For hundreds of dollars less than some 50 cc motor scooters like the top-rated Vespa LX 50 (MSRP: $3,300), which you can't ride on the freeway, experts point out that you can buy a Kymco People 150 -- a well-built, freeway-legal, 150 cc gas scooter that delivers a smooth ride and hefty gas mileage. Buyers are attracted to the little Vespa scooter, which costs $500 more, because they can park it on the sidewalk (in some cities) and a 50 cc bike doesn't usually require any special motorcycle license. However, the Vespa LX 50's top speed is only 39 mph.
Kymco doesn't publish the People 150 scooter's top speed, but one reputable test pegs it at 57 mph. Another reviewer gets it up to about 65 mph, checked against GPS. That's technically fast enough for the highway, but reviewers say the Kymco People 150 scooter isn't really big or powerful enough for heavy freeway use. "I found it more than a little unsettling, especially on grooved pavement where the tires danced around trying to find their line," says Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times.
Experts say the Kymco People 150 is a quality scooter, although it's not as elegantly styled as the Vespa it tries to mimic. The Kymco scooter offers a two-year warranty, while more established brands like Honda and Vespa only offer one-year coverage. One area of weakness in the Kymco People 150 is storage space: testers find they can't fit a full-face or even three-quarter helmet under the seat.
The Kymco People 150's four-stroke, air-cooled 152 cc engine is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Kymco estimates it will deliver 84 mpg, but real-world results vary, ranging from 55 mpg to 82 mpg.
Consumer Reports conducts a direct comparison review, pitting the Kymco People 150 against the Vespa LX 150 and Yamaha Vino 125. The People 150 is one of six scooters in the Los Angeles Times' test, but reviewer Susan Carpenter doesn't directly compare the scooters. Scooter enthusiast Dave Harrington at JustGottaScoot.com provides a valuable test of a used People 150, going so far as to check its speedometer against GPS. Mother Nature Network picks scooters based on their environmental friendliness.
Consumer Reports tests the Kymco People 150 alongside the Vespa LX 150 and Yamaha Vino 125, judging each scooter's comfort, ride and performance in this review. Consumer Reports includes real-life fuel economy and speed measurements.
Review: Scooters and Motorcycles, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, March 2009
2. Los Angeles Times
The Kymco People 150 offers an excellent suspension and spirited performance, says Susan Carpenter, the Los Angeles Times' motorcycle columnist. But she finds it isn't particularly well-suited for freeway use, and its storage space is skimpy.
Review: Scooting Around the Gas Crunch, Susan Carpenter, May 21, 2008
JustGottaScoot.com's David Harrington tests a used Kymco People 150 scooter with more than 3,100 miles on it. He finds it practical, fun, smooth and a good-quality machine.
Review: Review of the Kymco People 150, David Harrington, June 2008
4. Mother Nature Network
The Kymco People 150 is one of several scooters Mother Nature Network's Josh Dorfman picks for his column, "The Lazy Environmentalist." He praises the People 150's styling, speed, fuel economy and low price, but he doesn't explain how the scooters were tested.
Review: Two-Wheel Your Way to Big Savings, Josh Dorfman, Feb. 25, 2009