similarities between the Xciting 250 and the Xciting 500, but let’s start with what’s different.
Engine – The 250 has a 4-Stroke, liquid cooled, SOHC (Single OverHead Cam) 249cc single-cylinder engine. The 500 has a 4-Stroke, liquid cooled DOHC (Dual OverHead Cam) 498cc single-cylinder engine.
Brakes – The 250 has front and rear disc brakes, the 500 has DUAL front and a single rear disc brakes.
Weight – The 250 weighs 407 pounds while the 500 tips the scales at 473 pounds.
Price – MSRP on the 250 is $4,899 with the 500 coming in at $5,999.
That’s pretty much it, the other specifications on the two models are virtually identical. Have a look through the “Features” section of the Kymco Xciting 250 review and you can basically just drop all of that into the 500 review.
Speedometer Reading and Fuel Usage
Like the Kymco Xciting 250, the speedometer on the Xciting 500 was surprisingly accurate for a scooter indicating about 4% optimistic. when the speedometer indicated 60 miles-per-hour, the actual speed was 57.5 miles per hour. Fuel usage was not as good on the 500 as it was on the 250, as one might expect. I did two mileage checks. The first one I was being sprightly in my riding…. OK, aggressive…. right, I was thrashing the scooter (don’t tell Bob at Scooterville). I got 46 miles per gallon. I also ran the scooter up to 100 miles per hour (don’t break the speed limit, really, just don’t do it, I’m a sicko and just can’t help myself) solo, and up to 90+ with my wife on the back. On the second check, I was riding “normally” and got just a shade over 50 miles per gallon.
The Xciting 500 is wonderfully balanced and feels great around town AND on the open road. I NEVER felt lacking in power. It doesn’t have quite the mid-range that a Suzuki Burgman 650 does, but it’s close. I think the Xciting feels as strong if not stronger than the Honda Silverwing. Especially for two-up riding, the Xciting 500 would be my hands-down choice over the 250 version. IF….. the additional $1,100 is not an issue. The Xciting 500 handles quite well and is very comfortable. Not quite as comfortable as a Burgman, but there’s another “money” issue involved there. A good friend who is a converted Harley guy (his wife purchased a Genuine Buddy Italia and he purchased a Vespa GTS 250) also rode the Kymco and could find only two complaints: The speedometer reads in kilometers on the outer ring and miles on the inner and he thought the ride was a touch firmer than he would like.
The Xciting 500 is an outstanding value in a Maxi-scooter. It’s closest competition would probably be the Piaggio X9 which is $500 more expensive and I am simply NOT convinced in the viability of parts and service in the long term for the X9. Next closest would be the Suzuki Burgman 650 which is $1,800 more expensive. Then there is the Honda Silverwing which is $2,000 more than the Xciting 500. If money were not an issue, my personal choice would be the Burgman 650 – it fits me better than the Xciting, probably because of my short inseam. Of course money usually IS an issue and for the price, I don’t think the Xciting 500 really has ANY competition.
Thanks again to Scooterville for letting me enjoy a few days on this wonderful maxi-scooter.