Wednesday, June 6, 2012

R.I.P. Kymco Venox 250


By Scott Araujo

So I saw this bike some years back and actually test rode it, thinking of maybe buying one. I looked on the U.S. website the other day and was sad to see it was discontinued, at least in the U.S. It's still on their non-U.S. website so maybe it's available elsewhere.

The Kymco Venox 250 is a pretty cool bike but also a bit of an odd ball. It's a full-sized motorcycle built by a scooter company. It's a cruiser with a V-twin engine, but 90 degree and liquid cooled.

Now there are a few 250cc cruisers out there from the big motorcycle manufacturers, but they're fairly unexciting. They fill the niche for an entry-level cruiser, but they don't get many updates and they are small in a bad way. If you're over 5'8", you're not likely to fit on one too well. And if you do, you'll probably look a bit goofy.

The Kymco was different. While it's only a 250, it's a fairly big bike by size; I was able to fit my 6' frame on it without feeling cramped or looking like a gorilla riding a tricycle. It looks even bigger because it's usually sitting on the lot or in the showroom next to a bunch of scooters.

While certain aspects of the bike show that it's been built to a price point, the fit and finish was quite good. The seat is simple but comfortable. The overall lines and proportions of the bike are what you'd expect from a custom cruiser: raked out forks, big tank, big fat rear tire on a solid aluminum wheel, and a tall, skinny, chopper style wheel in front. Some bits, like the twin side exit exhaust, look a little cartoonish and the whole bike looks like maybe it's trying just a hair too hard in the styling department. The engines "cooling fins" are just tacked on plastic bits, it's water cooled after all. There's plenty of chrome-plated plastic to help simultaneously meet the minimum bling factor and keep the bottom line down.

The engine is a water-cooled 90-degree v-twin, and it runs smooth as a sewing machine. The exhaust note is a little more muted and mellow than most cruisers. It ran great, no problem keeping up with in town traffic and it got up to freeway speeds with no duress. The front brake has a braided stainless line and great feel, the rear is a drum and adequate. The suspension does it's job but isn't anything to write home about. The handling is good with one minor exception: The front end tends to flop to the side under 5 MPH. This was a common problem on older choppers before front end geometry was well understood. I'm guessing the styling department had more input on the front end than engineering but it's a small problem and doesn't spoil what is otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable bike to ride.

Sadly, and maybe predictably, it didn't sell well in the U.S market. The 250cc cruiser market isn't huge to start with. I'm sure being a model only sold at scooter shops didn't help it carve out its own slice of the pie. Still, I'm sad to see such a nice little bike fail to make it. Farewell Venox.

11 comments:

Fred said...

It is still on their USA website at http://www.kymcousa.com/showroom/mcs/venox250/index.html

BTW, I've owned many scooters and motorcycles both. I currently own a Honda 250cc Helix, a Kymco People 150cc, and a BMW R100RT. The Kymco is every bit as nice as any other two wheeler I have owned.

Ducati Scotty said...

It's still on the website but it's under the "Non-current Models" tab from this page:
Showroom

I called the local dealer to double check, no longer carried. :(

YouMotorcycle said...

I've put 31,000 km on my KYMCO Venox and absolutely love it. Hard to find a bike that doesn't want to flop below 5 mph. Writer should be less concerned with steering geometry and more concerned with the effects of centrifugal force on motorcycles.. but hey, this is a car blog after all, right?

Ducati Scotty said...

Ouch! The Venox flops a little more than most but you're right, it's hard to find a bike with good manners at 2mph. And I am pretty picky about handling, more than most for sure. As I said, it's still a great bike and I'm sad we don't get them here in the States any more. Even more so when I find out it can go 31k km. That shows the kind of solid quality I suspected it had.

JS Day said...

The bright side is that this increases the "What is that thing?" factor I get when I ride my Venox. One of my favorite parts of owning one.

Anonymous said...

I searched for a 250cc bike and stumbbled on the venox in craigslist had mine for a year and love it. hope something similar is around when its time to replace this one

Ducati Scotty said...

Cleveland Cycle Works has a beautiful selection of 250cc motorcycles. Story coming...

Alex Ceballos said...

Just bought a used 2006 model on Craigslist with 5500km for only $1500 as my first bike ever! So glad I did because the rebel I used in the MSF course already felt too small and underpowered after only two days and the bigger venox feels just right (I'm 5'6", 135). Mine also has the(now-defunct) Fith Gear Customs exhaust for a better look, sound and a little more power. I like the look of this bike so much that I'll probably try to find myself a nice '94-'03 honda magna (they look VERY similar) when I decide to upgrade. But I'll probably keep the Venox anyway! If anyone out there is looking for a good starter bike and finds one of these, I say get it before someone else does!

Naomi Teller said...

I think the problem is getting the right marketing flavor for a quirky bike like that. Even with that meager engine output, I'm sure there are bike enthusiasts out there who'd want it in their garage collection.

Renee Myers said...

I don't know if there's something wrong with me but the Kymco Venox 250 looks handsome and worth riding. Perhaps it's manufacturers didn't market it that well, that's why just like that it suddenly disappeared from the public's sight. But if you're going to ask me if whether I'm going to buy this one, I will definitely buy my own model. This Venox doesn't look too bad at all.

Thiet ke logo said...

i search for a Honda Magna 150cc