Honda Monkey – Why Not Give the People What They Want?
It seems as though there is a building demand for the Honda Monkey to be brought into Canada if queries are anything to go by. Why the pent up demand? With its big saddle, the highside pipe, many metal as opposed to plastic body pieces and a beefy yet diminutive stature, the Monkey reminds many people of a bike they rode as a kid, a street legal variant of the bike that would fit in the trunk of an old Impala and hit the logging roads or beach. It was friendly, accessible and size didn’t matter when you were having fun. Honda is bringing back many of those old bikes with family traditions – the old CT90 and CT110 in the guise of the Trail 125 is another great example. The best way to get more people back on motorcycles is to give them something fun to start on. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Apparently only Honda USA realized that bit of pretty simple logic.
As of early 2021 the only bike Canada gets is the 2022 Honda Grom, the Monkey’s “modern” themed sibling. While the Grom did receive a styling update for the 2022 model (2021 was a non model year) it lacks the special character and fun of the Monkey that appeals to many people. Why does Canada get the Grom but not the Monkey?
One possible reason may be that it is more cost effective for dealers to carry one model in the category rather than two (or, if you include the Trail 125 and Super Cub in Honda’s mini-moto family in the mix, four).
The other reason is cost. The Honda Monkey in the US is $3999 (US$) while the Grom is $3399 – a 18% surcharge from Grom to Monkey. To get either bike with ABS adds $200 to the price. Moving north of the border the Grom’s price is $3899 (CDN$) which would make the theoretical Monkey price about $4599 in a non-ABS variant. (ABS in Canada also adds $200 to the price of the Grom).
Would a Honda Canada Monkey price of $4599 (or $4799 with ABS) be too much for a 125cc air-cooled single . Not necessarily. The Monkey for one thing simply better styled than the Grom. If you doubt that point ask yourself if 40 years from now riders will be clamouring for a Grom retro rbike. Possibly but not likely. The Monkey also looks like a more expensive motorcycle so the increased cost would be understandable to many -especially if you squint from a distance. The Monkey comes across as a little less disposable – a motorcycle that many consumers would be more inclined to keep – a vintage design is, by its very nature, timeless. Even a PT Cruiser falls vaguely into that category and if that doesn’t prove the point, we don’t know what will.
Honda in the US has a category called the “mini-moto” that includes the Grom, the Monkey and the aforementioned Super Cub 125 and Trail 125. The family has been growing consistently over the last couple of years with the addition of the Super Cub and then the Trail 125. One of those machines will likely eventually get a displacement and power boost (our bet would be on the Trail 125 if history tells us anything).
Meanwhile in Canada we have been entrenched firmly with the Grom as the sole mini-moto offering from Honda outside of scooters. The Grom does fill the niche and has only the one competitor from another OEM, the Kawasaki Z125 but as we said, if queries are any indication an expanded” mini-moto” family in Canada might be warranted.
And there is a final point. The Grom is reported to get anywhere from 45 to 60 km per litre of fuel which is, no way around it, pretty astonishing and both the Grom and the Monkey meet stringent California CARB standards. Another one or two bikes in that category do seem warranted.
The Honda Monkey in Canada – we think it should swing (roll?) into action.