On September 27, 2022, Honda officially launched its 2023 Monkey 125 for the European market. Since the model just had its last major engine and transmission changes for the 2022 model year, it’s not surprising that there are no substantive technical changes for 2023. What we get is purely cosmetic—but even the most cynical, jaded moto enthusiast has to admit that these particular cosmetic changes look really good.
After the technical makeover last year, the styling team clearly went into overdrive on the outside for 2023. Much like a mid-’90s teen comedy involving the makeover of a supposed nerd, the Monkey already had a lot going for it. Now, though, the styling team apparently cranked that aesthetic knob up to 11 and then broke it all the way off so it can’t be messed with.
The 2023 Honda Monkey gets a single new colorway, which is called Pearl Shining Black. It will also continue to be available in the much-loved Banana Yellow and Pearl Nebula Red colorways—but that hardly means that it stays the same. Oh, no. See, Honda took those colorways to the Nth degree for 2023.
Gallery: 2023 Honda Monkey - Europe
You like Banana Yellow? That’s great, because Honda got you even more Banana Yellow to go with your Banana Yellow. For 2023, the frame, fork, swingarm, and rear springs are now all color-matched to go with whichever color Monkey you choose.
If that’s not enough to get your eyeballs excited, Honda also reached back in time to its 1960s stylebook and grabbed itself some vintage tartan. Now each colorway of the 2023 Monkey gets its own tartan seat cover, along with matching tank infills that hark back to the beginning of the Monkey’s hold on hearts all over the world.
Honda clearly chose to lean into the mod portion of the phrase ‘all mod cons’ in the styling department—but since it’s 2023, you do actually get all the modern conveniences your heart desires in this miniMOTO, as well. Upside-down front fork and dual rear shocks handle suspension duties, you get disc brakes at both ends, as well as IMU-based ABS.
An LCD display shows you what’s going on up front, and full LED lighting illuminates your way. The Wave-pattern key comes with the classic Honda Wing motif, but has a thoroughly modern ‘answer back’ system to help you quickly locate your bike when it’s in a crowded parking lot.
The same 124cc single overhead cam, single-cylinder engine makes a claimed nine horsepower at 6,750 rpm, alongside 8.11 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm, and is mated to a five-speed gearbox. The 775mm seat height remains as approachable and inviting as ever, which is one of the Monkey’s signature calling cards in every decade.