Review of the Kymco People 50
UPDATE - 2012
The WONDERFUL Kymco People 50 2-stroke
scooter is no more. If you find a good previously owned one BUY IT.
If a person was to describe a perfect moped-legal scooter they would
likely say it had a clean, EPA-certified 2-stroke engine for power, a CVT
automatic transmission, big wheels to help combat pot holes and give a
stable ride, good brakes, comfortable ergonomics, a retro-influenced
design, excellent build quality and strong manufacturer/dealer support.
They'd be describing the Kymco People 50 scooter.
In Minnesota, a scooter is
classified as a "moped" if it has an engine displacement of 50ccs or less,
puts out 2 horsepower and is restricted to 30 MPH on a level surface. The
Kymco People 50 meets all three of those requirements. With a "moped"
license plate on it, the People 50 can be parked in a bike rack (in
many cases, verify the rules for the specific bike rack you want to park
at) and requires only a valid driver's license to operate, NOT
motorcycle endorsement. In my opinion, a person should not let the 'motorcycle
endorsement' part of this equation get in their way when selecting
2-wheeled transport. The process to get that endorsement is not difficult
and it opens up a larger world of choices. IF, however, you have parking
issues, a moped-legal scooter can be a wonderful machine.
The People 50 is manufactured
by Kymco which is the Kwang Yang Motor Company of Taiwan. They have been
around since 1963 and have built an excellent reputation for high quality
manufacturing. The "People" line of scooters has been sold in the USA
since 2002 and the People 50 has seen next-to-no changes since that time.
There's good reason for that - it's a proven design that works quite well.
Speedometer Reading/Speed/Fuel Economy
I am NOT a small person, and
the People 50 managed to move my 220 pounds without overly straining
itself. The People 50 used in this review had been de-restricted. In this
case, that means removing an exhaust restrictor and CVT governor. The normal restricted top speed of 30 MPH was gone and I got
the People 50 up to a GPS-verified 40 MPH on a level road with maybe a
slight decline. A lighter weight pilot would probably see a top speed of
43 - 45 MPH on this scooter. Speaking of GPS, the speedometer on the
People 50 reads optimistic by about 10%. That is to say that when the
speedometer indicates 30 MPH the actual speed is about 27MPH. The odometer
tested as accurate. I road exactly three kilometers as indicated on the
GPS and that's exactly what the odometer showed. In a total of about 50
miles of riding, the fuel economy was 80 MPG. Not bad considering the
variety of riding conditions, speed, and the size of at least one of the
riders (the other riders were gorgeous young ladies - one tipping the
scales at about 125 pounds and the other at 110).
Four our comparison chart, I
selected a Honda Metropolitan and Genuine Buddy 50 to show along with the
People. These models were picked due to price and popularity. Looking at
the People and the Buddy, we see a certain commonality in price, warranty,
drivetrain, brakes, etc. - BUT they are very different machines. The
Buddy's 10 inch wheels (compared to the People's 16 inch wheels)
result in a ride and "feel" that is different from the People. The Honda
Metro is a 4-stroke 50cc scooter and is slower in both acceleration and
top speed than either the People or the Buddy.
The Kymco People 50 has a 49cc
air-cooled 2-stroke engine that is oil injected. Under the seat, one has
access to the fuel tank (which holds about 1.5 gallons) and an oil
reserve tank. The correct amount of oil is automatically mixed in with the
fuel prior to combustion. A carburetor feeds the mixture into the engine
and a CVT
(Continuously Variable Transmission) gets power to the rear wheel.
Both the front and rear wheels are 16 inchers with the front tire being a
80/80-16 and the rear a 100/80-16. The scooter rides on a conventional
telescoping fork in the front and a single shock in the rear. Braking is
handled by a disc in the front and a drum in the rear. The People 50 has a
51 inch wheelbase, weighs in at 210 pounds and the seat is 30.8 inches
from the ground.
are conventional for this type of scooter. The throttle is on the
right-hand grip, just twist it and go. The front brake is controlled by a
lever on the right and the rear by a lever on the left. The right-hand
control also includes the engine-stop switch and electric starter.
