Huib van de Grisjparde: It’s time to evolve Kenya’s urban transportation

Kenya, a stunning country with diverse cultures and landscapes, has seen significant growth in the motorcycle community in recent years. Motorcycles have become a popular mode of transportation due to their low cost, ease of use, and versatility. However, while using motorcycles for public transportation has grown in popularity in recent years, the private biker community has not grown at the same rate as the public service community, despite the fact that the benefits are numerous.

Traffic congestion is a persistent bottleneck in many of the country’s urban areas, resulting in hundreds of hours per year lost on short-distance commutes that take an inordinate amount of time. During rush hour, for example, it can take nearly two hours to travel from Ongata Rongai to Nairobi Central Business District, despite the fact that the distance is only 20 kilometres. During off-peak hours, the same distance can be covered in about 20 minutes.

For the young and upwardly mobile urban Kenyans, the time lost in traffic could have been better spent attending to the many other aspects of their exciting lives. Given the many activities that young people nowadays have to attend to, such as demanding careers, vibrant social lives, family commitments, and personal growth, the limited time they have left should not be wasted sitting in traffic for hours on end.

Furthermore, with the cost of oil recently reaching unprecedented highs, there is definitely a case to consider the monetary savings that come with switching your mobility from four wheels to two. For example, whereas a standard 1,500CC vehicle can have a fuel consumption rate of up to 15km per litre, a decent street-focused motorcycle can reach heady highs of between 30 and 40 kilometers for every litre of petrol consumed. People living on the outskirts of town, in particular, can cut their fuel bills in half by switching their modes of transportation to motorcycles. 

Saving fuel also helps with environmental conservation efforts. Motorcycles emit fewer greenhouse gases and have a lower congestion footprint because their engines are smaller and use less fuel. As Kenya, like many other countries, faces climate change and environmental degradation challenges, motorcycle riding can help to mitigate these issues. Individuals, for example, can contribute to lowering their carbon footprint and air pollution by riding motorcycles to work or transporting goods, which can benefit the environment and public health.

The benefits of switching to motorcycles are obvious, but such a move is rarely purely logical. Any biker will tell you that riding is more than just a means of transportation. It is an expression of identity and the pursuit of freedom that has spawned communities of like-minded individuals across the country. Being on the road on a motorcycle with little between you and the elements forces one to focus on nothing but the journey; it allows a sense of adventure to be tied into every trip, whether across the country or on the commute to work.

Riding a motorcycle, on the other hand, can be an exhilarating experience, providing a sense of freedom, adventure, and empowerment. Motorcycle riders frequently describe the thrill of the open road and the connection with one’s surroundings as sources of joy and fulfilment.

Encouragingly, the motorcycle industry in Kenya is expanding as more people seek more convenient modes of transportation. According to the Motorcycle Assemblers Association of Kenya, 25,000 to 35,000 motorcycles are assembled locally each month, and the number of newly registered motorcycles increased by 15.6% between 2020 and 2021.

Our goal at Kibo Africa has always been to give more people the opportunity to experience the joy that motorcycling can bring. In the same vein, we recently launched a new offering aimed at reducing commute times for city dwellers. Our K160E-Eovolution series of motorcycles is designed to provide maximum comfort and power while navigating city traffic. The K160E has a powerful yet fuel efficient 160cc engine capable of pulling a load capacity of 200kg, delivering on our intent to always provide mobility solutions that are environmentally friendly. The Kibo K160E has a sporty design that is enhanced by its 17-inch cast iron aluminium rims and a lowered ride height for better riding and traction on tarmac, as well as medium rough environments that may be encountered on longer road trips. 

At Kibo Africa, we are constantly striving to provide mobility solutions that help Kenyans do more by consistently considering their needs and operating environment, along with other local assemblers. We believe that by encouraging more people to use motorcycles as a daily mode of transportation, we can significantly reduce congestion and its associated challenges. Furthermore, with the savings on fuel and maintenance, they will be able to travel further across the country and enjoy the splendour of its natural beauty and diverse cultures.

Huib van de Grisjparde is the C.E.O of Kibo Africa Motorcycles

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