Yamaha First look: Kymco's new, high-tech AK550

Kymco AK550

Al's got a high-tech Kymco maxi-scooter in for a look-see

When I told my mates I was getting an AK delivered for the weekend, they looked a bit nervous. Luckily, it’s an AK550 – a big-bore maxi-scooter from Taiwanese firm Kymco – rather than the AK47 (or AKMS or AK103) 7.26x39mm gas-operated assault rifle designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. 

I’d been looking forward to a run out on this for a while. I’m a fan of a big scooter (as all right-thinking people are), and have even bought my own Burgman 650, with money and everything. I was keen to see how the Kymco version of a big-twin scoot would go.

The very nice Gareth Hughes from Kymco UK brought the AK550 round yesterday, and gave me a quick rundown. It’s a smaller beastie than the Burgman, more of a sporty touring scoot than a grand tourer. There’s less space under the seat, no standard rack or topbox, and the front fairing and screen are less barn-door like. There’s also no electric screen or folding mirrors like on a Burgman.

What there is is a load of tech. Gareth showed me the Kymco Noodoe (I have no clue what that means either sorry) app, which you load on your phone and it then links to the scoot. You can do all sorts apparently, from upgrading the engine management software (amazing!) to getting weather forecasts on the dashboard (hmmm, okay) and putting your own family photographs on the dash, like you would on your office desk (weird, sorry). The dash has three colour LCD panels, there are riding modes, ABS, traction, keyless ignition, all the good stuff.

Enough of this rubbish though – what’s it like to ride? Well I had a very quick spin in between the showers today, and I’ve got to say it goes very well indeed. It is far more nimble than the mighty B-man around town, with a commendably skinny aspect to the bodywork, quick steering, and really rather good handling. The suspension and (radial Brembo!!) brakes are top notch, as are the Metzeler tyres, and the motor, while a fair bit less grunty than the 650 I’m used to, revs out in a very lively manner. It’s strong off the bottom end too – top marks the Kymco folks.

We’ve got the AK for a while, so I’ll be checking it out in a bit more depth for sure. I just need to work out how to fit my AKMS under the seat now, for safer riding up that London...