New 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Review / Specs + Changes Explained!

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– New 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Changes Explained, Specs Review, Features and more! | 125cc Mini Bike Buyer’s Guide –

New 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Motorcycle Review / Specs

It’s finally here, say hello to the new 2023 Honda Monkey 125! At the time of typing this, American Honda hasn’t officially released the US spec 2023 Monkey BUT… Europe has!

Which gives us a gives us a glimpse at what might coming down the pipeline for us here in the USA on one of Honda’s hottest selling vintage / retro styled miniMOTO 125cc motorcycles! Once American Honda has made their official announcement and I can share what our colors will be, pricing etc – I’ll update everything below. 


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New 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Changes… What did Honda change on the Monkey 125?

New 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Colors

The only changes for 2023 on the Monkey come down to styling as there are no mechanical changes. We have some new colors being thrown in the mix as well as some flavor being thrown on the seats to really bring home that old-school styling and it definitely reminds you of the history behind this platform. Plus Honda also went back to painting the frame and swingarm etc like the previous generation! Want to learn about all of the BIG NEW CHANGES that were thrown at the Monkey last year? Check out my post on last year’s Monkey by Clicking Here or check out the video below.

 

  • Key 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Quick Specs:
    • 2023 Monkey 125 USA Price / MSRP – The non ABS model was dropped for 2022 in the USA
      • 2023 Monkey 125 ABS USA Price / MSRP – TBA (last year was $4,199)
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Release Date (USA) – October 2021
    • 2023 Monkey 125 USA Colors – TBA
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Colors – Pearl Shining Black, Pearl Nebula Red, Banana Yellow
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Miles Per Gallon – 156 MPG (est)
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Horsepower – 9.3 HP @ 6,750 RPM 
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Torque – 8.1 ft/lb torque @ 5,500 RPM 
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Fuel Tank Capacity – 1.5 gal.
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Weight – 231 lbs
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Seat Height – 30.5 in.
    • 2023 Monkey 125 Changes – Yes, explained above and below
      • * The pictures of a blue Monkey below are from last year’s model. Pictures for the 2023 are limited at the time of creating this so I’m having to use some old pictures to fill in the blanks so-to-say.

2023 Honda Monkey 125 Review / Specs | Pearl Shining Black

  • 2023 Monkey 125 Review Contents:
    • 1. | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Introduction
    • 2. | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Model Overview
    • 3. | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Key Features
      • 3.1 | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Chassis & Styling
      • 3.2 | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Electronics
      • 3.3 | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Engine
    • 4. | 2023 Honda Monkey History & Milestones
    • 5. | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Videos
    • 6. | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Pictures
    • 7. | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Specs

2023 Honda Monkey 125 Review / Specs | Banana Yellow

1. | 2023 Honda Monkey Introduction

The Honda Monkey bike is perhaps most widely known as a groovy icon of the 1970s, but it first saw the light of day in 1961. Originally developed as a 49cc child’s plaything for Tama Tech, an amusement park in Tokyo, it proved so popular that a road-going version was developed, which was initially exported to America and Europe in 1963, with a distinctive chrome tank, folding handlebars and 5-inch diameter rigidly-mounted wheels.



Its popularity was based on a cute, instantly-likable design, tiny dimensions and ultra-light weight – which made it a whole load of fun around town. By 1969 its wheels had increased to 8-inch in diameter and from 1970 it gained even greater popularity, when the addition of quick-detach forks meant it would fit into the trunk of a small car.

2022 Honda Monkey 125 Review, Specs, New Changes Explained + USA Information | 125cc Motorcycle / Mini Bike | miniMOTO Vintage / Retro Bike

By 1978 – a point that marked the start of real prime time for the Monkey – the bike had been re-styled with a teardrop style fuel tank, and became hugely popular with legions of RV (Recreational Vehicle) drivers in need of convenient transport to use once they were parked up. And this is where and when the cheeky Monkey really cemented its place in millions of hearts; with its 3-speed gearbox and centrifugal clutch (which needed no ‘traditional’ motorcycle skill to operate) it gave thousands of riders their first experience of twisting the throttle on a powered two wheeler.

Because it was so much fun, and so easy to ride, it did more to sell the concept of motorcycles to a wider public than perhaps any other machine. With its chunky tires, mini-‘ape’ style handlebars, miniscule fuel tank and big, squashy seat the Monkey look is unmistakably of its time, but – just like the affection in which it is held – also timeless.

