‘Useable trans­port that’s also pretty quick’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - New Bikes - PETER HENSHAW MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

Not all scoot­ers are the same. If you were on hol­i­day in Italy this summer, you can’t have failed to no­tice the le­gions of big-wheel scoot­ers that pack every vil­lage square, street cor­ner and city cen­tre. Six­teen-inch wheels give them bet­ter han­dling than tra­di­tional small-wheel scoots, and they are wildly pop­u­lar on main­land Europe, if less so in scooter-re­sis­tant UK.

Kymco’s new Peo­ple GT is the lat­est ad­di­tion to the 300cc big-wheel class, which is led by Honda’s longestab­lished SH300I. The Peo­ple meets Euro4 regs with ABS as stan­dard and like the Honda (and un­like big cruiser scoot­ers) it prom­ises the punch of a big­ger en­gine in a more mod­est, scooter sized pack­age.

Let’s face it, you wouldn’t buy one of these sim­ply for its street style, un­less you re­ally wanted to blend in with the traf­fic. The Peo­ple GT looks like a trans­port tool, though that doesn’t mat­ter once you’re rid­ing it. The seat is quite high at 810mm, but de­liv­ers an up­right, re­laxed rid­ing po­si­tion with feet on the floor, a good view of the road ahead and gen­er­ous-sized mir­rors show­ing what’s go­ing on be­hind. There isn’t as much space as on the long wheel­base scoot­ers, but this smaller pack­age is eas­ier to thread through traf­fic.

Head off into the may­hem, and the old adage about sheep dressed as wolves comes to mind. The Peo­ple’s 27.5bhp sin­gle (with 30ftlb of torque) is more than pow­er­ful enough for city and sub­ur­ban traf­fic, zip­ping away from the lights with­out any fuss. Un­like its main ri­vals, there’s no trac­tion con­trol, so ap­ply­ing this power on greasy ur­ban streets would need care.

But its real ad­van­tage comes out of town, where it gets a sec­ond wind at 35-40mph then de­liv­ers strong ac­cel­er­a­tion up to an in­di­cated 70, so there’s plenty of grunt for over­tak­ing. Be­yond that, it tails off slightly, but speed car­ries on build­ing to an in­di­cated 85-90mph. All of this is at odds with the GT’S con­ser­va­tive ap­pear­ance, but that’s part of what makes it fun. With the stan­dard screen, it does get a bit blowy at speed – a taller Givi screen is op­tional.

For­tu­nately, it has the un­der­pin­nings

‘It gets a sec­ond wind at 35-40mph then has strong ac­cel­er­a­tion up to an in­di­cated 70’

to cope with this per­for­mance. The ABS discs front and rear aren’t linked, but of­fer strong, sen­si­tive brak­ing, and the Tai­wanese Maxxis tyres hold on well. Big-wheel scoot­ers tend to han­dle bet­ter than the small-wheel ones, and the Peo­ple is no ex­cep­tion. It’s sta­ble at speed and isn’t trou­bled by mid-cor­ner bumps or man­hole cov­ers. The forks are non-ad­justable and the shocks for pre-load only, but are up to the Peo­ple’s en­gine per­for­mance.

You would need that pre-load ad­just­ment to cope with a pas­sen­ger, and the Peo­ple does have room for one, though car­ry­ing their lug­gage would be dif­fi­cult – un­like the Honda SH300, there’s vir­tu­ally no un­der­seat space, which is why you get a small top­box as stan­dard. The dash is sim­ple in the ex­treme – a big clear speedo plus dig­i­tal fuel and temp gauges – un­der­lin­ing the fact that this is a useable trans­port tool with no pre­tence at be­ing any­thing else. It’s also pretty quick.

Small top­box makes up for a lack of stor­age space

ABS brakes and more than ad­e­quate Maxxis tyres

Sim­ple and clear with noth­ing to scare new rid­ers

A taller screen is avail­able for bet­ter wind pro­tec­tion

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