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Kymco Spade 150 and K-Pipe 125: Small Motorcycles, Big Fun

Inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to ride—these bikes are perfect for new riders

By Tricia Szulewski, Associate Editor
2/2/2018

When we hear the phrase “small motorcycle” a couple of ideas come to mind: a physically small motorcycle or a full-sized motorcycle with a small engine. Kymco offers two single-cylinder motorcycles, the Spade and the K-Pipe, to match each of those “small motorcycle” profiles to suit a variety of riders’ tastes.

kymco spade 150 and k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun two bikes
Kymco USA currently offers two small displacement motorcycles in addition to a full line of scooters. Left is the 125cc K-Pipe that WRN wrote about here in 2016, and the Spade 150 shown at right. Both have small engines, but the K-Pipe is a full-sized motorcycle with 17 inch wheels and a 31-inch seat height, while the Spade has small 12 inch wheels and a low 28.1-inch seat height.


kymco spade 150 and k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun train
My wife, Mary, and I test rode the two Kymcos while vacationing near Fontana Lake in North Carolina. The motorcycles received lots of smiles and thumbs up from passengers aboard the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.

The Spade’s small-ish stance reminds me of two other small-statured motorcycles: the Honda Grom and the Kawasaki Z125 Pro. Many motorcycle training programs use these inexpensive 125cc bikes to train new riders. Interestingly though, a Z125 Pro is offered as an option for students at the range where I teach new rider classes, but I have yet to see a woman choose it over the Honda Rebel or the Suzuki TU250s also available. The Z125 Pro’s sporty, aggressive look intimidates new riders, and its 31.7-inch seat height is simply too high for women of average height.
 

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The Spade

After test riding the Spade, I’m convinced it would make an excellent training bike, both at the range, and as one’s first motorcycle to practice what was learned. The low 28.1-inch seat height and super-slim profile offers riders an easy reach to the ground. The wide handlebars, small wheels, and light weight (262 pounds) make it super-simple to maneuver, not to mention how easy it is for RiderCoaches to push them around. And the $2,999 price tag is about as low as they come.

kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun seat height mary
Mary is 5 feet 6 inches tall and has no trouble reaching the ground on the Spade. Even much shorter women will flat-foot it easily.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun riding
The Spade’s footpegs are positioned comfortably under the rider, and the reach to the handlebars offers plenty of arm bend without feeling cramped.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun seat
The one-piece seat offers riders the ability to scoot back in the saddle if they want to change their riding position.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun engine
The Spade includes modern technology such as an electric starter, 5-speed transmission, and electronic fuel injection. The 149.9cc 4-stroke single cylinder pumps out 12 horsepower at 8500 rpm.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun riding left
With a full throttle in top gear, our Spade reached 64 mph. It was challenging and fun to try to keep the speed up while on long hill climbs.




Mary and I had a ball riding the Kymcos up and down the twisty Smoky Mountain roads. We were halfway to one of our east coast epic motorcycle rides, the Tail of the Dragon when the sky opened up and dumped on us, so we reluctantly turned our skin-soaked selves around and headed back. We were both amused at how the riders on big old Harleys were pulled over to let the rain pass as we zipped by on our little Kymcos.
 
kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun wheel
The Spade’s 12-inch front and rear wheels make turning feel very quick, and can be unsettling if you’re used to a regular-sized tire. But you get used to the feeling very quickly, and once I started trusting the little tires I had a lot of fun on the bike. The front brake is a single rotor disc with a two-piston caliper, and the rear gets a drum, which is just enough stopping power.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun centerstand
Learning how to put a motorcycle on a centerstand can be difficult with a larger, heavier bike. The Spade is super light so it’s the perfect bike to try out using a centerstand.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun chain drive
Performing chain and wheel maintenance such as cleaning, lubing, and adjusting is made simpler by putting the bike on its centerstand so you can rotate the wheel freely.


