Frugal, Funky and Fast

Kymco may not be a household name when it comes to scooters, but the company builds solid machinery and a two-wheeler that is downright Xciting!
-By Bill Heald

When it comes to saving gas, it’s hard to beat a scooter. But these sensible rides can be a bit weak on the performance front for those of
us who require serious sporting character in our mount of choice.

Enter Kymco’s Xciting 500Ri.

This new scooter is basically a performance-oriented sport bike concealed in a scooter body, yet it maintains all the attributes scooters are famous for (lightweight, automatic transmission, lots of under-seat storage, and a modest appetite for gas). This excellent city transport is also loaded with the kind of features that make it a truly classy ride, and an entertaining way to rail around town.

Naturally, you can’t get great acceleration without a fairly substantial engine, and the Xciting 500Ri has a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected single that delivers a lot of muscle for a scooter. It also has a little bit of attitude, so you can feel the engine more than a lot of the less powerful scooters, which are more like electric motors. But instead of being buzzy, the Xciting engine encourages you to thrash it and pass everything you encounter. The continuously variable transmission is flawless in operation and completely automatic (you just twist the throttle and go), and the brakes are not the average scooter fare. Up front the Xciting has dual petal-style discs that look like they were stolen from a racing motorcycle, and the single rear disc is linked to the front brake lever in addition to having its own dedicated lever. These levers are adjustable for different hand sizes, and the anti-lock braking system is a $500 option that is well worth the investment when you need to nail the brakes in wet weather.

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine type Liquid-cooled DOHC single
Bore x stroke 92 mm x 75 mm
Displacement 498.5 cc
Fuel system Electronic fuel injection
Ignition Electronic
Transmission CVT automatic
Front suspension Telescopic forks
Rear suspension Dual shocks
Front brakes Dual petal discs (ABS optional)
Rear brake Single disc (ABS optional)
Front tire 120/70 15
Rear tire 150/70 14
Fuel tank 3.38 gallons
Wheelbase 61.8 inches
Seat height 30.25 inches
Dry weight 473 pounds/488 pounds with ABS
MSRP $6,299/$6,799 with ABS

So, you can go and stop with great urgency, but how does she handle? Steering is light and quick, and yet there’s still plenty of high-speed stability for highway cruising and a cool sport windscreen to help keep the windblast off your chest. Telescopic front forks are balanced with dual rear shocks that adjust for spring preload. The upright riding position is comfortable, with an adjustable backrest and broad floorboards that allow a wide variety of riders to find comfortable leg placement. The passenger accommodations are likewise roomy, so those tall, leggy supermodels you date have no need to fret.

The Xciting has a bevy of useful features, including a generous under-seat storage area that has a hydraulic strut to ease access and even a small dome light. A glove box resides between your legs and boasts a 12-volt socket and holder for your cellphone. Hey, there’s nothing like a good measure of practicality and environmental friendliness in a machine that’s a blast to ride.

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