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Old 11-24-2017, 01:55 PM   #1
Shadowfire   Shadowfire is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 116
Honda Forza vs. Kymco Xciting 250

I tend to use my scooters as COMMUTER vehicles, except for when the weather is bad or cold, then I use the car. I put approximately 10,000 miles a year on my bikes, most of it is driving back and forth to work, which is a 25 mile trip in each direction. I tend to take the highway in the morning (as traffic isn't bad) then more of the back roads in the evening (bypassing the stop and go of I-84/I-91 here in Connecticut).

3 years ago, I picked up a 2006 Kymco Xciting 250. 2 years ago I picked up a 2009 Kymco Xciting 500Ri ABS.

Having used the ABS twice in the past two years (because other people on the road don't look over their shoulders before changing lanes), I am now FIRMLY in the "No ABS = No Sale" camp.

I recently picked up a 2014 Honda Forza ABS. I ended up trading in the Xciting 500, due to concerns over the reliability of the motor. I've now had a month of time with the Forza, and have learned some of the niggles associated with the Forza, and compare them with the Xciting 250.

The Forza, with an 8000 mile oil change interval, is the winner here. The Xciting 250 requires oil changes every 1200 miles; when you are putting 300 miles a week on the bike, I was asking myself "Didn't I already do this recently?" when I was changing oil, on an average of every 5 weeks. Fortunately the Xciting was super easy to do an oil change.

I have owned the Xciting for 3 years, and the bike already had 4,000 miles on it when I bought it. In that time, I have replaced the throttle cables and the generator/regulator assembly. (I have also replaced the steering column bearings and exhaust assembly, but that was due to me hitting a pothole at 70mph at night, and not a problem with the design of the bike.)

I have owned the Forza for a month (which had 127 miles on it when I purchased it), and have already replaced the seat damper, which was not holding the seat up like it was supposed to do.

(Bear in mind that I weigh 260 lbs.)
The Kymco tops out at 75mph on flat stretches. Engine redline is at 8000rpm / 65 mph. The bike is best driven at 55mph. If I can resist the urge to go over 65mph, I get 65 miles per gallon. The worst mileage I've gotten on the Kymco is 55 mpg, on a 460mile trip where I was flogging the engine and travelling 70mph for much of the trip. The Kymco fuel tank is approximately 3.4 gallons. I would stop for gas at approximately 130 miles, with the needle almost touching "E", although the low gas light never came on, and put in 2 gallons. This suggests that the fuel gauge is highly pessimistic about how much gas is left. The speedometer is quite optimistic, at highway speeds it shows about 10 mph optimistic (i.e. showing 85mph when actual speed is 75mph per GPS). There is no procedure in the service manual to calibrate the speedometer.

The Forza also tops out at around 75mph (indicated, I am waiting for the service manual before installing the GPS) on flat stretches. Engine redline is at 9000rpm, but it will never be able to get there due to the gearing. This is with the stock short windshield (more on that in a bit), and the bike isn't yet through the break-in period. Mileage on my typical trip seems to be around 62 miles per gallon, putting it at around the same mileage as the Kymco. The Forza runs at 7200 rpm when travelling at 70mph (indicated). The Forza has a 3.04 gallon gas tank.

The Forza is supposed to have a little more oomph (24hp vs. 21hp) but subjectively, I cannot feel it on the highway. It seems like Kymco tuned the Xciting drivetrain to optimize it from 55mph-65mp, whereas the Forza has a flat power response up to highway speeds. Once the weather gets nicer and I have my GPS mounted, I will take the Forza out to my favorite scooter benchmarking hill and see how it does on the grand hill climb. For reference (all GPS verified)

The Honda exhaust is a little bit quieter than the Kymco, but the Kymco wasn't exactly a loud bike to begin with.

The Kymco belt drive and Honda belt drive are both quiet, reliable units with centrifugal clutches. The Kymco clutch engages at around 20mph; the Honda clutch engages at 10mph. This makes stop and go situations a little bit less annoying on the Honda, as you can engine brake down to 10mph.

2002 Kymco Cobra Racer: 25mph (50cc 2-stroke, performance exhaust/rollers)
2014 Jonway YY250T: 42mph (244cc Chinese clone of Honda Reflex)
2006 Xciting 250: 53mph (249cc engine)
2014 Honda Forza ABS: 61mh (279cc engine)
2009 Xciting 500Ri: 75mph (499cc engine)
(note: these speeds are approximately 20mph slower than the bike's top speed on a straight, level run)

