If you live in a crowded urban area where slow speeds and limited parking is the norm, then the Honda Monkey could be a great mode of transportation for you. Honda has always been known for its sportbikes, like the CBR lineup, and scooters, like the Super Cub and Ruckus, but the Monkey is a scooter that brings a unique sense of retro styling to the table. For those wanting all the fun of a motorcycle without the break-neck speeds and superior handling characteristics, the Monkey could be the answer they’re looking for.
The Honda Monkey is an interesting throwback
Before Honda started building efficient and reliable cars that we all know and love today, it built motorcycles. In fact, back in the 1960s, some of the first modes of transportation that Honda ever imported into the U.S. were 49cc minibikes aptly named “monkey bikes” due to their diminutive stature and the simian-like seating position of the rider when sitting on the bike. Honda first started building the monkey bikes an attraction at the TAMA Tech amusement park, but due to their popularity from everyone that rode one during that time, the automaker decided to mass-produced them as road bikes.
We’ll spare you the long history as to how the monkey bike evolved, but you might still be wondering why anyone would ever be interested in such a tiny bike that can only hit residential speed limits. The simple answer is that “it’s fun,” and the 2021 Honda Monkey is a throwback to that of two-wheeled amusement park attraction, not only in its retro styling but also in its mere existence.
Is the Honda Monkey fast?
Unless you live in Super Mario Kart land, the Honda Monkey won’t be winning any stoplight races and you won’t even be able to merge onto the freeway. However, it’s 125cc, fuel-injected and air-cooled four-stroke engine coupled with its four-speed manual transmission is enough to up to around 50 mph and have loads of fun in the process. According to Revzilla, that amount of fun translates from its under sprung and lightweight stature as the Monkey’s 231-pound curb weight makes it easy for any newer rider to throw a leg over it and get motoring quickly.
The Honda Monkey makes for a great starter bike
Whether you’re an avid rider or have never even been on a bike, the Honda Monkey shows a lot of promise when it comes to two-wheeled motoring. Its 30.1-inch seat height and dual-suspension should be compliant for riders of almost every size and height and its 1.5-gallon gas tank with a 0.5-gallon reserve should get you far as well. While most new riders tend to start out on a smaller sportbike, we think that the Honda Monkey would be great for anyone that has any apprehension toward riding a larger motorcycle and would rather just get their feet wet when it comes to driving on two wheels. Or if you want just want to feel like Donkey Kong on a tiny bike, then we wouldn’t blame you for that either. Just know that bananas are not included in the $3,999 MSRP.