Headlight, turn signal and horn controls are on the left-hand side. The
dash includes a large and easy to read speedometer that is biased to
kilometers. The odometer indicates kilometers. There is also a fuel gauge
and a clock. Below those gauges are indicator lights for left and right
turn signals, high-beam headlight and low oil.
To start the scooter, one turns
the key to the "ON" position, makes sure that the engine-stop switch is in
the "RUN" position, and presses the starter button while holding the rear
brake lever. One can also kick-start the scooter. The Kymco People 50 used
in this review was a little slow to start sometimes requiring some
throttle to fire. It also idled low and stalled at stop signs a couple of
times. Both issues could certainly be resolved with minor adjustment and
that would likely be done at the first service or "break-in" service which
should happen in the 300 - 500 mile range (remember, the odometer is
kilometers so that would be 485 - 810 km).
The Kymco People 50 has a small locking glove box that is half taken up by
the battery. There is a hook to hang bags from that would rest between the
legs of the pilot, some storage under the seat and a nice aluminum rear
luggage rack. The seat is for solo riding with the rack immediately behind
it. There is a buddy seat available for the People 50 that allows the
carrying of a passenger (there are
passenger foot pegs) AND the mounting kit re-locates the rack
further back. One doesn't have to give up the handy luggage rack with the
The People 50 isn't really a good choice for carting passengers around -
it's best as a one-person machine. There is also the question of the
legality of carrying a passenger on a moped-licensed scooter if one does
not have a motorcycle endorsement.
The ride on those big 16 inch wheels is smooth and stable. Most
moped-legal scooters ride on 10 inch wheels and while the handling can be
incredibly nimble on those small hoops, the big wheels do a better job of
absorbing variations in the road (pot holes, cracks, bumps, and so
forth). Braking is strong and easy to modulate with the levers needing
minimal pressure to operate. At 5' 9" with a 30" inseam I found the
ergonomics of the People 50 to be perfect. The floorboards are a little
limited and someone with large feet might be cramped. A tall or long-legged person may well feel a bit confined on the People 50.
Acceleration was adequate. Again, I am NOT a small person and the People
50 was able to get me out into traffic, if not with speed at least with
reasonable forward momentum. Climbing a longish steep hill, 28 MPH was all
I could maintain. A lighter pilot may not notice these limitations as
Regular contributor Jordana also rode the People 50, but her current work
schedule prohibited getting her review written in time for this article.
Jordana did mention that she was not thrilled with the People 50 and I
suspect that may be due in part to the fact that she regularly rides a
150cc four-stroke Genuine Buddy scooter which
has WAY more acceleration and speed than this, or any 50cc scooter. My
wife Beverly was glad to take the People 50 for an afternoon and had this
look is nice and simple - it's meant to be a fun scooter to zip around on in the city. The seat is comfortable and has a nice storage space under
it. It comes equipped with a luggage rack and I would certainly add a good
trunk if it were my scooter. The dashboard is nice, but the speedometer
takes some getting used to as the speed in kilometers is large and miles
are small and harder to read at a glance. Switches like the turn signals
are easy to use and feel very solid.
Having ridden mostly 150cc scooters, I was unaccustomed to the 50cc
level of power. Riding with someone on a faster scooter, I found I was
running at full throttle to try and keep up. The People got up to speeds
that were fast enough for the flow of traffic, but didn't get there as
quickly as I am used to on my bigger scooters.
The suspension of the People was phenomenal. You would expect a small
scooter to feel every bump - not on this one. I even road through a couple
of patches with "Warning: Bump" signs and thought, what bump? Riding was
effortless and I felt secure on the People's bigger wheels. The rearview
mirrors are large and serve their purpose well. Turning? No problem, the
People responds smoothly and doesn't feel at all "twitchy" like some
smaller-wheeled scooters I have been on. Slowing down was the same -
smooth. Overall, a nice machine.
Fit and Finish
The fit and finish of the Kymco People 50 is very good. The switches and
other components feel solid and well-made. I have owned a
Kymco People 250
for several years and continue to be impressed with the durability and
quality of Kymco machines.
If you're looking for a moped-legal scooter, you'll have a hard time
finding a better machine than the Kymco People 50.
Thanks to SCOOTERVILLE for providing this scooter for review.