Little Ripper! K-Speed’s Honda Monkey cafe racer

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed
K-Speed is one of the greatest success stories of the modern custom scene. Like a hit factory from the golden era of pop, the Thai company churns out hit after hit.

We’ve seen what they can do with BMWs, Triumphs and Honda Cubs—and now it’s the turn of the funky little Honda Monkey 125, launched less than a year ago.

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed
With eleven branches spread throughout Thailand, K-Speed is a major industry player in its local market. But even more incredibly, they built over 40 customs last year—releasing a bike every 6.3 working days.

Despite this, there are no formulas or corner cutting, and no subtle variations on a signature style. Each build is started with fresh eyes, and is invariably a knockout.

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed
‘Monkey Racer’ is based on the new Honda Monkey, which comes with a 125cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine, a four-speed ‘box, and 12-inch wheels. Plus styling that harks back to the Z50A released in the late 1960s.

The short wheelbase gives the stock Monkey 125 a somewhat cartoonish look, but K-Speed have managed to add a dash of sophistication and a classic cafe racer vibe.

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed
There’s obviously a lot of careful thinking going on here—probably because K-Speed founder Eak is a big fan of the platform. He has a couple of the original 50cc Z-series Monkeys in his personal garage, and started riding them as a child.

The biggest change is a switch to 14-inch wheels. They’re aftermarket rims originally designed for the Grom, modified to fit, and with solid covers to make them stand out even more.

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed
The tank, surprisingly, is the stock 5.6L item—but chromed to accentuate the distinctive trapezoidal shape. Right behind is a completely redesigned seat, upholstered with black leather, finished with subtle stitching, and much shallower than the original.

That slim and stubby new subframe is now supported via short YSS shock absorbers. At the front, the forks have been clipped by three inches to match.

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed
The bulky plastic airbox is gone, replaced by a neat velocity stack. And the hefty, high-riding standard exhaust system has also been ditched, in favor of a slender pipe terminating in a low-set SuperTrapp-style muffler.

Black high-temperature paint helps the shiny new breathing equipment stand out, and there’s a drilled clutch cover to match.

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed
The cockpit is much cleaner too. The bars and risers are gone, the top yoke is blacked out, and clip-ons lower the riding position to a café racer crouch.

The circular speedo and switchgear are much simpler than the originals, and the stock LED headlight—which jars a little against the classic vibe of the Monkey—has been swapped out for a black bucket with a slim grille.

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed
Despite their track record with Cub conversions and the fame it has brought them outside Thailand, K-Speed rarely work on smaller bikes. They’re willing to make an exception for the Monkey though, describing it as a ‘special’ case.

They also mentioned that they have another new Monkey 125 in the garage, as yet unmolested. Who’s looking forward to seeing what they do with that one?

K-Speed website | Instagram | Images by Hipmotography

2019 Honda Monkey cafe racer by K-Speed