With a scooter market of less than 30,000 units from major manufacturers a year*, the USA isn’t much of a thing for scooters, and medium-displacement scoots like Kymco’s new $3,999 Xtown are even less of a thing since Honda dropped its PCX 300 and Suzuki fired its Burgman 400. I got to ride the new Kymco Xtown 300i ABS last week, a scooter that replaces two similar-sized models in the Taiwanese company’s line and offers solid value to the scooter rider that wants comfort, convenience and freeway-friendly power.
For 2018, Kymco also offers the bigger, faster – and $2,000 pricier – Xciting 400i, but has also dropped the Downtown 300i and People 300i from the line. That means the Xtown offers a value-friendly alternative to the Xciting, scaled down in performance but still a solid multi-purpose scooter.
Like its big brother, the Xtown uses a steel-tube frame, plastic bodywork and a four-valve, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected Single. Kymco claims about 23 hp at the crank, not bad numbers for a 275.6cc mill, numbers that should get you to 75 mph or more on the open road. Front braking is a pair of ABS-equipped three-piston calipers, but the rear lacks ABS. The scooter is big but manageable, with a 30.7-inch seat height, 60.8-inch wheelbase and a claimed dry weight of just under 400 pounds.
Kymco let me ride the new 300 around Asheville, North Carolina, and I found a willing accomplice for all-day scootering fun. It’s not the fastest scooter around, but it’s got more than enough pull to make the holeshot in city traffic or carry you and a friend on an all-day adventure. The motor is buzzier than its 400cc bigger brother, but wasn’t rough enough to be an issue.
Handling was a pleasure. If you’ve ridden a twist-n-go scooter from just about any Asian manufacturer, you’ll feel familiar with its back-heavy, front-light feel, but it’s light enough and stable enough to give you the confidence you need. Low speeds are especially easy, with wide bars and a tight turning radius. Braking performance was decent, but the best brakes are in front, where they have limited utility compared to a motorcycle due to the scooter’s rear-heavy weight distribution. Still, quick stops are easy enough using proper technique – both brakes, every time – and the Taiwanese Maxxis tires supplied grip and confidence on the wet, slick, North Carolina roads.
Comfort and amenities won’t disappoint. The stowage compartment is roomy enough for a full-face helmet and other gear, plus there’s a 12-volt outlet ready to charge your devices. Instrumentation is comprehensive, including a tachometer, fuel gauge, clock and even ambient temperature. The wind protection is good, although we didn’t go fast enough to see if there was any buffeting. I found the seat foam too squishy for my taste, and larger riders may feel cramped on the 300. A 3.3-gallon tank should set you up for some long rides, given the 300’s claimed 69-mpg fuel economy.
At $3,999, the Kymco is clearly a leader in its class…which may be a class of one, though Suzuki’s $4,999 Burgman 200 is in the hunt, despite its $1,000 premium. Riders looking for dependability, economy and the ability to commute around town – or to a few towns over – may have found the right ride. Expect it in dealers this year, in matte black, matte white, matte silver and gray.
*Piaggio Group annual report, 2016 (http://www.piaggiogroup.com/en/group/market)