There’s a lot we have to thank our mothers for, not the least being her Kinetic Honda. Of course we all wanted a Shogun or RX but at 16 you only got a licence for an ungeared scooter and like hell we were going to ride a Sunny or Luna to junior college. Mum’s Kinetic Honda was the ticket to freedom, and to an entire generation that grew up in the nineties, this is where biking started.
I don’t know when scooters became girl’s things but back then a Kinetic Honda was for everybody. Our dads tore up their Chetak allocation (after ten years in the queue!), for this cool Japanese scooter that didn’t break down every day. Our mums loved the electric start (a first!), automatic gearbox (another first!) and ample footboard for my little sister to stand on (don’t judge, it was a much simpler time). Even the indicators worked, all of the time. You might wonder what’s the big deal but when a scooter meant a Chetak that you leant over to kick, kick and kick start, you will begin to understand why the Ki-Ho was a roaring success. Till Kinetic thought they could better what Honda had given them and progressively ruined it by trying, among other things, to make it more fuel efficient.
As for us boy racers, its 2-stroke 7.7bhp motor was quick enough to keep mum awake till we got home at night. Riding one today brings back the sounds and smells of my youth. The high-pitched 2-stroke wail rising, falling and then rubber-banding as the needle swings across the dash to finally nudge 80kmph on a downhill section. The smell of exhaust fumes laced with 2T oil (it didn’t need pre-mix, that was how sophisticated it was). And the alarming lack of brakes.
After a year of riding like Kevin Schwantz, scraping the side guards till it would shower sparks off the tarmac, I woke up in hospital to the realisation that I wasn’t Kevin Schwantz. MTJ 6577 was sold for 10 grand, its original Honda engine fetching a surprisingly good price. And I walked to college for the rest of the term. Sorry mum.