First Ride: Kymco AK550

Published: 05 April 2018

Kymco’s new AK550 is the Taiwanese firm's largest capacity scooter and at £8879 the new addition is priced to compete with the market leading Yamaha TMAX.

We’ve been living  with the AK550 and have ridden in all weathers on our daily commute, country road tours and motorway blasts.

For changing weather conditions there are two riding modes. Flick to rain mode and it’s a more subdued ride with initial throttle response reduced, traction control’s at it most responsive and there’s a noticeable lag as the 53bhp twin comes to life. Dry mode is the ‘go to’ mode, with full throttle available it’s more fun to ride. Once on the open road, the AK550 is swift to get to motorway speeds and like other maxi-scoots has enough left to nip through traffic. Fuel economy is lower than expected at an average of 53mpg, which gives a 175 mile range.

It’s spacious and comfortable, with ample room for my 5’10” frame and at 785mm the plush seat is low and inspires confidence, with feet easily dropping to the floor when I come to a stop. The narrow, angular, front fairing make it easy to negotiate city traffic, while it offers sufficient protection from the elements as speed increases. The long wheelbase and 15-inch wheels mean it’s stable at speed, while still being maneuverable in traffic.

It weighs in at a hefty 226kg dry, you can add around 20kg for fuel and liquids, so it’s a heavy beast when pushing it around the garage. The weight disappears once the engine fires up and I’m on the move.

To justify the near £9000 price tag the AK550 has been specced to a high standard and quality parts used. There’s Metzeler Feel Free tyres and the Brembo four-pot radial front calipers are usually the preserve of exotic Italian machines, not a humble maxi-scooter.

Rider comfort’s been considered, both the screen and the plush seat’s lumber support are manually adjustable. The screen, in particular, is fiddly to alter and once in place you’d be best to leave well alone. The heated grips, with their three heat settings, actually keep hands warm, which make winter rides more comfortable.

Fitted with Kymco’s unique ‘Noodoe’ technology, the AK550’s LCD dash can be connected, via bluetooth, to your smartphone. Even for an aging, technophobe like me it is simple to use. Personalise the dash with your own clock designs and when you turn the scoot on you’ll be greeted with your choice of photo. You can receive text and social media messages, park up and you can keep tabs on your machine’s last location.

Storage is plentiful with a lit underseat compartment, that’s larger than others in its class, it holds two lids, a full and an open faced. There’s also two glove compartments, one of which houses a USB charging point.

MCN Verdict

Kymco have stepped up their game with this latest addition to their range, with the AK550 being made to a high spec and top quality parts used. There’s been a lot of effort to match the class leading Yamaha TMAX but with the marque not as well known in the UK and the dealer network as large as Yamaha’s, possibly the £900 price difference could do with being a little larger.

Second Opinion by Michael Neeves

There’s no question the Kymco does the same job as the Yamaha: it’s every inch as practical, fast and has stronger brakes and grippier tyres. But it lacks the TMAX’s fluid power delivery, it’s plusher suspension and cosy weather protection. It’s a fair chunk heavier, too, which you really notice when you’re pushing it around and it doesn’t reach the same level of build quality as the classy Yamaha, which is fine, but for the price I’d expect more.

FACTS

KYMCO AK550

Price £8879

Engine 550cc Liquid-cooled in line twin, DOHC, 8 valves

Frame Lightweight aluminium

Seat height 785mm

Suspension 41mm  USD telescopic forks, non adjustable and adjustable single rear shock.

Front brake 270mm twin discs, four-piston radial Brembo calipers

Rear brake 260mm single disc, twin-piston caliper.

Colours Black

Available Now

Power 53 bhp@7500rpm

Torque 41 ftlb @5500rpm

Kerb weight 226kg

Tank capacity 15-litres

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