 

And in 2018 (2019 for the USA) the Monkey’s time came around once again. Inspired by the original (but also as a usefully fun 125cc motorcycle fit for the 21st century) a brand-new Monkey cheered up the roads. For 2022 the Monkey got an engine upgrade, an extra gear for the transmission, suspension refinements and detail improvements, widening its ‘smile’ factor and building-in extra day-to-day usability.

Nothing changes mechanically for the 2023 Monkey 125 but three brand-new, ultra-retro paint options mean that pocket-sized Monkey fun has never looked so good.

2. | 2023 Honda Monkey Overview

Drawn from the MSX125, also known as the Grom 125, the Monkey’s two-valve air-cooled engine produces 9.25 horsepower (6.9kW) with 8.11 ft/lb torque (11Nm). It’s durable and easy to use while a 5-speed gearbox opens up longer rides. The steel frame, USD forks, twin rear shocks and 12-inch wheels roll smoothly; for extra safety the ABS braking is Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) controlled.

2023 Honda Monkey 125 Review / Specs: Colors

Then, of course, there’s the inimitable Monkey look, correct from the mini-ape ’bars to upswept exhaust. For 2023 the Monkey pays proper homage to the 1967 version, with its checkered seat pattern and classic Honda style of the time. 

3. | 2023 Honda Monkey Key Features

3.1 | 2023 Honda Monkey Chassis & Styling

  • Steel frame, inverted forks and 12-inch diameter tires
  • Twin rear shocks feature two-stage springs to deal with rough surfaces
  • Curb weight of 229 lbs with ABS, with wheelbase of 45.1 in. and 30.5 inch seat height
  • Classic Monkey style continues – a timeless statement of individuality
  • Rear carrier available as an official accessory

The Monkey’s steel backbone frame is tuned for a suitable balance between rigidity and supple feel – perfect for the wide variety of conditions the machine is designed to be ridden in. Oval in cross-section, the swingarm echoes the circular design theme that runs through the bike.

2023 Honda Monkey 125 Review / Specs: Suspension

USD front forks employ 3.94 inches of travel (100mm) and wear a premium Alumite finish. The dual rear shocks now feature two-stage springs and revised damper rubbers, for improved ride quality on bumper roads and reduced bottoming. They have 4.02 inches of axle travel (102mm); maximum ground clearance is 6.9 inches (175mm).

 

2023 Honda Monkey 125 Review / Specs: Suspension

A single 220mm front disc and 190mm rear provide secure stopping performance, managed by the IMU-based ABS. Fat, block pattern tyres make for a smooth ride and are sized 120/80-12 65J front and 130/80-12 69J rear.



2022 Honda Monkey 125 Review, Specs, New Changes Explained + USA Information | 125cc Motorcycle / Mini Bike | miniMOTO Vintage / Retro Bike

Wheelbase is set at 45.1 in. (1,145mm) with rake and trail of 25°/3.2 in. (82mm) and a minimum turning radius of just 6.2 feet (1.9m). Curb weight is 229 lbs (104kg) for the ABS model, with a seat height of 30.5 inches (775mm). The plush seat is made of high-density urethane for maximum comfort.

Classic Monkey style (mini-ape handlebars, chromed mudguards, upswept exhaust with stamped heat shield, chunky tires, padded seat and ‘peanut’ tank) pays loyal homage to the original and provides all the cues required to chime both with those of a certain age, and a much younger generation.

2022 Honda Monkey 125 Review, Specs, New Changes Explained + USA Information | 125cc Motorcycle / Mini Bike | miniMOTO Vintage / Retro Bike

Older riders connect to a certain ‘70s irreverence – maybe matched to a memory of their first feel of motorcycling freedom – innate in the design while newer riders, already turned on to all things retro, get both that and something undeniably funky to set them apart from their friends. One thing that unites everybody, whether riding a Monkey or simply passing one by, is the ‘smile’ factor. It’s that sort of bike.

For 2023 a fittingly stylish tubular steel rear carrier is available as an official accessory – usefully suitable for heavier loads of up to 6.6 lbs (3.0kg). The glossy 1.5 gallon fuel tank (5.6L), which are finished in different paint schemes than the rest of the bike this year, swing arm and rear shocks, proudly wears a historical 3-D Classic Wing design Honda logo.

