The Kwang Yang Motor Company (KYMCO) continues its push into the maxi-scooter market with its largest current U.S. model, the Xciting 500 Ri ABS. KYMCO markets this machine as a tourer/commuter, and while it is pretty big for a scooter, KYMCO’s discontinued MyRoad 700i was bigger. Still, this beefy, not-so-little scooter is the factory’s plushest item and it comes with everything KYMCO has to offer, taking on some of the other, large-displacement touring scoots out there.

Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO Xciting 500Ri.

  • 2014 - 2017 KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ABS
  • Year:
    2014- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    DOHC 4-Stroke with EFI
  • Displacement:
    499 cc
  • Price:
    5999
  • Price:

Design

2014 - 2017 KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ABS
- image 698209

An angular front fairing sets the tone with split headlamp housings and a smoked windshield that comes vented to prevent head buffeting, which is nice on long trips and on the commute home after a long day. Molded-in leg guards pull double duty as shrouds to funnel cooling air over the front-mount radiator and deflect it out and away from the rider’s legs.

In order to keep the entry as clean as possible, the factory built the front turn signals into the front-side of the mirrors, a touch I always like to see. The fairing wings deflect air away from the rider’s hip/thigh area to complete the protective pocket.

From there we move back to a half-depth step-through that interferes with the ’tween-feet storage spot, but at least comes with a flat top that is almost as good as a flush deck. A lockable, flip-up seat covers the lighted storage compartment, and it looks like it will hold up to two, three-quarter-sized helmets.

The sheer rise at the back of the rider seat serves only as a butt-stop, and isn’t really high enough to act as a backrest, and the pillion area has only a grab rail for passenger retention. Not all that comforting, but it is very clean. Overall, the “Ri” winds up just over 88-inches long with a 61.8-inch wheelbase, so it’s very un-scooterlike in its dimensions. Seat height is reasonable at 30.7-inches tall, and a taper at the front of the seat helps prevent the bulk of the saddle from interfering with the footwork.

Chassis

2014 - 2017 KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ABS
- image 698207
Dual, coil-over shocks buoy the rear end, and come with a five-position spring-preload adjustment for some flexibility to allow for cargo/passenger weight changes.

Rather than use a stressed-skin, “monocoque” body, KYMCO opted for the tubular-steel frame and body panel construction. Dual tripletrees clamp rwu, hydraulic front forks, but as you might imagine, come with nothing in the way of adjustability. Dual, coil-over shocks buoy the rear end, and come with a five-position spring-preload adjustment for some flexibility to allow for cargo/passenger weight changes.

Twin-pot calipers bite dual front brake discs with a disc rear brake as well— no antique drum brakes here. Bosch ABS protection prevents brake lockups, allowing for greater safety in inclement weather and emergency braking situations. In addition to that, the factory threw on a hand-actuated parking brake for a bit of security in areas with a lot of up-and-down to the terrain, think San Francisco for example.

Drivetrain

2014 - 2017 KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ABS
- image 698210

True to its nature, the “Ri” uses the traditional “swing-mount” propulsion arrangement that lumps engine, transmission and swingarm together as a single unit. Significantly oversquare, the 92 mm bore and 75 mm stroke adds up to 499 cc total, and the factory claims 37.8 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 30.5 pound-feet of torque at 5,500. On a “skinnier” scooter, this would be ample power, but the 462-pound dry weight, plus fluids, rider and passenger/cargo, leaves the thumper feeling like a bit of a dog.

Granted, the 43 mpg mileage rating feels good, and this ride is meant to be comfortable on long trips and commutes, so performance isn’t exactly a front-burner issue. Liquid cooling and fuel injection help the mill meet CARB emission standards. Electric start and electronic ignition finishes out the powerplant, and the Continuously Variable Transmission provides twist-and-forget operation that’s new-user friendly and in line with the rest of the scooter genre.

Pricing

2014 - 2017 KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ABS
- image 698208

Now for something I rarely get to say: the 2017 KYMCO Xciting 500Ri is actually cheaper than the original version that first sold in 2013. The early price was right at $6,800, but this year it’s hovering right at $5,999. Not sure what changed since prices usually don’t back up, but maybe the market was a little more amenable at $800 less.

