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  • June 18, 2013
  • Gabe Ets-Hokin
  • Brian J. Nelson
  • 50 Comments

MD first Ride: Kymco Myroad 700

“Say, who makes them things, anyway?”

I was standing by the gas pumps near Telluride, Colorado when the plump 70-ish man asked me about the big, sleek-looking scooters we were preparing to ride the 100 miles back to the Gateway Canyon Resort. He told me he used to ride Gold Wings, but he has hip problems and can’t swing his leg over a big tourer. “I want something the wife and me can ride on the highway. Those things fast enough?”

Oh, yes, my friend. The new-for-the-USA Kymco Myroad 700 is plenty fast for you and your wife and probably a bunch of your stuff as well. In fact, it’s the largest-displacement (and heaviest) scooter sold in the United States—and for many buyers, that may be enough.

You wouldn’t think it, but I’ve been anticipating this introduction for a long time, since Kymco started selling the bike in select European markets in 2008. Kymco first showed the bike at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, and it was notable for its tech-heavy nature—keyless ignition, tire-pressure monitors, electronically adjustable suspension, ABS and a liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder motor that promised better than 50 horsepower—big numbers for a CVT-equipped scooter. Kymco was flexing its muscles, trumpeting its status as a global supplier of high-quality, advanced-design scooters and motorcycles.

And then four years went by.  I pinged Kymco, who had been promising a ride on the Myroad for some time. “Soon,” came the answer.

Well, “soon” turned into “June,” when I found myself on a commuter jet, headed to the same ritzy Western Colorado resort that hosted the 2011 Victory press launch. Weird, right? That region is arid, at high altitude, with beautiful winding roads—wide-open country best enjoyed from the back of a big touring rig, not some little scooter.

Luckily, the Myroad isn’t some little scooter. It’s some big scooter, all 600-plus pounds of it. Though it has some innovative features, it’s a pretty traditional design, contributing to the big weight. A high-tension, tube-steel, double-cradle frame bolts to the drive unit, which combines the engine, transmission and final drive and is suspended by a pair of electronically adjustable (for damping—preload is still done the old-fashioned way) dual shocks. In front, a conventional fork—also with electronically adjusted damping—is equipped with a pair of trick-looking radial-mounted four-piston brake calipers and 280mm discs. ABS is standard. Wheels front and back (a roomy 63.6 inches apart) are 15-inchers, shod with grippy Maxxis radials.

The motor isn’t a technical marvel, but it is pretty advanced, a liquid-cooled, eight-valve, dohc Twin. Fuel-injection and (I assume) engine management systems are provided by Synerject, which is a joint venture between Continental tires and Orbital—the company that got attention in the late-’90s developing direct-injection, clean two-stroke technology. Transmission is CVT, naturally, and Kymco claims a maximum of 59 horsepower and 46 lb.-ft. of torque at the crank.

The package is finished in stylish, modern bodywork. An adjustable (sadly, only with tools) windscreen protects the rider’s chest from windblast, while a wide, supportive seat keeps him or her comfy. Passenger footrests flip down when the rider pulls a lever on the dashboard. Two small gloveboxes are accessible while the bike is moving, and the underseat stowage is both lighted and cavernous, able to gobble up a pair of helmets with ease, and there’s a 12-volt socket for your cell phone or other accessories. The passenger can enjoy a broad and comfortable perch with a large grabrail to hang onto.

At $9,699, the Myroad isn’t an inexpensive scooter — but you do get a lot standard. Rather than getting the customer in the door and then hitting him with a long list of expensive options, the Myroad comes with ABS, electronic suspension adjustment, LED taillight and blinkers and tire-pressure monitor. I found the fit and finish to be above average for an Asian product; it felt well-built and solid.

We flew to Colorado to ride, and that’s what we did—a lot. The scooters were waiting at the Grand Junction airport for us, and we rode to the Gateway Canyons resort to enjoy the friendly service and swank amenities there. The next morning, we were out on the road, riding at a sedate pace on the way to Telluride—over 100 miles each way.

Plastic-wrapped, futuristic looks aside, the experience of riding a big, heavy scooter like the Myroad is similar to that of a middleweight cruiser. The seating position is the same, weight distribution and handling feel alike, and the vibration and throttle response are also familiar. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon—or many afternoons— I had another journalist (who lacked a motorcycle endorsement) on board with me, and we were both comfortable for the 200-mile round trip, though towards the end he complained of the passenger pegs being too high. The seat was roomy enough, and the suspension good enough, that I almost (almost being the key word here) forgot he was there. I’d wager there’s more room under the seat than most middleweight (or even heavyweight) baggers offer in their stock luggage, and I could get used to having the crotch-level storage box in the front of the seat, which is great for stashing your sunglasses, tolls or even a small water bottle.

