Not A Bad Little Around-Towner

The Kwang Yang Motor Company (KYMCO) takes on some pretty heavy hitters in the low-displacement scooter market with its Like 150i. It carries itself with an overall modern look that borrows from classic influences with tasteful results. Power comes from a thumper that rocks electronic fuel injection to help the Like meet U.S. emission standards. At a glance, it looks like good basic transportation, but the devil is in the details, so let’s dig in and see how it stacks up against the mainstream.

Continue reading for my review of the KYMCO Like 150i.

  • 2017 - 2018 KYMCO Like 150i
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    150 cc
  • Price:
  • Price:

KYMCO Like 150i Design

2017 - 2018 KYMCO Like 150i
- image 789171
Not big on storage, the Like 150i will keep a full-face bucket and a few sundry items dry, but that's about it.

The Like leads the way with a clean front fender that mounts to the clamp so as to keep the unsprung weight down. A broad legshield clears the way to protect the rider’s stems, and it uses some subtle shapes in the sheet metal to gently break up the field with a few badges to dress it up just a bit. Nothing gaudy or juvenile mind you, but tasteful in my humble opinion. Oh, and it has a classic flavor to it that is picked up by the cyclops headlight and handlebar fairing. It’s true that the light shape is a bit unusual, and not exactly like the classic round headlights from back in the day, but it still has the desired effect and certainly adds a dose of nostalgia.

Recessed turn signals complete the forward lighting, and as with the rest of the scoot, they rely on LED technology to get the job done. The backside of the headlight housing contains the all-digital instrumentation that steers the design into “futuristic-retro” territory. That’s the factory’s language, not mine, but it fits.

Below the steering and controls, the inner fairing sports a wide, if shallow, glove box that will hold your mobile device and charge it via the USB port contained within the dry, secure compartment. A little further down the steering column is another door that conceals the fuel-filler cap. The 1.8-gallon tank rests under that oddly-thick deck, so it’s a short trip from the filler to the reservoir, and of course, placing the weight right there pulls the center-of-gravity right on down. Under the flip-up seat you’ll find the usual storage cubby, but if you’re looking for room for two helmets, you need to start researching a maxi-scoot, or a mini-max at the smallest. The Like 150i will keep a full-face bucket and a few sundry items dry, but that’s about it.

A few subtle details in the sheet metal along the flanks give the rear end the same understated look as the front for a nice continuity of design, and I guess the same could be said of the rearward lighting; it rocks bright LED emitters in a rather outrageous pattern that doesn’t conform to accepted norms. Does that count? A deep rear fender contains the spray from the rear wheel and mounts the tag to complete the equipment.

KYMCO Like 150i Chassis

2017 - 2018 KYMCO Like 150i
- image 789166
The cast wheels could be larger, but they fit well with the design and there is certainly something to be said for that.

A proper underframe supports the structure rather than relying on the stressed-skin method. The factory beefed up the bones by dropping the old single-downtube arrangement in favor of a double-downtube/double-cradle frame that is much stiffer overall than the outgoing model and comes built to mount the ABS feature. Hydraulically-dampened telescopic forks support the front end on 3.74 inches of travel while the swing-mount rear end falls under the control of a pair of coil-over rear shocks that deliver 3.39 inches of travel and come with adjustable preload to boot. I suppose that at 12-inches diameter, the cast wheels could be larger, but at the end of the day they fit well with the design and there is certainly something to be said for that.

Bless their hearts, the designers chucked on a modern hydraulic disc brake out back instead of the old drum brake, and both ends run a twin-pot anchor with ABS coverage all around. I know it would be easier to just chuck on a drum and call it done, so I have to give the factory its due credit here. A 110/70 and 130/70 hoop lines the front and rear rims, respectively, to round out the rolling chassis.

KYMCO Like 150i Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 KYMCO Like 150i
- image 789168
This plant is button-start only, so if you're dead set on the romance of kicking your steed to life, this ain't the scoot for you

Power comes from the four-valve thumper that runs a 59 mm bore and 54.8 mm stroke for a total displacement of 149.8 cc, right up against the implied 150 cc mark. The valvetrain is both light and simple with a single over-head cam to take care of the business of timing the poppets. This plant is button-start only, so if you’re dead set on the romance of kicking your steed to life, this ain’t the scoot for you; for everyone else, this is good news indeed.

