First Ride: Kymco Downtown 300i review

500 miles across, down and around London town on Kymco's mid-size scooter

It's raining and the man with the Kymco Downtown 300i has arrived outside. I stick on a jacket, grab my lid and run downstairs to grab the scoot and take it to our lock-up around the corner. Can't leave it outside for more than five minutes before Islington's eagle-eyed traffic Gestapo slap a ticket on it.

I give the Kymco a cursory once over and note that it's got an ABS sensor on the front wheel. Another scooter with ABS? That's a good idea.

I fire it into life, well, less fire and more smoulder. It's very quiet and sits there obediently while I fumble with my gloves, taking longer to put them on than it'll take to get the scooter to the lock-up.

And we're off. The throttle of the scooter pinned, we nudge 30 in no time, the engine whirring with almost no resistance, while the clutch takes that slightly awkward amount of time to engage; enough time for you to wonder if it is actually slipping or whether this will be part of the ritual every time I set off from a standstill. All 30 horsepower engaged and we're making progress.

I approach a set of lights, they go to orange. There's a white van in front of me, so of course he's going to gas it through them and I'm going to tuck in behind him. That's London rules. But hang on. He's braking. Really? I grab a handful of the front brake; the front wheel instantly sits at an angle that you won't find in a RoSPA manual: forty-five degrees. This is funny ABS I think to myself, as grab the rear brake, drifting along the tarmac increasingly out of shape.

I let go of the front brake and clamber enough spare brain cells together to guide me to the right of the van. I go sailing past, slightly sideways and end up parked three foot away from a group of bemused looking pedestrians waiting to cross the road. If only my over-sized scooter wasn't blocking their path. Sorry.

Read Visordown's first ride report on the Kawasaki J300, a rebranded Kymco Downtown 300i