2019 Honda Monkey/ABS

Modern nod to two-wheel history embraces carnival origins

2019 Honda Monkey
2019 Honda MonkeyHonda

Few motorcycles have made as many people smile as the Honda “Monkey.” Introduced in 1961 for use at an amusement park in Japan, the Z100 with its foldable handlebars, 4-hp 49cc engine, rigid suspension, and 5-inch wheels earned its nickname because adults looked wildly out of proportion riding it. The family-friendly Mini-Trail Z50 that reached US shores in ’68 had an adjustable seat, 8-inch wheels, knobby tires, and styling that remains instantly recognizable to generations of motorcyclists. Now the Monkey moniker lives on in the form of a new, physically larger model based on the Grom and likewise powered by a fuel-injected 125cc engine that produces smooth torque for casual around-town riding.

Painted to match the frame, swingarm, and shocks, the fuel tank wears a 3-D "old wing" Honda logo. Chrome steel fenders also harken back to the original model. DOT-approved Vee Rubber tires mounted on 12-inch cast wheels aren’t as blocky in their tread pattern as the earlier-issue Tractor Grip donuts, but they suit the bike’s aesthetic and can even transport you off-road. LED lighting—durable and energy-efficient yet classically styled—is yet another modern touch. Ditto the optional antilock braking.

Likes: Classic styling on point; cushy seat; an inexpensive way to get around

Dislikes: Some folks—we're looking at you, Shaquille O'Neal—just won't fit

Verdict: A slice of Honda history lives on for future generations of motorcyclists

2019 Honda Monkey Reviews And Comparisons

“The immediate riding impression of today’s Monkey is one of pure, visceral, monstrous fun,” contributing editor Peter Jones wrote. “It’s a barrel of let’s-do-it-again fun. It shines. It’s business. It’s your uncle. It does what it sees. It makes one out of you. It’s a little bike that makes every rider a kid.”

2019 Honda Monkey Competition

Remember the 1960s ad slogan, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”? Well, it’s still true. Honda’s own Grom and Cub are powered by the same four-stroke 125cc single-cylinder engine used in the Monkey. Alternatives: Kawasaki’s Z125 Pro—the Grom’s brother from another mother—and the $800-cheaper Kymco Spade 150.

2019 Honda Monkey Specifications And Pricing

The Honda Monkey is available for 2019 in two eye-popping colors: Banana Yellow or Pearl Nebula Red. The latter hue is offered with antilock braking as an option for an additional $200. Moreover, the motorcycle aftermarket is rich with custom add-ons, from fender eliminator kits to suspension and exhaust systems.

Manufacturer Claimed Specifications

Price $3,999/$4,199 (ABS)
Engine Air-cooled, SOHC, single-cylinder
Displacement 125cc
Bore x Stroke 52.4mm x 57.9mm
Horsepower N/A
Torque N/A
Transmission 4-speed
Final Drive Chain
Seat Height 32.9 in.
Rake 25.0°
Trail 3.2 in.
Front Suspension 31mm; 4.3-in. travel
Rear Suspension Adjustable preload; 3.3-in. travel
Front Tire 120/80-12
Rear Tire 130/80-12
Fuel Capacity 1.5 gal.
Wheelbase 46.5 in.
Claimed Wet Weight 236 lb.

Cycle World Tested Specifications

Seat Height N/A
Wet Weight N/A
Rear-Wheel Horsepower N/A
Rear-Wheel Torque N/A
0–60 mph N/A
1/4-mile N/A
Braking 30–0 mph N/A
Braking 60–0 mph N/A
2019 Honda Monkey Right Side
2019 Honda Monkey Right SideHonda
2019 Honda Monkey Right Front
2019 Honda Monkey Right FrontHonda