Minibikes are always fun to monkey around on, but this one is exceptional. A closer look at the 2022 Honda Monkey ABS shows off plenty of improvements over earlier versions. Moreover, regardless of its personal history, a minibike is a great idea for any rider these days. Being small is not a disadvantage when the cost of gas keeps rising. Better still, most average-sized riders fit just fine on this bombastic little bike. Let's take a spin through everything you need to know about the 2022 Monkey.
Why is it Called a "Monkey"
The history of the Honda Monkey goes all the way back to the early 1960s. If you are a more recent model year yourself, then you probably never lived through the era of Moon Shoes and Lawn Darts. Suffice it to say, kids' toys used to be a lot more dangerous. Yet, at the time, this was pretty standard fare. It wasn't until fairly recently that people started significantly looking at the danger of toys. For kids in the 1960s, the idea of a pop gun you could do damage with on your hip, and a candy cigarette between your lips as you rode your surprisingly powerful kids motorcycle down the street with real traffic had a lot of appeal. Parents were fine with it because it was commonplace, and everyone played with toys like these. Having a Monkey or another mini bike was a sign of a fantastic childhood.
What's In a Name
The Monkey was also sometimes called a Gorilla bike. The nickname came from the position people sat in with the high handlebars. On a larger bike, a similar style is called ape-hangers for the same reason. Over time, the name stuck to the bike regardless of changes in the seating and bars over the course of successive generations. Although these minibikes were officially designated the Z Series, calling a kids motorcycle, a Monkey made it fun. A silly name made it desirable and accessible. The monkey has evolved to become a more adult toy in the intervening years, but that entertaining mock name never left.
Why You Need a MiniMoto Like the Honda ABs
A glance will tell you that this little bike, with a seat only 30.5 inches off the ground looks like a good time. At the tallest point a Monkey is a mere 40.5 inches, with a ground clearance of just six-point nine inches. The steel backbone frame on a Monkey is tuned to give a better balance between the flexibility you need and the rigidity the bike requires. While it is small, the average adult rider can easily sit on a Monkey and go for a ride thanks to all that steel. The engine hanger plate, head pipe and main frame are also optimized for outstanding handling and stability. Add to that the one and a half gallon fuel tank, and you have a mini that is mighty enough to go the distance. One of the best improvements for next year's model is the transmission. Honda announced it would add a fifth gear.
Better still, it will be getting a power upgrade to go with that extra gear. According to Cycle News, the new Monkeys will have the same 124cc overhead-cam, air-cooled engine as the Grom. While the Monkey won be showing itś tail lights to the Dodge Tomahawk anytime soon (or ever), it will have a little more get-up and go when it comes to zipping around. The 12-inch block-pattern tires are perfect for this model at size 120/80-12 65J in front and a substantial 130/80-12 69J in the rear. Moreover, the Monkey has good stopping power with the 220 mm front disc and a 190 mm rear disc brake. Plus, you can keep an eye on it all with the LCD circular meter. The 2022 Honda Monkey ABS has a six-segment fuel-level indicator, two trip meters, speedometer, and odometer.
Always Ride In Style
There's more to this fun little bike than meets the eye. Looking at this mini will either give you vintage vibes or if you are old enough and fortunate enough to have had an original Monkey, it will send you cruising down memory lane. The styling is very intentionally similar to the classic. According to Honda News, in 1961, Honda-owned a Japanese amusement park called Tama Tech. Honda produced the first models of the Monkey for this theme park before they ever hit the consumer market. Honda has gone to great lengths to do that original granddaddy of all the Z-Bikes honor with this year's style.
Upgrades are great, and they certainly make the bike go faster and handle better, but everyone loves a classic. Bringing back the visual appeal of the 1961 Monkey is a smart way to fuse the past and the future. Better still, it reminds adults how much of a blast it is to ride a mini. The swingarm, shocks, fuel tank, and frame all match. However, it is the fuel tank that gets the historic 3-D Old Wing design logo. Likewise, the key shares the design. Thoughtful details like that mark the style of this bike then and now. Even the exhaust shield is stamped with care to remind older riders of the simple joy of a youth with the wind in your hair. You'll spot high-rise handlebars and circular mirrors from a bygone era, but there are modern touches in more than the engine. LED lights are energy-efficient and rugged, far superior to the old school wasteful halogen bulbs.
If you're not shopping for a minibike, you should be. There's more than just fun in this small package. More importantly, if you are searching for one of these compact machines, you need to test out a 2022 Honda Monkey ABS. At a mere four grand, it's already extremely affordable, but when you factor in the lower fuel costs, getting a Monkey is like splitting the bill because it will just about pay for itself in savings. Whether you're looking for a great time, need a crazily economical ride, or want to help cut down your carbon footprint, there's no reason not to get your hands on the 2022 Monkey.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith