Sometimes, art imitates life—and sometimes, life imitates art imitating life. This is the Monkey Racer Replica, crafted by the combined customization talents of Japanese and Thai team Ganesha Custom, K-Win, and NOTE. It’s not a one-off custom, either; it’s the type you can buy, although presumably only in extremely limited quantities.
It is, naturally, meant to evoke the styling cues of the 1950s-era Moto Guzzi V8 grand prix racer. (You know, as you often do with a little 125cc monkey bike.) That legendary beast reportedly made a stonking 80 horsepower at the crank revving at just over 12,000 rpm. It also managed a record 178 mph speed at the 1957 Belgian Grand Prix. (It’s probably a safe bet that this Monkey isn’t quite that fast, although it certainly looks good.)
There’s more to this Monkey Racer Replica than just Guzzi history, though—as we’d guess some of you probably have already spotted. See, famed manga master Akira Toriyama is a well-known gearhead. This bike comes from the Dragon Ball universe, where it’s actually a Moto Guzzi V8 racer-inspired mech.
Gallery: Ganesha Custom Monkey Racer Replica
Bulma, the character who rides Variable No. 19, can make it transform between a bike, a bipedal mech, and a trike. Dead giveaways include the “Capsule Corp.” branding on the tank, as well as the big 19 number plate emblazoned on the side. The skinny, black, flashing light turrets located on either side of the headlight replace the guns found in the manga.
For those unfamiliar, Toriyama’s work is well known for its inclusion of fantastic extrapolations of very real cars and motorcycles. It’s manga, so he can make real-world vehicles do anything he wants—all while paying homage to interesting existing designs that strike his fancy. So, basing Bulma’s bike on that famed Moto Guzzi V8 GP racer design absolutely, 100-percent tracks.
Thus, we come to 2022, where three real-world motorcycle customizers have taken Toriyama’s take on the Guzzi and brought it into the real world. The Monkey 125 is a popular machine all over the world, but it’s particularly popular as a ready candidate for customization in both Japan and Thailand. (We’re reasonably sure this build doesn’t actually transform, though.)
Interestingly, as of July 8, 2022, Ganesha Custom is currently selling the Monkey Racer Replica on its website, for an asking price of ¥ 1,595,000, tax included but not including shipping costs. That’s about $11,741 according to today’s conversion rates, which seems simultaneously like a lot for a Monkey and not a whole lot for a custom job like this. It’s unclear how many of these Ganesha plans to make, although it seems likely to be a fairly limited-edition thing.