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Honda Brings Back Iconic Monkey


The platform for the modern looking Grom underpins the new Honda Monkey, a retro-styled machine replacing the Z50 Monkey that ended production last year after being available for 50 years.

Featuring the same 125cc air-cooled engine from the Grom, it should make just over 9 horsepower. Modern features such as upside-down forks and disc brakes, together with LED lighting and digital instrumentation, make the Monkey 125 a thoroughly modern machine from the standpoint of function, if not form.


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108 Comments

  1. WGeoffrey Hill says:

    Liked this. Found out not coming to U.S. Went to bike shop and bought a new Suzi Van Van 200. Better size for me. Cool bike. Breaking in motor every day. Up to 70 miles.

    • My2Cents says:

      The Van Van is really cool. The retro look and that DR 200 motor will go a long way.

  2. Sean says:

    Looking forward to youtube videos of millennials doing “dank whoolies” and crashing these things on groups rides. Good time ahead!

  3. Hardman says:

    I’ll just wait for Honda to bring back the MB5 thank you very much!

    • Paul says:

      lol, you’ll be waiting a long, long time for Honda to bring that thing back to these shores. You could always move to Vietnam I suppose.

    • Dino says:

      Is that link a hack?
      Never mind, i just saw that some you tube video links are shortened for less characters..

    • Dino says:

      Sorry, i don’t get much video here, under my rock!

    • MGNorge says:

      Looks like fun – https://youtu.be/ARgj85CfyxM

      • Dino says:

        Sweet.. Watching those old ones, they look like fun, but I think I would appreciate the new one more!

    • Provologna says:

      Dig!

      Sound lesson for the day: pay close attention to the audio @ 1:31. The little pumped Monkey approaches the pickup microphone. Thankfully the only audible sound track is the bike itself, no gross music overlay.

      There are 2 distinct engine sounds. One sound is intake w/mechanical engine noise. Doppler effect increases the pitch of the intake and mechanical noise: the distance decreases between the source and the microphone, which shortens the wave length, which increases perceived pitch. We don’t know to what degree the engine RPM increased during this period. Even if RPM stayed constant, perceived pitch would increase, same as an approaching car horn, whose pitch is constant.

      But notice the exhaust pitch, with much lower resonance than intake and engine mechanical noise. Exhaust pitch has 2 components, one dominant in level and slightly higher in pitch, the other lower in level and slightly lower in pitch.

      The dominant component increases in pitch because of Doppler effect, same as above. But there’s a strange anomaly, the less dominant exhaust component and a little lower in pitch. While the dominant exhaust sound increases in pitch, this sub dominant exhaust sound decreases in pitch.

      Why? The lesser exhaust component bounces off the dirt wall in the back ground, and reflects back to the stationary microphone. The longer path length decreases the perceived pitch and level. While the bike to microphone distance closes, the above describe path length increases, which decreases the perceived pitch at the stationary microphone.

      A very cool natural demonstration of opposed simultaneous Doppler effects from one moving source and one stationary source, the dirt. The better is your pitch sensitivity the more audible are all the effects described above. It’s fun to hear the effect occur naturally, not produced synthetically.

      Multiple bikes would mask the effect, making it inaudible.

      • Bill in CA says:

        Really great answer to a question nobody asked.

      • Paul says:

        Provologna, thanks for the effort to bring that to light. I went back and watched it a few times and found it interesting. You have a good ear and awareness of physics. Thanks again!

  4. Fred says:

    Sorry Honda San, your 50 year Monkey Bike always had a seat trimmed in a coloured checkerboard pattern. Just like a Golf Gti hatchback seats, so get it right or call it something else.

  5. regan says:

    This bike has 9hp people. I’m assuming you are all adults, yes ? You guys are fawn all over a kids bike. Some of you guy will look like magilla gorilla riding this tiny bike. If you want a trail bike you can get a 250 dual purpose bike with 23hp, real suspension and full sized frame for about a $1000 more than the 125cc monkey.

  6. Jeremy in TX says:

    I’m a fan of the Grom, and I an a fan of this bike too. I wish they could have resisted going with the dual shocks, but I am sure that feature will be a hit with the target demographic.

  7. Advrider says:

    Heck, Iโ€™d buy 2 of them! Perfect to bring camping. Honda if you want to sell a bunch of these please bring it to the US!

