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Keeway Vieste 300 Road Test Review: India’s Ticket To The Maxi Experience?


After the Europeans and the Japanese, now a Chinese bikemaker aims to indulge us in maxi-scooters

Maxi-scooters are a very European thing, but we Indians aren’t new to it, are we? We’ve had the Kinetic Blaze, which was way ahead of its time. Then came the Aprilia SXR 160, which turned out to be the SR 160 in baggy clothing. Last year, BMW took a bold step and brought the C 400 GT to India and it was immediately clean-bowled with its exorbitant price tag.

Heck, even the Japanese gave it a shot but didn’t go down the right path. Yamaha raised hopes of the NMax 155, but gave us the Aerox 155 instead, which is a phenomenal sporty scooter but not a maxi. And let’s just leave the Suzuki Burgman Street aside.

Now Keeway, who is a Chinese manufacturer with ‘Hungarian’ roots, aims to give us the first proper accessible maxi-scooter experience with the Vieste 300. It ticks all the boxes on paper. So, does India finally get the proper maxi-scooter experience we have always craved for? Let’s find out:


 

Maxi-Styling

Credit where it’s due – the Keeway Vieste 300 looks like a pukka maxi-scooter. It has the prominent spine that houses the 12-litre fuel tank, a tall windscreen and sporty bodywork. Of course, I am not discounting the Ducati Panigale V4-inspired headlight, but overall it ticks almost all the boxes in terms of design.
 

Now, there are certain things that could have been done differently. For starters, the size of the scooter itself. Though the Vieste is proportionate, it is small by maxi-scooter standards. So, don’t be surprised if people don’t notice you pulling up on a 300cc scooter.

Another issue is the build quality of the product. Considering that you’d be paying over Rs 3 lakh for this scooter, Keeway could have improved the plastic quality of the Vieste. In the few days that we tested this maxi-scooter, the headlight and the tail light had already begun fogging up. The build is decent but for a scooter that demands over Rs 3 lakh, we expected better.

 Maxi-Features

To match the “maxi” aesthetics, Keeway’s going all out in terms of features too. After all, how many products in this price range flaunt a key fob? Yes, the Vieste has keyless ignition. Sadly, this feature gives you nothing but bragging rights.

The convenience of having a key fob is to have proximity unlock. So, you don’t have to reach into your pocket and unlock it everytime. That’s not the case here. With the Keeway Vieste 300, you’ll have to press the ‘unlock’ button every time you want to access the scooter. And you’ll have just five seconds before the scooter locks again. 

Another interesting feature on this maxi-scooter is heated grips. The Vieste 300i sports five levels of heating for the handlebar, which work just as intended. But considering India is a country where the majority of the time you are blessed with tropical climate, these might not be the most useful thing to have.

The Keeway Vieste has a fairly big instrument console consisting of a LCD screen flanked by an analogue speedo and a tachometer, which on a scooter is pointless. Weirdly, the digital panel too has the speedometer which is far easier to read. In our opinion, Keeway could have utilised the left analog dial for a more prominent fuel gauge instead.

Maxi-Performance?

A 300cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine on a scooter sounds very cool, but the reality is far from that. The overall engine refinement is good, and your riding experience won’t be hampered by the vibrations except when at idle. 

The off-the-line pull of the Vieste is a bit dull. From 30kmph to 95kmph, you realise the potential of the 300cc mill and you can settle down at 100kmph on the highway. But that’s where the excitement ends with the scooter. Post 100kmph, there is just not enough pull from the motor, it feels reluctant to go faster than 115kmph and the windblast becomes quite an issue. 

0-40kmph2.70s
0-60kmph4.72s
0-80kmph7.96s
0-100kmph13.65s
20-50kmph (Kickdown)2.49s

If you decide to settle down, though, the Vieste’s good highway touring characteristics allow you to hold decent highway speeds, and coupled with the 12-litre fuel tank, you can get over 300km of range before tanking up again. 

In the city, the displacement advantage over most of the scooters plying on the streets means you have an edge. Quick overtakes is not really an issue, but thanks to its heft, the excitement is dumbed down.

Thankfully, the Vieste doesn’t heat up as much in the city since it has minimal panels at the rear. Though you’d often hear the radiator kick-in, it quickly dials down the heat, and unlike the Sixties, the heat isn’t felt by the pillion.

CIty Mileage21.56kmpl
Highway Mileage27.88kmpl


 

Maxi-Handler?

Out on the highway, with good stretches on tarmac, the Keeway Vieste doesn’t disappoint. The firm suspension setup, long wheelbase and the 13-inch wheels give you good cornering stability and urge you to push harder. That said, these things work against you in the city, since it is not as nimble as most of the scooters we are used to. And the raked out front-end increases steering effort.

The 13-inch Timsum tyres offer decent grip in dry conditions. However, they lack feedback when you hit wet patches or rubble. And to make things worse, the ABS then tends to be intrusive in the least expected times, so you end up riding extra cautiously through wet or broken patches. The brakes lack adequate bite, and within a couple of days, the brakes began to fade while using it one regular commutes.

As soon as you hit bad stretches of tarmac, the ride turns into a literal nightmare. It is a jarring teeth-clattering experience with sharp thuds and jolts felt prominently by both the rider and the pillion. This is because of the minimal suspension travel as well as the extra stiff tune. It is quite reminiscent of the first lot of Aprilia SR 150s, which on a sporty scooter in those days was acceptable, not on something that is meant to give you an easy experience. 

80-0kmph29.85m
60-0kmph16.17m

Verdict

On paper, the Keeway Vieste 300 is a very impressive machine. It ticks almost all the boxes in terms of design, features and even hardware. But the riding experience isn’t as rewarding or as memorable as you’d expect it to be, especially considering the Rs 3.20 lakh (ex-showroom) you’ll have to shell out for this colour. But is it just the price? Would it be a tempting proposition otherwise?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. This scooter doesn’t seem to be tested adequately for our conditions. The suspension and tyres aren’t the best fit for our roads, and then there’s the underwhelming build quality of the scooter, and the lack of excitement from the engine. 

So, after all these years, Keeway too has failed to give the Indians the proper maxi-scooter experience we’ve longed for all these years. Any Indian manufacturers signing up to take on the task?

Keeway Vieste 300
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Rs. 2.99 Lakh
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