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2011 Kymco MXU 500i IRS Review


by Pascal Bastien ,

Respectable engine
The MXU 500i IRS is powered by a single-cylinder mill with a four-valve cylinder head. The 499-cc, liquid-cooled engine, borrowed from the previous model, now uses an electronic injection system. Thirty-five frisky ponies are just waiting to be unleashed, and the healthy dollop of torque at low and mid rpm is accompanied by a guttural howl that seems to emanate from a bigger engine.

When pushed, the MXU is a smooth and remarkably user-friendly performer. Thanks to the fuel injection system, it’s a lot more fun too, and fuel consumption seems to be better controlled. Standing starts are lively, and the single-cylinder mill propels the big MXU up to 80 km/h with the greatest of ease. On a flat stretch you can even reach 100 km/h without too much trouble. And it does so without any hint of vibration, which is crucial for lengthy excursions. Acceleration isn’t electrifying though, and throttle response definitely won’t take your breath away, but power delivery is manageable, smooth and easily tamed.

The MXU 500i IRS is powered by a single-cylinder mill with a four-valve cylinder head. (Photo: Kymco)

Said power is dispatched via a flawless continuably variable transmission with high and low ranges. The front track now features an electric locking differential controlled via a button near the right grip, so you can get the better of even the worst pitfalls. The CVT is hardy and silent and allows you to crawl along with great precision, an essential quality if you’re looking to tow a trailer.

Sure-footed and comfortable
The brakes are easy to measure out and seem quite tough, even when riding 2-up. The three-disc system is controlled via two levers on the handlebars, and you can activate the rear brake independently with your right foot.

The completely revised chassis proves saner and more considerate. Comfort is on the rise, and the MXU can now be considered as one of those machines that are fun to ride on the steepest, muddiest trails.

Thanks to the fuell injection, the ever-improving finish, the choice gear, the new chassis with its independent suspension and, especially, the excellent pricing, the MXU 500i IRS has carved out a niche for itself in a supremely competitive class. This is the perfect companion for work and play.

Finish on par with the competition
Relaxing ergonomics
IRS chassis
Fuell injection

Struggles a little when riding 2-up (with extra seat)

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