Long-Term Kymco People 250 Review
The Kymco People 250 came onto the USA scooter scene just a scant few
years ago. Since that time, it has garnered quite a reputation for quality
and functionality. In the summer of 2004, the Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly
team put a Kymco People through a 24 hour torture-test.
CLICK HERE to read the article. It was this article, along with
the recommendation of the fine people at
that lead my purchase of the 2005 Kymco People 250 pictured above.
A "Do Everything" Scooter
I had returned to the scootering world after several years of
"motorcycle only" riding (see ABOUT US)
and had acquired a Genuine Stella and a Yamaha Vino 125. The Stella was (and
is) a great scooter and a blast to ride and my wife was very happy
with her Vino (she latter switched to a Genuine
Buddy). I was looking for something else that would be suited
to regular highway use, two-up riding, and daily commuting. It had to be
reliable, inexpensive to operate, have LOTS of storage space (I often
have to carry a lot of stuff around for work), fit me well (no easy
task) AND be fun to ride. I suppose the argument could be made that
the Stella could potentially cover all of that criteria, but I just wasn't
comfortable with it as a highway cruiser in daily traffic.
I looked at the Honda Reflex, Yamaha Majesty, Suzuki Burgman 400, and
even looked for a good used Honda Helix. Finding a good used Honda Helix
turned out to be pretty tough, and the purchase price of the other
scooters was more than I wanted to spend. I did come VERY close to getting
a used Scarabeo... but the price was still pretty high and I was nervous
about service and parts availability. It was at this frustrated juncture
that I read the mentioned Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly article. I was off
to Scooterville to talk to Bob.
Bob had nothing but good to say about Kymco and the People 250. He
mentioned the Xciting 250 & 500... but the potential arrival of those
models was a bit too far in the future for me. (Of course they are both
now available. At first I thought about trading, but I'm glad I stuck with
the People.) One serious look was all it took, I bought a 2005 maroon
Features of the Kymco People 250
One of the most prominent features of the Kymco People is the "big
wheel" layout. Traditionally, scooters have come equipped with relatively
small tires. This is part of what makes them so quick handling and fun to
ride. 10" to 12" tires are common these days. Even some Maxi-scooters have
13" tires. The Kymco People 250 has 16" tires front and rear. This makes
for a more stable high-speed ride and somewhat more "motorcycle-like"
handling overall. I find the People 250 to be a good compromise ride -
yes, the tires are big, but the weight is low as is the center of gravity.
The "guts" of the Kymco People 250 include a liquid-cooled four-stroke
249cc single cylinder carbureted engine and CVT automatic transmission.
There are single disk brakes front and rear and conventional telescopic
forks in front and dual shocks in back for suspension.
As shown above, the Kymco dash is well laid out and has good
at-a-glance display of information. One thing that some would say is
"missing" is a tachometer. I'm kind of torn on this, I mean it's an
automatic scooter - does one really need a tach? The
speedometer (and odometer) are set up to reflect kilometers. Miles
per hour are shown on the "inside" of the speedometer ring. I've heard
some people complain about this, but it's easy to get used to and hasn't
bothered me. One thing that does bother me is the virtual uselessness of
the fuel gauge. When one fills the tank, the gauge goes to "full" and
stays there.... and stays there.... and stays there. When it starts to
move "down" it moves very quickly to just above "empty" and then stays
there.... and stays - you get it. It's been my experience that there is
still about half a gallon in the tank when the gauge is at empty.
The engine temperature gauge seems reasonably accurate and I like
having the clock on the dash. The "engine kill" switch and starter button
are on the right-side controls along with the throttle and front brake.
The high-low beam switch, horn and turn signals are on the left-side
controls along with the rear brake AND a flash-to-pass "trigger" that is
actually quite handy.
The ignition switch is a multi-function affair that locks the front
end, opens the seat, and releases the fuel filler cap in addition to its
more routine functions. There is also a fairly rugged plastic luggage hook
that swings out. I have heard some people comment about splashing and
spilling when filling the fuel tank. This hasn't been a problem for me,
but I can see how it can happen if one isn't careful. The fuel capacity is
a bit small with just over two gallons maximum.
