Kymco's first 250cc motorcycle to arrive in Australia is a fairly low-tech machine with a drum brake at the rear and carburetted fuel delivery system. Yet after spending some time in the saddle, I think this newcomer warrants a much closer inspection.
Though the Kymco name is not instantly recognisable in Australia, it has a long history, having started building bikes back in the 1970s after beginning life as a parts supplier to Honda in 1963.
Based in Taiwan, the company builds scooters, ATVs and now motorcycles, with the Venox 250 one of its largest displacement models to date.
But can a company which has a long history of manufacturing scooters make a successful switch to building motorcycles?
PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
The Kymco Venox 250 will attract a lot of buyers on a budget – learners or otherwise. Priced at $6490 (not including government and delivery charges) it's a veritable bargain and compares very favourably to similarly marketed LAMS-approved cruisers such as the Honda VT400 and Hyosung GV650 Aquila, both of which retail for $9990.
For the money you get a fair bit of kit, including a liquid-cooled 249cc V-twin DOHC engine at the bike's core, situated inside a tubular steel frame. With two valves per cylinder, the fuel delivery system uses carburetion and the engine develops a claimed 28hp at 11,000rpm and 20Nm at 9000rpm.
The Kymco's 28 ponies are put to the ground via a five-speed manual gearbox and the Venox features an electric start, a no-frills tank-mounted speedo (no tacho), luggage tie-down hooks, a sidestand and seating for two.
The front 17-inch 'cruiser style' wheel is cushioned by telescopic front forks with 140mm of travel and features a single disc brake with braided line, while the solid 15-inch rear wheel is suspended by twin shocks with adjustable preload. The rear gets a drum brake and the tyre size aspect ratios are 110/80 at the front and 150/80 at the rear.
Our test bike was delivered 'as is' and at the time of writing Kymco was still working on an accessories list for the Venox, which should be available soon.
Colour choices are black, metallic grey or red and the Venox 250 comes with a two-year warranty.
ON THE ROAD
Getting onto the Venox is effortless. Shorter riders will have no trouble swinging a leg over thanks to a low 725mm seat height and with easy-reach handlebars and well positioned footpegs, the Kymco Venox 250 is a comfortable steed. The seat cushion is fairly supple too, ensuring the 'cruiser' aspect of the bike is no idle boast.
Though the engine did take a few hits of the electric starter button to get going on colder mornings (the manual choke does help though) there's a lot to like about the Venox.
It's not a powerhouse by anyone's measure and won't be angling for any traffic light trophies in stock form, but at 175kg the bike's light weight and low centre of gravity make the Venox an incredibly easy bike to ride.
Whether commuting through gridlocked morning traffic or just cruising through the outer suburbs looking for a Subway sandwich with extra jalapenos, Kymco's cruiser is very easy to ride.
You sit low in the bike which helps keep some wind off you at highway speeds, and the seating position is general is very good. You certainly won't be feeling any strains when riding this Taiwanese V-twin.
The Venox's relatively low weight and seat provide it with a sense of approachability that will appeal to learner riders, plus it handles fairly well should you feel the need to cut through a few apexes.
In most instances the brakes are adequate, but when you start pushing through corners and have to hammer the anchors hard, the front single disc provides poor feel and not much bite. The rear drum brake is much the same.
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