The Honda Monkey brings nostalgic feel to the already wildly popular Grom platform. Bikes in this category are small in stature but massively fun and rife with potential. Whatever you can dream up, you can do. I’d like to think Troy and I showcased some of the fun that is to be had with small machines in one of our recent adventures.
With the 2019 Honda Monkey, you get a play bike that exudes style and quality. From the nostalgic metal fenders and tank, to the modern LED lighting and metal flake-filled paint, the Monkey radiates a level of quality not before seen in this category. Yes, it costs more than the Grom for these reasons, but we can live with it. Released in 1961 as the Z, the bike made its way stateside seven years later. Cruise one of the new Monkeys around any populated area, and you’ll likely hear stories from folks of a certain age as they reminisce of the days when they rode their Honda Z50 from sunrise to sunset as a child. Honda has a legacy of ushering in new riders, and we hope the new Honda Monkey is just as successful as its predecessors at doing so. Hats off to the Honda Monkey for winning this year’s MOBO in the Playbike category.
The Benelli TnT135 might be a blatant miniature knockoff of an MV Agusta Brutale, but that’s exactly why we like it! I mean, c’mon; it’s hard to deny this is the best looking little play bike on the market today. Add in the fact it has a four-valve head compared to the Honda Grom’s two-valver, a five-speed transmission compared to the Grom’s four, and a $2,699 price tag compared to the Honda’s $3,399 sticker, and it’s really a no-brainer. Ok, we’ll concede the fit and finish on the Honda is better, and there’s no question the dealer support is better, too. Still, a call to Benelli USA will get you any part you need, and a little digging on the interwebs reveals there’s a growing fan base for the little Benelli. It’s a fun little ripper (as evidenced by our attempts at destroying it in a 24-hour race) that stands out wherever it goes. The Honda Monkey may have won this category, but because of its price, performance, and fun factor (not to mention its looks), the Benelli TnT135 is more than deserving of a runner-up finish.