Last August, ATV Rider visited Kymco's manufacturing and R&D facilities in Taiwan (Dec. '04). While thoroughly impressed by the growing company's infrastructure, we made no secret that our favorite part of the trip was battering the new ATVs around the com-pany's on-site test track. Upon our return to these shores, we had a new appreciation for and understanding of the resources behind Kymco's products and were left wondering how the company's youth models would stack up with our younger riders. In the United States, Kymco is probably best-known for its mini ATVs--a market bursting at the seams with Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean machinery. A few phone calls later, we had a Mongoose 90 on our doorstep along with a crowd of curious neighborhood kids wanting to take a ride. Fortu-nately, none of them likes dogs, so they scattered when I threatened to turn loose Max and Crusher (oh, to be a young 'un again). Anyway, with the Mongoose all gassed up and ready to go, we rendezvoused with our official ATVR youth crash test dummy and went to work.
With more than a month of testing under our belts, we can report our troubles were limited to a loose chain and some premature rusting of the bolt heads holding the rear end together. Adjusting the chain was a snap and solved the problem; no other adjustments of any kind were required. A squirt of WD-40 was applied to each area showing surface rust. Designed for kids 12 and older, the Mon-goose 90 has enough power to carry a full-grown adult with camera gear up a substantial grade. This would make an awesome pit machine or relaxed trainer for a small adult. Younger riders will be satisfied with the amount of available torque and overall ease of use in operating this quad as it features electric start, a backup kickstarter and well-thought-out controls and ergos someone has clearly done his homework. The Mongoose's C.A.R.B.-certified, forestry-approved spark arrestor kept the exhaust note friendly enough to allow children to run up and down the property all day without offending the neighbors. Our machine also proved to be tough enough to survive subsequent rolls without any mechanical damage or noticeable cosmetic injury. The stock Maxxis tires are first-class rubber, and both the rear hydraulic and front drum brakes performed without a hitch.
A view of the kickstarter...
A view of the kickstarter shaft--once you run the battery down, you'll appreciate the backup kickstarter that comes included under the seat.
The Mongoose 90 features a taillight and comes prewired for a headlight (an accessory from Kymco). Parents will appreciate the lanyard safety switch and ability to control the top speed of the machine through an easily adjustable throttle stop screw. As kids gain skill and confidence, parents can disable the rev-limiter and add a host of performance parts to keep those eyes wide open. Both the front and rear shocks are adjustable and worked without trouble. Full floorboards and some impressively beefy brake and chain guards proved to be functional and downright tough. A one-year factory warranty is a reassuring testament to Kymco's commitment to and pride in developing quality equipment. As far as the children we talked to are concerned, the Mongoose 90 will turn even the lamest of parents into instant heroes.
Kymco Mongoose 90
Retail price: $1899
Type: Single-cylinder, four-stroke SOHC
Bore x stroke: 47x51.8mm
Cooling: Air-cooled with fan assist
Carburetion: PB 14mm
Lubrication: Wet sump
Starting: Electric with auxiliary kickstarter
Drive system: Chain, 2x4
Transmission: Automatic CVT
Front: Single A-arm/2.9 in.
Rear: Swingarm/3.2 in.
Front: 18x7-8; rear: 18x9-8
Front: Drum; rear: hydraulic disc
Our biggest problem reviewing...
Our biggest problem reviewing the Mon-goose was getting our test rider to slow down for photos. If it hadn't been so cold out on this particular day, he might still be out there.
Wheelbase: 37.9 in.
Claimed dry weight: 232 lb
Ground clearance: 7.2 in.
Length/width/height: 57.0/34.0/37.0 in.
Seat height: 26.0 in.
Fuel capacity: 1.4 gal.
Colors: Blue, red, yellow
+ Price--you get a lot for your money
+ Built tough to handle the abuse kids will throw at it
+ Tires are first-rate
- No reverse
- No headlight, though it's prewired for one
- Floorboards are slightly cramped for kids with big feet
= Money well spent
Kymco's front drum brakes...
Kymco's front drum brakes gave us no trouble and are impressively strong.