Scooters, big or small, are the only sector of motorcycling that’s enjoying a steady sales growth in South Africa. So, what’s the attraction? Well I’ve owned two for the past decade, so I need no convincing from anyone. They are though the easiest things to ride, carry shopping and sometimes contraband and, in the case of Asian countries, an entire family. That’s another reason to own one because the family can enjoy it as well, unlike an intimidating 200hp motorcycle. I certainly enjoyed my day out with these new Kymco models that are now available throughout SA.
Kymco is, without doubt, one of the most recognised scooter manufacturers in the world, and they work with and produce products for Kawasaki and Honda for example, enforcing the high-quality standards of their machines. They’ve been around since the early 1960s, so a wealth of experience is also in their stable. Now we can enjoy and own their refined scooters with six versions ranging from 125 to 550cc accommodating all wallets, thick or thin, don’t forget, if you enjoyed the title, to sing along to Sade’s famous song, as you read on, or maybe not? Bet you can’t get that out of your head now, sorry… smooooth operayder, etc….
So let’s start with the smallest and cheapest first, after all scooters are known to be a ‘cheap’ form of transport, right? Well just wait until I get onto the flagship 550 and you might think otherwise.
Kymco Agility RS125: The iconic shape of a small capacity scooter, which will surely be the fastest moving regarding sales at only R19,995. A reliable little machine with a four-stroke engine for the daily run to school, shops and other enviable journeys.
Kymco Like 125i: There’s no denying that this small red scooter is ideal for Red Riding Hood to get away from the big bad wolf, in style, because it has a blatant resemblance to a certain Italian brand, guess who? At R35,000 it’s not cheap but when seen you’ll appreciate the stunning finish, build quality and the highest cute factor of all six models here.
Kymco Grand-Dink 300i: An old model that we’ve had in SA before but with a few Kymco style refinements. If you don’t want to spend too much but want a strong engine for daily chores then it could be for you, if you have R49,995 that is. Either way it’ll be ultra-reliable that’s for sure.
Kymco 300i ABS: This version is 20k more that the basic 300i, but it is a much more refined option with ABS, better clocks and running components. It’s also quicker as well and should be for R69,995, but once ridden after the normal 300 you’ll appreciate the difference.
Kymco Xciting S 400i: Now we’re getting into serious scooter territory with their 400 and the Xciting name has been with Kymco for years. A powerful mid-capacity scooter with ultra-modern instruments and kilometre eating performance. At R99,995 it starts to bridge the gap between a motorcycle and scooter.
Kymco AK550: Obviously the ‘AK’ designation will bring many giggles but this R157,000 beast is a very serious machine to say the least. Beautifully made for the person that wants the best money can buy, and this is possibly the best executive scooter in SA, actually I’ll change that to THE best, so there.
Well there’re the six new offerings with Kymco electric scooters to follow soon, which makes sense. But for now, all of these are petrol and so easy to ride with their fully automatic platforms. I spent little time with the 125s and had more seat time with both the 300s, 400 and 550 options. The 300s are brisk scooters with high comfort levels and top speeds over 130km/h, which is more than enough with their small wheels. Perfect for everyday darting around in style.
However more style drastically appears on the super-cool 400 and 550. Not only do they have Bentley type finish on the bodywork, but both have this ‘Noodoe’ interface with your phone. Basically, you can load things onto the electronic dash like weather forecasts and messages from the devil of our lives, social media and much more. Check out their site for more information but it is the most impressive interaction I’ve seen with any scooter or motorcycle for that matter. The i-Podders will love and embrace it for sure.
I cherished both big scooters with the 400 being surprisingly a bit quicker off the line and wafting on to an indicated 168km/h, or over 100mph in English. It’s lazy and laid back with effortless cruising ability and so much more than a ‘mere’ scooter. Then the big AK 47 appears, er sorry, AK 550. Supreme comfort for their flagship with amazing and entertaining Brembo radial brakes and Metzeler tyres to reflect the price admirably. Combine this with superbike quality suspension and the ‘Aye Kay’ is without doubt the king of automatic transport. If you’re wondering how fast it’ll go, so did I. With a quick dip behind the screen 179km/h soon appeared and this scoot’ will easily become a competent touring bike for you and a passenger.
After reading this I bet you’re wondering how to get, own or test ride one because new brands inevitably struggle in this area. Well don’t because Kymco is a subsidiary of Yamaha SA and for now are sold at all of their large dealers, fantastic! So, to get things moving they’ll offer you a ‘free’ service plan for a year on all models, which is a splendid idea.
The return of an inspiring brand is good for SA on all counts and with the professional support of Yamaha on their shoulder’s assurance is guaranteed. So Kymco is back with more to come in the near future – still singing/humming the Sade song? Well you jolly well should be!
Go to www.kymco.co.za for more technical information or call Kymco SA on 011 259 7600 for dealer locations.