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Monkey bike is the name given by Honda to one of their small, low-powered motorcycles introduced in the 1960s. The first Honda monkey was the 1961 Z100. Later Monkeys were designated Z50, such as the Z50A(US),J,M,R(US) and Z.
These vehicles all had a 4.5hp 49cc single horizontal cylinder four-stroke engine, and a seat height of less than 22 inches (55 cm). The very first Monkey bikes did not have any suspension but this was soon added to the front forks. By 1974 when the Z50J was introduced (US 1972 Z50AK3) suspension had been added to the rear as well. The first Monkey bikes had 3.5x5" wheels, however later models had 3.5x8" wheels.
Numerous similar designs predate the Honda model, notably the World War II Welbike motorcycle used by parachutists. However it wasn't until the introduction of the Honda monkey bike that this type of design became commonplace.
The Honda Dax model is not often considered a Monkey, more a larger, two-seat variant with larger 10" wheels and usually a larger engine. The Dax models have a monocoque stamped sheet metal frame. This also houses the fuel tank, battery and wiring loom.
- 40th birthday, Motorcyclist (magazine), June 2001: 38
- Ash, Kevin, Monkey Bikes, Ash On Bikes, retrieved 2011-03-11 This feature originally appeared in Motor Cycle News
- De Burton, Simon (October 18, 2002), Too much Monkey business, Evening Standard (London, England)
- Melling, Frank (31 May 2003), Honda Monkey Bike, The Daily Telegraph, retrieved 2010-05-29
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