  8. toad says:

    This bike seems to be viewed favorably here in the US. Honda would sell a ton so I expect them to offer us an updated Fury or CTX with ape hangers instead.

  9. Josh says:

    Love it. Would buy one and park it right next to my CB1100.

  10. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    The only downside I see with these mini-bikes is theft. Way to easy to cart away. Apparently they get stolen like crazy..

  11. YellowDuck says:

    No use in Ontario. My insurance company would still want $1000 per year to insure it. ๐Ÿ™

    • paul says:

      So, that would be about $500.00 for 6 months, which is all you would really be riding for. In Saskatchewan I paid close to $400.00 for 6 months for my 250 dual sport. That includes registration(plate) and insurance.

      • YellowDuck says:

        Nope – in Ontario you have to buy a full year. At least with State Farm.

        • GearDrivenCam says:

          In Ontario with TD Insurance – I pay $240 per year (12 months) for my WR250R. And about the same for my Yamaha R3. All of my other small displacement bikes (i.e., CBR250R, CBR125R) were remarkably similar in price to insure for the year. Granted, I have my house and car insured with them as well.

    • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

      Your insurance company wants $1000 dollars a year for a 125 mini-cycle!?? Time for a new insurance company, and if they’re all that bad, time for people to major gripe. I pay $150 a year for a 1988 1200cc touring bike for gawd’s sake.

  12. Rhinestone Kawboy says:

    A better built Mini Trail by another name. Personally, I would rather have the new Benelli TNT135, hear those things are a hoot, and outdo everything else- including the Grom and Kawasaki.

    • stratkat says:

      that may be, but with the Honda you know youll always be able to get parts, and service (if you ever need it!).

  13. Al says:

    I wonder if Honda will import to the US?

  14. Oilhead says:

    It couldn’t hurt if every college included one of these with tuition. Maybe then we would have a younger generation of riders.

  15. Fivespeed302 says:

    When I was about 8, my dad finally got me and my brother a Z-50. It was beat to hell with crooked handle bars and covered in dents and rust. We rode the crap out of it and the only maintenance it got was a fresh tank of gas. I wonder if this thing will run…

  16. BPnAZ says:

    Maybe next we will see the 200 and 350x????? I cant wait! My first crash was on a Monkey bike.

  17. dman says:

    Like the Grom, but love this! And despite getting my first bike in the early โ€˜70โ€™s, I have no past history with this style bike. But I still love it.

  18. Scott says:

    Dear Honda,

    Will you please make a CT-70 version of this (CT-125), folding bars and all!!!

    The Z50 version is cool, but I like a little more leg room. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. guu says:

    “Modern features such as upside-down forks..”

    Z50 Monkey also had upside-down forks. They were anything but modern and I suspect the same trend continues.

  20. kyle says:

    Honda doesn’t realize how big of a market California is, and 125cc isn’t legal on CA freeways whereas 150cc is from what I understand. Groms should have been 150cc too. I would own one now if they were.

    “You shouldn’t be taking this on the freeway” I’ll take my $3500 motorcycle wherever I please, but thanks for your concern for my safety and how I should live my life.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      Worst idea, worst statement ever to appear here. But thanks.

      • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

        +1

      • Kyle says:

        How could an extra 25cc be โ€œworst ideaโ€?

      • Kyle says:

        And once upon a time there was a Honda PCX 125 on the market, and Honda upped it 25cc specifically for the reasoning initially stated, so yeah. Thanks for your feedback.

        It was called the PCX 150

        By Honda

        For California, among other states with a 150cc freeway minimum.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          My first thought when the Grom hit the market is that it should be a 150 for the same reason as well. Not that I would want to take it on the freeway, but it would be good do so if I needed to.

    • Motoman says:

      Do you really think Honda doesn’t know the size of the CA market?

    • bmidd says:

      Like the rest of the World, no one at Honda cares about California

  21. Provologna says:

    Wow! If it was any cuter my eyes would hurt!

    Honda: please release an all new “Super 175” (or thereabouts), with appearance based on the lovely 1960s “Super 90.” Black and chrome for me, please.

