Honda Monkey Top Speed: Unleashing Retro Fun

honda monkey top speed

If you’re seeking a bike that exudes nostalgic charm while delivering a playful and zippy riding experience, the Honda Monkey might just be your perfect match. This miniature motorcycle, inspired by the iconic designs of the 1960s, has captured the hearts of riders worldwide with its quirky styling and approachable nature. But what about its performance capabilities? How fast can the Honda Monkey truly go? Let’s dive into the details and explore the top speed of this delightfully retro ride.

Honda Monkey Highlights

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of its speed potential, let’s take a moment to appreciate the Honda Monkey’s unique appeal. This mini-moto is a true head-turner, with its vintage-inspired design elements that pay homage to the original Monkey bike from decades past. From the round headlight and high-rise handlebars to the compact fuel tank and chrome fenders, every aspect of this bike screams “retro cool.”

But the Honda Monkey isn’t just a fashion statement; it’s also a practical and fun-loving companion for urban adventures. Its small size and lightweight construction make it incredibly agile and easy to maneuver through city traffic or tight spaces. Whether you’re commuting to work, running errands, or simply cruising around for the sheer joy of it, the Monkey promises a delightful and playful riding experience.

Top Speed and Acceleration

Now, let’s address the burning question: how fast can the Honda Monkey go? According to the manufacturer’s specifications, this mini-moto can reach a top speed of around 55-60 mph (88-96 km/h). While this might not seem blistering fast compared to larger motorcycles, it’s important to remember that the Monkey is designed for urban riding and short-distance adventures, not high-speed highway cruising.

When it comes to acceleration, the Monkey’s 124cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine provides a spirited and responsive ride. Expect a 0-30 mph (0-48 km/h) time of around 5-6 seconds, which is more than adequate for zipping through city streets and keeping up with urban traffic flows.

It’s worth noting that the actual top speed and acceleration can vary depending on factors such as rider weight, terrain conditions, and any modifications or accessories added to the bike. However, for most riders, the Monkey’s performance capabilities are more than sufficient for its intended purpose.

Key Specifications Table

To better understand the Honda Monkey’s performance potential, let’s take a closer look at its key specifications:

Engine124cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke50.0mm x 63.1mm
Compression Ratio10:1
Valve TrainSOHC; two valves per cylinder
InductionPGM-FI; 24mm throttle body
TransmissionFive-speed manual
Final Drive#420 Chain; 14T/37T
Front Suspension31mm inverted fork; 4.3-inch travel
Rear SuspensionTwin shock; 4.0-inch travel
Front BrakeSingle 220mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Rear BrakeSingle 190mm hydraulic disc
Front Tire120/80-12
Rear Tire130/80-12
Trail3.2 inches
Wheelbase45.0 inches
Seat Height30.5 inches
Fuel Capacity1.5 gallons (including 0.5-gallon reserve)
Curb Weight231 pounds
Fuel Economy169 MPG (Honda estimate)

As you can see, the Honda Monkey packs a surprising amount of capability into its compact frame, with features like an inverted front fork, disc brakes (with ABS on the front), and a five-speed manual transmission contributing to its well-rounded performance.

Owners’ Reviews and Experiences

But what do real-life Honda Monkey owners have to say about its top speed and overall performance? Let’s take a look at some insightful reviews and quotes:

“The Monkey’s top speed might not be groundbreaking, but it’s more than enough for zipping around town and having an absolute blast. The acceleration is punchy, and the handling is so nimble that you can’t help but grin from ear to ear.” – Jason, Monkey owner from California

“I was a bit skeptical about the Monkey’s performance at first, but after taking it for a spin, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not a speed demon, but it’s quick enough to keep up with city traffic and make your commute a whole lot more fun.” – Emily, Monkey rider from New York

“While the top speed is limited, the Monkey’s real appeal lies in its playful nature and sheer joy of riding. It’s the perfect bike for those who value smiles per mile over outright speed.” – Mark, longtime Monkey enthusiast from Texas

These quotes highlight the Monkey’s ability to deliver an enjoyable and engaging riding experience, even with its modest top speed. For many owners, the fun factor outweighs the need for blistering straight-line performance.

Comparison with Competitors

To better understand the Honda Monkey’s top speed capabilities, let’s compare it with some of its closest competitors in the mini-moto segment:

  • Honda Grom/MSX125: The Grom, also known as the MSX125, is Honda’s own direct competitor to the Monkey. With a similar 125cc engine and lightweight design, the Grom boasts a top speed of around 55-60 mph, on par with the Monkey. However, the Grom has a sportier aesthetic and slightly more aggressive riding position.
  • Kawasaki Z125 Pro: Kawasaki’s offering in the mini-bike segment, the Z125 Pro, features a 125cc engine and claims a top speed of around 60 mph. While it shares similar performance figures with the Monkey, the Z125 Pro has a more modern and aggressive styling that appeals to a different demographic.
  • KYMCO K-Pipe 125: The K-Pipe 125 from Taiwanese manufacturer KYMCO is another contender in the mini-moto category. With a 124cc engine, its top speed is comparable to the Honda Monkey’s, hovering around 55-60 mph.

