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Classic Monkey vs new Grom | Other | Tested

Why these two?

Honda is a master of producing fun bikes that sell well. Its classic Monkey and new Grom models are two perfect examples.

2016 Honda MSX 125 Grom

2014 Honda Grom.

2014 Honda Grom.

Honda’s MSX125 Grom picks up where the Z50 Monkeys left off. It’s aimed at funky folk who want a compact and lightweight bike for zipping around town during the week, and cavorting on the weekends. Although this model comes in considerably larger and heavier than the old Z50, it’s a more well-rounded motorcycle that appeals to the lucrative US market. If previous sales of the Z50 are anything to go by, these will sell like hotcakes in the West, as well as throughout Asia where capacity is often restricted.

What it’s got

The Honda MSX125 Grom is powered by an air-cooled, four-stroke, 124.9cc, fuel-injected engine with two valves on its single cylinder. Power runs through a four-speed constant mesh gearbox. The front suspension is a 31mm air-adjustable USD fork. The rear has a steel square pipe swingarm with a monoshock. Braking is handled by a 220mm disc on the front wheel, clamped by a dual-piston caliper. The 190mm disc at the rear is clamped by a single-piston caliper. The fuel tank holds 5.5 litres.


Frame: Steel mono-backbone. Rake: 25°.
Trail: 81mm. Wheelbase: 1200mm.
Seat height: 760mm. Weight: 102kg (wet). Wheels: Y-spoke cast (12-inch front and rear)


Power: 7.1 kW @ 7000rpm
Torque: 10.9 Nm @ 5500rpm
Compression Ratio: 9.3:1
Bore and stroke: 52.4 x 57mm
Passenger capacity: Two
Starter: Electric


$3999 (Ride away – 2016 launch offer)

1977 Honda Z50J Monkey


Honda started its tradition of Monkey bikes in 1961 with the Z100 and continued to produce the Z50 Monkeys from 1967. The comically small wheels of the Z100 – just five inches in diameter – led to their riders being described as ‘monkeys’ hence the model’s name. Honda increased the wheel diameter to eight inches in 1968, and despite some interruptions, has continued to release a handful of special limited edition Monkeys over the years to appease diehard fans.

What it’s got

The 1977 Honda Z50J1 Monkey is powered by an air-cooled, four-stroke, 49cc carburetted engine with two valves in its single cylinder. Power runs through a three-speed semi-automatic gearbox. The front suspension is a non-adjustable air-filled fork with 68mm of travel. The rear has a steel tube swingarm with twin shocks and 59mm travel. It has 94mm drum brakes (internal expanding shoe) front and rear. The fuel tank holds 4 litres


Frame: Steel mono-backbone. Rake: 25°.

Trail: 42mm. Wheelbase: 895mm.
Seat height: 660mm. Weight: 58kg (wet). Wheels: Split rims (8-inch front and rear)


Power: 1kW @ some point

Torque: Not given

Compression Ratio: 8.8:1

Bore and stroke: 39 x 41.4mm

Passenger capacity: One

Starter: Kick

Price- when new in 1977 

Approximately $300 (+ ORC)

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Honda also launched a model called the Gorilla in 1978. It came with a four-speed manual transmission and larger fuel tank than the three versions of the Z50J Monkey released.