Honda Is Killing the Monkey Bike After 50 Years — But They’re Throwing Us a Bone

R.I.P., little buddy.

April 7, 2017 9:00 am

The end of (another) era has arrived.

Honda has announced that the 50th Anniversary Z50 will mark the final act for the Japanese marque’s low-power motos, affectionately nicknamed the “monkey bikes.” Thankfully, they’re doling out one more run of limited editions to celebrate.

The Z50M was first sold in Canada and Europe — and interestingly enough, not until a bit later in Japan proper. You couldn’t miss it, with that cumbersome Magna Red headlight and polished off in a Shasta White. Just a tiny little thing with 49 ccs, a four-stroke single and 4.5 ponies, the Z50 still got you where you needed to go, and that’s all that matters.

Upgrades came, obviously. In ‘72, the Z50AK3 got a fancy(ish) new frame and front and rear suspension. Still, it was small enough to carry in a trunk with its handlebars folded, and was marketed as such. Think of it the way you can tow a car behind a camper, just more compact. The two-wheeled grom had such a stronghold on the market that it remained a wildly popular ride through 1998. With stricter emissions laws, though, the Z50 has seen its star wane, leading to the decision to discontinue.

But not before we have one edition.

Celebrating five eras of the cutest pollution ever, Honda Japan will be releasing 1,800 units of the 50cc 50th Anniversary edition this August — and yes, it will fall on the right side of new emissions laws, which arrive in 2021. And if you guessed they were keeping the goods for themselves, you were right. All makes are destined for the native market, for about $3,000 or so, including retro livery.

Sayonara, dear friend.

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