First Impression

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Aug 22, 2013 ... include the Honda Silverwing 600, the revised Suzuki Burgman. 650 and the ... counterbalanced DOHC four-valve parallel twin that features a.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Kymco’s MyRoad 700i by Bruce Steever

K

ymco (a.k.a.

Kwang Yang Motor Corp.) may not be on your current radar, but the Taiwanese manufacturer has made significant strides in the ATV, side-by-side and scooter segments here in the U.S. Now it’s aiming at the premium end of the U.S. and European markets with its new touring maxiscooter. If you’ve never considered the brand, the MyRoad 700i may change your perspective. The maxiscooter class has grown significantly in just the last few years. Big scooters offer real world performance that motorcycle riders demand, along with stability and wind protection well-suited for big distances. And they still provide all the expected scooter conveniences: automatic transmissions, couchlike comfort, storage space and general ease of use. The MyRoad 700i is joining an increasingly competitive class whose members include the Honda Silverwing 600, the revised Suzuki Burgman 650 and the new BMW C600 and C650 twins. Engine and Transmission When covering scooters, the first discussion usually revolves around the transmission. In the case of the MyRoad, the engine is far more noteworthy, displacing a full 699.5cc and pumping out a claimed 59 hp and 46 lb.-ft. of torque. Like the other big scooters in the class, the MyRoad 700i is a liquid-cooled and counterbalanced DOHC four-valve parallel twin that features a lay-down construction for a low center of gravity. The transmission then runs behind the motor as the swingarm assembly. Fuel injection ensures ease of operation. Kymco was still finalizing 22

AUGUST 2013  //  MOTORCYCLE CONSUMER NEWS

Suspension and Chassis The MyRoad 700i also makes several waves in the maxiscooter pond when it comes to chassis design and technology. It uses a conventional motorcycle-type triple clamp for the front fork, as compared to the single clamp design found on the Honda Silverwing, for example. The rear suspension is a basic looking twin shock setup, but the MyRoad boasts a class first: electronically-adjustable damping. A button on the right handlebar selects between Soft, Medium and Hard damping settings on the fly. Clicking between the different modes didn’t make a significant change, however. This certainly isn’t helped by the heavy engine and transmission combination serving as the swingarm. This configuration vastly increases unsprung weight, making the rear suspension fight a losing battle against physics. The braking system includes beefy looking Kymco-branded radial brakes up front and includes a linked ABS system standard. The ABS system worked well enough during a few hard test stops, but the cyclic rate of the ABS system felt a bit slow com-

PHOTOS COURTESY KYMCO

Very sporting accents adorn the Kymco maxiscooter, including LED turn signals and brake lights, triple halogen headlights and a sportbike-styled twin exit exhaust canister. Other clever details include a remote lever to deploy the passenger footpegs, a convenient dash-mounted fuel filler and an adjustable windscreen.

all of the technical details (more on that later), so we weren’t able to procure much more information on the engine’s internals. Like the rest of the scooter class, the big motor sounds like an overgrown sewing machine from the saddle, but it runs exceptionally smoothly once underway. The big twin transmits power through the usual automatic Constant Velocity Transmission (CVT), complete with the usual quirks of maxiscooter CVTs. When you yank on the throttle, the ECU and CVT feel like they need to have a brief conversation about exactly how much torque they should transmit through the rubber belt, which you can feel as a flat spot in the power curve. Once the engine and transmission get their roles sorted out, the CVT maintains engine rpm at peak torque to hustle the big bike down the road at a surprising clip. The transmission continues to alter its effective ratio to match road speeds and throttle demands from the rider. If you need passing power or high speeds, the engine speed rises higher to deliver the goods. Initial engine power engagement (clutch “lockup”) and disengagement is nicely predictable, as is engine braking on deceleration. The driveline’s behavior is much more automotive than motorcycle, but this is still a proper motorcycle in terms of performance. Figure 0-60 times in the high 6-second range and a top speed north of 100 mph. We weren’t able to gauge fuel consumption during our ride, but these big scooters will typically return mid-40s in mixed riding. Fuel injection response was usually very good, but one example of the MyRoad 700i we tested did bog during hard launches.

Compared to other scooters, the MyRoad packs some serious braking hardware, complete with Bosch ABS.

Above: Despite a dry weight over 600 pounds, the all-new MyRoad 700i cuts a sleek profile. Its handling also belies its considerable mass, but the 699.5cc engine certainly feels like it’s having to work hard to motivate the whole package. The radial brakes had no trouble hauling the maxiscooter down from highway speeds.

Above: Despite the electronically variable damping not making significant changes in chassis performance, the MyRoad was still capable of decent lean angles with confidence, thanks in part to the large 15"/14” front and rear wheels. No hard parts touched the deck all day.

pared to some of the more refined ABS systems on the markets. The braking feel, link effect and chassis response under braking varied significantly between different examples of the MyRoad we tested as well. Ergonomics and Controls Big scooters come into their own when you compare them against equivalent motorcycles. Maxiscooters offer excellent wind protection, relaxed couch-like ergonomics and broad seats. The MyRoad is no different. The windscreen and handlebar placement do a great job of minimizing buffeting, and the screen is manually adjustable using multiple mounting positions. The seat was good but not great, compounded by the lack of room for taller riders. Even though the floorboards gave a nice choice of foot positions, there simply wasn’t enough room between the bars and the passenger seat bump to find an ideal perch, but riders less than 5'10" would probably never notice. Controls and gauges worked fine, but the switchgear was clearly a copy of the familiar Honda switches. The mirrors offered plenty of adjustment but were bulky and included a strange visor that killed the top part of the mirror’s view to the rear. The cockpit issues stand in sharp relief to the bodywork, which features bright LED signal and brake lights, triple halogen headlights and a sharply styled exterior to rival Suzuki’s new Burgman 650. Riding Impression As you may have noticed, we found some significant inconsistencies when riding various examples of the MyRoad 700i. Kymco did not have production-ready machines available for our ride, and as each model was basically a prototype, no two of the scooters performed identically. As reviewers, we are left with a dilemma: Do we take all the worst traits and combine them for our report? Or do the opposite? Instead, we’ve tried to note some of the inconsistencies and are willing to bet that most of these teething problems will be sorted before the production machines hit our shores later this year. Thus, while we did ride one bike with weak brakes and unresponsive suspension, most of the bikes featured very good brakes

Large clunky mirrors and simple gauges dominate the cockpit. Note the fuel filler on the right side dash panel.

for the maxiscooter class. Fuel injection and transmission performance was mostly commendable, as was engine vibration and wind noise. While the variable damping suspension system didn’t seem to offer much adjustment, the chassis was decently composed compared to the established competition, and cornering clearance was never an issue. The things that probably will not change on the production models are the slightly clunky cockpit aesthetics and the sheer weight of the big machine. With a claimed dry weight of 608 lbs., the MyRoad is over 50 pounds heavier than some competing models. While the chassis managed the weight well once rolling, it was a heavy beast to push around and the mass certainly created a drag on the performance from the larger engine. Final Thoughts Overall, even with the pre-production glitches, the MyRoad 700i was an impressive ride. Its $9,699 price puts the MyRoad right in the middle of the big scooter price points as well. The high tech looks, large, smooth engine and competent chassis make for great touring potential. But we’ll have to see how the final product turns out to decide whether the other makers should be worried by the introduction of the new Kymco 700i.

WWW.MCNEWS.COM  //  AUGUST 2013

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