2019 KYMCO SuperNEX
Zero-to-60 in 2.9 Seconds. Wait! What?by TJ Hinton, on
The electric vehicle arms race has expanded into the two-wheel sector with some predictable big-name players clamoring for their share, but KYMCO — better known for scooters and small-displacement internal-combustion-engine (ICE) bikes — enters the fray with its SuperNEX. This thing seems aptly named with superbike-like body panels and performance to back up the claims implied by such a name. Safe to say that this is new territory on two fronts for the Taiwanese manufacturer; it’s the first truly full-size bike and the first serious foray into the world of electric bikes. Gotta’ say, this thing wasn’t even on my radar until it popped up at the Milan show, so join me and we’ll discover this stunning ride together.
2019 KYMCO SuperNEX
Top Speed:155 mph
KYMCO SuperNEX Design
Unless you notice the lack of a tailpipe, you can't tell at a distance that this isn't a CBR, YZF, or a Ninja.
“Pure-D supersport.” That’s the first thing I thought when I first laid eyes on the SuperNEX. Gotta’ say I was pleasantly surprised, ’cause when I heard KYMCO had an electric, I had a life-size picture of some little pocket-rocket toy. I’ll go ahead and eat that crow, because nothing could be further from the truth.
The SuperNEX comes off looking like a sprinter crouched at the blocks with an all-up-front visual balance that pulls the front wheel in and under the nose of the fairing for a close, aerodynamic fit and oodles of curb appeal. A bobbed front fender does its bit to keep unsprung weight low along with beefy usd front forks that give it a serious-business bent. Dual headlights ride recessed in the nose with DRL rings for increased daytime visibility and safety, and up top there’s a bubble screen and foil-style mirror stems that incorporate the winkers to keep the front end clean and promote low-resistance penetration.
Clip-on bars pull the rider forward over the faux tank superbike style, and jockey-mount footpegs finish the rider’s triangle with a decidedly-aggressive posture for the pilot. There’s a steep drop to the saddle down the back side of the tank to the same sort of narrow waist you’d expect from any of the top literbikes. That leaves you plenty of room to tuck your legs in out of the slipstream and throw around some body English when you decide to toss it around in the turns.
The tail rises a bit to form a bucket for the pilots butt, and the importance of that feature will become apparent when we get to the power figures. All functions of the tailward lighting is handled by two LED strips that ride up under the tip of the tail, and there’s a short mudguard and plateholder that doubles as a fender extender to control the spray out back.
The monoshock rides tucked away out of sight, and since there’s no exhaust pipe, the rear end is clean with the suggestion of great efficiency and low-drag reintegration of the slipstream. Below the nose, the fairing opens up in the typical sport-bike scoop with a cowling that covers all the innards, and I’m telling ya’, unless you notice the lack of a tailpipe, you can’t tell at a distance that this isn’t a CBR, YZF, Ninja or some such. The looks are on-point as far as I’m concerned — on par with Energica — and a pleasant surprise. Maybe I should have had more faith, but before I saw it, I was thinking what a train-wreck it was likely to be. Sorry guys; I take it all back, with great humility.
KYMCO SuperNEX Chassis
While the factory is happy to go on (and on) about the performance numbers, it is still keeping a trove of important metrics under wraps.
While the factory is happy to go on (and on) about the performance numbers, it is still keeping a trove of important metrics under wraps. The twin-spar/wishbone frame and gull-wing, yoke-style swingarm are almost certainly composed of aluminum alloy in a bid to keep the overall weight low, and that’s no mean feat given the mass that the motor and battery add to the mix.
Dual discs lead the way with four-pot, opposed-piston Brembo anchors to do the heavy work up front with a single-piston caliper to bite the disc out back. It looks like the brakes are ABS-less, but not entirely vanilla because part of the “Full Engagement Performance” package that brings a rear wheel lift prevention feature to the table, and it works by modulating the front brake pressure when a wheel-speed differential is detected. Not quite the same thing as ABS, but still, it’s nice to be able to pile on the front brake with no chance of an accidental endo.
Clearly, the factory opted for inverted front forks, but I can’t tell if there are any adjustments. I’m inclined to say that they probably come with the full trinity, but the powers-that-be are a little ambiguous on this and many other points. Same with the rear; I expect it’s got at least the obligatory preload adjuster, and probably more, but as of this writing the factory is mum.
KYMCO SuperNEX Drivetrain
How about 0-to-60 mph in 2.9-seconds. Yeah, it's like that.
One thing KYMCO isn’t shy about is its performance envelope, and this is also where the rest of the electronics suite will make itself known. The FEP bundles the anti rear-wheel lift with a traction-control and anti-wheelie function to help the rider keep control of all that power. What kind of power are we talking about? Well, how about 0-to-60 mph in 2.9-seconds. Yeah, it’s like that. You can expect to see 120 mph in 7.5-seconds and the 155 mph top-end in 10.9-seconds. Of course, skill plays a role here as the SuperNEX comes with a six-speed transmission that delivers a smoker-bike riding experience but forces you to exercise good timing, which is arguably part of the joy of riding.
A slipper clutch couples motor power to the gearbox and provides some anti-backtorque protection with a light pull at the lever and yet another layer of protection for the rear contact patch. The motor itself is quiet; perhaps too quiet. So, the factory added a noisemaker that gives audible feedback as the motor winds up on its trip through the gears, and that is done not only for the emotional stimulus, but also for the practical aspect that lets you ride “by ear” as it were.
Battery capacity, range and recharge times are complete unkowns at the time of this writing, but I expect I’ll be able to update soon as the calendar is just about to roll over. What it does have is the capacity to deliver a thrilling ride by anyone’s standards, and it sports one last gadget to help you manage the monster; a power-mode feature that ramps the intensity up from “poised” through “assertive, bold and extreme” so you can dial in for your comfort/skill level.
KYMCO SuperNEX Pricing
It's entering a market where the range starts in the low teens and goes on up; I expect the SuperNEX to fall on the lower side of the price range.
MSRP is still TBA as of this writing, but it’s entering a market where the range starts in the low teens to low twenties and goes on up. I expect the SuperNEX to fall on the lower side of the price range.
KYMCO SuperNEX Competitors
With the growing pool of competitors, it'll be interesting to see where the SuperNEX falls when all the metrics are in.
It’s hard to pick a competitor on such scant information, but I expect that to change as soon as this design that debuted at EICMA actually hits showroom floors. Lookswise it certainly goes up against an Energica and the [Zero S]->mot3423] and SR, but will it match (or come close) to the reduced charging times on the Zero lineup for 2019? The LiveWire from Harley-Davidson is only the beginning of its electric portfolio so everything else from that sector will only get better. It’ll be interesting to see where the SuperNEX falls when all the metrics are in.
“Holy smokes sports fans, this thing has got some balls! Seriously, the performance it brings to the table is beyond the skillsets of the majority of riders out there, so ya’ better respect that throttle and make used of the safety systems, of this monster will eat you alive. Can’t wait to see the full specs list and pricetag. No matter how that shakes out, there can be no doubt that this is a huge leap forward for KYMCO.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I thought the same as my husband when I heard that KYMCO was making an electric motorcycle. I was thinking an electric K-Pipe or a Spade; something small and cute. Now my curiosity is up. I want to see what KYMCO has going on over there with this SuperNEX.”
KYMCO SuperNEX Specifications
Zero S / SR
See our look at the Zero S / SR.
See our look at the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
KYMCO K-Pipe 125
See our review of the KYMCO K-Pipe 125.
KYMCO Spade 150
See our review of the KYMCO Spade 150.
Read more KYMCO news.