kymco spade 150 and k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun taiwan
Kymcos are made in Taiwan as the Spade’s cool tank emblem proudly displays.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun cockpit
The view from above shows how slim the Spade’s fuel tank is. It holds 1.6 gallons but gets a claimed 91 mpg, so you don’t have to fill up as often as you might think.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun dash
An analog tachometer and large digital speedometer readout shows what you need to see up front and center with a quick glance down. It’s a simple but smart design.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun front riding
The Spade’s single round headlight and lollipop mirrors are retro styled and work well.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun suspension shock
Mary and I agree that the Spade’s non-adjustable suspension soaks up the road’s irregularities nicely.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun custom
For those who want to upgrade and customize, aftermarket parts like these Ohlins shocks, Galfer brake lines, and Rizoma accessories are available for the Spade through MNNTHBX.com.


kymco spade 150 small motorcycles big fun msf training bike
Can you tell how much fun I’m having on Kymco’s Spade? Yup. The Spade is my pick of the two Kymcos. Now I just need to convince my MSF program coordinator to seriously consider buying some of these for our training sites.

K-Pipe

The 4 speed SOHC 4-stroke semi-automatic K-Pipe is Mary’s favorite of the two Kymcos. She feels more comfortable and in control on this bike, because its larger wheels offer an experience that’s more similar to what she’s used to riding.
 
kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun riding
Mary feels more at home with the K-Pipe’s 17-inch wheels and taller seat. The seating position puts her feet just slightly forward compared to the Spade’s position.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun left
The 124cc K-Pipe costs just $2,000 and has a semi-automatic transmission, meaning you don’t need to use the clutch at all in first gear. Just twist the throttle and it’ll go. This comes in handy on uphill starts, or in stop-and-go traffic so you don’t get a sore clutch hand. You still have the option to feather the clutch if you want to practice using the friction zone. You have to shift normally to get out of first gear, though.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun right
The K-Pipe is not fuel-injected so it needs time to warm up with the engine’s choke lever engaged.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun kickstarter
There’s an electric starter, but the K-Pipe is also equipped with a kickstarter. (That’s the kicker behind the footpeg.)


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun engine
The 124cc carbureted 4-stroke peaks at 8 horsepower at 7000 rpm.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun riding left
Riding with the throttle pinned wide open side-by-side with me on the Spade, Mary’s K-Pipe fell behind on long uphills, but then zoomed past me on the downhills.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun front brake
Braking on the K-Pipe is similar to the Spade—a single front disc and a rear drum. The full-size 17-inch wheels offer a ride that feels like most other street motorcycles.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun seat height
The 31-inch seat height is just right for Mary’s 5 feet 6 inches. It looks like she’s standing here, but she’s actually sitting.




kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun chain
The K-Pipe uses a chain final drive like the Spade, but there’s no centerstand, so lubing and adjusting the chain will be more tedious unless you have a pit stand that raises the rear wheel off the ground.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun cockpit
The bars are comfortably wide and have a cool super-moto look to them. The bike’s small fuel tank holds just 1.2 gallons, but the bike gets an estimated 80mpg.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun dash
The LCD dash display offers a plethora of information including a gear indicator and fuel level, but I found all the information to be a bit too crowded in the space allotted.


kymco k-pipe 125 small motorcycles big fun riding front
The K-Pipe’s skinny tires didn’t navigate through our deep gravel driveway quite as well as the Spade did with its fat little tires, but once on the road, the K-Pipe performed well.

The K-Pipe is an ideal motorcycle  for a beginning rider who has trouble mastering the friction zone. Experienced riders will love the K-Pipe if they do a lot of stop-and-go commuting. The Spade is good for those looking for an inexpensive first bike, or for those who want to get into the mini-moto craze. Either way, Kymco proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get on two wheels.

Specs At A Glance: Kymco K-Pipe 125
Engine Size: 124cc
Seat Height: 31 inches
Weight: 264 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 1.2 gallons
Colors: Red, Pearl White, Black
MSRP: $1,999
 
Specs At A Glance: Kymco Spade 150
Engine Size: 149.4cc
Seat Height: 28.1 inches
Weight: 266.2 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 1.6 gallons
Colors: White, brown, matte black, blue
MSRP: $2,999



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