Competitors

2014 - 2017 KYMCO Xciting 500 Ri ABS
- image 697978
2017 - 2018 BMW C 650 Sport / C 650 GT
- image 698211

Touring models represent the pinnacle of maxi-scooter devlopment, and KYMCO is entering a whole-new arena with some very big names. The business-class scooter market draws an entirely different sort of rider than the smaller, college-campus/Italian-villa versions. I think of this as the “business class” scooters that are more likely to appeal to young professionals looking to commute, or older riders wanting to shed the hassle of big-bike problems. Having said all that, I went straight to the top shelf and picked the BMW C 650 GT as my competitor.

Right off the bat, the Beemer shows a certain maturity of design, and the fit-and-finish is what you would expect from the Bavarians. Needless the say, KYMCO struggles to meet that standard, but the “Ri” looks OK enough and doesn’t necessarily come off as cheap. To be fair, Beemer sets a high bar, and that’s to be expected. The “C” carries a similar front end with full fairing and windshield protection, but with a more Euro-centric panache. Both carry the front turn signals in the mirrors, but the two-up saddle on the Beemer comes with a slightly higher rider backrest that may actually provide some support and the Beemer’s p-pad area relies on the grab-rail for passenger safety.

Fat, 40 mm, inverted front forks support the front of the “GT,” for far more beef up front than the “Ri.” Both rides use a tubular-steel undeframe that’s fully enclosed by body panels with all-around disc brakes and ABS protection, and of course, a swingmount drivetrain.

KYMCO runs a 499 cc thumper, a skosh smaller than the 647 cc Beemer mill, and naturally, there is a performance difference. The “GT” cranks out 60 ponies and 46 pounds, quite a bit more than the 38/30 from the diminutive KYMCO plant. Really, this is to be expected, German engineering and all that, but at 575 pounds wet, the Beemer has a lot more mass that soaks up some of that advantage so it isn’t quite as apparent as one might imagine.

In spite of the size and power difference, the Beemer manages to milk 51 miles out of every gallon versus only 43 from the KYMCO. BMW’s automatic stability control (traction control) puts the “GT” head and shoulders above the “Ri” in the electronics department.

Price is the one clear win for the Xciting 500 Ri at only $5,999, with the C 650 GT coming in at $10k-plus, but that’s to be expected. I really can’t gig the Xciting, though, because it is a budget ride, so let’s call it for what it is.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, "I came. I saw. I wasn’t terribly impressed. It is a lot of ride for the money, true, but size alone isn’t enough to justify the sticker. If you’re hard up for cash, it might fill your needs, but there are better rides within reach of a soft $6k budget.”

She Said

"My husband isn’t much of a scooter guy and can’t really understand why anyone would go for a scooter when they can have a propermotorcycle for the same money. I’m not terribly impressed, but the Xciting is a decent commuter for an economical price. Even if you went with a Suzuki Burgman 650, the price would be right up there with the BMW. The Burgman 400 is closer in price, but you have to lose some cubes to make that jump."

Specifications

Engine Type: DOHC 4-Stroke w/EFI
Displacement: 499cc
Bore x Stroke: 92x75mm
Claimed Horsepower: 37.8hp@ 7000rpm
Claimed Torque: 30.5ft lbs@ 5500rpm
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: 120/70-15
Tires-Rear: 150/70-14
Front Brakes: Dual Disc ABS
Rear Brakes: Disc - ABS and parking brake
Length: 88.58"
Width: 32"
Height: 52.5"
Wheelbase: 61.8"
Rake/Trail: N/A
Claimed Dry Weight: 462 lbs.
Seat Height: 30.7"
Underseat Storage: Yes
Fuel Capacity: 3.38gals.
Estimated MPG: 43 mpg est (based on EPA data)
Instrumentation: Speedometer, Tachometer, Odometer, Trip meter, Clock, Fuel & Temp, & 12 Volt accessory outlet
Colors: Gold, Charcoal
Warranty: 2-Year Factory Warranty
C.A.R.B. Compliant: Yes
MSRP: $5,999.00

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Image Source: kymcousa.com, bmwmotorcycles.com

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