I don’t even know whose idea it was to put an Akrapovič pipe on a perfectly good Honda Monkey, but it fell to yours truly to do the deed. And in fact I was happy to do it – to get out of the office for a day and hang with our good friend Chris at MotoGP Werks in beautiful Anaheim, California. It all takes me back to the day when new exhausts were the first thing we did to unleash the anger in our neighbors, followed by weeks of tinkering with jet kits and dousing ourselves in gasoline to try to get the bike to run as good as it used to. I kid, those things really did used to make big performance differences – but it seldom seemed as easy as the directions made it out to be.
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.
Admit it: hooning around on little motorcycles and scooters is fun. At least Ryan and I think so, anyway. And so it was; the two young pups at MO (well, Ryan anyway) went about dreaming up things to do outside our usual testing regimen. Because, you know, even though we have great jobs, the daily grind gets a little routine at times. After a little internet browsing we discovered the glorious sight of Vespa scooters tackling the Dakar. Yes, that Dakar. Thus, the wheels were set in motion.
All I remember was walking down the street in Long Beach, CA, minding my own business when I heard it. Was that the sound of an irate primate? Living in Long Beach for a few years now, between the cacophonous flocks of bright green parrots and unmistakable roar of Indy cars once a year, the sound didn’t concern me, that was until I felt a heavy blow to the back of my head.
I should probably have broken this down into “Riders Over 50 with a History of Failed Relationships and Bad Decisions Without a Pot to Piss In,” and “Riders Over 50 With Healthy Portfolios and Dazzling Smiles”… but I didn’t. Because motorcycles are still relatively inexpensive, and because all us old guys seem to be drawn to the same ones whatever they cost. Besides, even wealthy motorcycle people mostly seem to be inherently cheap; otherwise they’d be car people, no? Consider this my personal cross-section of the bikes people like me covet most, and/or actually would (theoretically in my case) own.
Following the success of the Grom, Honda has decided to bring the Monkey back to the European market, combining bike’s iconic look with modern technology. The iconic Honda Monkey has remained in serial production for more than 50 years now, but for the last few decades, was mainly offered in Japan. For 2018, the Honda Monkey is coming back to Europe, but unfortunately, minibike fans in North America will have to be left out. For now, at least.
By now, we’ll assume you’ve read the Part 1 of the Ankle Biters test, wherein we asked some newer riders to ride the Honda Grom, Kawasaki Z125 Pro, Kymco K-Pipe 125, and SSR Motorsports Razkull 125. Their job was to give us feedback as to which bike makes the best learner for the absolute noob because it’s been awhile since any of the MO staff could call themselves one. Our riders had a lot of fun with the test, but as for us MOrons, we wanted a bit more excitement once we got a chance to throw a leg over the quartet.
Motorcycle blogs across the internet are buzzing about a recently-filed design patent for what looks to be a new Honda Monkey bike powered by the Grom‘s 125cc engine. Though we would love to be wrong on this, we’re not as bullish on this patent resulting in a production model. Here’s why.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Honda should feel pretty special. According to Kawasaki’s sales data, collected from data provided by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the Grom is number two on the list of best-selling motorcycles in the category Kawasaki calls “Small Street,” which includes dual-purpose motorcycles up to 350cc, scooters between 50cc – 400cc, and street motorcycles below 400cc. Number one is Kawasaki’s own Ninja 300, but there’s no ignoring the meteoric success the Honda Grom has become, which has spurred the creation of this: the 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro.
Honda announced a new “mini-streetfighter” redesign for the MSX125, the little monkey bike better known to Americans as the Grom. At the moment, the styling update has been announced in Europe and Thailand where it is manufactured, but we expect to see the more aggressive-looking Grom in the U.S. in the next several months.
Honda can’t seem to keep enough Groms on dealership floors, and considering its $3,199 price tag, it’s easy to see why. For those in urban environments, college towns, or both, the Grom represents an extremely affordable way to blast through town on a fun and compact motorcycle. Its appeal widens even further when you take into account first-time riders who want to learn the fundamentals of two-wheeling on a motorcycle that isn’t the least bit intimidating.