There is a growing movement in the “adventure bike” community that believe that smaller adventure bikes are the way to go. But it seems that a lot of the current manufacturers are concentrating on “larger” and more powerful machines. Even the newest middleweight adventure bikes are coming in at over 400 pounds. Enter Kibo.
Kibo is a company that is concentrating on small displacement adventure bikes and you’ve probably never heard of them. That’s because they are located in Nairobi, Kenya.
European roots, African sales
Kibo was founded in 2011 in Holland. But Kibo motorcycles are built and sold in Africa. Kibo currently has just two motorcycles in their line. The K150 was launched in 2017 and uses a 150 cc single cylinder engine. The newly released K250 also uses a single cylinder engine but with 250 cc displacement.
Kibo says that they have designed and developed motorcycles specifically for use in Africa. While the machines can be used for pleasure riding, Kibo has built the bikes using a tag line “Go do”.
To them, that means using their machines for a purpose. Their website shows this corporate culture with videos and pictures of a doctor and a courier using their machines to traverse cities and remote locations.
They claim that their motorcycles are designed in collaboration with those who use them. Both the Kibo 150 and 250 are simple, reliable utilitarian transports that are made to live up to conditions found in rural Africa.
Neither the Kibo K150 or K250 are powerful machines as you might expect out of a small displacement single. The engines are sourced from a Japanese manufacturer that Kibo declined to identify.
The Kibo K250 sports some decent specs. Perhaps the least inspiring of the specs is the air and oil cooled engine. The engine has a claimed 17 HP at 6,500 RPM and 15 ft-lb of torque. A balance shaft helps smooth things out. A 5-speed transmission provides the drive. Both electric and kick start are standard.
But other specs show the intent of the machine. The frame is tubular steel and results in a bike with a seat height of 800 mm (31.5 inches). Wheelbase is 1450 mm ( 57.1 inches). Brakes feature a twin piston 260 mm front and 220 mm rear setup.
Ground clearance is a claimed 200 mm (7.85 inches). Front fork travel is a claimed 215 mm (~8.5 inches). The rear provides a somewhat lower 140 mm (5.5 inches) of travel. The wheelset also displays its utilitarian design with a 21″ front and 18″ rear.
Fuel capacity is 10.8 liters (2.85 gallons) and with a claimed mileage of 29 km/ltr, you should be able to get 310+ km (~195 miles) per tank.
Kibo’s machines represent a premium over other small motorcycles available in Africa. But they say that those machines wear out in a year or so and there is little in support to repair them. The K150’s price is approximately $3,400. The larger K250 costs approximately $5,250. For Africa, these prices are certainly premium.
But if the machines perform as Kibo claims, the extra investment will allow riders to use the machines well into the future. With its brief history, it will be interesting to see how well they perform in the long run.