Honda introduced its original line of Z-series, or Monkey, bikes, in 1964, as a series of tiny, collapsible bikes inspired by a children’s ride in Japan. They were called Monkey Bikes because of the cramped riding position, which made the rider look like a small ape. They were a variety of designations produced, all of which used Honda’s single-cylinder 50cc engine.
The ST series was another tiny motorcycle, also from Honda and went by the name of the Dax on some markets, notably Europe and domestically, in Japan. They were introduced five years after the Z-series, in 1969 and were much more of a ‘proper’ motorcycle though, inevitably, they also fell under the ‘Monkey Bike; banner. They feature a pressed-steel frame, giving the Dax a much more unified look and feel and they used a range of engines and transmissions from Honda’s famous step-through moped, the Cub.
The ST series features a proper double seat to allow a pillion passenger to be taken on as well as the rider though how far they would get with just 4.5bhp at their disposal is another matter. It featured front and rear suspension throughout its life and like the Z-series, was fitted with folding handlebars to allow it to be transported in cars – the ST70 weighs just 64kg with an empty fuel tank, though this would only increase the weight by 2.5kg when full.
The ST70 continued in production until 1981.
This ST70 Dax is one of the last models to be produced, registered in the UK in 1978 and was bought by the current owner as he originally owned a Z-series Monkey Bike in the 1970s and remembered what fun it was to ride. This nostalgia was tempered with a realistic approach to riding – he is a motorcycle rider but knew that he wouldn't be able to recapture his antics from his youth and so, decided it should remain an investment, though he does admit to riding around the fields on his farm with the children on the pillion.
It has had six owners prior to the current and is exempt from annual MoT tests and road fund licence.
This is an honest and reliable example of the better of Honda’s tiny bikes. Like most Hondas, it is bulletproof and this example is in solid, original condition and the owner assures us it is fully working and ready for the new owner to ride, if they so desire. The current owner is losing his storage facility and presents it for sale, as he now has nowhere to safely store the machine.
The bike comes with very little paperwork, with manuals and service records having been lost during its life. There is the V5 in the current owner’s name though, as well as a couple of receipts for minor work and parts and a series of old MoT certificates. The DVLA website shows its Mot expired in 2014 (it is now exempt and no longer requires one) and the previous six show a single fail, for light and horn problems.
The bodywork of the ST70 is in remarkably good condition for its year, due in part, no doubt, to the low mileage covered by this interesting bike. It appears to be in original condition, with its green paint (more famously used by another Japanese brand) in generally good condition though there are some inevitable areas of chipping and surface rust around the bike.
The front and rear mudguards are finished in satin silver paint, which appears to have been applied during the course of the bike’s life and there also looks to be a dent in the front guard. The seat is in excellent shape, with no tears or rips and hinges up smoothly from the locking position, to reveal a surprisingly large under-seat storage area. The fuel filler and top of the fuel tank exhibit some surface rust, as do elements of the engine but the brightwork is in very nice condition, particularly on the folding handlebars.
The rubbers, on both rider and pillion foot pegs, the kick starter and the handlebars, appear in very good condition. The speedometer, sweeping across to a maximum displayed speed of 50mph, is in very nice order and the light appears to be undamaged, as does the entire bike.
We are assured by the owner that the bike starts, runs, stops and handles as it should do. The engine generally starts within one or two kicks and settles to a characteristic – for a single-cylinder engine – idle. The engine oil looks to be in excellent condition. The centrifugal clutch operates smoothly, and the double-action gear pedal engages each of the three gears smoothly.
The drum brakes operate smoothly both front and rear, though riders of modern motorcycles will no doubt be surprised by the (lack of) braking power. Both front and rear dampers operate with no fluid leaks and while the rear tyre appears to be in reasonable condition, the front is showing signs of cracking and both will require replacement before the bike is used.
The owner admits the bike could do with a new battery but there are currently none available in stock. He states the cost is in the region of £15 for a new battery when they return to stock.
The appeal of a bike such as this is the fun element – it doesn't take itself too seriously yet is perfectly capable of being used in the right circumstances – commuting for example or for travelling around town. Its acceleration is not up to sportsbike standards, but it is perfectly capable of keeping up with traffic in the urban jungle and will put a huge smile on the face of anyone lucky – and plucky – enough to hop on.
The admiration and sense of fun from the current owner are palpable when he describes owning one ‘back in the day’ as well as trying this example on the fields when he bought it. He now feels that it is time for the next owner to take it on and enjoy its unique form of motorcycling and with it, fun.
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