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2009 Kymco MXU 500 IRS and MXU 375 First Impressions


by Amyot Bachand ,

Gangtzai Desert, Taiwan. Kymco invited us to test two new ATVs they've added to the range of machines imported here by Beco Motors. The Gangtzai Desert is shaped like a bay and faces the Pacific Ocean on the southwest side of the island. Its dunes are impressive and the view of the sea is sublime. When you see this vast desert landscape so near the Taiwanese firm's facilities, you understand better why the manufacturer evolves so quickly in terms of the driving dynamics of its ATVs and the engines powering them. The Gangtzai was our testing ground for the new MXU 500 IRS and the MXU 375.

The MXU 375's lines are rounder and much more flowing than those of its 500-cc brother.

Following the almost instant success of its first full-size ATV, the MXU 500, the Taiwanese giant is upping the ante with its new MXU 500 IRS (Independent Rear Suspension). The IRS version's suspension is by far the utility ATV's most innovative feature. Mounted on a more modern and sturdy chassis and sporting a fully independent suspension, the MXU 500 IRS offers a much more comfortable, and especially more stable, ride than the models with a solid rear axel. It also tackles obstacles with greater ease thanks to improved ground clearance and driveability.

The MXU 500 IRS is powered by a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 498.5-cc engine with a four-valve cylinder head. Thanks to its 35 ponies and generous torque at low and medium rpm, it offers snappy starts and constant acceleration, easily reaching the 80-km/h mark. It even increases the pace to 100 km/h, and its heady growling gives the impression of a much larger engine.

The MXU 500 benefits from three independent braking mechanisms: two front discs controlled by the right lever and a rear disc featuring two callipers, one activated by the left lever and the other by the right foot pedal. This unique system allows riders to precisely control braking depending on the needs of moment, enabling them, for example, to measure out the rear brakes to send the machine into a skid and set it up for a tight corner. A sheer delight.

It tackles obstacles with great ease thanks to improved ground clearance and driveability.
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