Kawasaki J300 vs Kymco Xciting 400i

Does our J300 still seem as good after testing its new big brother? Long-term review part six

RECENTLY I tested the latest maxi scooter from Kymco, the Xciting 400i. What’s that got to do with our long-term test scooter, the Kawasaki J300? Well, the J300 is a re-badged Kymco Downtown 300i, so they're sort of siblings.

I rode the J300 to the dealer who leant me the Xciting 400i, so it was a bit like back-to-back testing it against its bigger brother.

I’ve been banging on all year about how the J300 is nearly as good as a maxi scooter for half the price, at £4,049. It’s my whole argument for it.

The Xciting 400i is a maxi scooter. It's faster than the J300, it handles better thanks to bigger wheels, and it’s better-looking – and it still costs about half the price of some, at £5,092. 

It even has a better name. ‘Xciting’ might be a bit naff but at least it’s something to talk about. “Did the ‘E’ fall off?”

Where do you go with J? “Did the ‘erk’ fall off?

“Oh no, he’s riding it.”

Some time ago I enjoyed long-term custody of a Suzuki Burgman 650. It seemed good until I rode a Yamaha Tmax, which completely spoiled it by being loads more fun. I was worried the Xciting would spoil the J300 in the same way.

But with an odd mix of disappointment and relief, I noted the step-up in performance was too underwhelming for that.

I’d feared (and hoped) the Xciting would be a lot faster than the J300. In fact it’s a bit faster. It makes 8hp more, at 36hp, but also weighs slightly more, at 200kg compared to 191kg. Acceleration is a bit stronger and top speed a bit higher.

The handling is a bit better. It’s more stable but still has the vagueness of a scooter at steep lean angles.

The Xciting is better in nearly every way – a bit.

Personally though, I think it’s the role of a motorcycle to go faster and handle better, and the job of scooter to do the necessary, which is getting you about conveniently and comfortably. The J300 does everything a scooter needs to. It still goes about 90mph. And it still costs a grand less.

In one important respect it’s superior – it’s got more space under the seat thanks to its smaller wheels.

So for me it remains optimal, even if not as exciting as the Xciting.

It’s going to start looking even better now summer’s over. Notice how the weather’s got colder in the last few days? Ask me if I care. Go on.

I’ve got my tall screen and I’ve just whacked on some Tucano Urbano neoprene handlebar muffs, which means I’m still wearing my café racer (hairy-faced hipster) summer gloves.

On a separate note, the J300s done 3,030 miles and the rear tyre has almost no tread in the middle, as shown in my picture. Is this normal? It’s not like it does power slides.    

Model tested: Kawasaki J300

Price: £4,049

Power: 28hp

Fuel economy (tested): 76.5mpg

Kerb weight: 191kg

Seat height: 775mm

Availability: Now

Colours: black, silver, black/green 

Read part one of our Kawasaki J300 long-term review

Read Visordown's first-ride review of the Kawasaki J300