Limited Storage, No Space For A Helmet

KYMCO’s People GT 300i brings modern scootering capabilities to the market with EFI fuel delivery and 16-inch hoops all around. The mid-size engine churns out just under 30 horsepower and turns in a top speed somewhere around 85 mph depending on conditions, cargo and such. That’s plenty to qualify it to tackle what one might call “regular traffic” with confidence, and the 16-inch hoops help it handle like a larger machine. The factory calls it a GT, but I want to see if "GT" means Grand Touring or Gettn’-around Town.

Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO People GT 300i.

  • 2014 - 2017 KYMCO People GT 300i
  • Year:
    2014- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    4-stroke EFI SOHC 4-Valve
  • Displacement:
    298 cc
  • Top Speed:
    85 mph
  • Price:
    4899
  • Price:

Design

2014 - 2017 KYMCO People GT 300i Exterior
- image 535497
Because of the lack of storage space and narrow build that offers little protection to the rider that I say it makes a better commuter than a tourer,

KYMCO gave the People 300i a “Gran Turismo” tag, but if I’m honest I’d say, at best, it’s a light commuter. The stock topcase gives it the flyline of a tourer, certainly it does, but its narrow build matches that of the rest of the scoot so storage space is somewhat limited. While it seems it should have plenty of storage with a topcase included, we quickly discover that without that, there’s practically no storage at all. What happened to the spacious underseat storage that we usually see on a scooter? Under the seat we find the fuel-fill cap and a rather small, lighted storage compartment that may fit a wallet, phone and/or small handbag, but you won’t be storing your brain bucket in there. It’s because of the lack of storage space and narrow build that offers little protection to the rider that I say it makes a better commuter than a tourer, So GT means Gettin’-around Town in this case.

Up front, an equally narrow legguard/fairing leads the way under a modern-looking variation of the classic handlebar fairing/headlight housing. While the fairing houses the original turn signals within recessed cans, U.S. regulations make it necessary to add handlebar-mount winkers to achieve the required spacing. Atop the cyclops headlight, a stylized flyscreen protects the instrumentation as it visually ties the handlebars to the front fairing. Behind the screen, a slightly optimistic (110 mph max) analog-looking speedometer and digital screen displays the pertinent info from behind a clear cover that, unfortunately, also catches the glare from the sun and can make the LCD screen hard to read. Write me in as a fan of the sweep-dial speedometer, but not a fan of LCD and reflective cover.

A flip-out helmet hook below provides a place to hang your bucket or a bag of groceries, and the vertical backside of the legguard gives way to a flat-deck step-through. For all appearances, this should be a typical scooter, but the lack of storage sets it apart.

Chassis

2014 - 2017 KYMCO People GT 300i
- image 731244
The 16-inch rims are the shining stars of the ride. Many scooters run on rinky-dink donuts, and even the ones with a 16-inch up front have a 14-inch or smaller in back, so these relatively large hoops give the People really nice handling.

The chassis is about what you would expect. A proper underframe supports the structure with motorcycle-style, telescopic front forks and coil-over, preload-adjustable shocks to tame the motion of the swing-mount drive unit. Plus, the front end comes with an upper and lower tripletree that strengthens and stabilizes the front end.

Thankfully, KYMCO relegated the old drum brake to the history books and graced the People with hydraulic disc brakes all around for ample stopping power to control the 364-pound (dry) machine. The 16-inch rims, however, are the shining stars of the ride. Many scooters run on rinky-dink donuts, and even the ones with a 16-inch up front have a 14-inch or smaller in back, so these relatively large hoops give the People handling and feel like you get with nothing else. Yet another reason I say it makes a good commuter, because those small-rim scoots will wear you out and worry your nerves at speed where the People will get you there with mush less stress.

Seat height is in the usual range at 31.9-inches tall, but since it has a full step-through, even the very vertically challenged should be able to mount and manage it with little difficulty. I’m not tall enough to have a problem, but I wonder if taller folks will feel a little cramped by the rise to the pillion if they can’t slide back a little bit to give themselves legroom.

Front Suspension: Telescopic Forks, Upper and Lower Triple Tree
Rear Suspension: 5 Position Adjustable Dual Shocks
Tires-Front: 110/70-16
Tires-Rear: 140/70-16
Front Brakes: Disc
Rear Brakes: Disc
Rake/Trail: N/A

Drivetrain

2014 - 2017 KYMCO People GT 300i
- image 731252
The People GT 300i turns in top speeds between 85 and 90 mph. Those big wheels help it feel controllable at that speed.

A liquid-cooled, four-stroke thumper powers the People, and turns in top speeds between 85 and 90 mph. That’s pretty damned good for such a rather small scoot, and those big wheels help it feel controllable at that speed. Yeah, this is one scooter than can face the superslab with confidence, that’s for sure, just be mindful of the slipstreams of passing vehicles.

Nearly square, the 72.7 mm bore and 72 mm stroke gives it a 298.9 cc displacement. A SOHC times the four-valve head with a throttle body to manage the induction and help it meet CARB emissions standards. As per the norm with scooters, a continuously-variable transmission provides twist-and-go operation for effortless riding.

