In its first on-road announcement for the 2020 model year, Honda rolled out three returning machines that all exude fun and accessibility. Lightweight and stylish, the Monkey, Grom and CB300R distill the joy of riding like only small-displacement machines can, enticing new riders to explore the world of motorcycling and veterans to revisit the reasons they started. The most lighthearted of the trio, the Monkey has a new-old style that appeals to everyone from millennials to history buffs, while the Grom—the industry’s best-selling sport bike—continues to be a miniMOTO phenomenon. More performance-oriented but still big on style, the CB300R is a small-bore iteration of the naked-bike movement.
“For Americans, motorcycles are all about fun, and it would be hard to find three bikes that better represent that particular emotion,” said Chris Cox, American Honda’s manager of experiential marketing/press. “The Monkey, Grom and CB300R appeals to riders from multiple generations and with varying experience levels, and all three squeeze modern features into diminutive, entertaining packages. It’s no wonder they continue to be very popular with customers.”
Honda’s Monkey has a history nearly six decades old, a fact that no doubt contributed to the enthusiastic reception that this current iteration—unveiled to U.S. customers less than a year ago—has enjoyed. Already fostering its own motorcycling subculture, the Monkey is back for 2020, and its faithfulness to the 1961 Z100 (originally designed for an amusement-park attraction) prompts many a trip down memory lane. But actual trips are a pleasure as well, thanks to the Monkey’s modern attributes: a fuel-injected SOHC 125cc single-cylinder engine delivering robust and enjoyable power, an inverted fork, a circular LCD digital meter, all-LED lighting, available inertial measurement unit (IMU)-based ABS.
- Monkey ABS: Pearl Nebula Red
- Monkey: Pearl Glittering Blue
- Monkey ABS: $4,199
- Monkey: $3,999
- Availability: October 2019
The fun, pocketsize model that inspired a cultural revolution returns for 2020, but it still has a serious sporty side, with a SOHC four-stroke engine, fuel injection, four-speed transmission with manual clutch, LCD dash, stacked LED headlight layout and available ABS. It all adds up to excellent throttle response, remarkable fuel efficiency, nimble handling and a road-hugging but compliant ride, but the Grom’s most noteworthy feature is inarguably the diminutive size that promises approachability to new riders and fun to more experienced customers.
- Grom ABS: Cherry Red
- Grom: Cherry Red; Blue Raspberry; Incredible Green; Halloween Orange
- Grom ABS: $3,599
- Grom: $3,399
- Availability: June 2019
Featuring Honda’s Neo-Sports Café naked-bike design in its most lightweight representation, the CB300R returns for 2020 in a new Pearl Blue color, and promises performance and lifestyle in equal parts. The compact, fuel-injected 286cc DOHC four-valve, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine has a straight-shot intake path and a free-revving exhaust system. The tapered-wall aluminum swingarm and aluminum wheels minimize unsprung weight, enabling responsive, precise handling. Excellent braking performance is achieved via a 296mm floating front brake disc paired with a radial-mount Nissin four-piston caliper, a 220mm rear disc matched to a single-piston caliper, and standard two-channel ABS with an IMU. The minimalist style centralizes weight for optimum chassis feel, performance, and balance, and that deliberate reduction shows off the machine’s hard-edged attitude with its exposed, blacked-out hardware and dramatic cutaway tail. A full-function LCD instrument display provides simple readouts, and full LED lighting (including a dual-bar headlight signature and Honda’s thinnest taillight) round out the look.