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Hard Tail Suvivor: 1968 Honda K50A-K0 MiniTrail

From Harleys to mini bikes to Honda 50s, many early motorcycles didn’t have any rear suspension – they were known as hard tails. Spine crushers would probably be more like it with the only rear “suspension” being the air in the back tire. This very early 1968 Honda Z50A-K0 MiniTrail can be found here on eBay in Van Nuys, California and the current bid price is just over $2,000, but the reserve isn’t met yet. There is a $3,750 buy-it-now price listed if you just can’t wait.

I’ve said it before, that I can’t believe I haven’t owned a Honda Z50 before. As much as I love early stuff and first-year bikes and cars, I would personally prefer a 1972 or later model with rear shocks. A headlight and tail light would be nice, too. But, there’s something interesting about a very early Z50A.

You can see the white grips and it appears that this example has original parts-a-plenty. The seller lists that even the tires are original and both tubes were even original until the rear tube was replaced due to the original one leaking. It comes with the sale in case the next owner wants it. That’s cool, instead of just throwing it away they realized that someone would want as many original parts as possible and they kept it.

The Z50A was a replacement for the even smaller Z50M and they were available in the US until 1978 or so. Due to not having a rear suspension, there were some frame cracking issues and Honda added rear shocks in 1972. That was quite an upgrade as far as comfort goes. Still, with a size of 39″ to the top of the handlebars and 26″ with the handlebars folded down, they’re tiny.

The engine is Honda’s 49 CC single-cylinder which is an air-cooled four-stroke. The seller mentions that it has the original marbled coil which is pretty cool and they say that it starts on the first kick, goes through the three gears like a champ, and will idle all day long. This is quite a collector bike right here. Have any of you owned one?


  1. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    Maybe one of the Bronco buyers will get this too.

    Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    The original “Monkey Bikes”, although, I can’t seem to find why they were called that. Again, these were merely a way to save some steps at the race track or flea market. It wasn’t until the kids got brave and really began hurting themselves, that a change was in order. Still, for a kid, it didn’t get any better than this. Sure was nicer than the neighbors homemade mini-bike, this had a respected name, and I bet just about every kid that got one of these, went on to a lifetime of motorcycling. A bit pricey, as these went for $239 bucks new, or about $1800 in todays money, but you’d make some kid awfully happy, just like in 1968.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Rob Warren


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      • Avatar photo Howard A Member

        The song referred to the 1964 Honda Step-Thru 50. That song appeared on BB’s album “All Summer Long”, but it was a stage group called the Hondells that made a killing with the single and I don’t think BB’s got a dime. BB’s re-recorded the song later and omitted the word “Honda”, I believe.

        Like 3
    • Avatar photo lucky lugnut

      I think the term monkey bike was used more in the UK, and referred to circus monkeys being taught how to ride them in a show.

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    • Avatar photo BigBlocksRock

      Because while riding one & if you were to big for it you looked like a monkey f—— a football.

      Like 4
    • Avatar photo connbackroads
    • Avatar photo stillrunners

      Never heard of the Shriners circus ?

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    • Avatar photo Jim

      The stars of the old tv show The Monkees, used to ride them when they weren’t driving around in the Monkee mobile

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  3. Avatar photo Fred W

    I was always amazed at how these engines would idle without overheating. No fan, no shroud like American air cooled engines. Anyone know why?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo boxdin

      Low compression ratio, lots of cooling fins on the outside, They can get hot but keep moving and all is good.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Howard A Member

      If you look at the cylinder and cooling fins, and the actual size of the piston( size of a half dollar) it had a lot of cooling area.

      Like 2
  4. Avatar photo piston poney

    we had a 90’s Z50R it was white with orange decals, i rode that thing every where i wrecked (layed it down) it raceing my friend on the street, i wrecked it in the yard a couple times (first time i layed down a dirt bike) did that twice 2nd time i bent the gear shifter, then one after noon i wanted to pop wheely (it didn’t have a clutch) so i reved it up in neural, well the shifter was bent so i reached down and shifted it up into first gear and the bike flow out from under me and i fell flat on my but on his drive way, how i didn’t mess it up i have no idea, then annother time in the morning i rode it about a mile to my other friends house and we went riding in his field well in the back he had a pile of pile of dirt/gravel and he jumped it on his 4 wheeler, well then he dared me to jump it and i was like ehh fine i’ll do it and i didn think i would get any air or anything because it was just a little Z50 i got a 50 foot run up and put it in 3rd gear and full throttle i hit teh jump and i flew (this was no small mound we were jumping this was a 5 foot tall mound that went straight at the end) the flying was fun the landing sucked i bottemed out the front shocks and the rear shock, how i landed it i have no idea.

    Like 3
  5. Avatar photo David Mika Member

    Ha! In was doing a wheelie on one of these back in ’75 or so, and hit the brick wall of our house. Just missed a full-length window…

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo DarrylB

    My grandparents had one like it, though it was yellow and white, and I used to ride that thing all over their farm. Loved it. I got a pretty good burn from the exhaust one time but that was the extent of the bodily damage.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo piston poney

      all i got from the meany times i wrecked ours was a sour leg and i tore up my knee when i was racing my friend on the street good times, if i ever get the chance to get one like it i will so get it.

      Like 1
  7. Avatar photo david

    My Grandfather and I would ride together him on his Trail 90, me on my z50, spent countless hours on that thing, later upgraded to a CT 70 and a CBR 600 as an adult, what great memories!!!

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Carl.

    Seeing this bring back good memories the first motor bike I ever road as a 10 year old in 79 on holiday in Alaska (yellow and white one) I barely got of it for the whole 2 weeks. All these years I still gotta bike although it doesn’t get much use now.

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  9. Avatar photo Robert

    I had a blue one, hard tail like that in 1970

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  10. Avatar photo Steve P

    I have one like it in yellow and white, and original tires as well. Start it up about once a month. Been in the family since new

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  11. Avatar photo Mike

    Great memories! We had two red Trail 90’s and a yellow and red Mini Trail 50. Took all four with our trailer on a lot of great family trips. They sure were super reliable bikes. Shocked by the asking price, but that’s what supply and demand will do!

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo stillrunners

    Have a few – my sister got a 1968 for graduation I guess – but she was daddy’s girl and the oldest. My brother put more time on it then me and I was a close second.

    Red flags on this one but hey – the old guys have dispersible money – and these take up little room.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo vintagehotrods

    In 1975, my first job after getting out of the Army was working for Stich’s Honda in Sioux Falls, SD. One of my first responsibilities there was reconditioning used bikes and I worked on a lot of these. They were simple to work on, easy to tune-up, fun to test ride and just plain cute. I never owned one because I was more interested in the then new CR125’s and CR250’s, which I owned and raced. If only I would have kept them! If I knew then what I know now, I would have collected a garage full of Z-50’s because they were dirt cheap back then and would have been the best investment I could have ever made.

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  14. Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this Honda sold for $2,500!

    Like 0

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