2013 Kymco Downtown 300i Review

Kymco Downtown-300i

So here is my non-technical review and experiences (so far) on the 2013 Kymco Downtown 300i.

At 367 lbs and 300cc (299 for you technical people) and 29 hp, the Kymco Downtown 300i has some serious zip. It accelerates well but sometimes has a moment of hesitation before getting into gear. As I adjust to the throttle, I’m finding it a little jerky up to and around 20-30 mph. At 35+ mph it’s much smoother and has nice passing power at 50+. I really like how it sounds, more like a motorcycle than a scooter. It’s not ground shaking, teeth shattering Harley loud but more noticeable than my RV250.

Gas mileage is estimated more like a 250cc (60+ mpg) because it’s lighter than most maxi-scooters (compared to the likes of a Burgman). Some reports have it closer to 70 mpg but I’m sure it just depends on how you ride. I’ve only got about 1,100 miles on it so far and I’m getting just a hair over 60 MPG.  I sometimes ride on the freeway and absolutely LOVE passing cars (when it’s safe of course) so I could get a few more miles per gallon if I wasn’t gunning it half the time.

In town riding is good as far as taking turns and general maneuverability. It has great balance for a maxi scoot although it’s a little higher off the ground than a Burgman. Being 6′ 1″, I feel like I could put my knees on the ground but more on that later. The seat rest does not move and while it provides plenty of back support, I feel like my knees are going to hit the handle bars. Before I got the Downtown, I had gotten used to riding in a more relaxed position with my legs extended and there’s absolutely no way to do that for anyone my height. I took it to an upholstery repair person who specializes in scooters and motorcycles to have the seat pushed back an inch.  Sadly, this had little effect on riding comfort.  I feel like I’m sliding off  when I hit bumps so if I’m carrying a laptop bag, I can wedge my knees against it to stay on the seat.  Not the best thing to do while riding so I’m hoping to find another seat modder out there who can replace it altogether.

On the freeway I’ve noticed that it doesn’t have that buffeting noise like my old RV250. Even though the windshield is about the same height, I believe it’s because of the design of the windshield. There’s an opening at the bottom for air to flow so even at 65 mph, I felt like I was still going about 40. Of course, it it’s windy, you still feel it on the freeway but under normal riding conditions, it’s very comfortable.  My helmet has its own issues so road noise is a little louder but the scooter was very stable at higher speeds. It does seem to rev kinda high but the technician didn’t find anything when I took it in for servicing. The rear shocks are adjustable but so far they seem OK in the default position.

Most reports say the underseat space is large. That’s partially true. It’s large but awkwardly shaped. I can fit my medium full face helmet inside but not my laptop. I think my RV250 had more total space and was better arranged. I can fit my laptop bag around the handlebars but I’m going to need something more if I need to lock something up. I really was hoping to avoid a trunk but I think I’m going to need one. There’s a small storage compartment by the handlebars that has a 12V plug but you can’t lock it. There’s no glovebox either. The battery is in an odd (and difficult to reach) location under the seat. I’m not sure how I’m going to get my battery tender hooked up. The fuse box is also oddly placed under the seat and not easy to access.  Apparently, storage was an afterthought for the Downtown.  There are some nice trunks for the Downtown but I’m going to hold off for as long as I can.

The instrument panel is decent. It has the basics but I still don’t know why these folks can’t sell a scooter where you can get 12hr time format. My SYM was the same way. The controls are easy to read and have a kinda muscle car look to them. The blinkers make a clicking sound which is a nice touch (although you can’t hear them over 40 mph). The headlights are bright as s#$t. I think you can see them from space. They work exceptionally well at night. I had no problems reading the gauges at night or the daytime. The front turn signals are built into the side mirrors but there are placeholders for ones near the headlights too. I read about someone who modded the turn signals to alternate between the two which I may have to try myself. The ignition/keyhole area is going to take some time to adjust. It’s got about 20 different variables. You unlock the underseat storage with it so there’s no separate lock. There’s a button to close off the ignition hole which is very easy to push. I think there are other times where you push in the key and turn it sideways while standing on your head to make it do something else. Still learning about that one.

The center stand is super easy to use. For a bigger scooter, it takes very little effort. There’s no parking brake though. What’s odd is that there’s an ABS sensor but this model does not have it. The brakes are also adjustable and right now seem very tight. Someone with small hands may not be able to reach them easily.  It’s also a bit uncomfortable when riding in colder weather.

Overall I really like how the scooter handles both low and high speeds. I was looking for an all-around bike to do both in-town riding and if needed, long distance rides that wouldn’t stress the engine. I also wanted something I could get parts for and while I know SYM is getting better, there are at least two places I can get parts and/or service in town. Price and reliability were also a factor and so far most everything I’ve read about Kymco is very positive. The seat design was almost a deal breaker but when I read about a place nearby on a local forum, I thought it would give me what I needed. The other stuff is just getting familiar with the scooter. While I prefer the look of the scooter sans trunk, I figure I can take it off when I don’t need it. I really like the looks and color as it reminds me more of a sport bike. I was trying to get a 2012 model at a lower price but they were all out.

Anyone else have one of these bad boys?  If you’re a taller rider, let me know how you like riding your Downtown.

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