Why monkey bikes?

Last year, I went on a wheelie day with www.stuntasylum.com. It was a brilliant day and one of the pieces of advice that Cassie, our instructor gave us was that if we wanted to practice when we got home, maybe we shouldn’t use big bikes at first. Nobody likes to crash an expensive bike, so she suggested we get a little Grom or a monkey bike to prat about on.

So I went out and bought a Chinese clone of the Honda Dax ST70. This one’s a 2017 Skyteam Dax 125 that I bought off eBay for about half what the original owner paid for it new last year. It had 160 miles on the clock and brand new upgraded tyres.

Other than the even sillier Skyteam Bongo 50, the Dax (so called because of its passing resemblance to the breed of dog) is possibly one of the cheapest road legal vehicles that you can buy in the UK. In many ways, it’s a colossally shit little motorbike, and yet it is so, so much fun.

The original Honda design has passed out of copyright and anyone can make them now. With a 125 engine in there, the bike is surprisingly pokey and you can feel it wanting to wheelie off the throttle in the first few gears. It doesn’t help that I’m so tall, I have to sit on the pillion seat in order to be comfortable!

Once I’d been riding the thing for a few weeks, I really began to love it. There’s something really fun about going back to your roots and riding a small engined bike. You’ve got to really work to get any serious speed up, and when you do, it really feels like an achievement. Everyone smiles at you and asks about the bike – it’s really the least intimidating motorcycle you could ever imagine.

There are a thousand reasons why it’s an utterly unsuitable bike to do any distance on, but we think there’s a good case for doing just that. These bikes are cheap, simple to maintain and easy to fix. They’ll do a hundred miles to the gallon and the sheer size of the thing means you can carry next to nothing in the way of luggage. We’re hoping that they’ll get us into all sorts of conversations with people and if it all goes wrong, you can ship one on a pallet…

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