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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.

No traction? No problem: Kymco’s $3,999 Xtown 300i comes standard with ABS, at least in the front.

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.

2018 Kymco Xciting 400i Review – First Ride

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.

It may be just 300cc, but the Xtown is big, with big room under the seat.

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)

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