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★★★☆☆

“Have been riding my Kymco Xciting 500 for about 1...”

Written on: 08/06/2008 by ecmcdougall (1 review written)

Good Points
- Stable ride, even at high speeds
- Plenty of grunt, fast!
- Looks good, love the orange!
- Quiet
- Upright riding position.

Bad Points
- Kymco warranty not worth much.
- Stalls when cold
- Speedo not accurate
- Fuel gauge not accurate
- Seat a bit too hard
- Fuel economy
- Finding quality service.

General Comments
Have been riding my Kymco Xciting 500 for about 1 month now, time for a review.

First, the good:
It's been a blast to ride, it's heavy but surprisingly fast and very smooth. The upright position is good on the back, and it gives you "presence" on the road - you're able to look through the windows of even larger pickups ahead of you. The seat is too hard, but otherwise it's quite comfortable to ride, it's not fatiguing at all and requires very little muscle compared to a Honda motorcycle I rode many years ago. The controls are easy to use and in the right places except the horn - it's a bit too touchy and it's too close to the turn signal.

The engine starts very easily, and it's very quiet at idle and low speeds; great for my neighborhood. Twist the throttle and you get a satisfying growl; it's a single-lunger at heart and it sounds like it. It has a lot of "grunt" in the mid-ranges between about 20 and 70 MPH; I figure about 5-6 seconds to get up to speed. At 65 mph I'm using about 2/3 of the throttle; tach is at 6000 (redline is 8000).

Off the line it's slow, you won't be lifting the front wheel; it's like all automatic scoots.... but once the engine finally catches the back wheel it snaps your head back like a real bike. You'll still smoke just about anything on 4 wheels (although a Lotus definitely left me eating dust), anything with two wheels and a clutch and you're toast.

Fit and finish was ok, the panels and parts are well fitted and the paintwork was very good (but see my comments, below).

Now the bad:
A small fly in my otherwise tasty soup - the front fender (over the front wheel) spontaneously cracked and is now in the process of splitting itself in two; this started within the first 100 miles. Kymco is definitely not known for their warranty service, and they've pretty much told me I'm not getting a replacement because "it must be my fault". Sucks bobo, but as soon as I saw the split I knew they'd blame me, and it's my word against theirs. I'm repairing it with epoxy and a "Buy Suzuki" decal from the local bike shop. ;-))

The worst mechanical issue is it occasionally stalls when cold - it needs an adjustment to the choke (it comes off too quickly); unfortunately this is one thing that's not available (it's a sealed unit). Once it's warm it's fine, but a sudden stall while trying to turn a corner onto a busy road isn't nice.

Other problems are the speedometer and fuel gauge; these issues weren't unexpected, though, just about all the Kymco scoots have these problems as far as I can tell from my researches.

It's supposed to be a standard motorcycle speedo (it's an inductive type, unlike most scoots) but it's terribly inaccurate - with several hours of fine adjustments and tweaking I've finally gotten it to read 10 km/h higher than it's really moving; choices were that or no reading at all.

The fuel gauge is a joke, it doesn't budge until you're 1/3 down, and it's reading empty at 2/3 down. I don't bother looking for a gas station until the empty light is on, it means I still have a gallon left. Fuel economy is about 35-45 mpg depending on how I ride.

The only other negative I can come up with is service; it's hard to find a dealer willing to work on a scooter they didn't sell. Finding high quality service is even tougher. Kymco USA won't sell you parts (not even an oil filter) directly, it's a bit of a problem for those of us who have no Kymco dealers in the vicinity.

So, overall I'm giving it a 6, mostly because I got it for a lot less than MSRP; it's a lot better than the Chinese knockoffs I've seen, but it's not a Bergman either. I have no doubt it'll last a few years; it's not falling apart or anything, and when it comes time I'll be able to sell it for at least a bit and move on to a Yamaha, Honda or Suzuki.

Peace, y'all!