John Lennon’s Monkey bike to be auctioned

H&H Classics are offering a unique chance to buy the Honda Z50A Monkey bike once owned by former Beatle John Lennon

A Monkey bike once owned by John Lennon is set to go under the hammer at a forthcoming National Motorcycle Museum auction.

The Beatle superstar originally acquired the Honda Z50A as a novel way of travelling around his Tittenhurst Park estate in Surrey – his main abode from 1969-1971. The motorcycle will be auctioned at an H&H Classics event at the Midlands-based museum on March 4, and is estimated to achieve a £30,000 sale price.

Mark Bryan, head of sales for H&H Classics Motorcycle Department, said: ‘Naturally we are thrilled to be entrusted with the marketing and sale of this bike, given its extraordinary provenance.’

In 1971, the celebrated Honda passed from Lennon to John Harington, the current vendor and custodian for the past 47 years. He bought it from Henry Graham, the then-owner of the local Motor Cycle City garage. Graham claimed to have purchased the Monkey bike from Lennon himself, before John and his family moved to Manhattan, New York.

Having been displayed at various events and shows over the past five decades, the 49cc motorcycle is in outstanding condition and offers a slice of pop-culture history like no other vehicle.

The Honda Z50A was originally introduced to the UK market in 1969. Also known as the Mini Trail, it offered the same basic frame as its predecessor, but with the addition of front suspension and eight-inch wheels. In this configuration, it sent 1.95bhp through the rear wheel at 5000rpm. With the help of a three-speed gearbox and Honda centrifugal clutch, you could easily propel the little machine to 25mph in top gear, and it had singular climbing ability in first.

Folding handlebars, a stopper for the fuel-tank air vent, positive fuel shut-off valve and carburettor float bowl drain were the Z50A’s concession to the fold-and-stow-it concept first seen in 1968. Yet, even when folded, the bike was too heavy for most people to heft around single handedly. Not that this stopped Lennon from enjoying the little Japanese offering.

When the terrain got too much, he would lift the Honda over mud or water, while the minuscule 50-inch turning circle resulted in nimble manoeuvring when traversing his estate.

Besides the cult appeal, this Monkey bike comes with an extensive file history, including MoTs, logbook and a dating letter from Honda, and it is in running order with matching frame and engine numbers. Largely unrestored and original, with a massive investment potential, this is one bike with a ticket to ride.

You can register to bid on the H&H Classics website, with bidding underway on March 4, commencing at 1pm at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull. Viewing begins at 9am. Entry to the auction is free, and a pocket book is available at £5 each.

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