As you can see, the Honda Monkey’s top speed is on par with its closest rivals, ensuring a level playing field in terms of performance capabilities within the mini-moto segment.

Modifications for More Speed

While the Honda Monkey’s stock performance is perfectly acceptable for its intended purpose, some riders may wish to extract a little more oomph from this pint-sized powerhouse. Here are a few popular modifications that can potentially increase the Monkey’s top speed:

  1. Exhaust System Upgrades: Replacing the stock exhaust system with a free-flowing aftermarket exhaust can boost power and potentially increase top speed by reducing backpressure and allowing the engine to breathe more efficiently.
  2. Air Intake and Fuel System Enhancements: Installing a high-flow air filter and remapping the fuel injection system can optimize the air-fuel mixture, resulting in potential gains in both power and top speed.
  3. Sprocket/Gearing Changes: Swapping out the stock sprockets for smaller or larger sizes can alter the final drive ratio, effectively changing the Monkey’s gearing and potentially increasing its top speed (at the expense of acceleration) or vice versa.

It’s important to note that any modifications should be performed by experienced professionals and may potentially void the manufacturer’s warranty. Additionally, some modifications may require re-tuning or adjustments to maintain optimal performance and reliability.

Pros and Cons

Like any motorcycle, the Honda Monkey has its strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a look at some of the key pros and cons:


  • Affordability: The Honda Monkey is priced competitively, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious riders.
  • Ease of Use: With its small size, lightweight build, and user-friendly controls, the Monkey is incredibly approachable, even for beginners.
  • Nostalgic Appeal: The retro-inspired design and quirky styling give the Monkey an undeniable charm that appeals to riders seeking a taste of motorcycle history and nostalgia.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Thanks to its small-displacement engine and lightweight construction, the Honda Monkey boasts impressive fuel economy figures, making it an economical choice for urban commuting and short trips.
  • Low Maintenance: With its simple and straightforward design, the Monkey requires relatively low maintenance, making it an excellent choice for riders who prefer a hassle-free ownership experience.
  • Parking Ease: The Monkey’s compact dimensions make it a breeze to navigate through tight spaces and find parking spots, especially in crowded urban environments.


  • Limited Top Speed: While sufficient for city riding, the Monkey’s top speed of around 55-60 mph may not be enough for those seeking higher performance or highway capabilities.
  • Single-Seater: The Monkey’s solo seat design means you can’t share the fun with a passenger, which may be a drawback for some riders.
  • Lack of Storage: With no built-in storage compartments, the Monkey offers limited carrying capacity, making it less practical for longer trips or carrying larger items.
  • Off-Road Limitations: While the Monkey can handle light off-road excursions, its small wheels and limited suspension travel may not be suitable for more challenging terrain.
  • Wind Protection: The Monkey’s upright riding position and lack of a windscreen can make highway riding uncomfortable, especially at higher speeds.
  • Limited Customization: While aftermarket accessories are available, the Monkey’s unique design may limit the extent of customization options compared to other motorcycles.

Top Alternatives

If the Honda Monkey’s quirky charm and modest performance don’t quite align with your preferences, there are several alternative options worth considering in the mini-moto segment:

  1. Honda Grom/MSX125: As mentioned earlier, the Grom (or MSX125) is Honda’s sportier take on the mini-moto concept, with a more aggressive riding position and slightly different styling cues.
  2. Kawasaki Z125 Pro: Kawasaki’s entry into the mini-bike market, the Z125 Pro, offers a modern and edgy design, coupled with performance similar to the Honda Monkey.
  3. KYMCO K-Pipe 125: For those seeking an alternative to Japanese brands, the KYMCO K-Pipe 125 from Taiwan is a worthy contender, with comparable performance and a unique styling language.
  4. Suzuki VanVan 200: If you’re looking for a slightly larger and more capable mini-moto, the Suzuki VanVan 200 offers a classic dual-sport design and a 199cc engine, potentially providing more top-end performance.
  5. CFMOTO Papio: Chinese manufacturer CFMOTO’s take on the mini-moto concept, the Papio, is an affordable option with a 126cc engine and a claimed top speed of around 56 mph.

Each of these alternatives brings its own unique character and performance capabilities to the table, so it’s essential to carefully consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision.

Pricing, Availability, and Target Audience

The Honda Monkey’s affordability is one of its key selling points, making it an attractive option for a wide range of riders. The current MSRP for the 2023 model year Monkey is $4,249 in the United States, which is competitively priced within the mini-moto segment.

Availability of the Honda Monkey is primarily through Honda’s extensive dealer network across the country, ensuring that interested buyers can easily locate and test-ride the bike before making a purchase. Some dealerships may also offer special promotions or discounts, further enhancing the Monkey’s value proposition.