The 2023 Monkey 125 will be available in three color schemes:

  • Banana Yellow with yellow frame, swingarm, rear fork springs, black/white tartan seat and white tank infill
  • Pearl Nebula Red new red frame, swingarm rear fork springs, black/white/red tartan seat and silver tank infill
  • Pearl Shining Black with black frame, swingarm, rear fork springs, black/white tartan seat and white tank infill
    • * USA 2023 Monkey 125 colors: TBA (at the time of writing this)

3.2 | 2023 Honda Monkey Electronics

2022 Honda Monkey 125 Review, Specs, New Changes Explained + USA Information | 125cc Motorcycle / Mini Bike | miniMOTO Vintage / Retro Bike

  • Digital circular LCD gauge display
  • Full LED lighting
  • IMU control reduces rear lift under braking
  • ‘Answer back’ system for easy identification

Modern technology is fully present amongst the classic looks: a digital full-LCD circular meter features speedometer (which winks playfully when the ignition is turned on), odometer with two trip meters and six-segment fuel level indicator; all lighting is LED; the ‘wave’ pattern key (which also wears the Classic Wing motif) features an ‘answer back’ system that makes the lights flash at the push of a button to allow easy location in crowded parking lots; the single channel ABS system operates with an IMU to mitigate rear ‘lift’ under strong braking.

2022 Honda Monkey 125 Review, Specs, New Changes Explained + USA Information | 125cc Motorcycle / Mini Bike | miniMOTO Vintage / Retro Bike

 

2023 Honda Monkey 125 Review / Specs | Pearl Nebula Red

3.3 | 2023 Honda Monkey Engine

  • 124cc air-cooled engine delivers 9.3 horsepower and 8.1 ft/lb torque
  • 5-speed gearbox for easy cruising speed
  • EURO5 compliance

The Monkey has a 124cc SOHC two-valve air-cooled engine (drawn from the MSX / Grom but tuned differently, with different HP & TQ numbers) with a 50mm bore, 63.1mm stroke and compression ratio of 10:0:1. Peak horsepower for the 2023 Monkey comes in at 9.3 HP @ 6,750 RPM (6.9kW) and 8.1 ft/lbs of torque @ 5,500 RPM (11Nm).

How do those 2023 Monkey 125 performance numbers compare against the 2021 and prior generation Monkey? Pretty much neck and neck! The previous generation had the same ratings from Honda for both horsepower and torque but it’ll feel different as the power comes on differently. Granted, it’s not a massive difference but still. The new 2023 Monkey makes its peak horsepower at 6,750 RPM whereas the old Monkey came in at 7,000 RPM. However, you can flip that when it comes to their torque numbers on the Monkey. The new 2023 Monkey’s peak torque comes in at 5,500 RPM whereas the old Monkey was at 5,250 RPM. It’s not massive, but still a difference nonetheless. 

2022 Honda Monkey 125 Review, Specs, New Changes Explained + USA Information | 125cc Motorcycle / Mini Bike | miniMOTO Vintage / Retro Bike

A correcting plate manages the path of fresh air drawn in and feeds an intake duct inlet and connecting tube designed to smooth airflow. The shape of the airbox also promotes smooth airflow, smooth torque output and flexible drivability. For EURO5 compliance a compact catalyzer deals with spent gasses efficiently; the exhaust downpipe length is optimized to the intake side, while the muffler uses a one-chamber design for efficient performance and characterful exhaust note.



The 5-speed gearbox, replacing the older 4-speed in 2022, spreads the gear ratios further apart to improve longer journey performance and provide a more relaxed cruising ability. Honda claims the 2023 Monkey 125 top speed is 56.5 MPH (91km/h). Manual clutch operation imparts a full-sized motorcycle experience while 12-inch wheels deliver agile around-town response. Naturally, the Monkey’s small stature and assured low-speed balance allow it an easy passage through jammed traffic.

It’s also an economical engine, returning 156 miles per gallon (1.5 liters/100km WMTC mode) by using low-friction technologies, such as an offset cylinder and roller-rocker arm for the valve gear. Sophisticated PGM-FI guarantees highly efficient combustion.

4. | 2023 Honda Monkey History & Milestones

1961 Honda Z100

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

First model – made for use at amusement parks, with 5 inch wheels, rigid suspension, foldable handlebars and Super Cub (C50) 3.1kW OHV 49cc engine.  Backbone frame, triangular tank.

