Most people will know Mike Le as the face of Kinetic Motorcycles, but we wanted to get to know a little more about the man behind the welding mask.
He was kind enough to answer us a few questions about himself below…
The Interviews: Mike Le, Kinetic Motorcycles
Let’s start off at grass roots, how did you get into motorcycles in the first place?
Well, I grew up in a ranch in Nebraska, very rural, my brothers & I were all into our BMX bikes, we would take them apart and put them back together, so when we moved to Houston when I turned 11, one year later when I was 12 my parents friend had a pocket rocket that was broken so they sold it to my parents for dirt cheap. They gave it to me and I kept on tinkering with it. I used to think I was the man around the neighborhood with that! It was yellow and eventually my brothers broke it not long after…
I’m 23 now so the influence of motorcycles in my life has been around for 10+ years.
What was the first motorcycle you ever rode / owned?
First full sized motorcycle I ever rode was a 2006 GSXR 750, it was my brothers and one day I just jumped on it and started riding it when I was 15. So free-loading off his bike for 3 years, eventually I saved up to get a 2006 CBR600RR. Which I tore town completely and repainted it and did what I could to make it “Mine”.
What was the first modification you ever attempted?
First mod…hmm well by the time I had my own bike, the CBR, the first thing I remembered doing to it was painting it, the next day I bought it. I didn’t buy it new so I didn’t feel guilty about it. It was a royal blue color; I took the fairings off and gave it a nice gloss white paint job!
We are all so familiar with your Forty Eight & CB, mechanically which was the most fun / challenging to work on?
Challenging & fun I would say the CB, because the engineering from 1971 was so different yet simple, I couldn’t believe it took so “little” for these things to move. So simplistic, one fuse, 4 carbs, no computer. Its amazing how the older bikes rely on manual tuning. Its still fascinating. Nowaways, ECM’s do all the work!
Mike’s Honda CB 500
Photography obviously plays a big role in your riding, talk us through your day-to-day photo gear / process?
Well I am also a photographer on the side so I didn’t buy a nice camera just for motorcycles haha, I shoot local events and direct music videos. Im just trying to represent the motorcycle culture through my eyes and work! I focus on being unique, and conforming will only postpone evolution in the moto culture. Be different. My gear is a Canon 5D MKIII and I typically use my 50mm 1.4 or 24mm 1.4L.
You show a lot of creativity in your designs, where does all that inspiration come from?
Inspiration would be a tough question to answer, because I honestly don’t know where it comes from, I don’t sit and look at what others are doing, I never try to replicate someone’s design. I just work with my gut instinct when im designing a part. Try to create things universally appealing and stay true to what I LIKE. Im very big on being original so I try not to let too much outside influence my style. I love art, all kinds of art, so I really want to show others that engineering is art.
Your 540 Laterals have gained a lot of attention online and seem to be flying off the shelves, how does it feel to see your workshop creations start to pop up in your own Instagram feed?
Its crazy, seriously, I didn’t know what it would be this big so fast, when designing them, I just wanted something with flare, and volume. Im very grateful for all the love and support ive been receiving from all over the world. Especially Australia!
Kinetic Motorcycles ‘540 Lateral’ exhaust system
What’s the most thrilling ride you’ve ever experienced?
Definitely the most recent ride in CA up to Palomar. It was really challenging because I was going against some serious weather issues with an unfamiliar bike to me. On top of the crazy twisties up the mountain. It was 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit at the top with a heavy coat of fog and mist. Not to mention 5000ft of elevation with cliffs.
We’ve recently seen you blasting around San Diego on a Panigale… Care to tell us all about it?
Haha I was flown out there by some good friends/business partners and was provided with the Panigale for my stay. It was a blast indeed. The bike was too powerful for me lol.
And finally, I guess the question on everybody’s lips, can we expect to see any new pieces from you in the near future?
Oh yes of course, right now im going to college full time and when im not at school im trying to keep up with orders for Kinetic. Expect to see great things as I am wrapping up some school this year. Ive actually held back on releasing new product just because I can barley keep up with demand right now.