Honda Are Re-Inventing The Monkey Bike!

It looks as though Honda will be giving the updating the classic 49cc Z50 Monkey, and powering it with the very same engine and technology as the Grom. What will they think of next? Honda’s MSX125 was an unexpected and unprecedented success across the globe, winning awards as a rider favorite for short haul commutes, as a worthy “in case of emergency” ride, and as a radical custom platform, too. In short, Honda have seen that the Grom was a financial success, and they’re going to capitalize on that success and branch out with another model.


The Grom’s success was mainly down to it’s small size and it’s huge fun factor – in fact, many riders have compared the size and enjoyment ratio as being very similar to that of the old Z50 Monkey, and it seems like Honda have decided to take those comparisons on board. While the Monkey has always been a part of Honda’s catalog, with such a small engine, it lacked any real world practicality – in the form of power, and of course, emissions. To make it relevant, Honda have decided to re-design the old classic, and power it with the MSX125’s tried and tested 125cc engine.


The pictures you see here are Honda’s patents for the new generation of Monkey bikes. As you can see, this new model borrows heavily from the Grom, and it’s built with the very same frame, and powered by the same engine. There are some slight differences, in the form of a twin shock arrangement at the rear, and a new tube section swing arm, both features reminiscent of the Z50. The wheels, brakes and front suspension are also exactly the same units that you’ll find on the Grom.


There are some significant differences between the new generation of Monkey bikes and the old school version, aside from the obvious upgrades. The new version will be bigger than the model that is still on sale in Japan. The Z50 classic only has a short 895mm wheelbase, where the newer one is likely to be more like the Grom, with a 1010mm wheelbase. No doubt Honda have opted for a longer wheelbase to cater for real word practicality. Sadly, this new design doesn’t feature the original’s folding handlebars, so easy the storage and transportation options afforded by its predecessor are a thing of the past. Other new features include an upgraded exhaust system that mimic’s the Z50’s scrambler style, but this one hides a catalytic converter behind the bash plate.


Weirdly enough, a prototype model was displayed at the Bangkok Motor Show earlier on this year, but it was simply dismissed a concept from the Thai branch of Honda – a publicity stunt and nothing more. Now we can see genuine patent sketches, complete with license plate holders and of the accoutrements that real production motorcycles need, so this is almost certainly going to be a real thing.


A genuine 125cc Honda Monkey bike, with 9.65 hp, a weight of around 100 kg and a price tag of…? Well, we don’t know, but we’re expecting it to be around the same as the Grom – something in the region of $4000 or so. Not bad at all!

Categories: Motorcycles

Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…