Nope, that's not a custom Grom. It's Honda's new Monkey, set to hit dealerships in September as an early 2019 model. It'll carry a price of $3,999 (or $4,199 with front-only ABS) and it's liable to be as huge a hit as the Grom it's based on.

2019 Honda Monkey tank
Yes, the old-school “old wing” logo is back. Honda turned the nostalgia up to 11 on this bike.Spenser Robert

Not only does the new Monkey scratch the scrambler itch that so many younger riders have, it’s also more laden with nostalgia than a framed Woodstock ticket. The Monkey pays homage to the original Z50 of the late ’60s and early ’70s, a bike that tens of thousands of baby boomers learned to ride on and grew to love. Yours truly learned to ride on an ’82 Z50R and I just recently restored a ’73 “K4” barn find, so like so many others, this bike really plucks at my heartstrings.

2019 Honda Monkey Tire
They’re not quite as blocky as the original Tractor Grip tires, but these Vee Rubber dual-sport buns suit the bike’s aesthetic and should work well enough in the dirt.Spenser Robert

Having just polished the chrome and re-riveted the seat on the ’72, I’m impressed with how many critical details Honda nailed with this new model. From the round headlight and bullet-shaped bucket to the chromed-steel fenders, pleated seat, and original “old wing” tank emblem, the new Monkey hits all the styling high notes of the original, but in a slightly larger package that’s more suitable for bigger riders and today’s roads.

The engine is the same fuel-injected 125cc single-cylinder that’s in the Grom (which can trace its lineage to that original ’68 Z50) and the forward portion of the frame is familiar, but there are twin shocks out back and a higher, scrambler-style exhaust. Round mirrors, a round headlight, and round taillight all ooze ’60s style, but they’re illuminated by modern LED. And unlike the drum brakes of the original Monkey bike, the 2019 Monkey utilizes disc brakes front and rear, with single-channel ABS as an option. Single channel means it’s only active on the front wheel, so the rear wheel is free to lock up.

Honda Monkey Cover
Like the original Z50, the side cover is removable. And like the original, it’s liable to get lost. Forty years from now these covers are probably going to be worth their weight in gold.Spenser Robert

That ought to make the Monkey more fun to ride off road, though with similar suspension to the Grom (read: softy sprung) and vulnerable under-engine exhaust plumbing, the Monkey will be better suited to gentle exploration than bombing whoops. In any case, this new Monkey is a welcome addition to the Honda lineup and is sure to bring a smile to riders of all ages. It certainly makes us smile just looking at it.

Honda Monkey Headlight
Lighting is all LED, adding modern tech to an otherwise old-school design. The original bikes’ incandescent headlights were notoriously faint.Spenser Robert
2019 Honda Monkey rear end
Pleated and piped, and complete with white “Honda” logo. Other than being a little wider and not adjustable for height, the Monkey’s seat is true to the original.Spenser Robert
2019 Honda Monkey Dash
The LCD winks at you when you start the bike. If you weren’t already smiling, that happy little detail will surely raise the corners of your mouth.Spenser Robert
2019 Honda Monkey Rear angle
From any angle, the Monkey looks right.Spenser Robert
2019 Honda Monkey in yellow
The new 2019 Honda Monkey in Banana Yellow.Honda
2019 Honda Monkey Red
The 2019 Honda Monkey in Pearl Nebula Red.Spenser Robert


PRICE $3999 ($4199 w/ ABS)
ENGINE 125cc air-cooled single
FRAME Steel backbone
FRONT SUSPENSION Inverted 31mm fork; 4.3-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Dual shocks w/ adjustable spring preload; 3.3-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Two-piston caliper, 220mm disc w/ ABS
REAR BRAKE One-piston caliper, 190mm disc
RAKE/TRAIL 25.0°/3.2 in.
WHEELBASE 45.3 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 30.6 in.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 238 lb. (wet)
AVAILABLE September 2018