The newest, neatest motorcycle to hit the entry-level market is the Legacy 250 from QLINK. QLINK is the U.S. importer for CF MOTO, a Chinese manufacturer of primarily scooters thats been around for several decades. QLINK is aggressively going after women knowing they are the fastest growing group among new riders.
When assessing the Legacy 250, I found it has multiple personalities. The transmission reminds me of a scooter. There are no gears so there is no clutch. Power is sent to the rear wheel through a CVT transmission (CVT stands for continuously variable transmission). CVT does not have a gearbox with interlocking toothed wheels like traditional automatic transmissions. According to the Web site “How Stuff Works,” the most common type of CVT operates on an ingenious pulley system that allows an infinite variability between highest and lowest gears with no discrete steps or shifts.
The Legacy is impressive to look at in pictures and even more impressive in person leading to another one of its personalities – that of a bigger bike. When I first laid eyes on the black model I was sent to test ride, I was surprised at how large it appeared; large not in an intimidating way, but for a 250cc machine, I was expecting a lower, smaller beginner size bike. What often turns off beginners of choosing, say, the Honda Rebel 250cc as their first motorcycle is its diminutive size. The Legacy is not diminutive so riders who want a decent-sized machine without all the get-away-from-me power will find the Legacy appealing. Add the fact that theres no clutch to master, and the Legacy becomes even more attractive to some beginners.
Seat height is 27.6 inches, not on the exceptionally low side like some sub-26-inch seat height machines, but not crazy high either. Heres where the Legacy takes on the personality of a beginner bike. Its so easy to handle because its light weighing just 360 pounds without fluids, plus it has a narrow profile so no massive metal to muscle. The ergonomic set-up here is friendly and accommodating. The seat is comfortable with plenty of room for a passenger.
Out on the road, heres where the Legacy takes on some traits of a scooter. You simply twist the throttle on the right hand grip and the motorcycle begins to move. No clutch to engage or gears to kick through. When you want to stop, you pull in the two brake levers (front brake on the right, rear brake on the left) and the front and rear disk brakes slow down the bike. There is no neutral. Neutral is simply releasing the throttle.
All similarities with a scooter end with the gearless transmission. The Legacy has many features of a motorcycle twice its power. There are disc brakes in the front and rear. Many smaller powered bikes have a drum brake in the rear because the increased performance of a rear disc for stopping is usually not needed. I found the Legacys stopping capacity to be superb because of the disc brakes.
Another “big” bike feature is the liquid cooled engine. Liquid cooled is a high performance feature not usually found on smaller bikes. I was impressed QLINK incorporated this technology on the Legacy ensuring increased reliability in the engine.
When engaging the throttle, the motorcycle propels you forward increasing in speed as you twist the throttle. Out on the highway, I discovered the Legacy has a top speed of 65 mph. With the throttle completely twisted toward me the bike would go no faster than 65 mph. When I descended a hill, velocity propelled the bike to register 68 mph on the speedometer, but that was as high as I saw the needle go. If I owned this bike I would not take it on highways for long periods of time. Top speed on most highways in America is 70 or 75 mph and we all know motorists usually exceed that. I wouldnt feel comfortable with cars whizzing by me while cruising along at 65 mph my hand twisting the throttle to its max.
To its credit, the Legacy held up well on the 70mph speed limit road on which I traveled. The bike provides a solid, planted ride thanks in part to the 100mm tire on the front and the 150 in the rear. I didn’t feel vulnerable like I did the one time I rode a trimmed down 250cc scooter on that type of road. The suspension is decent with telescopic front forks and rear shocks that glide over pavement imperfections. The rear shocks have an adjustable preload allowing the rider to set the springs to adjust for additional weight.
The Legacy has plenty of style with a large 4.2-gallon fuel tank and a lower fairing that hides the motor. The lines on the fairing complement the rest of the bike’s sleek “in motion” appearance, which includes the large sweeping chrome exhaust pipe and cropped rear fender. Theres plenty of chrome to make you think this bike is more expensive than it is.
A cool feature to the Legacy is the built-in AM/FM radio and MP3 player. Unfortunately, where I live in a valley in Montana between two mountain ranges radio reception is terrible so all I got was static. When I tried to access the MP3 player (with external speakers) under the seat, the key lock to remove the seat was giving me a hard time. I called the dealer who loaned me the bike (Great Scoot in Kalispell, Montana) to find out what the trick was to removing the seat. I did what he said, which was to press down on the seat when turning the key to release stress off the lock, but it didnt work. Im sure theres a trick to removing the seat, but it shouldnt be that hard and I gave up. Too bad. I was anxious to find out how good the MP3 player was and pass that information along to you.
With the audio system and all that bodywork and chrome, I was expecting the bike to feel heavier. Heres the big secret of the Legacy. The bodywork is mostly all plastic. The fenders, the fairing, the turn signal housings, the headlight housing, the footboards, the mirror backings and a few other cover pieces are made of plastic. I will admit I thought this cheapened the bike, but honestly, what do you expect from a motorcycle that looks this good, rides this well, but only costs $2,999. Theres a tradeoff for that price, but fortunately, it didnt come in the form of performance and handling.
Specs at a Glance: QLINK Legacy 250cc
Seat Height: 27.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gallons
Dry Weight: 260 pounds
Colors: Silver, Black, and Red
The Legacy 250 fills a niche in the entry-level market by doing away with a clutch-driven transmission and appealing to beginning motorcyclists who have trouble mastering the clutch/throttle action. The Legacy is all motorcycle and a decent sized one at that. Its hard to beat the price for what you get. Plastic aside, you get a heck of an engine that should last you for years. And quite frankly, thats what counts. Im told the red color is stunning by the way.
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