HONDA MON­KEY

Ape around on a rein­vented clas­sic for just £65 per month.

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS - By Paul Lang Pho­tog­ra­phy James Wright

NOW IT’S HONDA’S turn to take a walk down Look Back Av­enue and thumb a lift on the retro band­wagon – Wel­come back to the Mon­key Bike… At first glance you can’t help but no­tice that the Mon­key Z125A looks twice the size of the 1961 orig­i­nal. It al­most is. The Z50A rides on eight inch wheels, and the rider’s knees are up by their ears. The new one has 12-inch wheels and a bit more room for the pilot. But the cute­ness re­mains. Turn the key and the new LED dash blinks its eyes at you as it runs a digit test. Honda have clearly re­in­stated their sense of fun. Based on the ex­ist­ing MSX125 the new Mon­key is slightly shorter and slightly taller in the seat at 776mm. Six-foot­ers will be com­fort­able de­spite high knees. On fire-up you can hear the ex­haust, but it’d be nice if it was louder. Let out the first of four gears and the 9.2bhp Mon­key bus­tles for­ward vig­or­ously – 31mph in first un­til Check the the lim­iter mir­rors cuts and in.

the traf­fic be­hind is floun­der­ing. 1-0 to me, but this game will be long as I am travelling across Lon­don city – surely the Mon­key’s nat­u­ral habi­tat. The Z125A’S com­bi­na­tion of light steer­ing, chunky tyres and peppy mo­tor mean you can turn quickly, soak up pot holes and nip through gaps big­ger bikes would strug­gle to cope with. And the sin­gle 220mm brake disc, which has Imu-based ABS, copes eas­ily with the odd pedes­trian step­ping out. Sus­pen­sion is soft and the rear twin shocks can bot­tom out over large speed bumps but com­bined with the USD forks the han­dling feels se­cure. Traf­fic is grid-locked and all the lights seem red but this new Mon­key is mak­ing it fun. Stuck at the front of a traf­fic queue in neu­tral the bars vi­brate quite a bit. Pull the front brake and the vibes stop, and there’s no vi­bra­tion on the move. Even though you don’t feel like you’re on a small bike re­al­ity bites when a dou­ble decker bus blows past. But I’m en­joy­ing my­self and surely that’s what ev­ery gen­er­a­tion of Mon­key is all about. In fact, I could do this all day, and so can

the Mon­key with its claimed 189 miles per ‘g’. The seat is wide, soft and comfy but there are prob­lems. Firstly, it’s a sin­gle seat – the MSX can carry two, why not the Mon­key? My 12 and 10 year sons would love to ride pil­lion with their dad, or me and the wife could pop to the pub – which would hope­fully jus­tify the pur­chase of a new Mon­key. I know the sin­gle seat is a nod to the past, but when the ac­com­mo­da­tion is halved it re­duces the reason to buy, es­pe­cially when the pil­lion friendly MSX is out there, and cheaper. The sec­ond prob­lem is that, un­like the orig­i­nal, the seat is not tar­tan. Car­di­nal sin. My next gripe is that there is no clock on the easy to read dash and, again, un­like the orig­i­nal, the han­dle­bars don’t fold down. Surely it’s not be­yond the wit of en­gi­neer­ing to make this so, and then the new Mon­key would mount on the back of a mo­torhome or fit inside an SUV. How­ever, you would have to be pretty strong to lift it. At £3699otr 2018’s Mon­key isn’t cheap. It’s also not as in­no­va­tive or as se­cure as I would like. I want a clever lock you pull from un­der the seat, but there isn’t one. How­ever, Honda do help by pro­vid­ing an alarm as stan­dard and a tracker which is a free op­tion, but you pay a £9.95 per month sub­scrip­tion. I went to ride the Mon­key be­cause I love crazy, tiny Hon­das and in pic­tures the Z125A looks great. How­ever, even with a £65 PCP monthly pay­ment (£500 de­posit) the down­sides are just too nu­mer­ous. What I want is for Honda to cre­ate a new Mon­key with all the in­ge­nu­ity that made the orig­i­nal genius for a new gen­er­a­tion. A re-pack­aged MSX is just not that. That said the Mon­key is a great city bike, sips petrol, is per­fect for new riders and still pulls on the heart strings of us oldies, re­gard­less of my many mis­giv­ings.

‘The Mon­key is a great city bike, sips petrol, is per­fect for new riders and still pulls on the heart strings of us oldies’

For all its faults the new Mon­key is a good look­ing thing The way we are and the way we were

Your sen­si­ble head would buy the MSX, but like all mod­ern ret­ros the new Mon­key has a se­duc­tive charm

Easy to read dash, un­less it’s sunny

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