  22. mark says:

    i have a grom, built to the moon with a 4 valve head, etc. love it. But, i also have a slew of vintage bikes as well (mostly 2 strokes fromt he 70’s). this is awesome and yes, i’ll probably get one. (46 yrs old).

  23. orbit398 says:

    Great to get a new generation of moto junkies going. The industry needs all the help it can get….

  24. takehikes says:

    I’ll need two…..one for each foot. Sweet little thing.

  25. Mike Radford says:

    Oh how I want this .
    It would look great parked next to my 74 mini endure 80.

  26. SmokinRZ says:

    Would look nice next to my 69 z50 that drives my wife crazy. She can’t understand why I want to keep a little child’s bike but I’m only 55. I wonder if it comes in blue.

    They got the 68/69 paint and badges down. The could move on to the oval 70/71 badges next year then the 72 billboard graphics.

    • Tex-Scout says:

      A Z50 re-issue is the one I’d take in a heartbeat! A few years back the shop I worked for in Ohio hosted a vintage bike show and parts swap day. I remember one guy zipping around the grounds on a Z50, and thought that was so cool!

    • Martin B says:

      Welcome to your second childhood. Enjoy.

  27. Wendy says:

    Not sure I need this, but I WANT it.

  28. Geoffrey Hill says:

    Like it.

  29. Don says:

    Is it coming to the US ?when?

  30. Hot Dog says:

    And belt drive!

  31. Dan says:

    I like it but I guess if I wanted a tiny bike like this I’d just get a Grom. Whats the real difference?

    • Fred M. says:

      The Grom does not bring back happy memories of growing up in the 1960s and 1970s and riding around on Z50s in the woods. If you’re younger than that but generally have good taste, you appreciate the classic retro look of this bike. Or you want something to ride on and off road and realize that the Grom is a street bike, from tires to rear hugger, to front fender.

      • Dan says:

        so another retro styled bike aimed at the boomers. They’d better buy a bunch if they bring it to the US, cause the youngsters without those fond memories of the 70s will have already purchased Groms.

    • mmotowarrior says:

      Fred M. is on target with his comments. I own a Grom, and have ridden it 2100 miles from Atlantic City to Pueblo, CO. Long (fun) story. Great running reliable motorcycle. This is that only bike I would substitute for the Grom. Love the classic style and utility. Plus I’d get fewer strange looks from my fellow Grom riders, most of whom are 40-50 years younger than I am.

  32. My2cents says:

    As a kid I only had access to borrowed mini bikes such as home built units with a 3.5 B&S recoil start and a Rupp. The luckiest kid in school had a 1971 Z50 and he was wise enough to keep to himself when riding. Grew up always wishing, so I guess my middle aged crazy has a second shot at youth .

  33. Hot Dog says:

    The handle bars don’t fold down like my original 1969 Mini Trail did. 26 bikes owned and counting…. this could be #27.

  34. Sam says:

    I had a brand new one in 1966 but the original wasn’t street legal and of course was 50 cc’s with a 3 speed auto. Mine was red, the handlebars folded down and the gas tank had a lock that kept fuel from flowing out when it was put on its side in the trunk of a car, which I did when I was in the Military. Mine ended up having my own S65 kit that doubled the HP and rpm’s. Some kids stole the thing from me:( I like this new one very much.

  35. Doc says:

    Love it. If it comes to the U.S., I will buy one. Way more character than a Grom. Hope it does.

  36. Bubba says:

    Love it…! Makes me want to outline a small track in the back yard.

  37. Dino says:

    Kinda ugly.. Kinda funky.. I kinda want one..

  38. tc2wheel says:

    Honda should have brought back the Monkey in the first place instead of the Grom.

    • motowarrior says:

      The Grom was a huge hit, but probably has lost steam by now. Actually, this may be the right order, from a marketing point of view. I own a Grom and would trade it for one of these.

  39. daveee says:

    I have a bright yellow 1976 Honda Mini Trail Z50 in my basement RIGHT NOW, but it needs lots of love and money to be right again. Meanwhile, to paraphrase an old 80’s movie, if you build it I will come (and buy one). Maybe 2…

  40. MGNorge says:

    Used to see the Honda Mini Trails on the back of many RV’s. But that was then, this is now. I used to think how much I’d like to have an updated Trail 90 (or 110 or 125) for the back of our rig and then I could explore and explore to my heart’s content when we got to our destination. But now after being many years married and being up in age I could still do it but….not sure my wife would want me off doing my own thing, at least not all the time, plus we often travel in groups. It would be anti-social of me to be off a lot. I’d still have fun (if I could find appropriate places to explore?) but I’d always have some guilt tied to it. Not the way I was way back when. Still…

    • Paul246 says:

      Buy two and you can let one of your RV friends go along, not as anti-social that way, lol.

