Barn Monkey: 1973 Honda Z50A-K4

I have two motorcycles that have been parked in a storage shed since (are you sitting down?) 1986. I know, there’s absolutely no excuse for that. The seller of this 1973 Honda Z50A-K4 says that it was parked in a barn for two decades. They have it posted here on craigslist in Coon Rapids, Minnesota and they’re asking $800 for it. No trades and no haggling, that’s the price.

I got excited when I ran across this listing because I’ve never owned a Honda 50. Or at least, a Z50, a “monkey bike” as they were known due to their tiny size and how some adult riders looked while tooling around on them. Then I saw how much work it would be to restore this one and the seller mentions it may be a parts bike by this point. The gas tank is especially scary and most likely past its due date.

The Honda Z50A was made beginning in 1968 for the US market and they were hardtail bikes, as in they didn’t have a rear suspension. This 1973 Z50A-K4 bounced onto the market one year after Honda added rear shocks due to some cracked frame issues, maybe from umm.. “big” Americans riding these bikes.

Hey, the hand grips look good! Otherwise, man does this thing need a lot of work. Luckily, they’re tiny so you can restore this one easily in a one-car garage while still parking in there for the upcoming winter. Unless you live where it’s warm out in the winter and if that’s the case, well, you’re luckier than I am and I hate you. Just kidding, sort of. There is no clutch on this bike, or I should say, it has a three-speed automatic clutch transmission so you don’t need to pull in a clutch lever and shift, it does the shifting for you.

I have a few Honda 49 cc bikes but have never owned a Z50 which is weird. They’re a hot item right now so prices aren’t exactly budget-friendly anymore unless you buy a toasted one in need of a total restoration and do the work yourself. The engine is a 49 cc four-stroke air-cooled single-cylinder and the seller says that it has great compression which is a good sign. I have no doubt that this one is restorable, the big factor is if a person can finish it before something else grabs their attention which is always my problem. Have any of you owned a Z50A?


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  1. Robert W Davis

    I had the hardtail version, busted the frame in 8 places! Just kept welding it back together.

    Like 8
  2. John Weiss

    Scotty Gilbertson –

    Now you gotta show us those bikes that have been sitting since 1986!

    Like 2
  3. Howard A Member

    Looks a bit rough, but what do you want? Much more than a parts bike, and what, you want a like new one you paid 4 figures for, just to have junior trash it? I know this falls on deaf ears today, but in MY day, the old man( or that cool uncle that saved this stuff) would have found this in the trash and threw it at the kid, “here you go, have at it”. And we did. Our humble motorcycling beginnings, started out with some derelict bike like this, that for most, lasted a lifetime. Just a quick correction, it was the clutch that was automatic, you still had to manually shift the gears. The clutch was activated by a rod inside, when you moved the shift lever. It opened up a whole world of buyers that couldn’t get the clutch down. Most figured it out later as the bikes size( and power) increased. Great find.

    Like 11
  4. Alex P

    Virtually identical to the one I had as a kid … but mine might have been a ’72. Great bike for kids, me & my kid brother both learned to ride on this before we were 10. Definitely lacked in power dept once rider weight increased, but by then you were ready for the enduro 175 anyway, right?

  5. Howie Mueler

    Yes i had one when i was young, this is very rough, parts bike?

    Like 2
  6. Macfly

    I had one that was resto-modded in teh 70’s with a horizontal lawnmower engine. Had a pull cord start and a big tube running beneath that held the Briggs & Stratton. No gears, but I had a blast with that thing.

  7. Vertstang

    Had 2 of these beauties as a a kid, 1 from a garage sale and the other acquired free with a nail stuck in the valve, both were die hards once running, wish I never sold them

    Like 1
  8. Dennis

    Some of the nicer one are bringing big bucks on [BAT] Bring A Trailer.$4000-$6500.

  9. Cooter

    I bought a QA50 years ago for my little sister.She ran it like crazy until she blew the motor.Then I took it and traded it for a bicycle for her.

    Like 1
  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member


    Like 2

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