Electronic fuel injection meters the push-o-line to milk an economical 85 miles out of each gallon. As for the power figures, they are about what you’d expect. The little mill grinds out 8.7 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm with 13.5 horsepower that tops out at 9 grand. Forced-air cooling eliminates the waste heat, and that comes with the benefits of simplicity and lighter weight versus a liquid-cooled engine. As usual for a scoot, a continuously-variable transmission uses a belt-and-pulley system to keep the engine in the usable power range with the expected twist-and-go operation and seamless, clutchless “shifting.” The factory doesn’t specify a top speed, but I expect you’re going to want to stay off the interstate, and watch your back on highways too.

KYMCO Like 150i Pricing

2017 - 2018 KYMCO Like 150i
- image 789167
MSRP on the 2018 Like 150i is well within the affordable range at $2.6k.

The 2018 Like 150i rolls for the low price of $2,599 (MSRP) with a two-year limited factory warranty. This year, the palette includes Blue Metallic, red, Pearly White and gray.

KYMCO Like 150i Competitors

2018 Vespa Sprint
- image 780445
2017 - 2018 KYMCO Like 150i
- image 789172
The Like is less expensive, but Vespa was never one to use price as a selling point.

It’s fair to say that I didn’t pick the market, KYMCO did that, so I think it’s fair game to pull a couple of the biggest names in the game: Piaggio, and its Vespa division. The Vespa Sprint 150 S “Special Series” brings genuine classic looks to the table along with a thoroughly modern riding experience. Retro design elements give the Sprint a nostalgic air that few can match, though in fairness, KYMCO does better than most with its clean neo-retro look.

Vespa claims more cubeage with 154.8 cc tucked away under the sheet metal, and while it does top the KYMCO plant in torque with 9.44 pound-feet versus 8.7 pound-feet, but KYMCO strikes back with more horsepower (13.5) than the 12.7-pony Vespa, so in the end, the power is a trade off. Vespa does offer a TFT multi-function display that is superior to the LCD readouts on the Like, and it claims a whopping 110 mpg for a clear victory in that department.

The Sprint takes a hit with a drum brake out back, even though it half makes up for it with a hydraulic brake up front, complete with ABS. The Italian ride clearly loses at the checkout though, bigly. At $5,649, the Sprint is significantly more expensive, but Piaggio was never one to use price as a selling point.

He Said

“I reckon I like the Like well enough. At the end of the day, fit-and-finish will be the main tradeoff for the price difference between the Like and the rest of the big-name builders. I gotta’ give KYMCO its props though, the look is just right, and evokes the sense of nostalgia for which the factory was no doubt hoping.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “A very smooth, snappy ride and surprisingly quick for a 150. It’s tall like a Vespa, but for taller riders, I think they’d feel a little cramped as there doesn’t seem to be much legroom. I’m okay, but I wonder if taller folks might want a little more space. As you’d probably guess from the very affordable price that there’s a lot of plastic on the body, but for $2,600, can I really complain? I would like to see a bit more storage, but a trip to the accessories catalog for a topcase might fit that bill. It’s not a bad little around-towner.”

KYMCO Like 150i Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: SOHC 4-Stroke, 4-Valve, Single Cylinder
Displacement: 149.8 cc
Bore X Stroke: 59x54.8 mm
Claimed Horsepower: 13.5 hp @ 9,000 rpm
Claimed Torque: 8.7 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
Fuel Management System: Electronic Fuel Injection
Cooling: Forced Air
Ignition: Electric
Transmission: CVT Automatic
Front Brakes: 8.66" Single Rotor With Two-Piston Caliper, ABS
Rear Brakes: 7.87" Single Rotor With Two-Piston Caliper, ABS
Front Suspension: 3.74" Travel, 1.30" Telescopic Fork Legs
Rear Suspension: 3.39" Travel, Twin Shocks With Preload Adjustment
Rake/Trail: N/A
Frame: Upgraded Frame To Support ABS Function
Tires-Front: 110/70-12
Tires-Rear: 130/70-12
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 76.8"
Width: 27.2"
Height: 45.1"
Wheelbase: 51.8"
Claimed Dry Weight: 264 Lbs
Seat Height: 31.1"
Underseat Storage: Yes Plus Compartment In Front Leg Shield
Fuel Capacity: 1.8 Gal
Warranty: 2 Year Limited Factory Warranty (Extended Warranty Packages Available)
EPA/C.A.R.B. Compliant: No
Colors:  Pearly White, Blue Metallic, Red and Gray
Price: $2,599


Vespa Sprint 150

2018 Vespa Sprint
- image 780440

See our review of the Vespa Sprint 150.

- image 789176

Read more KYMCO news.

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