Walking into a Honda dealership during the 70’s was a glorious time for families and parents, but for kids it wasn’t the most ideal of places to be. Honda Motor Company wanted to capitalize the possibilities of selling to youngsters and a toy-line segment that seemed void amongst what current dealerships offered. Soon Honda Introduced the Honda Kick ‘N Go or Honda Roller-Through GOGO in Japan. The idea for the scooter came from an “Idea” contest held by Honda and it’s employees internally. Akuto, a subsidiary of Honda helped develop the Kick ‘N Go for it’s release.
After a test market of 2,000 sold units in local Japanese stores, the first Kick ‘N Go was released in 1974 via official Honda dealerships and was an instant hit in both Japan and US. Offered in Yellow, Silver, Red and Blue and selling for roughly $50-$75 USD, it quickly became a wanted item amongst children of all ages who found out about it. In the US, many stories of these scooters have surfaced over the years from being the hot Christmas item of year or them being jealous of the kid on the playground riding dirty with one. It was definitely the ‘want’ item of the year for most children wanting a Honda.
The idea was simple enough, so how did it work? All a user would have to do is push their rear left or right foot on the bar pedal that extended out for the base and push down. This would stretch a small gear and chain away from the rear wheel, resulting in a mechanical propulsion to the larger gear. Once up to speed If you felt you were going too fast, hold down the included brake handle on the handle bars and you would stop accordingly. Interesting enough with the design was how does one turn with this scooter? Ah the genius minds at Honda R&D were clever on this one. The front section actually pivoted to the left and right allowing the user to lean their weight to whichever direction they needed to go.
Plastic wheels with a rubber outlay gave good grip to the pavement while the sturdiness of the overall frame gave kids a solid handle to hold on to dear life with if they broke away on a high pursuit. The dreaded 100lb weight limit sticker proved to be a downer for most older kids or young teenagers who wanted to try them. To combat this, Honda released a Kick ‘N Go 2 (US Only) in 1976 for teenagers alongside a Kick ‘N Go Senior (GOGO7) for adults.
In Japan and numerous surrounding countries, the Honda Kick ‘N Go was extremely popular with local transportation alongside the bicycle. It proved to be a practical advancement for those who wanted something light and small. Many local outlets in Japan included a section for the GOGO and other competitor scooters to be locked up alongside bicycles for storage during business/school hours.
The mascot for the GOGO in Japan was that of a Duck who always showed up in the advertisements as having fun and insisting for kids to try it out. The mascot did not pick up popularity in the US, but some Honda dealers displayed him as a cardboard cutout alongside the Kick ‘N Go’s for sale to help entice a younger audience. Advertisements in Japan and the US were heavy with local Television commercials being the most funded way to get the product across.
After a successful launch of the Kick ‘N Go 2 and Senior models, Honda was in development of the Kick ‘N Go VII in 1976, a much larger and more adult oriented version. During it’s prime, the unthinkable happened when 2 kids died in an accident associated with the Kick ‘N Go in the spring of ’76. Honda executives quickly responded with pulling the sales of the product and ceasing production all together. Acquisitions soon surfaced that Honda had created a dangerous product for kids that their safety was not designed with the product.
Fast forward nearly 40 years in the future and the Honda Kick ‘N Go still holds its value to kids of all ages in the Honda communities. Regardless of the deaths, many still use their Kick ‘N Go to this day as a means of fun or personal transportation. It’s honestly an amazing thing to see someone utilize this 40 year old design as a means to get to work on time in the city or to show off at a local show. The communities for the Kick ‘N Go’s are not huge but few are dedicated to their restoration. Many sites still sell replacement parts while others offer replacement decals. Rust has not become an issue with the units but rather worn out pieces with the gears and wheels. Prices are skyrocketing with pristine units going for $200-400 USD while used units from $50-150 USD. Be ready to pay for a highly collectible Honda treasure indeed.
Replica Decal Sets: http://www.knkcycles.com/hondakickngo.html
HT thread with great info: http://honda-tech.com/classic-hondas-106/kick-n-go-thread-2472295/