Showroom Showdown: Midsized Maxi-Scooters

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Maxi-scooters are the sleepers of the two-wheeled world. Offering the same practicality as a smaller step-through, but with enough power to handle most highways and also decent handling, there’s lots to like about these machines.

There’s also a widening variety of machines available in this space, from Taiwanese, Japanese and European OEMs. And, they’re now available in the middleweight 400 cc segment, with new machines from Kymco and BMW joining the Suzuki Burgman 400 on the market.

Here’s a breakdown of three machines, if you’re thinking you’re in the market for one: Suzuki Burgman 400 vs. Kymco Xciting 400i vs. BMW C400 X. The BMW is so new that it will arrive in showrooms soon, but the Suzuki and Kymco are already available.

Although it’s made in Taiwan, the Kymco Xciting 400i is more powerful than the other scooters here.
Engine

All three machines have liquid-cooled single-cylinder engines with four-valve heads. The Burgman has a Double Over-Head Cam, the Xciting 400i and C400 X have a SOHC setup. The Burgman and the Xciting 400i have an edge in displacement, as they’re both 400 cc engines, while the C400 X has a 350 cc engine.

The Kymco supposedly maxes out at 35 hp, with the BMW right behind at 34 hp. Suzuki’s max power rating is a little hard to dig up, but it seems to be around the 30 hp mark, putting it in the rear.

The BMW has 25.8 lb-ft of torque, the lowest here. The Suzuki makes 26.5 lb-ft; the Kymco makes 27.8 lb-ft. They’re all in the same range, although the Kymco has the edge.

All these scooters have a CVT transmission, with clutchless shifting. Power delivery isn’t snappy, but once you get rolling, it should be easy to keep any of these machines on the boil.

The Burgman 400 is heavier than the other machines here, closer in weight to a 650-class maxi-scoot.
Weight

The Xciting 400i and C400 X have only half a kilo difference between them, with a 204.5 kg and 204 kg wet weight respectively. The Suzuki weighs in at 225 kg wet. The Burgman does hold one extra litre of fuel over the other two (13.5 litres, vs. 12.5 litres for the Beemer and 12.8 litres for the Kymco), but that’s still a big weight difference; the Burgman could definitely afford to go on a diet.

Dual rear shocks? It’s common on smaller Asian scoots, but it’s decidedly un-Euro styling for the BMW C400 X.
Suspension
We’re dealing with mid-displacement maxi-scooters here, so you can’t expect anything too tricky, as these machines are aimed at sensible commuting purposes, not track days. All these machines have sensible telescopic forks up front. The Burgman 400 has a non-adjustable monoshock in back, and the XCiting 400i has a 5-way preload-adjustable monoshock. The BMW has preload-adjustable dual shocks in back, which is  decidedly less modern, but still relatively common on Asian scooters.
The Burgman allows for foot-forward riding, but also allows you to keep your feet directly underneath your body on the floorboards. This makes for max comfort.
Ergonomics/Comfort

Seat height on the Kymco is 810 mm. The Suzuki has a much lower 710 mm seat height, and the BMW is in the middle at 775 mm.

Unlike the larger, more expensive maxi-scooters, none of these have heated grips or seats as standard equipment. The Suzuki and Kymco have foot-forward riding positions, but also allow the rider to slide their feet underneath in the mid-mount rider position. The BMW has a mid-mount riding position, seeming to imply the designers aimed for a sportier riding dynamic.

A face only a mother could love, or futuristic European design? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some beholders are going to hate on the Beemer, while others will like its edgy lines.

Aesthetics

The Kymco and Suzuki are avaiable in black or silver paint this year; the BMW will be available in blue or white when it shows up. Aside from that, the Kymco headlights droop into a proboscis almost like an adventure bike. The Suzuki has a relatively old-fashioned maxi-scooter design, nothing too radical but nothing too exciting. The BMW has more modern, aggressive lines. Overall, the aesthetics come down to buyer’s choice.

All these scooters have relatively similar brake designs; you won’t be buying any of them to do stoppies.
Brakes/Safety

The Burgman has dual 260 mm front discs, the Xciting 400i has twin 280 mm discs and the C400 X has twin 265 mm discs, right in the middle. That’s pretty decent braking power, and sure to come in useful for around-town riding, or when you’ve got a passenger. All these scooters also have ABS as standard. We’ve come a long way from smelly two-strokes with sketchy drum brakes …

The BMW has one advantage over the other two: Automatic Stability Control (aka traction control). It’s unclear from BMW’s pressers whether ASC is standard on the C400 X, but it seems like it is, which would give the BMW the edge in bad weather.

The most power, the least weight, the lowest price: the Kymco Xciting 400i is looking pretty good, but dealers are sometimes hard to find, if you want one. Other considerations are the Suzuki’s five-year warranty and BMW’s appeal as the new kid in town.
Pricing/Conclusion
Ah, here’s the pickle! For now, the Kymco Xciting 400i is $ 7,950 plus taxes and fees; the Suzuki Burgman 400 is $ 8,399 plus taxes and fees. But the BMW, well, we don’t know that yet, because it isn’t on showroom floors yet. We do know that BMW’s C650 GT is very much in the same price range as the competition, so it’s hard to imagine the C400 X would be that much more expensive than its counterparts—especially as it’s made in China.
So which one should you buy? It’s a hard choice on paper. The Kymco is the most powerful, lightest and cheapest model, while the Suzuki comes with a $500 gas card and five-year warranty under a current offer, which brings the price much closer in line with the Kymco, and offers a lot of peace of mind. Suzuki dealerships are also very common, while Kymco dealerships are harder to find.
But the C400 X remains the wild card here. As the new kid in town, it offers sporty looks, latest-gen electronics, and has BMW’s long history of excellence behind its name. When it comes to market, if the price is right, it may be the most enticing option here. We’ll know in a few weeks, when it arrives.

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