The Kwang Yang Motor Company, better known as Kymco, is a Taiwan-based manufacturer of small-displacement engines, scooters, motorcycles and ATVs. Now it its 50th year, such is Kymco’s expertise and production capacity that, in addition to its own products, it builds engines for various manufacturers, including the 647cc parallel twin that powers BMW’s C 600 Sport and C 650 GT maxi-scooters. Kymco’s own broad lineup of scooters has ranged from several 49cc models up to the 499cc Xciting 500 Ri ABS, but for 2014 it has gone full maxi with the all-new MyRoad 700i.
Because of their compact size, maneuverability, twist-and-go convenience and fuel efficiency, scooters are most often considered urban vehicles, preferred by downtown denizens who zip around crowded city streets with a laptop and a bag of organic produce under the seat. But maxi-scooters, with engine displacements ranging from 500cc up to 650cc, rival middleweight motorcycles in terms of size, weight and price, even if their automatic transmissions and step-through designs set them apart. And they typically offer enough power, range and wind protection for open-road touring. To showcase the touring prowess of the MyRoad 700i, Kymco hosted the press launch in western Colorado, where we explored 300 miles of scenic back roads between Grand Junction and the ski-resort town of Telluride.
With its liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 699.5cc parallel twin, the MyRoad 700i has the largest engine displacement in the class, with a slightly oversquare bore/stroke of 76.9mm x 75.3mm, dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. Kymco says the engine, which is laid down horizontally between the rider’s feet, puts out 59 horsepower and 46 lb-ft of torque, but after working its way through the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and belt final drive, perhaps 50 horsepower reaches the 14-inch rear wheel. With tall gearing and a claimed dry weight of 608 pounds (add another 24.3 pounds with the 4-gallon fuel tank filled to capacity), acceleration is sluggish, but once underway the MyRoad is capable of license-revoking speeds. Get going fast enough and the word “SPEED” lights up red on the dash, advising you that, should the police take notice, you’re not likely to get off with a warning. In keeping with scooter tradition, engine vibration is minimal and exhaust noise is practically non-existent.
Two days of riding the MyRoad 700i left me with mixed impressions, which may be partly explained by the fact that the scooters we rode were pre-production units. An angular front fairing, triple headlights, turn signals embedded in the mirrors and large LED taillights give the MyRoad 700i a contemporary look. And the pushbutton-deployable passenger footpegs, which fold up into the bodywork, are innovative. But the analog gauges and cheap-looking switchgear and black plastic in the cockpit look dated. The triple disc brakes, equipped with ABS and radial-mount front calipers, offer good power but feel at the levers was numb. The fork and twin rear shocks have electric damping adjustment (soft, medium and hard)—a first on a scooter—but overall suspension quality was average and the MyRoad wallowed through fast sweepers. Wind protection is good, but tools are required to adjust the height of the windscreen. A tire-pressure monitor is standard, but the central LCD display is limited to very few functions and lacks an ambient temperature gauge.
A hallmark of most maxi-scooters is comfort. They typically have upright riding positions with well-padded two-up seats and their step-through design provide wide, flat areas for the rider’s feet in two positions: forward at an angle like on a cruiser and flat like sitting in a chair. The MyRoad 700i is no exception, though the cockpit area was cramped, leaving less than an inch of free space between my knees and the dash (though at 6-foot-2 with a 34-inch inseam, I’m taller than average). The seat is plush, but the soft padding compresses easily; after about 30 minutes I could feel the hard seat pan beneath me. The handlebar is at a sensible height and distance from the rider with narrow hand grips at a comfortable angle, and the brake levers are adjustable. The 120/70-15 front and 150/70-14 rear Maxxis radials have a nicely rounded profile that help the MyRoad roll into corners smoothly, but the long 63.6-inch wheelbase and top-heavy weight favor stability over agility.
Concept versions of the MyRoad 700i were equipped with keyless ignition similar to the KIPASS system on the Kawasaki Concours 14, but our test bikes used a conventional key that had a barrel-shaped tool on the end to unlock an anti-theft ignition switch cover. Push and turn the key to the right to open the fuel filler in front of the rider’s right knee; push and turn to the left to unlock the seat for access to the storage compartment, which will hold two full-face helmets and includes a 12V accessory socket (when a device is plugged in, a small red cellphone icon lights up on the dash). There is also a small glove box on the dash, but it isn’t lockable. A large, wrap-around passenger grab rail can double as a small luggage rack, and a centerstand is standard.
The 2014 Kymco MyRoad 700i is a welcome addition to the maxi-scooter segment, offering highway-capable power, good wind protection and some innovative features. And at $9,699, it’s priced below its main competitors, the BMW C 650 GT ($9,990) and the Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS ($10,999). Hopefully the final production version will smooth out some of its rough edges. Availability is TBD.
2014 Kymco MyRoad 700i Specs
Base Price: $9,699
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 76.9 x 75.3mm
Transmission: Continuously Variable (CVT)
Final Drive: Belt
Wheelbase: 63.6 in.
Seat Height: 30.7 in.
Claimed Dry Weight: 608 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.0 gals.
