Overall, the ZX 50 has a solid motor and scores well for being practical with it's ample storage capacity and front disc brake.
Fast and reliable engine
Lots of aftermarket parts
Front disc brake
Glovebox & Underseat storage
2-stroke fuel mileage
High seat height
KYMCO ZX 50
The ZX 50 was part of Kymco’s original lineup in the USA when they entered this market in late 2000 and it was also part of the original line up in Canada for the 2005 model year. The ZX 50 was sold for six years in the USA (2001 – 2006) and three years in Canada (2005 – 2007). Elsewhere in the world, the ZX50 debuted as early as 1996 and was sometimes badged as the Scout.
Kymco’s ZX 50 scooter was their premier 2-stroke 50cc sports scooter in the early years of their North American presence, buit after a few years the Super 9 joined the ZX50 as an even sportier option. For 2006, the USA MSRP was $1799 which was several hundred less than the Super 9. Even still, the ZX50 sales were slow alongside the Super 9 leading to it’s eventual withdrawal from the market.
The air cooled ZX 50 is powered by a Kymco clone of Honda’s AF16E/AF18E engine. Kymco made a few tweaks with their version of this motor, so many aftermarket parts can be used from the Honda parts scene but not all. For one, the cylinder is angled upward at close to 15 degrees rather than being a true horizontal motor. The ZX 50 was usually restricted to about 38 mph via an electronic CDI/Rev limiter restriction and a restriction in the gearing. This motor was also used in the air cooled Super 9 and was similarly restricted.
To get rid of the electronic restriction, you can use an aftermarket CDI intended for a Honda AF18E/AF16E Dio scooter, or you can simply look at the wiring near the CDI and connect the light green wire to the dark green wire via a splice or soldering. Removing this restriction will increase your top speed to about 43 mph. To go faster still, you’ll need to remove the restriction near the variator. Doing this will get you a top speed close to 50mph. From here you can start doing performance modifications like lighter rollers, big carbs, exhaust and big bore kits if you want even more speed (and lower fuel economy and reliability).
Fuel economy for the ZX 50 is good for a 2-stroke. The ZX50 typically achieves 65-75 mpg under normal use, which translates to a plausible range of 90 miles.
Storage & Convenience
Kymco equipped the ZX 50 with a nice glovebox and a moderate amount of space under the seat. The vertical design of this scooters engine compromises the underseat storage space somewhat, but Kymco did a manage to free up a reasonable amount which comes at the expense of seat height. The seat of the ZX 50 is 31″ off the ground, which is an inch or two higher than the typical 50cc. Accordingly, riders with shorter legs may find this scooter too tall. The standard rear rack is a nice feature which can be well utilized with a top case or bungee cords and a bit of creativity.
Overall, the ZX 50 has a solid motor and scores well for being practical with it’s ample storage capacity and front disc brake. It’s a good practical choice for anyone who’s happy with the high seat height. The peppy engine and higher seat height make it well suited to taller/larger riders who are after a practical 50cc. The most direct competitors to the ZX 50 are the Yamaha Jog and Honda Elite LX / SR, both of which share similar sporty styling and 2-stroke engines. Compared to those scooters, the ZX50 is less common so the used part market is quite a bit smaller.
Kymco’s design refinement was also lagging quite a bit behind the Japanese back in the mid-90’s when this scooter was created, so the overall quality and refinement isn’t at the same level. The motor is a solid performer though and it’ll provided decades of reliable use if it’s well maintained. The Honda Elite SR/LX and Kymco ZX 50 both have proper glove boxes, which are quite handy and something the Jog lacks.