Well-finished, stable Kymco

We hadn’t really seen a Kymco before the MXU 300 arrived and had certainly never looked at one in detail.

We didn’t quite know what to expect and certainly not the decently well-finished machine which it appears.

The manufacturer last year exported around 43,000 units of which of course, a high percentage were small leisure machines. In the first six months of the current year, they are looking at around 28,000 units and as more utility bikes come on stream – there is a 500 in the stable now – so Kymco’s relevance to the agricultural market should increase.

Not surprisingly the 300 is an automatic and while only a liquid cooled 271cc, 19hp motor, the fact that it has a low ratio, gives it enough oomph to be happy in front of small trailers, etc.

The racks are pretty small but probably in balance with the size of the bike and they are more or less horizontal – although there are no rear or front load-stop rails.

Our initial thoughts were this is just a leg saver but in truth, it is no less useful than any of the smaller bikes from the big names. In fact the conclusion at the end of week with the bike, was that the big names better watch out – some of the lesser known brands might not have much going for them as far as the farm is concerned, but this is not one of them. We cannot of course say what it will look like after a couple of years hard labour.

One of the main selling points of the Kymco could be that it is sold as road legal – no problem if you have land several miles away and know the cost of running a 4 x 4 or even a tractor just to get from A to B.

It took a while to figure out that you need to hold the brake while shifting the transmission lever or the engine cuts out – it is designed in the name of safety.

Interestingly, it felt really stable on the road at speeds up the thick end of 40, but like any smaller bike, you can lift a rear corner if you make swift and tight direction changes on the field.

It is a two-wheel drive and there is nothing revolutionary about the design and controls – shaft drive, double wishbone front suspension and multi-link single damper rear, disc brakes front and rear and a high/low/reverse transmission.

But it’s a nice machine to ride with full length running boards and raised foot pegs. It has a useful digital speedo on the lcd panel and a bar type fuel gauge but not much in the way of stowage space. The bike is listed at £3,599 including VAT.

• The 500 that is now in the Kymco stable brings the added dimensions of switchable four-wheel drive and more power. Kymco claims to be the European market leader for road legal ATVs and the introduction of the 500 is an indication that it does indeed intend to cater for the agricultural market more. Prices start from £5,499 including VAT (£819) and a two-year parts and labour warranty. Buyers of a Kymco quad get a free safety and training DVD.

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