Monkey Bike: Honda 1973 Z50A K4

A great friend of mine, one of those brother-from-another-mother kinds of friends, just bought the new version of Honda’s Monkey Bike for his wife and kids to learn how to ride on. He has several full-sized bikes ranging from Harleys to Japanese adventure bike and touring bikes and rare Triumph Thruxtons but they aren’t really suited for beginning riders. I think it’s cool that Honda still offers them brand new, but if you wanted a fun, somewhat inexpensive project for the winter months, this 1973 Honda Z50A is listed here on eBay in Enola, Pennsylvania. There is no reserve and the current bid price is just $800.

I still can’t believe that I haven’t owned one of these bikes yet. I’m full to the gills with project bikes but what’s another one? As we’ve all said more than once in our lives. Honda’s Z-series small motorcycles are known as Monkey Bikes because of the way a person looks riding one, sort of crouched down like, well, like a monkey. This one is missing the headlight otherwise it’s complete, according to the seller.

The new ones are amazing pieces of machinery as you would expect from Honda. I’m a vintage guy (literally) and I like old cars, trucks, snowmobiles, and motorcycles but it would be fun to try the new one. This example would use a full restoration as you can see, but parts of it look as if they could be cleaned up nicely…

These weren’t minibikes, really, even though they’re small motorcycles and are mini in size. I define a minibike as having a tube frame and a pull-start engine like a lawnmower or other small engine. These bikes have a kick-start and the seller says that it starts, runs, and shifts through the automatic gears as it should. If that’s the case and this is just a cosmetic restoration, it really could be a bargain. The earlier models are more desirable and hence more valuable, but I wouldn’t mind having one from this vintage and a bonus is that in 1972 they came with a rear suspension for a better ride.

The engine is Honda’s 49 cc air-cooled single-cylinder and it’s a four-stroke so there’s no mixing the gas and oil and no smoke, or less smoke. Even better? It doesn’t leak a drop of anything, according to the seller. They have provided a video here on Vimeo. Have any of you owned or ridden a Honda Z50 Monkey Bike?


  1. Todd Fitch Staff

    I love this little critter, Scotty. I had something similar sized that my youngest daughter loved, wearing tracks across our 1.x acre yard, but not a real bike like this. I think it ours had a chainsaw engine. This is a real machine in miniature. I hope someone uses and enjoys it. Thanks for another great write-up highlighting an interesting slice of mechanical history!

    Like 4
  2. Macfly

    I had one of these in the 70’s but it had been highly modified, not in a good way. It had bent a bar welded beneath where the engine would hang, and a go-kart motor with a pull start put in place. It was good enough for me but I later learned it had a rough life. Rode the wheels off that thing.

    Like 2
  3. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Better investment than the stock market !

    Like 1
  4. CJinSD

    My best friend in high school had one of these and an even smaller, earlier Honda in his garage. He also had an XR75 that ran for one day after he bought it used. Sadly, his parents threw them all out to make room. I sold my PA50 Hobbit after almost thirty years of taking up space in my parents’ basement, immediately before their values got silly. Such is life.

    Like 2
  5. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this was a steal at $1,050!

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