Honda Z series

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The Honda Z-Series refers to the lineage of mini bikes manufactured by Honda Motorcycles. Though Honda's official model designations are typically Z50A, Z50J, Z50M, Z50R and ZB50, they are more commonly referred to as the "Monkey" or "Gorilla" because of the way people are said to look when riding one of such bikes. Sales of the bike began in March 1964 with the Z50M model.


Most Z-series bikes are small, light, collapsible motorcycles made for convenience and ease of transportation. Their outstanding feature is a 50cm³ 4-stroke-engine with an over head camshaft. Some have a centrifugal clutch and three gear manual transmission, while others have a 3-speed semi-automatic easy-shift transmission for learners.

The original model of the Honda Z-series was originally produced as a children's ride at a Japanese amusement park, but was eventually refined and put into mass production, hitting the European market in 1967. Since then Honda has produced a wide variety of Honda Z-series mini bikes, with annual model updates still in effect. Starting from 2008, the well-known 50cm³ engine will be adapted and fitted with an injection kit instead of carburetor. Today, cheaper replica versions of this bike are being manufactured under the Jincheng Motors China name, amongst others.

Original Honda Z-Series bikes are becoming increasingly rare, and are typically used as restoration projects by Honda Mini Trail enthusiasts in attempt to preserve their historic value.

Series production timeline

  • 1967 March start of sales (Z50M)
  • 1968 July next release (Z50A)
  • 1970 April (Z50Z)
  • 1974 February (Z50J)
  • 1978 August (Z50J-1) and start of sales for the Gorilla
  • 1979 (Z50R)
  • 1979 Monkey Limited (Z50J-1)
  • 1981 March Black Monkey (Z50J-1) and Black Gorilla (Z50J-III)
  • 1984 October Gold Monkey
  • 1984 April next Gorilla release (Z50J-III)
  • 1985 May next Monkey release (Z50J-1)
  • 1987 March Monkey R
  • 1988 Gorilla White (Z50J-III)
  • 1988 Monkey RT
  • 1990 January Monkey Special
  • 1990 Stop of sales for the Gorilla
  • 1991 February Monkey Baja (Z50J-1)
  • 1992 Monkey (Z50R)
  • 1996 Monkey Limited (Z50J-1)
  • 1997 February Monkey Special
  • 1998 February restart of sales for the Gorilla
  • 2001 Stop of sales for the Monkey Baja

External links