Just wanted to suggest that the article’s definition of maxi-scooters being “500cc up to 650cc” might need a little tweaking. My 400cc Yamaha Majesty is fully capable of two-up touring at highway speed, as is the Suzuki Burgman 400. And surely the Gilera GP 800 and Aprilia SRV 850 are also maxi-scooters. Even the Kymco MyRoad 700i falls outside the article’s definition. 😉
I rode a Yamaha T-max for a few years and today’s Maxi-scooters are much more than urban/utility transportation. They would fair much better with a shifting transmission, either manual or automatic. This scooter would benefit with a 15″ rear wheel like the T-max. It is very similar to the Suzuki Burgman 650’s set up.
allworld? ditto! I also own the Yamaha Tmax, I did ride the Suzuki Burgman and Honda Silver Wing, and the larger radial sport bike tires on the Tmax makes it better. I ride my Tmax with friends that own the Burgman and Silver Wings and they can out-power me but they could never match the Tmax handling and tight curve ability.
The Burgman and Silver Wing owners see the Tmax as a threat to them, they have a problem knowing there’s a better maxi scooter out there, I got thrown out of a popular local scooter club only because I was the only member that owned the Tmax, I got thrown out cause my Tmax made their maxi scooters look bad.
The article says maxi-scooters are 500-650cc. This is incorrect. The definition of a maxi-scooter is a scooter with a displacement of 250cc or more.
I would like to see this scooter come to the U S. We need some bigger scooters that are more comfortable on long distance riding that doesn`t cost an arm and a leg
This seems to cost most of the leg. As it is a good percentage of the way to a BMW scooter.
Bigger doesn’t mean better, making a scooter too big defeats the purpose of a scooter! My 500cc Yamaha Tmax will exceed any speed limit, out accelerate any car. It doesn’t impress anybody except me.
Steve? don’t buy a bike just to impress everybody else, nobody else cares if you have the biggest engine and the most performance.
I was the same way, I was buying a new bike every year cause my friends would out-do me with a bigger and more exciting bike, I later found out even if I owned the biggest and most exciting bike I didn’t like riding it, I owned it just to impress everybody else. Now I own a scooter that I love, that impresses me.
“But the analog gauges and cheap-looking switchgear and black plastic in the cockpit look dated.”
I own the Downtown 300i, as well as a Honda CBR 600RR, and after forty-five years of motorcycling, boating, driving, and flying commercial aircraft, I can’t stress enough the importance of analog gauges- I know the trend is toward digital, but there’s nothing like analog for yielding information quickly. And no, age doesn’t enter into it: NASA has researched this exhaustively, which is why even in the latest jets, analog gauges are everywhere. On the Boeing 727, at takeoff thrust, the most critical phase of flight, all the engine parameter needles pointed at the captain (9:00 O’clock), and all was well. Any bad needle jumped out at you immediately. The same can be said for motorcycles: When everything is good, that needle is pointing within a certain, familiar range. It takes less time to retrieve necessary information, leaving more time to watch out for the driver on his cell phone in the next lane…
Kymco should just bring back the Venox (or Honda NC-type with a 500cc) to fit in the commuter needs for folks who don’t do scooters..
Thank you for a very good story
Thank You Rider Magazine being the only magazine to road test maxi scooters. Every motorcycle dealer in my area sells out of the scooters they stock cause everybody wants one over a motorcycle. As the motorcycle owner grows older they don’t have the physical ability to handle a large cruiser bike and the maxi scooter is a perfect alternative.
Its too bad that the Yamaha Tmax is no longer sold in the U.S. and Canada, no other maxi scooter comes close with perfect balance and handling
Apparently the US was not as enamored with the TMax.
Too, yes, the current crop of twin cylinder maxi scooters do
cost about $10K, but most of the larger sport-touring
motorcycles that can handle comfortable two-up touring
are over $15K. (Not that the motorcycles can’t do other
things that the maxi scooters can’t.)
The cheapest route to twin-cylinder maxi scootering is probably
a used Honda Silverwing. They have changed little in their
dozen or so years of production and they apparently hold up
Thank you, Rider, for covering maxi scooters as well as all of the varied
motorcycles. Good work.
At 70 years of age and having a motorcycle-scooter since I was 16, I think of all the dozens of bikes I have owned I like my Burgman 650 the best. The T-max may be a better sports bike but for the long hall you can’t beat the burgman. The T-max had fuel delivery problems which might have hurt their sales. The Piaggio mp3’s are no longer imported. The BMW is a very expensive machine to maintain, especially the 12,000 and 24,000 mile maintenance if you want to keep the warranty. The Kymco 700i doesn’t seem to have much of an advantage over the Burgman except for price. Therefore, I will just keep my Burgman. I did 3800 miles on my Burgman in 6 days this summer
I can buy whatever I want to ride. I have ridden for nearly 50 years now. I have a motorcycle and a scooter. I personally have a strong preference for the Gen 2 VMAX over any Harley I’ve owned and, like you, strongly prefer the tried and true Burgman 650. I’ve tried many others but have settled on the 650 Burgman that is smooth as silk and apparently seem impossible to wear out! Happy riding to all no matter what you prefer!
I have owned all of the scooters mentioned and many other, except for the BMW and the 700i, (still own 4 scooters along with a number of motorcycles). Just sold my 09 TMax.
I have ridden for the better part of 50 yrs. I was always searching for something better, but always gravitated back to the 400 Burg.
The reason, Once you get as large as the 600 Honda, or the 650 burg. You are actually at the size of a Harley in weight. It’s a big disadvantage around town and parking, not mention low speed handling.
Also, once you go to a twin the fun factor fades some. But then some scooter enthusiast have never ridden a “super moto”..