Update April 2017: the latest news we have from Kymco is that the AK 550 is expected to arrive in the UK in August 2017 with a target price of around £8,000 which is quite keenly priced for a modern high-spec maxi-scooter. More news as we get it on SLUK.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Kymco are paying a large compliment to Yamaha.
You only have to look at the sales figures and owner’s club sizes to know that the Tmax is king of the maxi-scooters. Maybe not the most powerful or biggest capacity, but the best all-rounder.
Kymco’s AK is not a straight copy, but it takes many pages from the Tmax book and adds a particular Taiwanese twist:
- 50/50 weight distribution – check!
- Aluminium frame – check!
- Twin cylinder centre-mounted engine – check!
- Centrifugal wet-clutch system – check!
- Belt final drive – check!
- Discrete rear swingarm and telescopic forks reducing unsprung weight – check!
All those things are very much in common with the Tmax, so we have to delve deeper to find the differences:
- One-up, one-down parallel twin with rotating counter-balancer (Tmax moves both pistons together and has a reciprocating balancer)
- 550cc engine producing 39.3 kW(53.5ps) @ 7500 rpm
- Dual rider modes for performance or rain riding
- Laid-down rear shock in compression above the left side swingarm (Tmax uses an underslung shock)
Overall the AK 550 looks very attractive and has all the right attributes for a top flight maxi-scooter. Radial Brembo brake calipers and Bosch ABS suggest a great deal of potential for entertainment.
Perhaps the most interesting fact will be the price. The Tmax is no doubt a fabulous scooter, but the (£9,000 in 2016) asking price is quite staggering as well. If Kymco can offer similar tech and riding experience for a much better price then they might be onto a winner.
Let’s just say, they’ve taken the right inspiration.