* I can fit a 12-pack of soda (6x2) in the storage space under the Xciting 250. The seat on the Forza won't close for the same 12-pack.
* Neither bike can accept my XL Bell Revolver EVO helmet under the seat.
* The Kymco has a hook under the seat for holding the helmet, just pop open the seat, put the helmet on the hook, and close the seat. The Forza has a chain wire, you have to pop open the seat, pull out the wire, thread one end through the helmet D-hook, loop that end through the other end of the wire, pull in the wire to snug it up, loop the wire on a post under the seat, and close the seat. This is a serious pain in the ass, and something you have to do every time you park.
* Both bikes have a supplementary unlocked compartment for stuff that you wouldn't mind getting stolen.
* Both bikes have a supplementary locked compartment, which requires the key.
* Neither of the supplementary storage compartments on either bike are particularly large, but the Forza's is deeper.
* The Kymco's under-seat storage area is lighted; the Forza's is not.
* The Forza ignition key protector is a little more convenient, in that it doesn't require a separate key to unlock it like the Kymco does, and doesn't require the key to lock up.
* The Forza DOES have a parking brake while the Xciting 250 does not. (I am in the habit of using the center stand).
* The Forza is a little easier to get on the center stand than the Kymco.
* The Kymco has a bag hook in the center of the console, which is annoying to use because it is right above the hump (neither bike has a flat foot platform) and the bag will actually slide down to one side or the other, forcing you to use the footboard instead of the forward foot rest. As much of an inconvenience that is, it is still better than the Forza, which has no such hooks, so whatever's in that bag had BETTER fit under the seat with that weirdly shaped compartment.
* Both bikes have a supplemental cigarette lighter port for power. The one in the Forza is buried deep in the left side locked pocket. The one in the Xciting is under the seat at the front. Both bikes have a place to put your phone, but the Xciting has a Velcro phone mount, meaning you can drive the bike around without the phone bouncing around and damaging the charging port, unlike the Forza.
* Neither bike has a convenient GPS mounting point, you will need to do some work on either bike.

The Kymco has a high-beam flash-to-pass button, and a hazard warning switch. The Forza has neither.
The Forza has an estimated fuel economy indicator and two trip meters. The Kymco has no fuel economy indicator, and only one trip meter.
Both bikes have automatic indicator lamps to tell you when its time to change the oil, high beam indicators, and turn signal indicators; both have an analog tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge, and temperature gauge.
Both bikes have decent brakes. The Kymco has rear disk/front dual disk, with combined rear/front brakes on the left brake lever. The Forza has a single front and rear disk. The rear brake lever is also combined front/back on the Forza.
The Kymco blinker relay is quite loud; the Honda relay is quiet.
The horn on the Kymco is definitely louder than the one on the Honda.
The Kymco (at least the 2006 model year - the 2009 Xciting 500 fixed this) has km/h in the large numbers, and mph in the small numbers of the speedometer scale. The Honda only has mph in its scale.
Both instrument clusters are adequately illuminated for night time riding.

Both bike have adequate leg room for me to use the forward foot rests, my preferred riding position.
Both seats are OK. I need to take a short break every hour of travel on either bike or my rear gets sore.
The center of gravity on the Forza IS lower than the Kymco. Neither bike is particularly better or worse at maneuvering at any given speed.
Both bikes are fine with highway stability, but the Kymco is better in crosswinds (doesn't get pushed around nearly as much).
The buffeting on the Forza at speeds over 50mph is the worst I've ever experienced on a maxi-scooter. I drove the bike 130 miles home from the dealer, and my upper body felt exhausted. I can't see anyone using the bike's stock windshield if they plan on doing ANY non-city travel with it (and lets be real, the reason you bought a maxi scooter is because you need to do a little highway travelling). 40mph on the Honda feels like 75mph on the Kymco.
The Kymco has bigger wheels, and more suspension travel, and you don't even realize this until you hit a bump. That's when you realize that the Forza's front shocks are OK, but the rear shocks want to buck you off the bike on that same bump.

I need to add a windshield and a large topcase to the Forza, just so that it can almost be as convenient to use as the Xciting, while performing not much better in all attributes. In retrospect, I would NOT recommend anybody thinking about replacing their 250cc Kymco bike, to go this route; I can justify it for the ABS, but it is definitely otherwise a side-grade, not an upgrade.

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Last edited by Shadowfire; 12-03-2017 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:41 PM   #2
sc00ter   sc00ter is offline
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 171
Thanks for taking the time to write a side by side for the Kymco vs. Honda. I know that Cobra Racer top speed is wrong at 25mph unless you built it as a wheelie monster!
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:08 AM   #3
cheapeto   cheapeto is offline
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Location: York PA
Posts: 327
Great write up!!
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Old 11-30-2017, 04:45 PM   #4
Irish   Irish is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 664
Just out of curiosity , where are you riding in Conn.? When I got out of the service , I was living in East Haven & working at Sikorsky Aircraft. I used to ride a Yahama 250 back & forth when I didn't take my Firebird (gas guzzler) I'm from Branford originally. Irish
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:09 PM   #5
Shadowfire   Shadowfire is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 116
Since the original post, I've replaced the useless stock windshield with the tall Givi windshield, and added a 45L case. The new windshield is very effective at cutting the wind, finally making the bike usable.

There also seems to be a misunderstanding about the hill I was referring to. It is a 4.2% climb, not a downhill run. The moped can do almost 50mph on a flat road, but going uphill with a 260lb rider limits its top speed.

Irish, my commute is between Bristol and Bloomfield.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:05 AM   #6
Shadowfire   Shadowfire is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 116
2014 Honda Forza ABS: 61mph on the hill climb. This makes the bike more suitable for highway use than the Xciting 250.
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