We were snuggled into a conference room in the upscale Aloft hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, when PR man Peter Jones kicked off Kymco’s 2018 new-product launch by telling us that scooters in the U.S. market are “such a small thing, they’re not even really a thing… scooters and soccer, they’re just not a part of our culture.”
But the lack of scooter culture has made Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco itself a thing. After staying doggedly in the American scooter market for the better part of two decades, Kymco has a coast-to-coast dealer network, a good reputation for reliability and value, and is basically the only purveyor of value-priced, high-performance maxi-scooters.
¿Que? That’s right, Kymco’s flagship model is the new-for-2018 $5,999 Xciting 400i, and as far as I can tell, Piaggio’s $6,399 Beverly 350 is its only competition, showing how the market has changed in the last decade. Suzuki’s Burgman 400 retails for $7,999, but Suzuki didn’t import them for 2017; dealers may have leftover models. Vespa’s GTV and GTS look gorgeous and ride like champs, but their air-cooled mills don’t have the testicoli to keep up with Kymco.
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