When it comes to the target audience, the Honda Monkey appeals to a diverse group of riders:

  • Urban Commuters: For those seeking a fun and practical way to navigate crowded city streets, the Monkey’s small size and maneuverability make it an excellent choice.
  • Beginner Riders: With its user-friendly design and forgiving performance, the Monkey is an ideal starter bike for those new to the world of motorcycling.
  • Nostalgia Seekers: Riders who appreciate the history and charm of classic motorcycles will find the Monkey’s retro-inspired styling and quirky character irresistible.
  • Fun-Seekers: For riders who prioritize pure enjoyment over outright performance, the Monkey’s playful nature and smile-inducing riding experience make it an attractive option.

Whether you’re a seasoned rider looking to add a unique and fun-loving machine to your stable or a newcomer seeking an approachable entry into the world of motorcycling, the Honda Monkey has something to offer for a wide range of enthusiasts.

Common Issues and Fixes

While the Honda Monkey is generally regarded as a reliable and low-maintenance machine, it’s essential to be aware of some common issues that owners may encounter:

  1. Corrosion of Chrome Components: The Monkey’s chrome fenders and other trim pieces can be susceptible to corrosion, especially in humid or coastal environments. Regular cleaning and proper protection (e.g., chrome polish, rust-inhibiting sprays) can help mitigate this issue.
  2. Suspension Limitations: Some owners have reported that the Monkey’s suspension can feel underdamped or undersprung, especially when carrying heavier loads or riding on rougher terrain. Upgrading to aftermarket suspension components or adjusting preload settings may help address this concern.
  3. Brake Performance: While the Monkey’s brakes are adequate for its intended use, some riders have expressed a desire for improved stopping power, especially in emergency situations. Upgrading to high-performance brake pads or installing larger discs can potentially enhance braking performance.
  4. Limited Storage Space: As mentioned earlier, the Monkey’s lack of built-in storage can be a drawback for some riders. Installing aftermarket luggage racks or soft luggage options can help alleviate this issue and increase the bike’s carrying capacity.

It’s worth noting that Honda has a reputation for producing reliable and well-engineered products, and the Monkey is no exception. By staying on top of routine maintenance and addressing any issues promptly, owners can enjoy a trouble-free ownership experience with this miniature retro gem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Honda Monkey street legal?

Yes, the Honda Monkey is street legal in most regions, as it meets the necessary requirements for lighting, mirrors, and other safety features. However, it’s always advisable to check your local laws and regulations to ensure compliance.

How fast can the Honda Monkey really go?

According to Honda’s specifications, the Monkey has a top speed of around 55-60 mph (88-96 km/h). However, real-world performance can vary depending on factors such as rider weight, wind conditions, and terrain.

How does the Honda Monkey perform off-road?

While the Monkey is primarily designed for urban and paved riding, its lightweight and nimble nature make it capable of tackling light off-road adventures such as gravel roads or well-maintained trails. However, its small wheels and limited suspension travel may not be suitable for more challenging off-road terrain.

Is the Honda Monkey suitable for highway riding?

The Monkey’s modest top speed and lack of wind protection make it less than ideal for extended highway riding. While it can technically reach highway speeds, the riding experience may be uncomfortable and potentially unsafe, especially at higher speeds or in heavy traffic.

What are the ownership costs and insurance considerations for the Honda Monkey?

As a small-displacement motorcycle, the Honda Monkey typically has lower ownership costs compared to larger bikes. Insurance premiums are generally affordable, and its impressive fuel economy helps keep running costs low. However, it’s always recommended to consult with local insurance providers for accurate quotes based on your specific circumstances.

Can the Honda Monkey accommodate a passenger?

No, the Honda Monkey is designed as a single-seater motorcycle, with no provision for carrying a passenger. Its solo seat and compact dimensions make it unsuitable for two-up riding.

Final Thoughts

The Honda Monkey is a delightful blend of nostalgic charm, playful performance, and practical urban mobility. While its top speed might not set any land speed records, it’s more than adequate for the bike’s intended purpose – delivering an enjoyable and smile-inducing riding experience.

Whether you’re a seasoned rider seeking a unique addition to your collection or a newcomer looking for an approachable entry into the world of motorcycling, the Monkey offers a perfect balance of retro cool and modern functionality. Its affordable pricing, low maintenance requirements, and impressive fuel economy only add to its appeal.

So, if you’re in the market for a bike that prioritizes fun over outright speed, and value a dose of nostalgia with your daily commute or weekend rides, the Honda Monkey might just be the perfect companion. Embrace the quirky charm and zippy performance of this miniature retro gem, and get ready to turn heads and put smiles on faces wherever you go. With its accessible nature and forgiving capabilities, the Monkey is a machine that can truly bring the joy of motorcycling to riders of all skill levels and backgrounds.

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