1963 Honda CZ100

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

First road-going model – exported to North America and Europe.

1967 Honda Z50M

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

First model sold in Japan – with ‘fold-down’ seat, handlebars and pegs to fit in the back of the car (the new fuel cap also added to prevent leaks when stored on its side during transport). Centrifugal clutch.

1969 Honda Z50A

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

Telescopic front fork, 8” front wheels, low slung exhaust and indicators for the first time.

1970 Honda Z50Z

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

Quick-detach front suspension to make it fold down even smaller to fit in the trunk of a small car. Centre stand to support the bike during the removal of forks

1974 Honda Z50J

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

Rear suspension and independent swing arm. First trapezium fuel tank and block tires

1978 Honda Z50J-I

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

First model with custom bike style ‘tear drop’ fuel tank with increased capacity of 5L

1979 Honda Z50J-I

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

Chrome plated edition

1984 Honda Z50J-I

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

Limited edition ‘Gold’ model

1985 Honda A-Z50J

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

First appearance of hand operated clutch

1987 Honda A-AB22

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

‘R’ model with twin tube frame, single shock rear suspension and hydraulic front brake disc. 10in Comstar wheels with box section swingarm

1988 Honda A-Z50J

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

Dual mirrors for the first time

1991 Honda A-Z50J

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

Off-road styled ‘Baja’ model with twin headlights 

2000

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

Millennium model 

2004 Honda Freddie Spencer Special

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

In colors based on the CB750F ridden to victory in the Daytona 100 by Freddie Spencer 

2006

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

40th Anniversary  

2009 Honda Monkey Limited Edition JBH-AB27

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

First fuel-injected version, with roller rocker arm and off-set cylinder. Trapezium shaped fuel tank    

2017 Honda 50th Anniversary Edition 

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

New version commemorates 50th anniversary of sales in Japan 

2018 Honda Monkey 125

An all-new Monkey 125, re-imagined for the 21st century.

Vintage Honda 50 Motorcycles

5. | Honda Monkey 125 Videos

 

6. | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Pictures

7. | 2023 Honda Monkey 125 Specs

ENGINE  
Type Air-cooled SOHC 4-stroke 2-valve
Displacement 124cc
Bore x Stroke 50 x 63.1mm
Compression Ratio 10.0:1
Max. Power Output 9 horsepower at 6,750 RPM (6.9Kw)
Max. Torque 8.1 ft/lbs @ 5,500 RPM (11Nm)
Oil Capacity 1.16 quarts (1.1 liters)
FUEL SYSTEM  
Carburation PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
Fuel Tank Capacity 1.5 gallons (5.6 liters)
Fuel Consumption 156 MPG (1.5 liters/100km)
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM  
Starter Electric
Battery  12V 3.5Ah
DRIVETRAIN  
Clutch Type Wet multi plate clutch
Transmission Type 5 speed
FRAME  
Type Steel backbone frame
CHASSIS  
Dimensions (LxWxH) 67.3 x 29.7 x 40.6 in. (1,710 x 755 x 1,030mm)
Wheelbase 45.1 in. (1,145mm)
Caster Angle 25°
Trail 3.2 in. (82mm)
Seat Height 30.5 in. (775mm)
Ground Clearance 6.9 in. (175mm)
Turning radius 6.2 ft (1.9m)
Curb Weight 229 lbs (104kg)
SUSPENSION  
Type Front USD fork, 3.94 in. travel (100mm)
Type Rear Twin shock, 4.02 in. travel (102mm)
WHEELS  
Type Front 10-spoke cast aluminum
Type Rear 10-spoke cast aluminum
tires Front 120/80-12M/C 65J
tires Rear 130/80-12M/C 69J
BRAKES  
Type Front Single 220 mm hydraulic disc with IMU-based ABS
Type Rear Single 190mm hydraulic disc 
LIGHTING  
Headlight LED
Taillight LED

* All specifications are provisional and subject to change without notice. Please note that the figures provided are results obtained by Honda under standardized testing conditions prescribed by WMTC. Tests are conducted on a rolling road using a standard version of the vehicle with only one rider and no additional optional equipment. Actual fuel consumption may vary depending on how you ride, how you maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, installation of accessories, cargo, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.

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