2021 Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction
1980 Honda Z50 J1 Mini Bike
|Engine||50cc single cylinder|
This lot is no longer available
Established in 1948, the Honda Motor Company quickly established itself as one of the dominant motorcycle manufacturers from Japan, building everything from commuter scooters right up to Grand Prix machines capable of challenging the world's best on the racetrack. Honda developed a myriad of new models to suit every need and by the late 1960s the range was incredibly diverse, including trail bikes, scramblers, and a new fad - the minibike. Originally designed for a Japanese amusement park, Honda’s tiny Z-series was launched in Japan in March 1964, with the first Z50M featuring a 50cc four-stroke engine and sales to Europe began three years later. Commonly known as “Monkey” bikes, the Z-series proved so popular it ultimately remained in production until 1999. Although the basic recipe was changed little, the Z50 evolved over the decades, gaining swing-arm rear suspension by 1972, while the overhead camshaft engine and four-speed automatic clutch transmission were steadily refined. Thanks to the folding handlebars and tiny wheels, the Z50 proved extremely portable, easily fitting in the boot of a car, and became popular with commuters in Japan, who appreciated its reliability. These sophisticated, well made little motorcycles are enjoying a resurgence of interest today among those who remember them as their first rides, with good examples always in demand.