If you also compare the performance and handling to a middleweight bagger, the Kymco does just fine. Power is enough to get you into trouble, even testing it at high altitudes (4500 to well over 9000 feet). Midrange is good, and it seems to build as the speeds get into extra-legal numbers.

Handling is good,  but this is not a scooter you are going to be embarrassing sportbikers with. Though the steering was precise and light, the rear suspension—no doubt burdened by the great unsprung mass of the motor and drive unit—was overwhelmed, wallowing slightly in high-speed turns and feeling harsh over bumps. You’ll have a good time, but you have to reset your expectations for how this scooter handles—he’s a big fella.

The trick-looking brakes work well, with the Bosch ABS cycling well and providing reasonable stopping distances, but again, the weight of the bike means you’ll need a hefty squeeze with all 8 fingers. The brakes are linked, back to front, so the rear lever gives you more stopping power than the front, though using the front alone is fine for brisk sport-riding.

Kymco doesn’t expect to sell a lot of these in the USA—competition is stiff in the form of large displacement scooters from BMW, Suzuki and Honda, and the market is limited. So why offer it? Prestige, said Kymco’s sales manager. Perhaps a customer wanting a big scooter may enter the Kymco dealer looking for the Myroad and ride out on an Xciting 500i or even the very good Downtown 300i. It may be a good match for riders like the former Gold Wing owner and the growing number of Boomers looking for a fun, trouble-free riding experience. In any case, it shows Kymco can run with the big dogs in the scooter market and make Kymco a household word…in scooter-riding households.

50 Comments

  1. Provologna says:

    I was gonna buy one till I saw it has only three headlights. Wuzup w’dat?

  2. Bob says:

    My “non-motorcyclist” buddy has a Yamaha T-Max. I was very impressed with it – plenty fast, light and stone reliable! It is almost a sportbike experience. Don’t see too many of them on the road near my town (Chicago suburbs)and not sure why.
    This Kymco tank? Meh.

  3. Ian Danby says:

    Big scooters have just got to get more user friendly – nearer 500 than 600lbs and more fuel efficient. Direct injection if not diesel should certainly help. And they also need to be nimble in tight parking situations. Nevertheless even the current crop are a very positive experience once on the move.
    Ian Danby

  4. Simon Evans says:

    To correct an error – frame-mounted engine, just as in a motorcycle.

    No doubt the unsprung mass is heavy, as the wheels generally tend to be heavier than motorcycle equivalents to provide gyroscopic stability at high speed, despite smaller rolling diameters. However, handling is also about the ratio between the sprung and unsprung mass, so the MyLoad suspension harshness and vagueness is likely to do with mismatched damping and spring ratios and the sheer bloody weight of the combined mass.

    If honest, this just shows why hefty scooters should NOT be built like motorcycles, they should be built like cars. The MyWord is crying out for a monocoque, a refined aerodynamic structure – and a turbo diesel motor.

  5. Tim says:

    Gabe, if the passenger in the red helmet is your wife, then well done my friend!

    • Gabe says:

      Ha! No, she’s a model Kymco hired for photography–you can see her on the Kymco website and brochures. That’s not me riding with her, either. I think I did much better with my own wife. (just in case she reads this).

  6. Gary says:

    I could totally see myself owning one of these things or a Burgman as an around-the-Bay-Area bike. It would even be decent for a weekend getaway.

    Is there any gas mileage data?

    • bikerrandy says:

      Last July I rode my Piaggio 400 MP3 2,500+ miles round trip to a MC rally getting 64 mpg.

      Tomorrow I’m riding it again for a 1,000+ mile round trip from Az. to Colorado for another MC meet.

    • Gabe says:

      FWIW, I went 100 miles on half an indicated tank, maybe 2-3 gallons. At high altitudes!

  7. ducatidon says:

    Does this machine have cruise control? It should for the price and the application.

