Honda has a few historically important motorcycles and one of them is the original Z50 better known as the Monkey or Z-Series of mini bikes. The Monkey was popular due to it’s moto-racing support bike doing errands around the race track back in the 70’s to 80’s. The nick name Monkey was due to the way a rider would look like when riding it which was like the ancient money on bicycle toys and street performers of the the 1800’s and 1900’s. Due to the surprising popularity of the mini nike class in particular the GROM they announced an all new Monkey version for 2018/2019.
The new Monkey bears a resemblance to the original model but clearly updated and amplified it’s classic design features for 2019. It shouts fun and retro motorcycle and and miniature cafe-racer, will appeal to anyone rider young or old.
The engine and mechanicals are from the Honda GROM 125 which means plenty of aftermarket parts and support. The frame is a modification in particular the tubular rear swing arms. Modern features as standard include keyless start, electronic fuel injection, digital instruments, LED headlights and if the show model is to be believed ABS brakes!
It is surprising that Honda has introduced another 125cc motorcycle which are clearly not practical commuting motorcycles. I’m not sure which one I prefer, the GROM or the new Monkey. Recommended retail pricing is expected to be slightly higher than the GROM so around the $5000 AUD price point. It has attractive pricing for an out of the box niche and unique retro motorcycle. Mind you, if it does sell at the $4000 AUD price point I think it will be sell out.
Honda Monkey 125 Key Specifications
1 cylinder 2V SOHC (EFI)
7.1Kw @ 8,000 RPM 9.6 Nm @ 7500 RPM
107 Kg Approx
0-100kph NA seconds Approx Max Speed 100 Kph Approx
One of the new models for 2018 is the revised Honda CB1000R. The CB1000R was originally released nearly 10 years ago so it was time for an upgrade. For those who came late the CB1000R was essentially an unfaired version of it’s super sports 1000cc motorcycle the Fireball model. It is not unusual to manufacturers to do this as it save development costs and gives the stripped down model instant street cred. However unlike other manufactures Honda has done more than just remove the faring.
The demand for naked motorcycles is increasing. The buyers in this class is quite a sophisticated one due to the number of influences on it’s buyers for example many are not fussed about engine capacity or ultimate performance. For example, many friends I know want retro looking motorcycle with sufficient power and highly customisable. Everyone is concerned, it’s about increased traffic reduced driver capability and motorcycles are specifically weekend rides. No one I know actually wants to ride a motorcycle to work.
In terms of looks the CB1000R is more than the striped down Fireblade but a revision of the first generation CB1000R. The 2018 features a future/retro headlight which changes the look of the bike. It reminds me of a Yamaha MT-01 but it was a V -Twin. At least Honda have installed a single sided rear swing arm to give it a more exotic touch and I can imagine many removing the unsightly rear muffler though. The press materials says it’s Cafe Racer inspired… sort of I guess. It’s rare that a Japanese manufacturer in 2018 is using silver and chrome highlights on this sort of bike and it does work somewhat dependent on colour.
Tn terms of technology, specifications and performance the Honda CB1000R has been updated with various engine modes that include settings for engine braking and torque settings. Thankfully it retains the niche single sided swing arm. However as fancy as these modes are, to be completely honest doesn’t mean all that much. To appeal to the new generation of riders you need more connectivity into the bike meaning integration with a mobile phone and viewing riding data that is far more comprehensive than a simple fuel consumption and a trip meter. That said the engine is a remapped version of the CBR1000RR Fireblade which means a good thing.
In the end the 2018 CB1000R another good motorcycle from Honda. The tech details and performance upgrades are very good for naked bike but it’s not really about that. It’s really about the looks first then performance, so if it appeals to you then get it.
Honda CB1000R Key Specifications
IL4 cylinder 16V DOHC (EFI)
107Kw @10000RPM 106 Nm @8500RPM
0-100kph NA seconds Approx Max Speed NA Kph Approx