Once a person has twisted the key and popped the seat open, that person
will find reasonable storage. That's my 3/4 helmet in the picture above,
and I haven't had any trouble holding a full-face helmet under the seat.
There is also a handing accessory power plug of the cigarette-lighter
variety. Kymco's marketing material refers to this as a mobile phone
charger, I haven't made that particular use of it, but it works great if
you have "electric" riding apparel.
As I mentioned earlier, LOTS of storage was an important criteria fro
me. Within a few days of purchasing the People 250, I installed a Givi
trunk and have been VERY happy with it. The factory luggage rack from
Kymco is a very solid piece of equipment and it took to the Givi mounting
system like a fish to water.... or like a fat old scooterist to a cheap
Comparison With Similar Scooters
I fully expect that a lot of people will disagree with my definition of
"similar scooters" as I kept to those of the big-wheeled configuration. As
far as scooters competing for your purchase dollar, the Honda Reflex,
Honda Helix, Yamaha Majesty and Suzuki Burgman 400 would certainly make
the list. I went with the chart below mostly because of the relative
similarity in purchase price. The Honda Reflex has an MSRP of $5,549, the
Honda Helix is at $5,349, the Yamaha Majesty $5,799 and the Suzuki Burgman
400 is at $5,899 - none of these is within $1,000 of the Kymco People 250.
First the bad stuff - the cable that opens the fuel cap from the
multi-function switch stretched and I had to use a couple of screwdrivers
and a knife blade to open the cap. This was corrected under warranty by
Bob at Scooterville who made a point of telling me how easy it was to do
and that the factory had provided an adjuster for just such a situation.
The only other problem was VERY occasional stalling at stops after
extended riding in hot weather conditions that required minor carburetor
work, also covered under warranty.
That's it. No other mechanical problems or concerns of any kind. The
wildly inaccurate fuel gauge is something that I consider a design flaw
and not a "repairable" warranty issue.
I have about 3,000 miles on my People 250 as of this writing and am
very happy with it. The speedometer is a little more than 5% optimistic,
which is better than most other scooters. Fuel economy is good at about 60
MPG when I'm pushing the throttle and 70 MPG when I'm being a good boy.
The seating position is upright and comfortable. What? Did you expect I
would have a picture of me? Let's see... 5 foot 9 inch 220 pound old man
or.... You should be thanking me. The stock seat is comfortable and there
is adequate leg room. If you are of the long-legged persuasion, you may
wish for more forward leg room. The stock factory windscreen works just
fine for me. Again, taller riders may wish for an inch or two more height
to the screen.
I have found acceleration to be brisk - faster than a Helix or Reflex -
and with my chunky butt in the saddle the top end is just a hair under 80
MPH. Handling is wonderful. The big tires make for a smooth and stable
ride. With disk brakes front and rear, bring the People 250 to a stop is
easy. The brakes are progressive and strong.
The quality of the components and construction of the People 250 is
outstanding - as good as anything from the big Japanese companies. The
maroon finish is deep and glossy and the panels fit together with
As if you hadn't guessed it by this point, I'm a big fan of the Kymco
People 250. It has performed very well in every type of riding I have
exposed it to. From highway runs with the local Maxi-Scooter club to
cruising around the Twin Cities as a commuter, it's been a wonderful
For mostly highway riding and touring, I would probably have been
happier with a Kymco Xciting. For that matter, I think that the Majesty or
Burgman 400 would have been better choices than the People 250 other than
the cost issue. For surface street use, I usually jump on my Stella - I
confess that I like to shift gears for myself.
When it comes to a do-everything scooter, that is reliable, relatively
inexpensive, of excellent fit and finish, and just plain fun - the Kymco
People 250 is awfully tough to beat.
My Kymco People 250 continues to be an outstanding scooter. With 8,000
miles on it, I have to have a minor exhaust repair done, and the fuel cap
release mechanism has been replaced.
After years of outstanding service and fun, I have traded in my Kymco
People 250 for the NEW
Kymco People GTi300. It was the fuel injection that really did it for me.
I have nothing but good to say about the "old" People 250. I guess I just
have to admit that I fell victim to the desire for just a little "more"
and so far the GTi300 is certainly providing.