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Honda reboots the much-loved Monkey and Super Cub for 2019

Last Wednesday evening in Tennessee, American Honda gave the news many had hoped for when it announced that the 2019 Honda Monkey Bike would be available for U.S. buyers in October. Honda also will re-introduce the best selling motorcycle in history to American buyers when the 2019 Honda Super Cub C125 goes on sale in January 2019.

Both small bikes carry forward two-wheel history that transcends the brand. The original Monkey Bike was built for a Japanese amusement park ride in the early 1960s. The model evolved for decades until 2017, when Honda retired the 49cc-engine-based Monkey. In 2018, Honda reintroduced the Monkey Bike with a 125cc engine for sale in Europe and Japan. Now it’s coming to the U.S.

The 1958 Super Cub made its debut in the United States before Honda started selling cars in this country. The 49cc scooter-like motorcycle introduced the Honda brand to America and also attempted to change people’s opinion at the time about motorcycles and the people who rode them. The Super Cub’s advertising campaign slogan, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda,” had notable success, as did the bike itself. In 2017, Honda announced the company had sold more than 100 million Super Cubs. Like the new-generation Monkey Bike, the 2019 Super Cub will also have a 125cc engine.

2019 Honda Monkey Bike

The 2019 Monkey isn’t just Honda’s nod to the past. The company hopes the small, accessible motorcycle will introduce a new generation to motorcycling. Two versions will be available: the standard Monkey, in either Banana Yellow or Pearl Nebula Red, will start at $4,000. The Monkey ABS in Pearl Nebula Red will cost just $200 more at $4,200.

The new Monkey will have a 1.5-gallon gas tank, chrome steel high-mounted front and rear fenders, a stamped exhaust shield, round mirrors, and high-rise handlebars.

A single round LCD instrument will include a speedometer, odometer with two trip meters, and a fuel gauge. The Monkey will have LED lights exclusively.

The air-cooled 125cc single-cylinder, 9.25-hp engine with a 4-speed manual transmission will be fine for use around town — just don’t count on taking it on the highway or very far off-road. Top speed is 50 miles per hour. The bike weighs just 234 pounds ready to ride.

The Monkey’s wheelbase is 45.3-inches and the seat height measures 30.6-inches. For reference, a 2018 Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 weighs 564 pounds, has a 59.6-inch wheelbase, and 29.9-inch unladen seat height. So you’ll sit higher on a Monkey than on the Sportster.

The Monkey will have dual shocks, front and rear disc brakes, and 12-inch fat block-pattern tires.

Everything about the Monkey’s design and specifications is intended to put smiles on people’s faces and make the bike easy to ride and handle.

2019 Honda Super Cub C125

The step-through design 2019 Super Cub 125cc ABS, available in Pearl Niltava Blue only, is expected to start at $3,600. All U.S. market Super Cubs will have an anti-lock braking system.

Powered by the same engine, the Super Cub also has the same 4-speed transmission as the Monkey, but it has a centrifugal clutch so you can change gears without using a hand clutch. The Super Cub will be another around-town motorcycle. An inverted front fork and twin shocks in the rear will help soften the ride.

Even though the Super Cub and the Monkey has different designs and user appeal, they are roughly the same size. The step-through weighs 240 pounds ready to ride, has a 48.9-inch wheelbase, and a 30.7-inch seat height. The Super Cub will ride on 17-inch wheels.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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