The Monkey Bike Gangs of the ’70s

The Honda Motorcycles CT70, a.k.a. “Trail 70,” traces its lineage to the Honda Z series we know today as the Z50. Honda participated in a motorsports-themed amusement park in Tokyo, Japan called “Tama Tech” and in 1961 the company put in service a mini-motorcycle for the children. When riding the mini-bikes around the park, individuals were said to look silly, ‘like little monkeys,’ and the term “Monkey Bike” was born. Honda expanded the popular concept by featuring a ride built upon the mini-bike concept called the “Z100.” The cycle based ride mounted several 5-inch wheel mini-bikes to a ring, having the riders drive around in a circle. Honda first offered a version of these 49cc cycles, the CZ100, for export in 1963. By 1967 the product had evolved to the Z50M which was the first Monkey bike marketed in Japan. Unique features including detachable front fork, small wheels and fold down handle bars allowed the compact motorcycle to be placed in a car trunk, mobile home, airplane, or boat. By 1969 Honda produced the Z50A (built without the detachable fork of the export model) for the US market.

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