  8. tmaxgixxerblur says:

    i sold my 650 ninja and bought a yamaha tmax. the tmax has a 500cc motor and the power is pretty good. 44-46hp, and it only weighs 450lb compare to this behemoth. i also have my gixxer 1000 that i love, but when i need to have a nice leisure ride with the mrs riding two-up, the tmax is perfect! she said it rides like a “lexus” comfort compare to riding behind my gixxer! and we had no problem getting up to speed with both of us on it! i was cruising 70-80mph easily! hahahha! you know what sold me on the tmax? motorcycleusa did a review on youtube and they said it handles like a sportbike, and it’s the BEST scooter they have tested. well, i thought there’s no way that’s true. luckily a friend had a 09 tmax for me to test ride. and you know what? motorcycleusa was correct! the tmax is one of the best looking scooters out there and it handles like a charm on the twisties. i’m telling you, if manufactures continue to build scooters like the tmax, they’re going to get a lot more beginners and newbies into our sport. plus, 20+ year veterans like me too!

  9. jake says:

    “If you also compare the performance and handling to a middleweight bagger, the Kymco does just fine.”

    A 600lb plus scooter with its 700cc motor attached to its rear swingarm and small tires, and yet it still performs as well as a middleweight cruiser? What does this say about middleweight cruisers? Yikes.

  10. Auphliam says:

    The “journalist” in that photo don’t look like a he :)

  11. joe says:

    are the stylish red/gray shoes required for deployment

  12. Provologna says:

    Buy one! Help pay for Gabe’s next mini-vacation (new Scooter release)!

    • soi cowboy says:

      Riding bikes in exotic locales, surrounded by supermodels… I should have gone to motojourno school!

  13. ziggy says:

    Meh

  14. NORKA says:

    The driving ergonomics look more like what one experiences driving a car. When I am on a motorcycle with my legs gripping the tank, I control the bike as much with my body as I do my arms. That oneness with the bike is what is so special about bike ridding.

  15. paul A says:

    I had a 400 Burgman a couple of years ago and I really liked it. The big problem with big scooters (aside from the price) is maintenance. Even simple things like changing spark plugs or changing the oils is time consuming and requires removing a lot of plastic. I sold the bike because I was afraid of a major problem developing with the scooter. The one thing that was really nice on the scooter was the lack of engine heat when riding.

    • soi cowboy says:

      I think the small diameter tires would wear out rapidly for touring use.

      • bikerrandy says:

        That’s why both my 250 & 400 MP3s have rear car radial tires on them. This is called going to the Darkside. Cornering feels a little bit different but then you accept it and it’s like normal. Many bike owners with big MCs have also switched to the Darkside. Look it up on the internet. The trick is finding a car tire that will fit your rig.

        • paul A says:

          That might only work on 3-wheelers

          • bikerrandy says:

            Maybe, but if you go the the Darkside a lot of big, heavy bikes have done it. It is an experiment. No one will suggest you do it but many of us have and we have no regrets.

        • Norm G. says:

          rocket3′s, Honda shadows, etc. etc. comes from drag bikes use of car tires.

          • paul A says:

            I guess a car tire will work fine as long as you are going straight like a drag bike.

          • theguy says:

            The right car tire will work fine in the twisties as well: drifting tires have a fair bit of sidewall flex.

            I’ve seen someone on a drifting-tire-equipped FJR1300 ride the fast kids’ pace in the tight twisties of the Santa Cruz mountains. Looked pretty strange, but it worked, and he said he got 19k miles out of his prior rear tire IIRC.

  16. allworld says:

    I have ridden maxi’s for years, and my last was a 2009 T-max. I generally like scooters, my biggest complaint is the CVT, next would be those with a swing arm mounted engine. This scooter should compete well against the Burgman 650 and the new BMW’s, but if Honda sold their Interga scooter in the USA, all bets would be off.
    Over the past years there have been rumors of Yamaha introducing a 750cc T-max, (maybe their new triple could fine its way into a scooter) and Ducarti getting into the act, Aprilia has a 850cc maxi and so does Gilera, neither are sold here Truly this is a niche market in the USA, but if some one decided to put a little more sport DNA with a shifting transmission into a maxi, there might be a lot more new 20 something rides looking to buy and many more 60 something old dogs too. This maybe a job for Polaris.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “maybe their new triple could fine its way into a scooter”

      ok, now we’re just out of control.

      re: “Truly this is a niche market in the USA”

      your words.

      re: “but if some one decided to put a little more sport DNA with a shifting transmission into a maxi, there might be a lot more new 20 something ride(r)s looking to buy”

      well that…? or a whole bunch of units will take up space on showroom floors across the country… as they go unsold… costing dealers money…? it’s 50/50.

