Reader Question: The Grom?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Zane asks: Wondering what you think of the Honda Grom/Monkey? Its been a decade, and tons of new toys are out there, even though the same rules still apply; just wanna know if you have any additional thoughts since then.

My reply: The Grom – for those not hip – is a micro-bike with an air-cooled 124 cc single that stickers for about $3,400 brand new. It has everything a real motorcycle has – including a five speed manual transmission – and so it isn’t a scooter or moped. Not that there’s anything wrong with scooters or mopeds; they just aren’t motorcycles. This thing is – and it costs about the same as a scooter or moped.

I’ve ridden pocket bikes like the Grom and they are too small for a big ape like me – but if you’re not a big ape, they can be great fun for knocking around the neighborhood and can also be used for short-range commuting on secondary roads. Its top speed – about 55 MPH – makes it unsuitable for highway use, obviously. However, the bike is really cheap – and it’s brand new – and it uses practically no gas.

If you want a more capable bike, but haven’t got the funds for a new bike, I’d suggest putting the $3,400 toward a used bike with at least a 250 cc engine, which will give you at least short-trip highway capability; a 250 cc bike can usually reach and maintain 70 MPH or more. It’ll be working hard at that speed – but you can get to that speed. And these bikes usually average 60-plus MPG.

Some 250s have frames that will be too small for big apes; but some – dual sports – will be just fine in that respect.

For all-around use, a bike with a 500-650 cc engine is probably just about right. It will have ample power for the highway and two-up riding (you and a passenger). Anything larger/stronger is certainly fun but not really needed.

I’d be looking at dual sports/adventure-touring and standard/naked bikes as these are the most versatile and easiest to live with. Sport bikes are quicker and designed to be ridden more aggressively and are lots of fun, but they can be hard to ride for a whole day and they usually have practically no storage and ridiculous ergos for the passenger.

I really like the Kawasaki Verys and recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a really great – and very fun – all arounder!

. . . 

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  1. Kawasaki Versys… definitely the type I like, definitely checking it out.

    You’re right Anon, I just remember seeing a shitton of them in Long Branch last year (NJ), like a whole gang of them being riden and dicking around, left an impression. But they’re toys and while you’ll see people saying wait until you have more experience until you ride on the highway, still gotta get on them here in Jersey.

    Do like the versatile nature of the Adventure Sports, now to stop wasting time

    • Hi Zane,

      A good friend of mine has a Versys like the one pictured; I’ve ridden it many times. It’s a very fun bike and I highly recommend it. I think Kaw just came out with a 300 cc version, too!

      • Oh did they? Place 30 mins from me would have one for damn sure.

        Never rode before, should I try taking the course or knowing stick, be fine just winging it?

        • I would recommend a MC safety course (especially if you never ridden a MC)

          Not 100% necessary, but I think it a good idea. In NJ, the course was $300 for weekend course. About 7-8 yrs ago.

          If you cannot ride a bicycle, I suggest staying away from MC.

          • Lucky me, I ride in the park and mu neighborhood every other weekend

            I’ll sign up soon then, and luckily dealt with nyc traffic before with my old Audi, so more just gotta get used to the controls.

            Also sending this to my friend, ALWAYS talks about it, but never signs up, and again, Versys would be solid for us both

  2. Those things are f’n tiny. My dual sport looks like a monster in comparison. The grom is a toy and nothing more. They’re so low and short ANY moped is safer and more suited to road use. If you buy one plan on only using it for dicking around on back roads and parking lots. Not practical at all for the price.


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