2019 Honda Monkey First Look:
The Return of the Mini Trail 50
Anyone familiar with the Honda Mini Trail 50 and Z50 of the 1960s and forward will instantly recognize the lineage of the new 125cc 2019 Honda Monkey. What they might not realize is that the original Mini Trail that revolutionized off-roading for kids was called the Monkey back in Japan. The new 2019 Honda Monkey is not for children, however, and it definitely has some upgrades to bring it to 21st century standards.
- Rather than the dual-sport design of the Honda Mini Trail 50, the 2019 Honda Monkey is pure-street. Yes, it still has the high-mounted chromed steel fender, but the tires are not the least bit knobby. However, the Vee Rubber tires do have something of an adventure pattern, so maybe we can call the Monkey a mini-ADV!
- The 2019 Honda Monkey gets plenty of updates compared to the previous ancestor imported into the US. The motor will be familiar to Honda Grom fans. That means you’re getting an air-cooled SOHC powerplant with two valves and EFI. Starting is electric. Unlike the automatic centrifugal clutch on the Mini Trail, the Monkey has a standard clutch to go along with the four-speed transmission. Instead of drum brakes, the Monkey has disc brakes with ABS being a $200 option.
- Suspension travel is fairly long at four inches. Although non-adjustable at both ends, the four-inches of travel should soak up irregularities in the road nicely, along with the fattish Vee Rubber tires.
- The seat height isn’t especially low at 30.6 inches. It’s certainly not tall, but it’s not low-slung either. The 2019 Honda Monkey should still be easily manageable, as it weighs just 234 pounds with the 1.5-gallon fuel tank filled. To make the ergonomics work, the handlebar has a tall bend. For comfort, the ribbed seat is nice and thick.
- The round gauge is modern inside. Turn on the 2019 Honda Monkey and you’ll get a welcome message. After that, you’ll see a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, two tripmeters, and a fuel gauge. That’s pretty much all you need to know on a motorcycle such as this.
- The tail lighting looks retro-modern. There’s an LED brake light inside that stylish housing that nicely integrates the turn signals.
- Although the tires have an ADV bent, the underslung exhaust is unprotected. Stay away from rocks if you decide to take the Monkey down an urban trail—something that will be hard to resist.
- Plenty of chrome and bright paint (whether you go red or yellow) make the 2019 Honda Monkey a stand-out urban motorcycle. While we do like the color names Pearl Nebula Red and Banana Yellow, we do miss the old school Mini Trail color names of Tahitian Red and Bright Yellow. Of course, Banana Yellow is perfect for a Monkey! Oh, and we regret to inform you that if you want ABS, you have no choice of colors—it’s Pearl Nebula Red or nothing.
- Don’t be in a rush because the 2019 Honda Monkey won’t be available until October. When it hits the showroom floor, the MSRP is $3999 for the standard version (add $200 for ABS).
2019 Honda Monkey Specs
Type: Horizontal four-stroke single
Bore x stroke: 52.4 x 57.9mm
Compression ratio: 9.3:1
Valve train: SOHC, two valves
Clutch: Wet multiplate clutch
Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 31mm inverted fork; 3.9 inches
Rear suspension; travel: Non-adjustable shocks; 4.1 inches
Tires: Vee Rubber
Front tire: 120/80 x 12
Rear tire: 130/80 x 12
Front brake: 220mm disc w/ Nissin caliper
Rear brake: 190 disc w/ Nissin caliper
ABS: Optional ($200 additional)
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
Wheelbase: 45.3 inches
Rake: 25 degrees
Trail: 3.2 inches
Seat height: 30.6 inches
Fuel capacity: 1.5 gallons
Curb weight: 234 pounds
Color: Pearl Nebula Red; Banana Yellow
2019 Honda Monkey Price: $3999 MSRP