      Look at it as a better way to spend “therapy” money to get over a guilt complex.

      BTW, I have one of those old Honda CT110’s, great little bike. I also found a ’78 Honda XL 100 that I offer to any friends that might want to go out for a trail ride with me.

    • DCE says:

      If you got one you would be the envy of the campground! All the teens and their parents/grands would be lining up for rides around the park. Then they would get some and you would have group rides.

  41. steveinsandiego says:

    another mc site sez for europe only…

  42. Kent says:

    Is that bulbous plastic box the actual fuel tank? Air box? Yuck…but otherwise, cool little bike.

    But disc brakes, front and rear? Would drums have been cheaper?

    • Dino says:

      One side is for sandwiches, the other for soda pop? Just a guess..
      I always wonder how much cheaper drum brakes could be now a days. Seems like disc brakes have less parts, and should be cheaper, or at least the same price?

    • paul says:

      It certainly looks like an air box. It also appears to be shaped in such a way as to direct cooling air downward toward the engine.

    • paul says:

      It certainly looks like an air box. It also appears to be shaped in such a way as to direct cooling air downward toward the engine.

  43. Gary says:

    I have no need for such a bike, but I do have a strong desire for one. Could a big frame/engine version of the Trail 70 be a possibility too? I’d love to have a remake of that bike – in Candy Apple Green please. (PLEASE).

    BTW, back in the 60’s and 70’s I believe that they were simply called Trail 50’s in the US. The Monkey name was a rest of the world name.

  44. Bob says:

    Do I see right? ABS? Fuel Injection? Wow. I’m 64, divorced twice, with a girlfriend that lives 3 miles away. This might be a great way for an old fart to visit his gf in the evenings. Just sayin’

  45. Tank says:

    Monkey sticker on side cover looks out of place.

    • steveinsandiego says:

      agree. i never appended stickers to my bikes…makes’m look more “used”. LOL

      i thought i’d hafta give up mc’ing due to old-age issues, but i can see myself scooting around town on a monkey. the grom’s ok, but this looks funkier.

  46. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    Sorta a grom scrambler..actually more useful than the grom in rural areas…makes sense

  47. John S. D'Orazio says:

    When and how much???

  48. Paul246 says:

    Well, lots of people were complaining on a previous article about kids not getting interested in motorcycles… this sure looks like a gateway sort of bike. Here it is.

    It is shiny, colourful and easy to ride…. another words FUN.

    If the engine is anything like the 110cc unit found on the CRF110 it will be a torquey little monster, too.

    • Dino says:

      +1
      Looks like it should appeal to the very young, and not-so-young (old fart, young at heart)

  49. yellowhammer says:

    If the tooling is paid for (after 50 yrs it should be) it’s a low capital risk to try to sell a few.

    • joe b says:

      Are you so naive that you think Honda is using the original tooling? … put the hammer down, its not yellow.

      • stan says:

        From the article: “..Featuring the same 125cc air-cooled engine from the Grom…”

        Give him his yellow hammer back and tell us how crow tastes.

    • Paul246 says:

      The 50 year old design was the Z50, this is a totally different bike that emulates the original Z50/Monkey.

    • Motoman says:

      This is literally the first part of the first sentence in the article:

      “The platform for the modern looking Grom underpins the new Honda Monkey….”

  50. joe b says:

    If Honda decided to Re-Make their original CB77, and Scrambler CL77, would anyone really want one of those, seeing it would be like this, upgraded with all new spec items? is the mini-trail 3k? is this a dream too?

  51. mechanicus says:

    Sweet timeless little thing in a “’70’s Mini Trail 50 on steroids” sorta way. Although I have absolutely no use for one whatsoever.

    Pit bike, or a way to go to the mailbox on a long driveway, or strap to the bumper of an RV for running around at the KOA; they’ll sell a few (maybe).