Monday, October 10, 2011

Three years with Kymco...

...And there's no turning back.

The Silver Streak is just about to pass 15,000 miles (24,116 kilometers on the clock), and is still purring along. It passed inspection like a champ, only requiring new tires, and still gets a consistent 80 miles per gallon on ethanol laced gasoline (89 on ethanol free when available).

Kymco started out as an engine and parts supplier for Honda in 1963 (ref. Scooter underground). As I recall, and I don't have the time to look it up just now, Honda cut them loose in the early 90's because they had grown enough as a company and no longer needed Honda's oversight or help. It's an interesting business model that one does not see happen very often, but my understanding is that this is normal Honda operating policy. If true, it's obvious that the move didn't hurt Honda any, and has proven a boon to folks who want a quality motor-scooter, cycle, or ATV at a reasonable price point.

With that in mind, one could reasonably say that when one purchases a Kymco, one is buying a Honda engine, with a reasonable pricetag, and slightly inferior fit and finish.
  • The engine works like a Honda, lasts like a Honda, and purrs like a Honda.
  • The bodywork is plastic, looks plastic, and feels plastic, but it does what it is supposed to do.
  • The suspension is good for a small bike. It has enough give for average bumps in the road.
  • Handling remains excellent. The bike is light and nimble making cornering a blast.
  • Braking remains reliable. Rear brakes are always worse than front brakes, especially when they are a drum, but that is by design since no one wants to lock up that rear tire in a pinch. The front disc is adequate and provides enough stopping power.
The most common question I receive is "Do you still have your scooter, and how is it running?" This should answer the question. I'll still say, it's not a Vespa, but that's a good thing. It didn't cost me nearly as much out the door (less than half the cost of a Vespa 150LX), and it's just as reliable. Yes, it's not as nice to look at (Vespa's do have that Je ne sait quois), but if you want that, get a "Like 200i", and you'll be a happy camper for several thousand miles. Buy yourself a nice flat screen with the money you'll save...ok, three or four flat screens...

1 comment:

Lee said...

Well, dude! If anyone can wear out a scooter, you can. Keep trying. If you run out of steam, bring it over here. I already blew up my old Helix twice.
I was looking at a friend's Honda Shadow. He buys the bikes cheap, and then fixes them up and sells them. He makes those old bikes look and run like new.
I have test ridden many bikes, and have to say that anything that Honda touches, is amazingly good. The ride, handling, and the engines are just fantastic.
I didn't know that your scooter had a Honda heart until now. Keep educating us!