A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £4,500
It all started back in the early 1960s with Honda’s then-new Suzuka Circuit, which included an amusement park called ‘Motopia’. The park featured all sorts of motorised vehicle ‘rides’ and one of these featured a tiny prototype motorbike called the Z100, which used the 50cc pushrod single from the Honda Cub, a hardtail frame, and 5-inch wheels. It quickly became the park’s most popular attraction, and because riders looked so 'Simian' while aboard the tiny bikes, the term ‘Monkey Bike’ quickly took hold. The minibike craze began spreading throughout Asia and Europe, with Honda developing a commercially viable take on the Z100, the Z50M. At this time, in the US, the only minibikes available were often very crude, being mostly lawn mower-engined, which although hugely popular, lacked any real quality and rideability. Honda, well known in the US by this time, was generating massive sales and reputational momentum with clean-cut marketing and inexpensive, reliable motorcycles that nearly everyone seemed to like, took note of the minibike craze and began piecing together a plan. Their R&D team wanted something new and fresh, to appeal to the demands of US customers. The result, with three gears, an automatic clutch, front suspension, rear brakes, larger wheels, knobbly tires, high-mount mudguards, and an adjustable seat, was called the Z50A, or ‘Mini-Trail’. The Mini-Trail astounded the minibike world, Honda dealers couldn’t sell enough of them. There was huge demand, with both children and adults riding them literally everywhere. Honda had created an institution! Honda continued to develop and sell their Z-series of Monkey Bikes models for many more years, being put to good use by owners often as pit bikes or delivery vehicles. The Monkey Bike philosophy of a real, well-engineered motorbike – but in miniature – still enthrals riders today, both young and old alike. Here we have a very collectable and rare late 1960s Z50A Mini-Trail (non-battery) model. It was originally a UK-supplied example, which has recently been fully restored by a Monkey Bike enthusiast. Unlike any other example out there, this particular bike has been signed by Sir Stirling Moss OBE. It is ideal for that man-cave or garage as a piece of unique automobilia, or alternatively for using around an estate or race-track. A special thing in its own right, but having been signed by a legend, it is simply not to be missed.