Engine Type: SOHC 4-Stroke 4-Valve
Displacement: 298.9cc
Bore x Stroke: 72.7x72mm
Claimed Horsepower: 29.5hp@ 8500rpm
Claimed Torque: 22ft lbs@ 6250rpm
Fuel Management System: EFI Throttle Body
Cooling: Liquid
Ignition: Electric
Transmission: CVT automatic

Pricing

2014 - 2017 KYMCO People GT 300i
- image 731242
The People GT 300i is priced affordably for a tourer, but is it really a tourer?

KYMCO prices the People GT out at $4,899 and offers a two-year factory warranty.

Colors: Matte White, Gloss Black
Warranty: 2-Year Factory Warranty
MSRP: $4,899

Competitors

2015 - 2017 Piaggio BV 350 ABS
- image 731275
2014 - 2017 KYMCO People GT 300i
- image 731254
Like power and torque figures, top speeds are likewise neck-and-neck right around 85 mph, so both seem equally capable of interstate work.

For my head-to-head, I wanted something with comparable performance and build, so I decided to pit the GT against Piaggio’s BV 350 ABS to see how it stacks up against a top-shelf product. Similarly modern, the BV comports itself with the dignity one might expect from the marque. Fit and finish is top notch with details that are simultaneously contemporary and classic for a very interesting look.

Right up front, the BV inches ahead with a smoked windshield that is actually liable to break some of the wind of the rider’s trunk and make it more comfortable at speed. Typical of the brand, Piaggio favors a tunnel step-through that eliminates the ’tween-feet storage spot and slightly increases mounting effort, and the lack of a top case gives the KYMCO a bit more in the way of stock storage options even with its tiny under-seat area.

Suspension is nearly identical as are the brakes with hydraulic discs across the board, but again, Piaggio brings the pain with all-around ABS protection that KYMCO can’t match. Not only that, but the BV comes with Piaggio’s Anti-Slip Regulation for traction control as well and a huge jump ahead in technology.

Like the GT, the BV runs the typical, liquid-cooled thumper but bumps displacement up to 330 cc for a total of 32.8-horsepower and 23 pound-feet of torque against the 29.5 ponies and 22 grunt from KYMCO. Honestly, that last speaks well for KYMCO’s engineering since Piaggio has the displacement and experience advantage, yet the humble GT manages to stay hot on its heels. Top speeds are likewise neck-and-neck right around 85 mph, so both seem equally capable of interstate work.

Piaggio’s advantages come at a price, literally, with a $6,399 sticker that definitely would buy you a proper motorcycle. But then, if you are on a budget, you probably aren’t looking at one of the big-name Italians, are you.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Looks like an OK-enough ride, but seriously, unless you just want a scooter, you could score a proper motorcycle for that price or maybe just a skosh more. Still, the top speed makes it a winner of sorts since you could have a reasonable expectation of hitting the interstate and being able to keep up with traffic, and being comfortable at speed is hard to put a price tag on, especially in the scooter world.”

She Said

"I don’t know why I am so bothered by the lack of underseat storage. I mean, KYMCOhad to include the top case, didn’t they? For folks that want to poo-poo away the People GT for being a "Chinese scooter", understand that it’s Taiwanese, not Chinese; and KYMCO traditionally makes very reliable products. So there ya go. I find the People GT capable enough; 300 cc is a good size for a scooter — big enough to be useful but not so big that weight becomes a problem — and the 16-inch wheels makes for a good ride. And still I come back to lack of storage. The top case is plenty big enough to hold three or four pizza boxes, but won’t fit a full-face helmet. If you don’t want to carry your helmet with you every time you walk away from the bike, get a cable lock to secure it to the bike. That’s not ideal, but if the rest of the scooter fits your needs, that’ll be a compromise you’ll have to make."

Specifications

Engine Type: SOHC 4-Stroke 4-Valve
Displacement: 298.9cc
Bore x Stroke: 72.7x72mm
Claimed Horsepower: 29.5hp@ 8500rpm
Claimed Torque: 22ft lbs@ 6250rpm
Fuel Management System: EFI Throttle Body
Cooling: Liquid
Ignition: Electric
Transmission: CVT automatic
Front Suspension: Telescopic Forks, Upper and Lower Triple Tree
Rear Suspension: 5 Position Adjustable Dual Shocks
Tires-Front: 110/70-16
Tires-Rear: 140/70-16
Front Brakes: Disc
Rear Brakes: Disc
Length: 83.8"
Width: 29.5"
Height: 50.3"
Wheelbase: 57.1"
Rake/Trail: N/A
Claimed Dry Weight: 364 lbs.
Seat Height: 31.9"
Underseat Storage: Yes - Lighted
Fuel Capacity: 2.4 gal.
Estimated MPG: 64 mpg est (based on EPA data)
Instrumentation: Speedometer, Odometer, Trip meter, Clock, Fuel & Temp, & 12 Volt accessory outlet
Colors: Matte White, Gloss Black
Warranty: 2-Year Factory Warranty
C.A.R.B. Compliant: Yes
Colors: Black, White
MSRP: $4,899

References

2015 - 2017 Piaggio BV 350 ABS
- image 677052

See our review of the Piaggio BV 350.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: kymcousa.com, piaggiousa.com

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