The Honda Grom is a motorcycle I cannot explain. I don’t know why Honda built it; I don’t know who that bike is for; and I don’t know where you would actually ride a Grom…I just know that I want one.
Interestingly, the Honda Grom shares an ancestry with the Honda Monkey lineup – a series of small-displacement, and curiously sized, Z-series motorcycles from the 1960s and 1970s.
Now paying homage to the Monkeys of yore, Honda has one last concept from the Tokyo Motor Show that we need to cover: the obviously named Honda Monkey 125 concept.
At the core of the Honda Monkey 125, is the Honda Grom engine and basic chassis. Retro styling abounds of course, and the effect is really a completely new motorcycle. Though, we’re still not sure who would ride such a machine, and yet we also really want one. Isn’t life funny like that?
The thing is though, the Honda Monkey might be the most important motorcycle of the decade…or at least, it could be.
This hard to place motorcycle doesn’t really fit into a particular segment; it doesn’t really speak to any one group of motorcycle rider; and it doesn’t lend itself to an obvious use.
And yet, the Honda Monkey 125 is a bike that is intrinsically appealing. A quick stroll through the comments section of Asphalt & Rubber, or any other publication, shows the interest that Grom motorcycle creates.
It is this interest in the Grom and the Monkey that Honda could capitalize upon, and then use to drastically grow the industry. This is our “you meet the nicest people…” moment of our motorcycling generation.
The pocket-sized bikes exhibit the kind of fun that transcends beyond the walls of the motorcycle industry, and into the space where any red-blooded urbanite would look at these motorcycles, and immediately be drawn to their fun form-factor.
We constantly talk about how to grow the motorcycle industry, and how to engage younger riders, and our answer is constantly a bland of response of the same thing.
I always find that interesting, because if the current vein of motorcycle hasn’t appealed to a non-rider, why do we keep thinking that a slightly cheaper, or slightly more advanced, or slightly different powered bike is going to fix that problem.
What we need is to sell people on how fun motorcycles are…because we have truthfully lost sight of how integral that element is to the sport.
Motorcycles compete not only with other forms of powersport, but they also compete with completely different segments of consumer recreation: video games, outdoor sports, competitive bowling (maybe), etc.
And yet, the motorcycle industry’s myopia keeps making motorcycles for motorcyclists, all the while neglecting to make motorcycles for the mass public. It’s this issue that is causing our riding ranks to contract, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a crack-in-time moment here that can wake up the OEMs.
The small form factor of the Honda Monkey is appealing in a fun, and un-intimidating way. The retro-styling from the 1960s is on-trend with the fashion of today’s youth, and surely the price tag won’t hurt the bank.
What I’m trying to say is that my local Honda dealer here in Portland, Oregon should be able to sell a metric boat load of these little bikes, likely to a bunch of new riders…so long as the motorcycle industry doesn’t fuck it all up before hand.