  17. mickey says:

    Currently I have a Honda ST 1300, a Honda CB 1100 and a Yamaha Majesty 400 scooter. At 63 I remember when scooters were mostly used by the college crowd, were all kick start 2 strokes,with 3 speed manual transmissons, had tiny little wheels, no storage other than a little luggage rack ( they did have a spare wheel though) and handled like crap. Think late 60s Vespas. After buying my wife a Majesty 400 a couple years ago, I had so much fun riding it around that I bought another for myself. Four stroke, electric start, good protection, massive storage, quick as stink, and handles great…Plus I get 68 miles to the gallon. The other day I went to the grocery on it, and came out with 3 large bags. Some lady watched me as I approached the scooter. I flipped the seat and stuck two bags under there, popped the trunk and stuck 1 in there. Popped my helmet on and fired it up. She just stood there looking amazed.

    I can totally see myself riding one of these maxis when I can no longer swing a leg over the ST. Rather ride this than a trike!

    One thing I don’t understand about them, is why they are so heavy. Over 600 pounds? Thats heavier than an FJR.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “One thing I don’t understand about them, is why they are so heavy. Over 600 pounds?”

      2 words… DEPLETED URANIUM.

  18. Michael H says:

    How does the price compare with similarly equipped Burgman and Silverwing models?

    I’m in my 60s and have been riding since I was sixteen. Every time I throw a leg over my current touring rig I think that my next bike may be a maxi-scooter. It would need to be technologically up to date and have a frame mounted engine to reduce unsprung weight at the rear wheel. I’d much prefer riding a leaning maxi-scooter than a trike conversion of one of the larger touring bikes. This Kymco scooter hits pretty close to the bullseye.

    • Tony R says:

      As commented below, I sold my Burgman 650 due to very limited rear suspension travel and resultant back discomfort and I’m a young buck at only 34 when I had the scooter. Make sure you research this detail before you buy a scooter.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I’m a young buck at only 34″

        nope. you’re the same age as valentino rossi. according to motogp laymen, you’re old.

  19. Andrew says:

    I own a Taiwanese-made Kymco (Downtown) but I am at the moment somewhat tempted by Piaggio’s BV350. Do you know what is my biggest concern that so far prevented me from pulling the trigger? Quality and reliability of Piaggio, compared to Taiwanese product. They are that good.

    • sliphorn says:

      The reliability of the BV350 has been outstanding. The build quality, fit and finish is top notch.

  20. sliphorn says:

    Gabe, does it have a 270 degree crank like the BMW?

  21. Gutterslob says:

    Still don’t quite feel these new big-bore scoots. Aside from the Tmax that Roland Sands modded (which is awesome), they’re all too bulbous for me. I suppose that’s what you get when you require comfort and storage space.

  22. todd says:

    Wow, a 700. What’s stopping a scooter manufacturer from offering a 1200? I like my scooters on the light / nimble side, a Riva 200 being about as big as I’d ever want. Otherwise I might as well just ride a motorcycle which is lighter, handles better, and typically much less expensive. I’d be giving up the extra storage space though but replacing it all with “street cred”…

    Still, for those that do not wish to associate themselves as being a “motorcyclists” or those that don’t ever want to learn how to shift a transmission but still want to push close to triple digit speeds, here you go.

  23. Norm G. says:

    looks like the GSXR of scooters. btw, what’s the story with the red standard mount caliper vs. the silver radial mount…? pre-production units…?

  24. kjazz says:

    That last photo is a keeper!!!! Cool. The bike is pretty interesting also. I’m not into scooters….. yet. But I’m listening.

  25. Provologna says:

    First post!

    Wow! A Korean-Cadillac Escalade scooter! Want, not!

    • bikerrandy says:

      It’s not made in Korea. It’s made in Taiwan. And if like Kymcos other products, it has a 2 year warranty.

      • Dave says:

        Korea has been making quality motors for decades. Hyosung in particular has been making engines and other things for Japanese brands (Suzuki in particular) that have no quality issues.

        • bikerrandy says:

          Kymco makes the new BMW 600 scooters motors.

          • Al says:

            Kymco also makes Porlaris Motors for ATVs. Kymco has the best scooter dealer network in the US. I’ve owned Burgman 650, Silverwing, and Burgman 400. The maintenance cost between a motorcycle and Burgman 400 are half, plus you get better weather protection, convient twist and go, and great storage for gear and groceries. Insurance is also low because the yahoos of the two wheel world don’t crash scooters like sportbikes.