Kymco USA is recalling 2016 K-Pipe models because the gear shifting pattern may not be compliant with federal regulations. The recall affects 476 units in the U.S., all produced from March 1 to May 25.
According to documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the gear shift pattern is reversed, going 4-3-2-N-1 instead of the normal one-down order. As a result, the K-Pipe does not comply Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards No. 123 which standardizes motorcycle controls and displays. This is important as it makes motorcycle controls standard across all manufacturers, preventing confusion for riders operating a different model for the first time. FMVSS No. 123 mandates that all motorcycle foot shifters must toe up for higher gears and down for lower gears.
The 125cc K-Pipe comes with a heel-toe shifter, an oddity for a bike of its size. For U.S. models, the transmission is a fully-manual four-speed gearbox, whereas in most other markets, Kymco installed a semi-automatic clutchless transmission similar to the one used on the Honda Cub. Either of these reasons may have been the cause for the assembly error.
Kymco USA first became aware of a problem on May 12 when a dealer reported a reverse shift pattern. The following day, Kymco USA uncrated a new K-Pipe and found that it also had a reverse shift pattern. The U.S. importer than notified the Kymco factory in Taiwan and recommended a recall. On May 25, the company began recall proceedings.
As of this writing, Kymco is still working on a remedy.