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2018 Kymco Xciting 400i - first ride

Taiwanese firm’s middleweight superscoot is heavy on tech and style, but suspension is on the firm side

PICS: JOHN GOODMAN

 

WE RODE the Kymco AK550 twin earlier in the summer, and we liked the performance and tech, though we were less impressed with the lack of storage space and weather protection.

This middleweight superscoot, the Xciting S 400i, is the latest version of Kymco’s smaller premium scooter, with a single-cylinder 400 motor, less advanced chassis than the AK, but a similarly high equipment and tech spec.

We’ve had it for a week or so now, and used it for a few urban jobs round south London. First impressions are good – it’s a handsome, futuristic-looking scoot, with a sweet matt-blue paint job and high-quality feel to the alloy parts and things like the seat material. The underseat storage area is a bit cramped – I always prefer a massive space under there for two lids, but there’s more than enough space for a 15” laptop bag, and your full face lid when you park up. If I had one longer term, I’d need to add a top box for the extra capacity.

The two small glove boxes in the front fairing are usefully-sized, with a power socket in the left hand one. The best bit is that they automatically self-lock when you turn off the ignition, so can’t be opened when you park up, without you having to do anything. Staying on the 'lock' front, there are two seat opening controls – one via the ignition key, plus an electric pushbutton on the bars, so you can open it with the engine running without having to turn the ignition off. Finally – the ignition lock itself has a small locking anti-theft shutter, which prevents casual lock-screwdrivering attacks – nice. 

Once we get the bag under the seat and set off, the S400 i makes a solid impression. The engine is plenty pokey enough, with good performance away from lights. You’ll not be ambushing many big-bore motorbikes as you can on some of the bigger 500cc+ superscooters, but the Xciting will definitely stay ahead of almost everything else in town. The handling is light and nimble, though the Maxxis tyres aren’t as impressive as the Metzelers on the AK550. Kymco seems to offer the Metzelers as an option, so worth asking the dealer if that’s possible if you’re buying one.

The dual front radial-mount brake calipers are ‘Kymco’ branded rather than proper Brembos as on the 550, but they work a treat, while the rear is also powerful and feel-laden. Together with a decent ABS setup, you’ll not have any trouble stopping the thing. Kymco’s proud of the front end, which has both upper and lower triple-clamps, like a proper bike, and the fork itself performs well. What’s not so good is the rear suspension. On the speed humps and potholes round my way, the whole scooter thumps and bangs like a hardtail chopper, and I quickly learned to steer round obstacles whenever possible, to avoid a sore back and aching kidneys. Whether this is down to the shocks, or just the side-effects of a big swingarm-mounted engine isn’t clear, but it lets the S400 down a bit.

On some smoother roads, I can relax and check out the tech. This bike gets Kymco’s Noodoe interface, which connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and provides a load of options. You can display sat-nav directions on the dashboard, read texts, check weather, and even show pics from your gallery, like a digital photo frame. The speedo display is also fully customisable, via a special app on your phone. Clever stuff, and some way ahead of many of the mainstream bike firms.

The mirrors are good, and the adjustable screen is  useful, although the mechanism is a bit fiddly, and I’d like a taller screen on there for a bit more protection from the wind. The killswitch is on the left hand switchblock, which is weird, and the hazard light switch is part of the starter button and can be accidentally flicked on if you’re wearing thick winter gloves.

So – the Xciting S400 goes well, looks smart, and is packed with useful tech. On the downside, it’s a bit short on underseat space, and the rear suspension was a bit harsh for me. What about the price? Well, at £5,599, it’s usefully cheaper than the Burgman 400 (£6,299) and Yamaha XMax 400 (£6,149) – and if you’re in the market for wheels like these, then the Kymco should very much be on your test-ride list…

 

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