The Taiwanese company KYMCO is continuing to build its brand in the U.S. with a succession of new model releases that are designed to fit enthusiasts’ budgets as much as their needs. And with the aftereffects from an economy still a little skittish from the big dip in ’09, KYMCO seems to have hit its stride by offering excellent value along with a build quality that consumers want and dealers can happily sell.
KYMCO recently invited the press to sample its 2014 models — a maxi-scooter, the MyRoad 700i, and its new, more powerful side-by-side, the UXV 700 series — in a setting that seemed, well, out of this world. The Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colo. served as the home base during the launch event, which proved to be an ideal location to show off the attributes of both its off road and on-road vehicles. If you like twisty roads with sweeping curves and breathtaking views – you’ve got it. And, equally, if you like pounding around in the dirt, riding up and down Moab-like trails – you’ve got that as well.
Many of the critiques from riders at previous model launches were improved upon or completely upgraded on the side-by-sides. Small details such as drive axle switches and locks had been redesigned for better utility than the previous models, and a new, lighter and more powerful engine was added. And while the maxi-scooter is not exactly a new model, it is new to the U.S. market. Arguably there may be better handling and more powerful vehicles available, but not at the same price-point and with modern aesthetics and features normally found on premium models from brands that are firmly established in North America.
But make no mistake — KYMCO is no newcomer to the powersports market by any means. In fact, its work building powertrains and even complete vehicles for other OEMs may make them seem vaguely familiar to some powersports consumers. KYMCO originally made parts for Honda but set off on its own in 1963, and is today the largest scooter manufacturer in Taiwan with exports to more than 80 countries worldwide. The company manufactures scooters, motorcycles, ATVs and side-by-sides at its main facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and in other plants in Asia. KYMCO USA serves as the company’s U.S. arm, based out of Spartanburg, S.C., and works extensively with the parent company to help create products for the wants and needs of North American consumers.
During last year’s introduction of the UXV 500, most comments were for more power even though the 36 hp 500 proved surprisingly capable of handling many types of terrain. But the first impressions of the UXV 700 engine, which comes in as a 695cc single with electronic fuel injection rated at 45 horsepower, is that it hits the sweet-spot of being powerful enough without begging for more … at least until the next redesign. KYMCO says that the new engine is actually a little lighter than its 500cc engine that produces 36 horsepower. The new side-by-sides come in a number of trim options including a more stripped version called the Turf that is aimed at the lawn and garden segment. Customers looking for a workhorse that can also be used for fun will enjoy the more decked out versions in the LE or SP trim.
First impressions of the MyRoad 700i scooter are that it’s a very large machine. It weighs in at just over 600 lbs. and seems more like a motorcycle than a scooter due to its size. But a motorcycle of this size hardly offers the creature comforts this scooter packs. There’s almost 13 gallons of storage under the seat! The 700cc engine is also the largest in the maxi-scooter segment, just a tad larger than BMW’s new 650ccc scooter engine, which is, coincidentally, built by KYMCO. The 699cc DOHC twin comes in at 59 hp and a respectable 46 lb.ft. of torque. The CVT transmission makes it a breeze to ride without worrying about what gear to select next. However, the loss of engine-braking means the brakes work harder. But that’s not a problem as the four-piston front calipers and two-piston rears are fitted with ABS.
KYMCO officials said that the MyRoad 700i will only be available in white and will most likely appeal to older riders who either want a second bike or who don’t want to be bothered with shifting or lifting a leg over a gas-tank anymore. With its size and power, it can carve through either twisty country roads or through city traffic and still have plenty of pep to keep up with other vehicles.
One thing seems clear from the launch event: KYMCO really did its homework and dealers should reap the rewards.
Retail Price $9,699
DOHC 4-Stroke Parallel Twin 8 Valve w/EFI
Bore x Stroke 76.9 x 75.3
Horsepower 59 hp @ 7250 rpm
Torque 46ft [email protected] 5500rpm
Synerject (Throttle Body) EFI
CVT automatic transmission
Double cradle frame design
Front Suspension: KAIFA 41mm dia. telescopic fork with S, M, H electronic damping, upper and lower triple tree
Rear Suspension: KAIFA twin shocks with with S, M, H electronic damping
Tires-Front: 120/70R15 M/C 56S , Radial Tubeless
Tires-Rear: 160/60R14 M/C 69H , Radial Tubeless
Brakes-Heng Tong, ABS-BOSCH ABS 9.0M
Front: Four-piston radial-mount calipers, 280mm discs with ABS
Rear: Two-piston caliper, 240mm disc with ABS
Dry Weight 608 lbs.
Seat Height 30.7"
Underseat Storage 13.2 gallons
Fuel Capacity 4.0 gals.
Instrumentation Analog Speedometer and Tachometer Digital Odometer, Trip meter, Clock, Fuel & Temp. Underseat 12 Volt accessory outlet.
Available in white only
2 Year Factory Warranty
Side-by-Side Models UXV 700i LE
Retail Price $11,399.00
SOHC, 4-Stroke, 4-valve w/EFI
Displacement 695cc, liquid-cooled
Bore x Stroke 102x85mm
Synerject (Throttle Body) EFI
Drive System 4×4
Transmission CVT Automatic H-L-N-R-P W/Differential Lock
Rear-Wheel-Drive Shaft Drive and on demand 2WD/4WD
Suspension-Front/Travel Independent Dual A-Arm/7.5"
Suspension-Rear/Travel Independent Dual A-Arm/7.5"
Shocks Adjustable Oil Dampened Shocks
Frame Pipe Under Bone
Front Hydraulic Disc
Rear Shaft Mounted Hydraulic Disc
Parking Hand Brake
Claimed Dry Weight 1188.4 lbs.
Ground Clearance 12.2"
Fuel Capacity 8.45 gal.
Front Rack Optional
Rear Cargo Box/Rack Standard Tilting/420 lbs.
Towing Hitch Standard/1200lbs.
Headlight Dual LED
12 Volt Accessory Outlet 12V10A
Alternator 12V 310W 10A
Standard Equipment: Aluminium Alloy wheels, 3,000lb. Winch, Hard top, Soft enclosure, Full Windshield, Tilting cargo bed and Dual beverage holder and Standard 2" receiver hitch
Onboard Storage Under front hood, locking glove box and under seat
Colors Metallic Silver
Warranty 1 Year Factory